I finished reading E.T. Curnick’s 203-page book ‘A Catechism on Christian Perfection’ this morning. As I noted in my post A Catechism On Christian Perfection, I purchased 2 copies since the one I was reading was borrowed.
This book is very much like J.A. Wood’s book ‘Perfect Love’. Both books are like a Catechism, where a question is asked and then answered. In the post on ‘Perfect Love’, I posted the chapters of the two different revisions of his book.
With E.T. Curnick’s book ‘A Catechism on Christian Perfection’, I have decided to post the questions that are asked in each of the 20 chapters and perhaps at a later date I will have someone type in the text and post those also.
No matter what your position is on the Wesleyan doctrine of Christian Perfection, these questions from Curnick’s book make for good discussion and many of them in and of themselves are thought provoking.
A Catechism on Christian Perfection, by E.T. Curnick
Catechetical instruction has existed in the Christian Church for centuries. It is a concise and easy way of combining the teaching Scriptural truths.
The aim of the present Catechism is to present the doctrine of Christian Perfection in a simple, systematic, and comprehensive manner.
The book is intended primarily for those seeking a knowledge of the way of holiness, in order to walk in it. Every vital question which would arise in the minds of such inquirers, with the answer and accompanying Scripture proof, it is hoped, the Catechism contains.
The reader is especially recommended to examine carefully the Bible references. They are often necessary to a proper understanding of the question and answer.
While the little work was prepared mainly for learners, the writer is not without hope it may prove of benefit to many. The whole doctrine and experience of Christian holiness may be presented by using the successive chapters as Bible readings.
The foundation of the book is almost entirely the result of the writer’s own thought and study of the Scriptures. Still, he has availed himself of the help afforded by many holiness writers, and delights to make this general acknowledgment, which he trusts will suffice.
That the Catechism may aid many in the general Church to “receive the Holy Ghost,” and thus to “perfect holiness in the fear of God,” is the earnest desire and sincere prayer of the author.
1. Man’s Fall and Its Results
1. Was man created holy?
2. What does “the image of God” in man signify?
3. Did man, as God’s offspring, have dominion in the earth?
4. Was man made a free moral agent?
5. What is human probation?
6. Under what law was Adam placed?
7. How was his obedience tested?
8. Did our first parents continue holy and happy?
9. What was Adam’s sin?
10. How is sin both an act and a state?
11. In what sense have all men sinned in Adam?
12. How extensive is the character of sin in man?
13. What is total depravity?
14. Has man any power to recover himself from this state of sin?
15. How is punishment a consequence of sin?
16. What is the chief idea of punishment?
17. What is the final penalty of sin?
18. Is sin in the Bible ever considered apart from the atonement?
2. First Steps in the Process of Redemption
19. What is preventive grace?
20. What is spiritual awakening?
21. Will you define evangelical repentance?
22. By whom are men led to repentance?
23. Does the Bible point out a sorrow of sin which is not true repentance?
24. Does repentance consist only of a change of the mind, as some assert?
25. Does repentance demand reparation for injury inflicted?
26. Can repentance of itself save the soul?
27. What is evangelical faith?
28. Does the Bible mention a faith which is not saving?
29. In exercising evangelical faith, what process does the mind undergo?
30. What is the meaning of “trust in God”?
31. Is there merit in faith?
32. Is the nature of faith the same in all stages of Christian experience?
33. What are the results of saving faith?
34. What is justification?
35. Will you define regeneration?
36. Should justification and regeneration be carefully distinguished?
37. What is adoption?
38. Then how does the sinner know that he becomes a child of God?
39. What term embodies the benefits derived from the three works of grace above mentioned?
3. Definition of Terms
40. Are there various words in the Bible, possessing distinct, yet related meanings, which signify completeness of Christian character?
41. What is entire sanctification?
42.Will you define Christian purity?
43. What is meant by the word holiness?
44. What is perfect love?
45. What is evangelical perfection?
46. In witnessing to the experience of perfect love, should Bible terms be used?
4. Distinction between Regeneration and Entire Sanctification
47. Is salvation complete in man when he is born again?
48. Will you state some of the benefits accruing to man in regeneration, with their limitations?
49. What is the first benefit?
50. What as regards the removal of condemnation?
51. Will you name a third result of the new birth?
52. Can you give another benefit?
53. How is conversion related to God’s law?
54. Does the converted man fully keep the law of holiness which he inherits in the Divine nature?
55. What then happens?
56. Where is the limit of regeneration?
57. Is regeneration, with its concomitants, justification and adoption, an imperfect work?
58. What remains in the heart after conversion?
59. What is original sin?
60. How was it possible for Adam to transmit depravity?
61. Can you reconcile the doctrine of inherited depravity with the love and mercy of God?
62. May depravity Scripturally be divided into original depravity and acquired depravity?
63. What other texts in Scripture show that depravity may be increased?
64. How much of the disorder produced by sin is removed at conversion?
65. What result is accomplished in entire sanctification?
66. Will you tell the meaning of 1 Thess. v. 23?
67. Name some other Scriptural gems indicating sin in believers? What as regards the flesh?
68. What is the meaning of the “old man”?
69. Will you give the meaning of the word crucifixion?
70. Will you mention yet other terms, showing the presence of sin in believers, and providing for its removal?
71. Is the presence of inbred sin, or indwelling depravity, revealed to the newly regenerated?
72. How is original sin manifested?
73. When this discovered original sin is removed, what is the results?
74. Does the regenerate life continue?
75. In the life of regeneration what new factors enter?
76. How do those making regeneration and entire sanctification identical, err?
5. The Nature and Limitations of Christian Perfection
77. What kinds of perfection are found in the Bible?
78. What is absolute perfection?
79. What is angelic perfection?
80. Will you define Adamic perfection?
81. What was patriarchal perfection?
82. What was Mosaic perfection?
83. Can you define Gentile perfection?
84. What is Christian perfection?
85. Has the word perfection various meanings in Scripture, aside from these leading classifications?
86. What is the general Bible meaning of the word?
87. What does perfection in its lowest sense signify?
88. Is the term used in the sense of righteousness, or justification?
89. Does the Bible teach an external perfection of life?
90. Is perfection used to denote internal character?
91. Does the word ever combine the two ideas of exterior and interior holiness?
92. In what respects is Christ perfect?
93. How is man’s perfection related to Christ’s?
94. Is the perfection of saints the great end of Bible instruction?
95. Is Christian perfection held out as an end that may be reached?
96. What special result of Christian perfection is given in Scripture?
97. What is meant by “perfecting holiness in the fear of God?”
98. What word expresses the all of Christian perfection?
99. Will you define heavenly perfection?
100.Are the entirely sanctified perfect in knowledge?
101. Can a person get beyond temptation?
102. Is a mistake in opinion or practice, a sin?
103. Do perfect Christians have need of the merits of Christ?
104. Do those experiencing entire sanctification need Christ in His priestly office?
105. How does God govern His creatures?
106. Do these laws differ?
107. Under that law lived the unfallen Adam?
108. How were the Jews governed?
109. What three laws did they receive?
110. Could the Jews observe the first law?
111. What as regards the Moral law?
112. Could the Children of Israel obey the Law of Love?
113. Must Christians observe the law of ordinances?
114. Is the Moral Law abrogated?
115. How does Christ fulfill the law for Christians?
116. How is the Evangelical Law kept?
117. Is Christian perfection identical with sinless perfection?
118. Can you make this clear?
119. What does the former law include?
120. What does the latter law require?
121. How, then, would you qualify the term sinless perfection?
122. Do many confound the Adamic law of innocence with the evangelical law of Christ?
123. What is the chief source of this error?
124. Is it right for a perfect Christian to indulge in normal physical appetites and propensities?
6. Evidences that Entire Sanctification is Subsequent to Conversion
125. Is the view that Christian holiness is subsequent to and separate from conversion reasonable?
126. Is the Spirit’s second operation upon the heart in keeping with God’s usual methods of perfecting His work?
127. How do you know that the disciples were converted before Christ’s ascension?
128. What resulted from the Seventy’s preaching?
129. What other proof regarding the ante-Pentecost conversion of the disciples?
130. Did the disciples need a farther definite purification before they were fully prepared to preach the Gospel?
131. Did Christ, after His death and resurrection, promise the Holy Spirit to His disciples?
132. Do the Pauline epistles prove that many of the first Christians were not entirely cleansed from sin?
133. On the other hand, does Paul urge Christians to be wholly saved?
134. What evidences does Jewish history afford?
135. Where the tabernacle and the temple designed to prefigure different spiritual states?
136. Are there single passages of Scripture which show the two-fold character of salvation — justification and holiness?
137. What is the teaching of Zechariah?
138. Does Jesus promise a “second rest?”
139. What was St. Paul’s commission to the Gentiles?
140. How did St. Paul apprise Titus of the second blessing?
141. What is the testimony of the beloved disciple?
142. Does the general experience of believers corroborate the teaching of Scripture?
143. What argument arises from the law of demand and supply?
144. Have many Christians confessed to having obtained perfect love?
145. Is it probable that anyone was ever converted and entirely sanctified at the same moment?
7. The Conditions of Entire Sanctification
146. Does the Almighty require man’s co-operation in the process of entire sanctification?
147. What is the first condition made of the seeker of heart purity?
148. Must the believer be conscious of inbred sin?
149. In addition, does the soul pant after God?
150. How deep is the conviction for holiness, in the regenerated seeker?
151. Will you name another condition of entire sanctification?
152. What portions of the Word are especially helpful?
153. How must the teachable child of God seek Christian perfection?
154. How must the searcher after heart purity surrender themselves to God?
154. What is the Scriptural condition upon which Christian perfection rests?
155. Is the faith that receives Christ both passive and active?
156. What is the usual manner of obtaining Christian purity by faith?
157. Will you name the successive steps of sanctifying faith?
8. The Time of Entire Sanctification
158. Why is this an important subject?
159. When must a people become holy?
160. At what period of life can a Christian be made perfect in love?
161. How do you know that Christians can be holy in this life?
162. Is entire sanctification a gradual, or instantaneous work?
163. How is it a gradual work?
164. In what respect is entire sanctification an instantaneous work?
165. Is inbred sin a unit?
166. How does the Bible teach the instantaneous cleansing of the heart from indwelling sin?
167. Will you name some of the commands of the Bible, requiring Christian purity?
168. Will you name some of the promises definitely teaching the doctrine of entire sanctification?
169. Can a person grow into heart purity?
170. Do many Christians frustrate the grace of immediate sanctification by good works?
171. Do multitudes adopt the repressive theory of holiness?
172. Why is the theory of repression dangerous?
173. Do some believers make self-mortification a substitute for the Divine process of purification?
174. Does present sanctification commend itself to reason?
175. Has death any power to purify from sin?
9. The Witness of Perfect Love
176. What evidences has the Christian that he is made perfect in love?
177. Does the fully saved person in addition receive the direct witness of the Holy Spirit to the act of cleansing?
178. In the process of sanctification, is the witness of the Spirit ever withheld for a season?
179. Why is the Spirit’s witness withheld for a time?
180. Is the witness of the Spirit to entire sanctification always clear?
181. Does entire sanctification always shine by its own light?
182. Is to feel all love and no sin a sufficient proof of entire sanctification?
183. What fruits of the Spirit, growing in ripeness, evidence the presence of holiness in the heart?
184. Does the outward life of the wholly sanctified differ from that of the merely regenerated?
185. What difference in the emotions usually exists in the moment of justification?
186. Do deep sorrows and severe trials consist with perfect love?
10. The Possibility of Losing Christian Perfection
187. Can perfect Christians be tempted?
188. Does the adversary attack with special severity those enjoying perfect love?
189. What examples have we in the Bible of those possessing perfect natures, falling into sin?
190. Can you name other perfect beings who were tempted?
191. Are there any admonitions in the Scriptures concerning the danger of losing Christian perfection?
192. What farther proof exists that men may fall from the high estate of Christian holiness?
193. Can this state be recovered?
194. Can perfect Christians easily resist temptation?
195. When the sanctified fall into actual sin, do they lose their sonship?
196. Will the holy who sin, finally be lost, unless they repent and do their first works again?
197. Is the opinion, that the entirely sanctified cannot entirely fall away, dangerous?
198. Yet is it possible for the Spirit to give one the testimony that he shall not finally fall from God?
199. Have any a testimony from the Spirit that they shall never sin?
200. How can perfect Christians be led into sin?
201. Is the blessing of entire sanctification often lost?
11. Scriptural Way of Retaining Holiness
202. Is the God who cleanseth the heart able to keep it clear?
203. Must the wholly sanctified be watchful?
204. Is it requisite for the pure in heart to be much given to prayer?
205. Ought the wholly saved person to renew their consecration to God?
206. Is salvation present?
207. Ought the perfect child of God to be diligent in labors?
208. Is there any merit in good works?
209. Is perfect self-denial essential to retaining holiness?
210. Is the careful study of the sacred Scriptures necessary?
211. To retain entire sanctification, is it necessary to cultivate habits of holiness?
212. To enjoy Christian holiness without interruption, is it needful to confess it?
12. The Confession of Holiness
213. Does the Bible command Christians to testify to the doctrine and experience of holiness?
214. Why should Christians confess holiness?
215. Can they retain a humble spirit while declaring they are freed from all sin?
216. Why do many object to believers confessing holiness?
217. Does the history of Christianity emphasize the need of confessing Christ as a perfect Savior?
218. What fallacy is involved in advising Christians to live holiness, and not publicly to witness to its power?
219. Should the Christian be very careful that his testimony exactly correspond with his life?
220. Should the entirely sanctified testify in public, when they know their experience will be distasteful?
221. Is definite testimony for holiness, in the pulpit and elsewhere, necessary to convict believers of their need of full salvation?
222. Should the testimony to sanctification always be explicit?
223. Ought perfect believers to express their experience in Bible terms?
224. Ought Christians testimony to be attended with good works?
225. Does observation prove that the confession of perfect love is of great benefit to the confessor?
226. Is there danger of dwelling upon the blessing of sanctification, rather than looking to God, the Blesser?
227. Ought one to be sure of the experience before witnessing to perfect love?
13. Christian Purity, Growth, and Maturity
228. Are purity, growth, and maturity, distinct one from another?
229. What is Christian purity?
230. What is Christian growth?
231. What is Christian maturity?
232. Will you name one particular in which purity and growth differ?
233. What is another difference?
234. Is there a third distinction?
235. Will you mention the conditions upon which purity and growth are received?
236. How rapidly may the pure in heart grow?
237. Is entrance to heaven dependent upon purity and growth?
238. Is Christian maturity an accommodated term?
239. Should Christians aim at a state of mature religious character in this world?
240. Are the rewards of heaven measured by good works which result from Christian growth?
241. Is it right to predicate Christian purity of a babe in Christ?
242. Is it dangerous to make Christian purity depend upon the amount of knowledge a person possesses?
243. Does this theory discard faith?
244. Is the depravity remaining in the heart of the converted, a unit?
14. The After-Pentecost Life
245. What is the meaning of Pentecost?
246. What is the New Testament sense of Pentecost?
247. What were the immediate effects of this outpouring of the Spirit?
248. Can you mention the permanent benefits accruing to the Church from the Pentecostal outpouring?
249. Is heart purity, resulting from the Pentecostal baptism, the second and last saving blessing?
250. In what respects is the wholly sanctified Christian’s life progressive?
251. How does the pure in heart increase in knowledge?
252. Is it right for perfect Christians to pray for more love?
253. Is this true of the other “fruits of righteousness?”
254. Through what medium does the Holy Spirit communicate knowledge to the Christian?
255. Does the Spirit of God at times reveal to the sanctified, existing inconsistencies which must be given up?
256. Does the Bible shine with a new meaning to the wholly saved?
257. What distinctive use of the Scriptures comes to the perfect man?
258. Are the experiences of all Christians in the spiritual Canaan, similar?
259. Are the experiences of individual believers, always the same after Pentecost?
260. What is the main dependence of the inhabitant of Beulah Land?
261. What is the usual life of Canaan?
262. Is Christian perfection improvable?
263. Should the perfect believer look for any radical change of the state of his heart, as in conversion and 264. sanctification?
265. Is it possible for the believer to have more than one outpouring of the Holy Spirit?
15. Bible Instances of Holiness
266. Is it reasonable for seekers of holiness to look to the Scriptures for models of this grace?
267. What proof exists that Enoch was holy?
268. Can you tell when Abraham was justified, and when we was wholly sanctified?
269. What evidence of a double work does the Bible give in the case of Jacob?
270. Was Joseph a holy man?
271. Do the scriptures point out two great spiritual epochs in the life of Moses?
273. How does the Bible establish Joshua’s justification and sanctification?
274. Was Samuel a holy man?
275. Is David an instance of the two-fold work, pardon and purity?
276. Was the prophet Isaiah sanctified wholly?
277. Does Elijah’s life teach the same truth?
278. Does the New Testament establish the holiness of Zacharias?
279. Were the disciples converted before the day of Pentecost, and sanctified upon that day?
280. Was Stephen, the proto-martyr, wholly saved?
290. Did the people in Samaria receive a double blessing?
291. Is Cornelius a notable instance of God’s converting and sanctifying grace?
292. Did St. Paul profess Christian perfection?
293. Did the apostle St. John testify to personal holiness?
294. Did St. Peter profess this experience?
295. To sum up, what do the foregoing examples prove?
16. Cautions and Duties of Holiness Professors
296. Does the success of the holiness cause depend largely upon the consistent lives of its possessors?
297. In what spirit should Christians professing full salvation receive advice?
298. Is Christian advice, properly tendered, beneficial?
299. What is censoriousness?
301. Will you define Antinomianism?
302. What is Phariseeism?
303. How shall perfect Christians avoid fanaticism?
304. Should the fully saved be teachable?
305. Ought one perfect in love exercise charity?
306. Should those having the mind that was in Christ be diligent in good works?
307. How can the perfect believer be saved from pride?
308. What is enthusiasm?
309. Will you define bigotry?
310. What is a Christian Church?
311. Does the New Testament recognize church government and organization?
312. Is it the duty of every Christian to unite with the visible church?
313. What is schism?
314. Should holiness people use every caution to prevent strife and division in their several churches?
315. Can the precious doctrine of being led by the Holy Spirit, be abused?
316. Do uninterrupted transports belong to Christian perfection?
317. Is it right for the entirely sanctified to confess themselves sinners?
318. Do those perfect in love have strong and sharp conflicts with Satan?
319. Should holiness professors keep mainly to the idea of heart sanctification?
17. Objections to Christian Perfection
320. Why do people object to Christian perfection?
321. Does Christian perfection lead to pride?
322. Does perfect love encourage one to profess superior holiness to another?
323. Does Christian purity make the believer slight Christ?
324. Does Christian perfection supersede the use of watchfulness and mortification?
325. Can a perfect Christian say, as Jesus taught: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive then that trespass against us” (Matt. vi. 12)?
326. Do not some teach that the knowledge of indwelling sins tends to keep the soul humble?
327.Are not Christians perfect in Christ; in His Person, and not in their own?
328. What is Christ’s imputed holiness?
329. How is this doctrine proved false?
330. Is not the doctrine of imputed holiness a dangerous one?
331. Some persons contend that the Bible proves the constant presence of sin in man. For example, does not the Scriptures say: “A just man sinneth seven times a day”?
332. Does not the Apostle James say: “In many things we offend all?”
333. What does St. John mean when he affirms: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves?”
334. Do not some oppose the doctrine of entire sanctification, through policy?
335. Does the preaching of Christian perfection produce division in the Church?
336. Do some sincere Christians fear that Zion may be injured by inconsistencies among holiness people?
337. Is not much of the opposition the result of ignorance as to what is meant by the doctrine?
338. Do not objections arise often from the heart, more than from the intellect?
339. Does the objection, that the majority of Christians do not profess the doctrine, militate against Christian perfection?
340. Are objections to holiness which are founded in self, perilous?
18. Counsels to Justified Christians
341. Is the justified believer safe until he has obtained Christian perfection?
342. Are imperfect Christians in a damnable state?
343. Do those believers who reject entire sanctification, dishonor Christ?
344. Do incomplete Christians miss much by neglecting to obtain full salvation?
345. What place in heaven will the Christian imperfect till death occupy?
346. Will one walking in the clear experience of justification normally pant after perfect holiness?
347. What method ought a sincere Christian to pursue, who has doubts concerning this doctrine?
348. Do not many hesitate to accept Christian perfection, because it implies so much?
349. The converted man may ask the following questions: “Can I keep the great blessing of perfect love, should I once obtain it?”
350. Shall I not be exposed to the shafts of ridicule, and even to the venom of former friends?
351. You say — “But, I don’t believe the doctrine?”
352. You ask — “Is not the crucifixion of the ‘old man’ a painful process?”
353. Should the justified Christian testify in public?
19. Holiness Demanded
354. Does God require His people to be holy?
355. Do the Scriptures teach the need of men being holy?
356. How is holiness taught in the Mosaic writings?
357. Should ministers be holy?
358. Will you mention one reason why ministers should enjoy entire sanctification?
359. Is there another cause why ministers should receive the Holy Spirit?
360. Does perfect love, possessed by the minister, increase his power in winning souls?
361. If all God’s ministers were baptized with the Holy Spirit, what would be the results?
362. Why ought the lay-member to be holy?
363. Will a pure heart deepen his experience?
364. How will it affect his outward conduct?
365. Will entire sanctification increase the layman’s faithfulness to the church?
366. In what do the pure in heart especially excel?
367. Is Christian perfection demanded in the Church at large?
368. Does the world require the Church to be holy?
369. What great facts emphasize the need of universal holiness?
20. The Divine Factors in the Work of Christian Perfection
370. How many Divine dispensations have there been?
371. What was the great characteristic of the Father’s dispensation?
372. What is the leading idea of the Son’s dispensation?
373. What constitutes the central thought of the Spirit’s dispensation?
374. Will you tell the duration of the three dispensations?
375. Under what dispensation do believers now live?
376. In a given dispensation, were the other two Persons in the God-head entirely inactive?
377. Is the Holy Spirit much ignored today?
378. What proofs exist that the Holy Spirit is a real Person?
379. What evidences are there that He is Divine?
380. What special manifestations of the Spirit are apparent in His own dispensations?
381. In the work of Christian perfection, what part does the Father take?
382. In the plan of man’s perfect salvation, what is the office of the Son?
383. Will you name the offices of the Third Person, in man’s restoration?
384. What are the distinct operations of God’s Spirit in the soul before entire sanctification is reached?
385. How does the Spirit entirely sanctify the soul?
386. In what manner does “the blood cleanse from all sin?”
387. In what sense are Christians sanctified by the Word of Divine Truth?
388. What does St. Paul mean in Ephesians i. 13, when he speaks of believers being “sealed by the Holy Spirit?”
389. What does fire as a symbol of the Holy Spirit signify?
390. What does water symbolize?
391. Is wind a type of the Spirit’s operation on the human heart?
392. What does the anointing oil typify?
393. Do some teach that the “gift of the Holy Spirit” is separate and apart from Christian purity?
394. Can you prove that the Holy Spirit is a Gift of the Father and the Son?
395. Is the “Gift of the Spirit” identical with the “fulness of the Spirit,” or heart purity?
396. Will you continue the proof?
397. What evidence does the Church at Samaria offer?
398. Does the account of Cornelius corroborate the above?
399. In relating this outpouring, what does St. Peter say?
400. What is the finial proof?
401. What conclusion is thus reached?
402. Is it proper to speak of the “tongue of fire,” the “endowment of power,” etc., as distinct blessings, to be obtained after receiving entire sanctification?
403. Does the Holy Spirit affect the Christian life after he is made perfect in love?
404. What is the perfect Christian’s doxology in this life?
405. What is the song of the pure in heart in Heaven?