“Who We Are” in the Body of Christ
The distinctives of the Francis Asbury Society
by Dennis Kinlaw, FAS Founder
The Francis Asbury Society was organized to perpetuate the biblical message of heart holiness, that message for which Francis Asbury gave his life and which influenced Methodism, Asbury College, and Asbury Seminary from their beginnings. The Society was founded with the conviction that this message, clear in Scripture though often overshadowed, forgotten, or denied in the history of the church, was in danger of being lost. Lost, not just in the church at large, but particularly within the very segments of the church, the Methodist and the Asbury world, which historically were its natural home.
The essence of this concern is found expressed in the biblical command: “be ye holy for I am holy.” It is our belief that this command is also a promise. What God commands He is capable of performing.
—It is our observation that the new birth in and of itself is not necessarily a fulfillment of this command but is rather an initial step toward its fulfillment. We believe that the answer to all of our sin lies in Christ’s atoning work on Calvary and that the benefits of that work are available now to us. We do not have to wait until death to be delivered from all sin. Such deliverance, we believe, comes through faith in the bloody sacrifice of Christ.
—We believe that it is the new birth that quickens us and brings alive within us those hungers that can enable us to think of life lived not in the flesh but in the Spirit Himself. Those hungers in the believer’s heart, we believe, are fulfilled in an experience of grace subsequent to the new birth that cleanses and perfects the heart in a divine love that leaves Christ as absolute Lord in the believer’s life.
—We believe that with this cleansing, the Spirit is free to fill and to bear His fruit and manifest His gifts and callings as He will without hindrance within the heart of the believer. We see the proclamation of this full gospel as the fulfillment of the Great Commission and our reason for existence.
—Our concern for this truth differentiates us from other fellow believers whom we respect and revere. It differentiates us from those in the body of Christ who do not believe that God will deliver a person now from all sin and entirely sanctify the heart in this life. Thus we are not Calvanist nor Lutheran. We do not stand in these traditions.
—This also differentiates us from those within the Christian Church who do not believe in or else do not feel it necessary to emphasize this deeper cleansing but who feel led to emphasize activities of the Spirit other than regeneration, renewal, and sanctification. Thus we find ourselves differentiated from the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements that place their emphasis upon gifts and signs and wonders. We feel that (1) these emphases turn attention away from the deeper purposes for which Christ died and that (2) such should be left to the disposition of the Holy Spirit Himself. We believe that if we seek God alone, He will give us as He will. Thus we can be saved from the flesh and from the intrusion of our desires into our relationship with Him and with other believers. We believe that it is only in this way that the unity of the body of Christ can be preserved.
The premises implicit within the above statements are central to the message that God has given FAS to proclaim to our society and world.