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Did John Teach Sinless Perfectionism? Part 1

Peter Ditzel

Did John Teach Sinless Perfectionism? A statue of John Wesley holding a Bible posed as if addressing an audience. By Paul Raphael Montford, in Melbourne.
John Wesley taught that Christians can progress to a state of entire sanctification or sinless perfection. Is this what the apostle John was teaching in such statements as, “whoever is born of God doesn’t sin”?
Statue of John Wesley by Paul Raphael Montford, in Melbourne. Photo by Adam Carr, December 2005.

Did John teach sinless perfectionism? Did he, by saying such things as, “whoever is born of God doesn’t sin” (1 John 5:18) assert what centuries later came to be called entire sanctification or Wesleyan perfectionism? According to this doctrine, Christians can attain a state of perfection in this life in which they completely defeat sin. Alternatively, other Bible teachers interpret John as merely saying that Christians no longer sin as a way of life or don’t sin willfully. Who’s right? Well, John, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was right. And, maybe he wasn’t teaching either one of these things.

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