From Our Mailbag

Dr. A. J. Smith was one of the most godly men I have ever known. He was a saintly scholar and devoted teacher of God's Word. His keen intellect and warm heart endeared him to vast numbers of people.

Following his return from China as a missionary, he spent a number of years in Christian education during which time scores of men and women entered Christian ministries around the world. He was a devoted student of John and Charles Wesley and the biblical doctrine of heart cleansing. He strongly believed and taught that no one should lower the standard of the new birth in order to preach sanctification. He held a high standard for the new birth experience. He also taught that the Holy Spirit was present in the new birth experience and not just in sanctification only. His book, Bible Holiness, came about in the early fifties when such teaching was not popular in the holiness movement. The vast majority of people in the average holiness church even today know little or nothing of what John Wesley believed or taught. There is an overall lack of preaching on biblical holiness and the cleansed life in the average church. Sometimes, even when the subject is attempted, the result is little more than a watered-down easy believism.

Bible Holiness was compiled from original notes used by Dr. Smith in the classroom and small class meetings. He finally decided to put them in printed form. It was not only a point of doctrine that was at issue, but also an effort to deal with legalism which was so prevalent during that time.

Dr. Smith was my mentor and instructor as a young preacher. As a son-in-law, I knew him well and held him in the highest esteem. I owe much to him for my spiritual growth and inspiration in my early days as a young Christian starting out in ministry. I am glad you are reprinting Bible Holiness. I commend the book and hope the reader will be able to glean choice nuggets of truth that will enhance the biblical teaching of heart holiness as manifested in the everyday life of the believer.

Dr. Joe C. Sawyer
Executive Director of Lay Evangelism, Inc
and a General Evangelist for The Wesleyan Church