chapter  5
‘A modern heresy’
Opposition on theological grounds
WithGlen O’Brien
Pages 19

Wesleyan-Holiness were often looked upon by mainstream Australian Evangelicals as ‘holy rollers’ and ‘sinless perfectionists,’ purveyors of a brand of religion thought to be populist, coarse, and theologically suspect. Even separatist Evangelicals of a more stridently ‘fundamentalist’ tone suspected them because they were associated with highly organised American denominations, with codified rules and a defined polity that was thought to frustrate the freedom of the Spirit’s working. Their strong sense of possessing a missionary mandate helped them to lay aside these non-essential doctrinal differences and disputes with other Christians, in order to get on with taking the Holiness message wherever they could find responsive hearers, including among the Aboriginal people. Only after the Billy Graham Crusade of 1959 would the form of American religious piety represented by the Holiness movement churches (and also by Pentecostalism) begin to influence Australian Evangelicals more widely.