During the latter part of the 19th Century, the marks of holy living were lacking in the established churches and their leaders. This lack caused Christians, both clergy and laity, to return to the doctrines of holiness and sanctification as taught by John Wesley in the 18th Century revival in England. Their return to Bible holiness resulted in what is now referred to as the Wesleyan Holiness revival of the 19th Century. This holiness movement spread throughout America and was foundational in bringing in the Pentecostal movement of the 20th Century.
As Wesleyans we are committed to promoting and preserving the Bible doctrine that Christians are to be holy in heart and life (Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:14, 15). Holiness is to the soul what health is to the body. A healthy person is sound physically; he is free from sickness and disease. A holy person is sound morally; he is free from sin and corruption.
WPC sees the practice of holiness as necessary so that this world may see the character of God and thereby bring glory to God and salvation to others (Mat. 5:16; Tit. 2:11-14).
Because holiness is to reflect one’s faith in Christ, believers are to leave off those things that are detrimental to holiness, to full dedication, and to the unity of the church and cultivate a pattern of life that expresses godliness. Therefore, WPC requires its members to adhere to a code of conduct that can be enacted at the beginning of one’s pursuit of holiness.
As Pentecostals we recognize the importance of the Holy Spirit as to His person, work, and ministry. As to person, the Bible reveals that He is not an influence, power, or created being, but is the third Person of the Trinity; He shares with the Father and the Son a common divine nature so completely united in substance, essence, power, and glory that together they form the one true and eternal God (Mat. 3:16-17; Acts 5:3-4; 1 John 5:7).
As to work, the Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of the universe and the human race (Gen. 1:1-2). He is the divine author of the Bible (2 Tim. 3:13; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). Without the Holy Spirit, there would be no faith in Christ, no salvation, and no Christians in the world. As to ministry, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin, reveals to us the truth about Christ, gives us the new birth, and incorporates us into the body of Christ (John 16:7-11; 1 Cor. 12:13). It is the Holy Spirit who delivers us from sin’s bondage, helps us to pray and worship God, produces Christlike character in us, and empowers us for service (Rom. 8:1-4, 26; Acts 1:8).
As Pentecostals we believe Christ’s promise of the fulness of the Spirit was first fulfilled at Pentecost and remains a promise to all who repent of their sins, become obedient to God, and ask in faith for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13; Acts 1:5). This fulness of the Spirit enables one to live in the power and righteousness of God’s kingdom. The full life of the Spirit is promised to all who thirst for God (John 2:37-39; Eph. 5:18).
A church is more than a group of religious people sharing a common building as a meeting place. Locally and universally, it is a body of believers who have covenanted together as subjects of Christ to live under His sovereign Lordship with His Word as the final authority in their lives. The Church, as the body of Christ, is the physical presence of Christ in this world (Mat. 5:13,14; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 1 John 4:17). It is the vehicle He uses to evangelize the world and perfect saints who will one day reign with Him in His kingdom (John 15:16; Col. 1:25-29).
Christ, as the only Head of the Church, rules His subjects through the Word and Spirit by the ministry of men gifted by Him to rule in His name and in His stead (Heb. 13:7). The New Testament identifies these men as Elders and Deacons. Elders are to take heed to themselves and the flock to shepherd and guard them against attack (Acts 20:17, 28-31). Deacons are to serve the church and assist the elders in their ministry. No church officer has the right to ursurp the delegated authority of the Lord or take dominion over God’s heritage (1 Pet. 5:1-4). They are the rulers for Christ who are under the rule of Christ.
Consistent with the New Testament example, Wesleyan Pentecostal Churches have a representantive form of government where general and local church leadership is by a plurality of Elders (Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5). Elders are ordained in every church and rule with one heart and one soul. Such team leadership avoids the extreme of one man rule on one hand and mob rule on the other. It promotes equality, accountability, unity and humility among church leaders.