Free Holiness

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Charles Page |


When I was growing up we used the term “Free Holiness” to describe Pentecostals who seemed extreme. I never knew exactly what a “Free Holiness” was. Any help here?

What do the words free and holiness mean in this description?

Wayne A. Channer [05/24/2015 7:37 PM]
I believe that refers to A wesleyian doctrine of Sanctification and the Arminian theology of free will?? Perhaps they’re just highlighting that fact. We use to call that “Pentecostal Holiness”. That would cover a whole lot of pentecostal churches: Church of God (Clev TN) and Church of God of Prophecy, Int’l Holiness Pentecostal Church and Church of God in Christ.

Charles Page [05/24/2015 8:01 PM]
I believe the meaning for us was a Pentecostal church that was non-denominational, independent and perhaps oneness!

W. Wayne Pugh [06/02/2015 10:36 PM]
All of the Free Holiness Churches I have ever known were Independant Trinitarian and not Oneness.

John Earp [06/11/2015 10:52 AM]
In my experience, Free Holiness churches are congregational in government and hold to rather old-line Holiness standards in personal convictions.

Charles Page [06/11/2015 11:41 AM]
When I originally posted this it carried a negative connotation for me from my upbringing. “Free Holiness” meant an independent spirit that drew people away from our overly organized denominational stance. Often FH were united Pentecostals or Jesus only people.

I agree with John Earp and stand corrected.


  • Reply September 23, 2019

    Robert Donnelly Jr.

    I am from north alabama and free holiness churches are pretty popular here. Free holiness churches are trinatarian pentecostals. From my understanding their doctrine is as follows . They believe you are not saved until you speak in toungues. Also once you have received the Holy Ghost ( speaking in toungues) if you ever backslide they will never take you back. They say you are on your way to hell if you backslide and can not come back to God. I believe they base this on Hebrews 10:26-29.

    I am a church of god minister. We sometimes receive people who the free holiness church has rejected. We

    believe you are saved by faith. We do also believe in speaking in toungues but we dont teach that it is required for salvation. We do believe you can come back to God if you backslide which is why people who used to be free holiness come to us because we tell them there is still hope.

  • Reply September 23, 2019

    Robert Donnelly Jr.

    Here is a link to their statement of faith. Now the free holiness churches of north Alabama have pretty extreme beliefs but the other church who call themselves free holiness in other parts of the us may or may not be the same.

  • Reply February 29, 2020


    Ok please let me answer all the question i seen. Wayne A. Channer and Charles page.
    I know this man in this picture i know trenton free holiness church.

    I am free holiness,

    Free holiness means,

    Free from sin,

    We believe in living free from sin. Yes we make mistake we believe and FYI @Robert Donnelly we don’t kick no one out if they sin nor shun them. We justs believe in a one time salvation . We don’t up hold sin at all,

    Why we believe in one time salvation?
    Jesus died once on the cross for our sins..
    not 1 million times,

    Sin is a willing act .
    If I know im going to slap you in the face and do it its sin,
    If im stretching and didnt mean to smack you in the face = no sin.

    We don’t reject no one FYI again. just no sense in them making an effort of trying to receive the Holy if they have giving up.

    • Reply February 14, 2022

      Also Anonymous

      I grew up in the Free Holiness church and was a part if this church the first 40 years of my life. I am now 48. My only sin? Divorcing a man that was abusive to me.

      You are correct that the “free” in “Free Holiness” was placed there to mean “Free from sin”.

      However, the sad part of this religion is painting a picture of God only as the Old Testament God, the judge and executioner, that He is just waiting on you to mess up to kick you into hell.

      The one time salvation belief comes from the misinterpretation of Hebrews 6:4-6. This is where you have the belief that God won’t have anything further to do with you if you sin. Because “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin.”

      The Free Holiness church has a loose definition of what is considered sin. You guys believe if you accidentally do it, it’s not a sin. There are sins of commission, that you do on purpose. And there are sins of omission, like letting someone believe a lie by not telling them different. I have seen this by Holiness folks numerous times, believing if you don’t say the lie but you let them believe the lie, then it’s not sin.

      1 John 5:17 tells us ALL unrighteousness is sin. What I see a lot in the Free Holiness movement is a lot of you refer to those accidental sins as “faults”. Here is my question…is a fault righteous? Usually it’s not. Therefore it’s sin.

      Now having established that, Jesus died for our sins, past, present and future. We are now God’s children if you have come to Him per Romans 10:9 (doesn’t mention speaking in tongues there).

      Yes the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues is real but it’s NOT salvation. Please read your Bible.

      So… My only sin was filing for divorce. The Free Holiness church wouldn’t have anything to do with me because “they can’t uphold sin”. I now attend a Church of God because I didn’t get the support I really needed during my marriage to a man that nearly killed me.

      God goes with us a lot further than man ever will. Matthew 28:20 states this.

  • Robert L. Jared
    Reply February 29, 2020

    Robert L. Jared

    Ultra conservative in the Holiess movement, their church government is made up of an association, loosely held together, tend to be trinitarian, pentecostal, and congregationaly independent.

    • Reply February 29, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      you mean non-centralized ?

    • Robert L. Jared
      Reply February 29, 2020

      Robert L. Jared


    • Reply February 29, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      Robert L. Jared hm quite interesting indeed

  • Don Watson
    Reply February 29, 2020

    Don Watson

    Traditionally, No formal organization, but led by patriarchs. noted for strict standards. Good people. DEW

    • Reply February 29, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      you mean like in the NT or what?

    • Don Watson
      Reply February 29, 2020

      Don Watson

      Troy Day I think that is what they believe. Others may not. I was only giving a description in response to your question. there may be more information somewhere online; Wikipedia, for example. DEW

    • Don Watson
      Reply February 29, 2020

      Don Watson

      Here is a website you might find interesting. . DEW

    • Reply February 29, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      Don Watson no Not really Seen it before but it does not explain my questions from OP as per the NT paradigm

  • Dan Brent
    Reply March 1, 2020

    Dan Brent

    All the independent holiness churches in my area are non-trinitarian.

  • Reply December 20, 2021

    Chase SIms

    Hello, my name is Chase Sims and I live in North Alabama. I am a member of the free holiness faith and attend Honeycomb Free Holiness Church. In response to some of the questions posed above I would like to give the best answer I have as to why we believe what we believe. In the late 1800s early 1900s our doctrine was brought to southern TN and northern Alabama by a man who got off a train in Orme,TN. He began to preach about a God who could “heal your body and save you soul” and living a life free from sin by receiving the Holy Ghost to a predominantly Southern Baptist community. Many doubted this new doctrine being preached but after seeing many miracles in a short time like a boy who had never walked jump and run with the other children they began to believe what the man told them.

    We do believe in a life free from sin based off of the scripture Hebrews 10:26 and we believe sin is defined in Galations 5 in the 17 works of the flesh. We are taught to have mercy and to show love to all but we do not believe in worshiping with someone who has willfully committed sin and turned their back on God and given up the Holy Ghost. We do not shun these people or count them as less but from my experience anyone that has truly received the Holy Ghost and given it up has no intent to stay a social part of the Free Holiness crowd.

    The “free” in Free Holiness comes from a time when people tried to structure the holiness church and bring a sense of order to the services and faith and the older ministers stood up to the people wanting this and said they were ” free in Christ and that is the way that they are going to stay”. if anyone has any questions I would be glad to answer them as long as they are not intended to bash and fight my faith. God Bless 256-486-8158

  • Reply October 11, 2023


    I am Free Holiness, but wasn’t born into it. Free Holiness relies on Hebrews 10:26, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin.”

    Unfortunately, this is where I disagree although I go to church there. If you read the full context of Hebrews 10, the “sacrifice” is talking about animal sacrifices and the “knowledge of the truth” is actually talking about Jesus now being the sacrifice for sins instead of relying on the blood of bulls and goats. This is taught incorrectly in the Free Holiness movement as sinning at all means you now are going to Hell without possibility of repentance.

    That is the foundation for stating if you sin after you are saved you are eternally damned. 1 John 1:8 states, “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

    I have talked to many brothers who have confessed to me of watching pornography, gossiping, exposing themselves on Webcam, cussing, wrongfully charging people when they own a business, etc. Yet they do not consider these sins, they call them “faults” or “trials”.

    Despite what Chase said above, yes, the Free Holiness movement DOES KICK people out. I have heard pastors tell people they will not be allowed back into church if they do x, y, or z.

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