Holy Living

September 28, 2010
Malcolm Robertson Lectureship - Azusa Pacific University

Dallas gave two presentations at the Azusa Pacific University School of Theology's 2010 Malcolm R. Robertson Lectureship on Holy Living. In his afternoon lecture, Dallas addressed the topic of "Postmodern Holiness: What does it look like?" In the evening, Dallas shifted to "Holiness, Divine Presence, and Divine Power: Reflections on John 14."


1: Postmodern Holiness: What does it look like?

Is holiness necessary? Is it good for you? Dallas challenges conventional views and uncovers the deeper significance of holiness beyond mere external conformity. He guides us through a reevaluation of what it means to live a holy life in today's complex world, suggesting that true holiness involves a profound transformation from within, rooted in a personal connection with the divine. 

2: Holiness, Divine Presence & Divine Power - John 14

Dallas walks us through chapter 14 of the Gospel of John to help us understand what Jesus taught his disciples about holiness and the presence of the Holy Trinity in their lives. Join Dallas as he explores the profound depths of holiness. Dive into the practical and spiritual facets of living in the Trinity's presence, where modern and postmodern interpretations of holiness are clarified. Dallas offers invaluable insights on how scripture and a life aligned with the teachings of Jesus can transform personal faith into a vivid, interactive relationship with God.

Postmodern Holiness: What does it look like?


  • Necessity of Holiness: Dallas challenges the common perception that holiness is not necessary for salvation, suggesting instead that true enjoyment of heaven might depend on being holy. He raises thought-provoking questions about whether mere belief is sufficient for salvation or if holiness plays a crucial role in truly knowing and experiencing God.
  • Modern Misconceptions of Holiness: He critiques the modern approach to holiness, which often focuses on external conformity rather than genuine spiritual transformation. Dallas argues that such superficial practices do not genuinely benefit the individual or society, and have led to a dismissal of the importance of holiness in personal growth and community health.
  • Historical Context of Holiness: Dallas discusses the historical evolution of the concept of holiness, tracing how societal changes, such as the Reformation, have influenced the understanding and practice of holiness. He explains how the focus shifted from authoritative guidance to a more methodical and controlled approach, which he suggests has its limitations.
  • Biblical Perspective on Holiness: Emphasizing a biblical interpretation, Dallas explains holiness as a state of being rather than just doing. He stresses that holiness involves being aligned with God's nature and deriving one's life and actions from a divine, rather than worldly, source.
  • Postmodern Approach to Holiness: Dallas introduces the concept of postmodern holiness, which he links to the existentialist movement's emphasis on individual authenticity and freedom from imposed identities. He advocates for a more personalized and internalized approach to holiness, where individuals are encouraged to live out their unique relationship with God.
  • Role of Identity in Holiness: He explores how personal identity and the choices one makes are integral to the pursuit of holiness. Dallas argues that true holiness affects the core of who a person is, influencing their actions and interactions with others.
  • Character Formation and Holiness: Dallas discusses the importance of character formation in the pursuit of holiness, emphasizing the transformation that occurs within an individual when their actions are consistently aligned with their spiritual beliefs.
  • Practical Guidance on Holiness: In conclusion, Dallas provides practical advice on fostering holiness within the community, particularly through the roles of church leaders and mental health professionals. He stresses the importance of addressing internal motivations and renewing one's mind as fundamental to developing a holy character.

Holiness, Divine Presence & Divine Power - John 14


  • Nature of Holiness: Dallas begins by discussing the "fine texture of holiness," which he describes as the presence of the Trinity in our lives. He emphasizes that understanding holiness involves recognizing it as a practical, interactive relationship with God, facilitated through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
  • Role of Scripture and Living in the Kingdom: He stresses the importance of the Scriptures in guiding us towards living in the Kingdom of Heaven now, not just in the afterlife. Dallas references Paul's letters, which urge believers to set their hearts on heavenly rather than earthly things, highlighting the transformative power of living in Christ's presence.
  • Modern vs. Postmodern Holiness: Dallas explores the differences between modern and postmodern interpretations of holiness. He suggests that postmodern holiness should focus more on an inward unity with God rather than external separations from the world, which historically emphasized what not to do rather than what to embody.
  • Separation from the World: He elaborates on the biblical concept of separation from the world, explaining that it involves not just abstaining from worldly actions but being filled with the presence and virtues of God, leading to a distinctive way of life that others can witness.
  • Practical Steps to Holiness: Dallas provides practical advice on achieving holiness through living out the teachings of Jesus. He discusses the process of cleansing from sin and the importance of striving for perfection in holiness, supported by divine grace.
  • Divine Power and Human Action: He touches on the dynamic of divine power enabling believers to perform works greater than those of Jesus, as stated in John 14. This involves a partnership where human actions are empowered by divine presence, illustrating the interconnectedness of belief, action, and reliance on God.
  • Community and Love: Dallas emphasizes the importance of love and community within the Christian experience. He discusses how genuine community and the practice of love as described in the New Testament are central to living out a holy life.
  • Challenges to Contemporary Christian Practice: In the concluding Q&A session, Dallas addresses challenges in contemporary Christian practice, such as the disconnect between salvation and obedience, and the cultural misinterpretations of what it means to live a holy life. He calls for a reevaluation of how holiness and discipleship are taught and lived in the church.