What is a Sanctified Church?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

While all churches are technically sanctified, because “sanctification” means making something holy, when people use the term “sanctified church,” they usually mean a specific branch of Pentecostal Christianity. The sanctified church movement was born among the slaves of the Americas, and it reflects a distinctive cultural and religious tradition which began when slaves were first introduced to Christianity in the New World. Today, many such churches have a large black congregation, although people of all ethnic origins and races can be seen at worship in such churches.

The sanctified church believes that people achieve grace with God through prayer.
The sanctified church believes that people achieve grace with God through prayer.

The cornerstone of a sanctified church is that people must achieve grace with God through prayer and good works. Certain individuals may receive a blessing from God known as sanctification, which makes them into vessels for the Holy Spirit. These individuals are used to spread the Word of God on Earth, in a variety of ways which may range from glossolalia to dancing. Glossolalia, incidentally, is a fancy way of saying “speaking in tongues.”

Sanctified churches are often led by a minister.
Sanctified churches are often led by a minister.

Services in a sanctified church are often quite noisy and exuberant. Members of the congregation are encouraged to express the Holy Spirit as it moves them, so people may dance, clap their hands, sing, speak, go into trances, or engage in a wide variety of other behaviors which are viewed as sacred gifts from God. The minister usually preaches a sermon which focuses on saving individual souls and spreading belief in Christ through good works, and these churches often meet for revivals, mass-baptisms, and other events.

In many cases, a sanctified church will identify as non-denominational, welcoming people of all creeds to worship or visit services to learn more. Christians from more conservative sects sometimes frown upon the exuberance of these churches, preferring to see more dignified services and rejecting the idea that individuals can become filled with the Holy Spirit. However, many aspects of the sanctified church are actually very true to the roots of Christianity, such as the idea that everyone should participate in preaching and spreading the world of God.

As a general rule, a sanctified church identifies itself as such in its name and in public listings. It may also include “Holy Spirit” in its name, to emphasize the role of sanctification in its religious services. People who are interested in observing services are usually welcome, as long as they are respectful. In a sanctified church, it is considered conventional to dress nicely for church, to assist people if they appear to be losing physical control while acting as vessels for the Holy Spirit, and to join in hymns and shouts of “amen” with the rest of the congregation.

A sanctified church usually refers to a branch of Pentecostal Christianity.
A sanctified church usually refers to a branch of Pentecostal Christianity.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon325287

God's grace is not something that can be achieved. It is given freely to anyone who will accept it. To say that the Church or individuals achieve it is to cheapen and in fact, nullify said grace. Thank God for the grace that is given to me. I could never do enough praying, singing,or giving to earn it.

anon255017

A sanctified church receives grace after hearing the the Word of God (the Holy Bible) and believed, repented of their sins (godly sorrow and changed their thinking toward God according to the bible) and accept Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, as their Savior and Lord, They receive grace from God the Father freely.

anon243427

The sanctified church is also known as the Holiness Church. One might do better to do a search on that term to find a more exhaustive answer to the question posed.

anon51618

The author of this article is not sanctified, so how can a non-sanctified individual define what he is not? The definitions presented are partially correct, but not fully defining the subject matter. --Bro. Thomas

siamusnomore

Um...

"The cornerstone of a sanctified church is that people must achieve grace with God through prayer and good works."

Through works? No.

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