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Radical RighteousnessRadical Righteousness: Personal Ethics and the Development of the Holiness Movement (343 pages) was written by Wallace Thornton, Jr. and published in 1998 by Schmul Publishing Company.  It may be purchased from the publisher at  This book traces various emphases regarding behavioral standards throughout church history, particularly in the Wesleyan tradition, including stewardship, submission, and separation.  It focuses on the mid-twentieth century development of what is commonly referred to as the Conservative Holiness Movement.  However, the ideals treated have relevance for all Christian communions.  Following are a few comments from scholars:

“Thornton presents a generally balanced view of the data and retains the scholarly detachment from the material required of a good historian . . . [and] has gone a long way toward establishing the framework within which the tradition can understand its own heritage, both its strengths and weaknesses, and within which the tradition can be interpreted as part of the larger Christian traditions.  This is truly an important book . . .”  – Dr. David Bundy, review of Radical Righteousness in the Wesleyan Theological Journal (Vol. 33 No. 2 Fall 1998)

“Professor Thornton has done a great service to the Wesleyan/Holiness movement, in general, and to the conservative holiness movement, in particular, in this excellent historical study. …  I heartily recommend this book to church leaders, ministers, Bible college professors, and sincere seekers after truth.” – Dr. Robert England, from the Foreword to Radical Righteousness

“Three elements of Thorntons’s work are especially noteworthy.  First, Thornton provides an important corrective to the tendency toward uncritical, and frequently ahistorical, celebration of the so-called progressive social ethics of Wesley and his nineteenth-century Holiness heirs. …  Secondly, Thornton tells the story of the IHC constituency with remarkable impartiality. …  Thirdly, the inclusion of important and rare primary sources in a bibliographic appendix makes this an especially valuable resource for serious scholars of the Wesleyan tradition.” – Dr. William Kostlevy, from the Preface to Radical Righteousness

“Thornton’s work is an extremely valuable contribution to a greater understanding of the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition . . . [and] has potential to serve as a catalyst for greater dialog between the people and institutions of the conservative Holiness Movement and those of the larger Holiness Movement.”  – Dr. Rodney Reed, review of Radical Righteousness in the Wesleyan/Holiness Studies Center Bulletin (Vol. 6 No. 2 Summer 1998)

“The author offers many thought-provoking ideas . . . [and] makes a good case for reevaluating the question of behavioral standards and their place in the life of a Christian . . .  Radical Righteousness is a commendable study.  Well written, the work offers an original contribution and fresh viewpoint to the history of the Holiness movement.  One hopes that it will become a standard resource . . .”  – Dr. Mark Sidwell, review of Radical Righteousness in Biblical Viewpoint (April 2000)

No purchases on the Lord’s Day, please (Exodus 20:8-11).

Copyright © 2014 by Wallace Thornton, Jr.  All Rights Reserved.