A matter of timing

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by Stephen Smith, Major –

One of the highlights in my current position as Training Principal is that I have the opportunity to serve on the staff each summer at the National Brengle Holiness Institute in Chicago. For 60 years, Salvation Army officers from across the country have come together to learn more about holiness and how it is possible to live a life of purity and devotion to God while loving others unselfishly. Delegates describe Brengle as an experience rather than a seminar or conference because of the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit that infuses the classes, worship experiences and even the times of fellowship among delegates.

During this past session, I observed that an extraordinary work of the Spirit took place in the life of each delegate. In the sharing times many testified about their plans to return home to their families and appointments committed to teach holiness to their people, but more importantly committed to live holiness as they interact with corps people, family members and friends.

Outside of the Army there seems to be a renewed interest in the teaching, preaching and living of holiness as well. Nazarene, Free Methodists, The Salvation Army, and other Wesleyan holiness denominations have formed a new coalition. The coalition has brought together Wesleyan holiness theologians from various denominations for the purpose of creating a new book called “The Holiness Manifesto.”

The book is a series of articles on holiness edited by Kevin W. Mannoia and Don Thorsen, both of Azusa Pacific University. The “manifesto” itself is only a small chapter in the book, but contains the collective thinking of all of the participants in the study and provides a compelling case for the holiness message in our society today. This manifesto is a call for churches to preach the transforming message of holiness and teach the principles of Christ-like love and forgiveness. This is not about gimmicks or strategies but it is about the condition of the heart.

The authors point out that, “Churches have been drained by the incessant search for a better method, a more effective fad, a newer and bigger program to yield growth. In the process, our people have become largely ineffective and fallen prey to a generic Christianity that results in congregations that are indistinguishable from the culture around them.”

Not too long ago our territorial commander set out to build, by faith a new housing structure for the College for Officer Training with the thought that “if he built it they would come” and fill up the beautiful new rooms. His prayers were answered when 43 committed and called people walked into their new apartments just a few weeks ago on the CFOT campus. How providential it is that General Shaw Clifton named this wonderful session the “Ambassadors of Holiness.” Their task: to take this message of holiness to the world. I don’t think the timing could have been better!

Look out for what God plans to do this year through the Brengle Institute delegates, through the Wesleyan Holiness Coalition (including The Salvation Army) and through the Ambassadors of Holiness session of cadets!

“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’” (1 Peter1:15-16 NIV).

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