Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Way of Holiness - A Summary of a Samuel Logan Brengle Holiness Classic

What is Holiness? What is The Salvation Army's view on holiness?

In April 1902, Bramwell Booth notes that he requested Samuel Logan Brengle to write 'The Way of Holiness'.

Brengle unleashes important thoughts on holiness, still relevant today as it was in the early 1900s. He writes, 'Holiness...for you and for me, is not maturity, but purity: a clean heart in which the Holy Spirit dwells, filling it with pure, tender, and constant love to God and man' (p. 7). He makes it clear that holiness is not just about the stopping of anger or bitterness, but rather, becoming like Christ. Holiness therefore is not just about 'not smoking' or 'not swearing', etc, but is deeper than that. Holiness is about reflecting the love of God through your own life. It is not about legalism, rules and regulations, but about consecration to God.

What about this quote from Jonathan Edwards about consecration (when he was a student), 'I have this day solemnly renewed my covenant and dedication. I have been before God, and given myself and all that I am and have to Him, so that I am not in any respect my own, and can claim no right to myself- to this understanding, to this will, these affections; and have no right to this body- to this tongue, these hands, these feet; no right to these senses. I have given every power to God, so that for the future I will claim no right to myself' (p. 27).

In Brengle's chapter on the sanctification of the body he uses two well known quotes on holiness:

1 Thess 5:23 (KJV) - 'The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.'

Romans 12:1 (NIV) - 'I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.'

You may well know that The Salvation Army's tenth doctrine that derives itself primarily from the 1 Thessalonian 5:23 verse: "We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Find The Salvation Army Doctrines here.

Brengle speaks on sanctifying the tongue. He says, 'While we cannot control the tongues of others, we must control our own, and while we may not be able always to avoid hearing wicked and evil and unclean things, we can avoid saying them' (p. 48). What about the reminder here of the words of the hymnist:

Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
The Way of Holiness from Brengle continues. How about this, 'And one of the blessed things about a holy life is its supernatural, constant, and unconscious influence for good' (p. 52). 
Brengle in typical Salvation Army style, challenges his readers to have a passion for souls. He links holiness with having that passion.
'The zeal of other people blazes up, burns low, and often dies out, but the zeal of a man with a clean heart, full of the Holy Ghost, increases year by year. Others run away from the prayer-meeting, but he holds on. Others do not grieve if souls are not saved but he feels that he must see souls saved, or die. Others are zealous for ‘big goes,’ tea parties, ice-cream suppers, and musical festivals, but nothing pleases him so much as a prayer-meeting where souls are crying for pardon and cleansing, and others are shouting for joy (p. 77-78). 

Samuel Logan Brengle - passionate about holiness as a way of life. A mindset Salvationists and Christians should embrace today.

See also: The greatest challenges facing The Salvation Army today


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