We nurture good character, not simply good outcomes.
Holiness is about having the spirit of God in your life. The presence of the Holy Spirit changes the way we think and act, it prompts us to want to serve others in God’s name. This belief is another cornerstone of the Christian faith. The call and the urgings of the Holy Spirit are primary reasons that The Salvation Army has such a variety of services around the world.
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In Action- Holiness
The office of Spiritual Life Development and role of the Territorial Secretary for Spiritual Life Development is still relatively new in our Territory. This position was first held by Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, followed by Lt. Col. Ann Braund who was appointed to this leadership role in September 2014. This office is supported by Assistant Secretary for Spiritual Life Development, Major Linda Budgell. Both of these positions are part-time and held in addition to other roles.
The Territorial Spiritual Life Development office intentionally works in partnership with the International Center for Spiritual Life Development, the Territorial Corps Ministries Department and the Territorial Pastoral Care Department to support and foster spiritual health in Salvationists, employees, volunteers and the people we serve.
Spiritual health can be measured by our connection to God. “A soul is healthy to the extent that it experiences a strong connection and receptivity to God. The soul is most alive when it is most receptive to divine breathings, divine promptings, divine power in the face of joy or pain or opposition”(Soul Care website, Mindy Caliguire). Spiritual health is also measured by our conformity to the will and purposes of God. God wants to make us holy (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Holiness has been described as nothing more or less than perfect love; love for God and for mankind. Jesus was asked, “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Love, therefore is a way of measuring spiritual health and Holiness.
Love creates a desire to draw near. We draw near to the Holy One, God, through the practice of spiritual disciplines; prayer, Bible study, worship, celebration, service, spiritual conversations and more. One of the responsibilities of the Spiritual Life Development Office is to share resources which assist people in ‘drawing near’ to God and the community of believers. Resources are currently being made available through websites, teleconferences, retreats, the editorial department and teaching and training sessions across the Territory.
It is the goal of the Territory to have a Secretary for Spiritual Life Development in every Division, elevating the priority of spiritual health and well-being. The Divisional Secretary for Spiritual Life Development will encourage and support Corps Officers and Social Service Leaders in identifying spiritual objectives in every ministry unit. They will create and oversee spiritual life initiatives that support divisional, territorial and international mission priorities.
A scriptural promise states, “draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” That is our goal. We want to know the nearness of God. The following websites offer resources for Spiritual Life Development – drawing near to God and neighbor.
Ann Braund is in her 32nd year of officership, twenty-nine consecutive years as Corps Officer, three years on Training College and a few months at Territorial Headquarters and Broadview Village. Married to Jamie Braund, they enjoy visiting their three adult children (and son-in-law) who live in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto.
A Glimpse From The Past – Holiness
Historians tell us that holiness preaching and practice was the strength of The Salvation Army during its formative and most expansionist years.
William Booth was convinced that the preaching and acceptance of the doctrine of holiness (also called ‘the second blessing’ or ‘sanctification’) was the key to bringing people to a belief in Jesus.
He wrote, “Holiness to the Lord is to us a fundamental truth; it stands in the front rank of our doctrines. We inscribe it upon our banners. It is with us in no shape or form an open debatable question as to whether God can sanctify wholly, or whether Jesus does save His people from their sins. In the estimation of The Salvation Army, that is settled for ever.”
Across the ocean, in the United States, Samuel Logan Brengleheard Booth speak at an open air meeting and was intrigued. He travelled to England to volunteer and eventually became a Salvation Army officer. Appointed back to the US, he quickly became recognized as an eminent speaker, preacher and teacher of holiness both in America and elsewhere. He was the author of many books advancing the doctrine of holiness. In later years he became the Salvation Army‘s International Ambassador of Holiness.
Brengle’s teaching lives on today in the training and education of Salvation Army officers and soldiers. His lifelong passionate teaching that holiness “does not consist so much in rapturous, sublimated experiences as in lowly, humble, patient, trustful love” continues to be our understanding of personal holiness.
Lt-Colonel Maxwell Ryan is retired in Burlington, Ont., where he serves as a part-time hospital chaplain and amateur Army historian.
Faith & Life – Holiness
What is the difference between passing fads (trends) and life-long values? For one thing, fads and trends appease or satisfy our appetites for a season but they are often discarded or shelved at some point and perhaps only revived in humorous rhetoric as we share “remember when” stories among friends. (Anything come to mind??) Life-long values, on the other hand, remain with us and help shape the really important aspects of what makes us who we are.
There are likely few people who walk a spiritual journey without some exposure to the value of Christian holiness. Holiness, unlike perhaps some other ‘trendy’ aspects of the culture of Christianity (like ‘you must not play on Sunday’), is definitely not a passing fad or a trend to be followed for a period of time and then discarded or shelved. Holiness is a lifestyle designed by God for those who whom he has created.. It is a value to be both learned and lived. Holiness is a strong element of Biblical teaching throughout the entire Bible. The nature of God revealed in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament is a holy God. His name is holy. His Word is holy and to ‘be holy’ is His desire for us as we seek to mimic His likeness.
Jesus records a prayer for his disciples in John 17. It was a prayer about the Lord’s deep desire for “the full measure of JOY” (or complete satisfaction) in our lives. To attain this Jesus intercedes to the Heavenly Father that we would be sanctified – holy. “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. (John 17:17-18, New Living Translation)
Jesus knew that ‘in this world’ there would always be much to lure believers away from God’s will and plan. He knew that the enemy would be actively seeking to discredit the plans of God. We see and hear many such messages of this in our world today. While the first century disciples, who heard this prayer, knew nothing of 21st century internet and social media (which is now the ‘norm’ in our lives), Jesus knew there was a common thread woven through the centuries. Regardless of the form through which temptations or seductions from “the world” would come, the tendency for self-gratification would remain a constant. He knew that human beings who live in the flesh would always need the power of God to “protect them from the evil one.” And so He pleads to the Father – “sanctify them”.
What does it mean then to ‘be sanctified’ and live out holiness today? To answer this question in its completeness is beyond this writer’s ability. However, I do believe that holiness is possible when we follow a regular rhythm of retreat (unto God) and advance into the world with a reflection of what the retreat has revealed. Holiness is to learn from the nature and life of Jesus – God incarnate who came to show us the Father – and to put that learning into real life. Colonel Geanette Seymour from the ISJC in describing social justice puts a very good spin on our holiness today: “practise love, grace and mercy, and respond to people in need – Christian elements that are lacking – in a world where greed supersedes and egocentric behaviour drives people. A social justice response is actually the practice of Salvationist holiness, living a life that is socially just and encouraging others to do likewise.” (Salvationist, January edition).
Holiness is a ‘values’ based life – not a ‘fad’ based or a ‘self’ based life. Holiness is marked by Christian values based on the known will of God found in His Word and the known image of God seen in His Son. Oh, by the way, not all trends are bad. One of the ‘trendy’ choruses I sang as a teenager is one I refuse to discard or leave to only ‘remember when’ conversations. I think I will own this one as one of my life-long values as I keep seeking personal holiness, especially the last line:
To be like Jesus, this hope possesses me.
In every thought and deed, this is my aim, my creed.
To be like Jesus, this hope possesses me.
His Spirit helping me, like Him I’ll be.
Wanda Vincent has been a Salvation Army officer for 20 years and currently serves as a Divisional Leader in the Ontario Great Lakes Division.
Copyright © 2016 The Salvation Army Ethics Centre. All rights reserved. The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory.
Territorial Commander: Commissioner Susan McMillan. Executive Director: Dr. James E. Read.