Dear Salvation Army – What Do You Know About Unpopular Holiness?

Dear Salvation Army,
It might feel good to hear the acclaims of the public, to receive accolades for the work that we do…these are certainly affirming to us…but we aren’t in the business of helping people for the purpose of accolades are we?

We didn’t sign up to wear uncomfortable uniforms for the purpose of basking in the limelight did we?
No, the purpose for our movement is MORE than just helping people!
We ARE STILL a Holiness movement!  Let us never forget this truth, may it never get muddied in our various pursuits to “do the most good” in our communities.

Holiness is not an easy road for followers of Christ.

In concert with Phil Laeger
In concert with Phil Laeger
It is not the popular route.  Why?  Because it actually demands more from Christ’s followers.  It requires each of us to ACTUALLY face our sins, our hidden sins, our indiscretions, those things which embarrass us and cause us great shame.  It demands that we not only look at them but we allow the Holy Spirit to cast his glorious light upon them.  When we have given up fighting the Holy Spirit and have finally surrendered to His pleas, (perhaps there are those of you who relinquished right away, and of that I am envious) He then can begin this new work, this revitalizing-restoring creation within us.  Entire Sanctification is very real – but it will undoubtedly be the most unpopular thing an Officer or Soldier could ever preach.

Why so unpopular?  
Because it is not simple.  It is hard.  There is sacrifice, and in the Western Church, sacrifice is not something many are willing to really fully commit to in a long-term capacity.  We live in a hedonistic culture, even in Church,  and dare I say that Holiness will always be in conflict with such a lifestyle.
brengle

Samuel Logan Brengle in his book “Helps to Holiness” puts it this way – “Dear brother, do not think you can make holiness  popular.  It cannot be done.   There is no such thing as holiness separate from ‘Christ in you,’ and it is an impossibility to make Christ Jesus popular in this world.  To sinners and carnal professors, the real Christ Jesus has always been and always will be ‘as a root out of a dry ground, despised and rejected of men.’ ‘Christ in you’ is the ‘same yesterday, to-day, and forever’ – hated, reviled, persecuted, crucified…He (Christ) will pronounce the most terrible, yet tearful, maledictions against the hypocritical formalist and the lukewarm professor who are the friends of the world and, consequently, the enemies of God…Do you not see the impossibility of making such a radical Gospel as this popular?  This spirit and the spirit of the world are as fully opposed to each other as two locomotives on the same track running toward each at the same rate of sixty miles an hour.  Fire and water will consort together as quickly as the ‘Christ in you’ and the spirit of the world.” (pg. 92, 93, 96)

Questions to Ponder today: 
Can we accept such an Unpopular Holiness?
Are we up to the challenge?
Are we afraid of this world’s ridicule and shame?
Which “spirit” will we select tomorrow, and the next day, and the one after that?

Dear Salvation Army – We cannot separate the need for entire sanctification from what we do in our soup kitchens, social services offices or on the gym floor.  There should never be a distinction between what we do on Sundays from what we do the rest of the week.  The entire thrust of what “we do” is to bring people to Christ for the purpose of entire sanctification – through and through.

unpopularThis will be unpopular.
Many people, even soldiers will reject such a call…it’s too radical, it’s too much work, it requires too much study, patience and sacrifice…but isn’t that the purpose of becoming a true disciple of Christ – so that we become like Him in every way?!   Some are far too comfortable just coming to church on Sundays.  Some are happy with this familiar routine in life.  They don’t want to be shaken to the core.  They don’t want to be disrupted.  Some have stopped learning about Christ all together – internally they have become lazy in their studies of the Bible, they have thought in their minds “no one can teach me any more, because I already know everything there is to know about God and the Bible.”  -This is entirely far from the truth…I am ashamed to have even considered this phrase to be true in my own heart sometimes, yet God brings this spirit of conviction in me.  Dear soldiers, we need to humble ourselves once again.  We need to fall on our faces and repent.  We need to allow His Holy Spirit to renew us once more…and to allow Him to complete His work in us.

Some may cast this pondering aside today, because it will certainly be unpopular.
But I want to call us back to the Altar.  I want us to recognize the work we have left unfinished in our hearts.  We cannot go any further in our mission if we do not first stop here and ensure our hearts, our lives are completely His once more.  I know there is still work to be done in me…how about you?

Something more for our Army world to ponder today, to God be the glory!

To read more on this week’s topic of Holiness click the links below:
Sin and Holiness
Cheap Grace

Disclaimer:  The writings, and opinions of Pastorsponders are the writers expressed opinions and do not always reflect the opinions and views of The Salvation Army.

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3 Replies to “Dear Salvation Army – What Do You Know About Unpopular Holiness?”

  1. In the permissive, post-Christian environment of the 21st Century, holiness has become even more difficult and challenging. Advocating holiness can provoke hostile charges of “being judgmental” or “being intolerant.”
    –So a key question for us today is: How can we live by and advocate moral principles without coming across as judgmental to those around us?” Even if we speak the truth in love, humility, and service, some will call us “judgmental” and reject us because we believe in right and wrong.
    –Do we have the courage to stand for and live by godly values even when we are being accused and attacked for advocating those principles? That will be our test!

  2. I think for many (Salvationist) misunderstanding about holiness goes even deeper than this issue. I think too many have equivocated holiness simply with external things like alcohol and tobacco, but never give thought to deeper issues like lying, maliciousness, and gossip. Things that are true enemies of the church.

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