5 Bs for Spiritual Growth and Vitality
(This chart is prepared for Salvationists to help and encourage them to in the fruitful ways of spiritual formation. The “5 ‘B’s” of this chart are: Bible, Book, Bench, Boots, Booths. These terms are carefully chosen based on the distinctive heritage of The Salvation Army as a means of reconnecting with our treasures as Salvationists.)
(Sola scriptura [Latin: by Scripture alone], the norm of norms for Christians) – Salvationists are People of the Bible. “Our creed is the Bible…We welcome as co-workers all who hold the Word of God as the standard of faith and practice (William Booth in Christian Mission, 1867).” John Wesley’s holy longing and prayer was “Let me be homo unius libri” (“a man of one book”). The Salvation Army has a distinctive heritage to pursue the life of holiness through the faithful reading of the Bible. Catherine Booth, “the Mother of The Salvation Army,” was a woman of one book, having read the Bible 8 times by the time she was 12. The founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth, committed himself to read 4 chapters of the Bible daily after his conversion experience at age 20. Samuel Brengle’s holiness teaching is firmly grounded on his love of the Bible. In The Soul-Winner’s Secret, Brengle testifies, “Personally, for years I have given the best hour of the day to the Bible, and now I want it more than I want my food.” Are you a person of one book?
(Study/Learning) – Catherine Booth was an avid reader from her early youth. Let us be reminded that “A Leader is a Reader.” Recommended resources – How to Read a Book (Mortimer Adler), The Joy of Reading (James Sire); How to Read a Christian Book (David McKenna); How about slamming back a few classic holiness texts from an earlier daily update, or some great Catherine Booth texts? “Wesley was also well-read, for his own recorded bibliography includes over 1,400 different authors with nearly 3,000 separate items ranging from pamphlets to twelve-volume sets. Moreover, he frequently quoted the classics from memory with a high degree of accuracy” (Lowery, p. 43; Outer, 114).
(Prayerful life/Spirituality/Prayer bench/Mercy Seat): “I carry a Penitent-form around in my heart and whenever I feel the need I kneel there” (Brengle). Evagrius of Pontus (346-99) said, “If you are a theologian, pray truly; and If you pray truly, you are a theologian.” Catherine modeled this. How about slapping on your (spiritual) back a mercy seat to use at a moment’s notice? (Speaking of a moment’s notice, remember that every soldier should be ready to preach, pray, or die at a moment’s notice!?)
(Integrated Mission: Evangelism/Social service-Sacramental Life): “Heart to God, Hand to man.” Social Holiness as well as Personal Holiness because “There is no holiness but social holiness” (John Wesley). William and Catherine Booth pioneered this practice. In what social action are you currently invested? “Our personal holiness may be the first thing, but it is not the main thing. That is the Missio Dei, the Mission of God. And the fulfilment of his mission is his own glory!” (Lt. Col. Lyell Rader Jr.)
(Salvationism based on the Wesleyan missional and theological heritages): It was absolutely essential to our co-founders, William and Catherine Booth, that ‘The theology of The Salvation Army is grounded on the theology of holiness’- [e.g.] Wesleyan Scriptural holiness theology, women’s ministry, the integrated Gospel-centered social ministry, non-sacramentalism, internationalism, and the priesthood of all believers (“All Salvationists are God’s royal priests!”) etc. Are you true to that? Are you a settled Wesleyan Arminian? Are you a staunch Biblical egalitarian? Are you committed to Salvo praxis? Are you committed to the wonder-working, world-winning mission of global conquest for Jesus?
Written by Major Young Sung Kim, Ambassador for Holiness, Spiritual Life Development Department