I’ve started to read ‘Sanctified Sanity’ by David Rightmire about the life and theology of Brengle. It is half biography and half theology which gives a very adequate portrait of the often dismissed Brengle.

It was interesting to read of his work during the Booth split between William Booth and Ballington Booth. Ballington, who was in the USA, didn’t like the leadership style of his father nor the way William wanted to work to remain firmly evangelical, so Ballington rebelled and set off to found the Volunteers of America, creating dissention in the ranks.

It was marvellous to get a glimpse of the way Brengle dealt with this shism. He simply went in there preaching holiness, calling people to the higher purpose and was able to unify the Army (to a degree) by raising the standard of holiness over the Army.

Again, when the High Council were in the process of desposing General Bramwell Booth, he was able to unite opinion by exorting holiness.

More interesting to me is the way Samuel devotes a large percentage of his ministry focussing on the personal holiness of his soldiers, his officers when he was in senior leadership, and the way he even challenged Bramwell Booth on his own personal holiness when he took the High Council to court for threatening to depose him. An excellent example of 360 degree leadership…leading yourself, those under you, those above you, those who are your peers.

Holiness is the key. I’ve said this before when talking to the leaders in our corps, it is when people are thoroughly discipled and deepening in faith that pastoral problems become less and less. It is easier to help people who are pressing in to the Lord than to help those who have little concept of that.

I was also captured by the concept of ‘holiness evangelism’ – the idea of preaching holiness for a verdict which not only brough soldiers to their knees seeking more of the Lord, but brough non-believers to the realisation that they need a Saviour.

I’ll be sure to pass on any gems I discover in the process of reading!


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