I’m inspired when I read about or actually observe Christians who are willing to share with others God’s message of holiness—even when such assignments take them on perilous journeys far outside their geographical, sociological, or theological comfort zones.
My admiration of these heroes of the faith began in the early 1970s. As a new arrival to New York City, I was excited to see holiness pastors engage Islamic ministers in spirited theological discussions during street–corner open–air campaigns. At times, the talks took place under the shadow of the domed mosque on 116th Street.
In 1981, I witnessed another open–air meeting, this time in a dusty village market in Koforidua, Ghana, West Africa. Although they were threatened and told to leave the area by local spiritual leaders, a courageous evangelistic team took on deep and substantive discussions with seekers wanting to know how they could live holy lives in the midst of great political turmoil and economic suffering.
I was riveted by the stories shared by Major Molly Shotzberger, the Salvation Army’s “ambassador to Iraq,” who braved a post–invasion insurgency and who challenged traditional ideas about women in that country to reach them with God’s message of love.
And who could forget the unbelievable adventures of Majors James and Marcia Cocker in Papua, New Guinea? When their son learned where they would serve for the next three years, he said, “That’s as far away as you can possibly go—before you start on the way back!”
Faced with an enormous task, limited resources, and hazardous surroundings, the Cockers are managing to preach the Gospel of holiness and, in the words of Francis of Assisi, “when necessary, [they] use words.”
The words that you’ll read in this Good News! will describe how God is using Salvationists to spread His gospel of holiness. From the Old Orchard Beach Pavilion and Pier ministry to the nations of Zimbabwe and Pakistan, we’ll take you on a journey of discovery. You’ll read about the messages of General Bramwell Tillsley; Commissioners Israel L. and Eva D. Gaither, national leaders; Majors David and Jean Antill, territorial leaders for holiness; the Majors Eleckson and Shiellah Rutanhira; Lt. Colonels Lyell and Elaine Rader, and more.
How far will you go? According to Phoebe Palmer, considered one of the founders of the holiness movement, there is no limit when you walk the spiritually straight and narrow path.
In her book, The Way of Holiness (1854), Palmer wrote, “Earth hath its boundaries; but the inquiring, insatiate spirit of the heavenly traveler, is nowhere, in all his onward journeying, met with the interdict, ‘Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.’ No! The inspiring insignia is blazoned at every progressive point in his pilgrimage, ‘Then shall ye know, if ye follow on to know.’”