Saturday, August 22, 2009

An Example of the Episcopal Teaching/Preaching Role in the Church of the Nazarene

One of the most important functions of those holding the episcopal office is that of preaching and teaching; the proclamation of and the guarding of the faith. That is why I am so thankful for the new book, Blameless At His Coming, a number of "holiness" sermons by the Nazarene Board of General Superintendents. (General Superintendent is the Wesleyan term for Bishop.)

Oh, it is not that I necessarily like the way that each G.S. went about talking about entire sanctification in each sermon. (I prefer a more classically Wesleyan approach over the "Baptism with the Holy Spirit" language of the 19th-Century holiness movement, which does make an appearance in the book.) Nevertheless, I appreciate the work of the General Superintendents proclaiming the "distinctive doctrine" of the Church of the Nazarene and the Wesleyan-holiness tradition. I am especially thankful for their conscious effort to make clear the relationship between the crisis experience of entire sanctification and the larger process of sanctification, as a whole; the growth in grace that takes place before and after the experience of entire sanctification. I believe, as is demonstrated in the revision of the Article of Faith, they were able to demonstrate the balance between the two aspects of sanctification without losing the importance of either.

I had the opportunity, recently, to tell James Diehl, my district's presiding General Superintendent at our July District Assembly (his last Assembly before he retired) that I greatly appreciated the book and his message during the ordination service that briefly touched on our Articles of Faith. I told him that the preaching & teaching that the G.S.s do is every bit as important to their episcopal role as the administrative duties they perform.

It should be noted, concerning the book, though the book is new, three of the General Superintendents whose sermons are featured have now retired and have been replaced by the three newly elected G.S.s at this summer's General Assembly.

I would suggest for those who pray the Daily Office that you consider including one sermon during Morning and/or Evening Prayer following the last Scripture reading. - I picked up that practice during my recent prayer retreat, and, although it does require more time, I found it very beneficial.

The book can be purchased at this link.

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