A New and Living Way
The Salvation Army's Brengle Institute, now in its 70th year, trains officers to grow in holiness so they can better serve their fellow men and women. In a conversation with Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee, Brengle Institute's Principal Major Cherri Hobbins explains why the way of holiness is such a vital path.
War Cry: What are the goals of the Brengle Memorial Institute?
Cherri Hobbins: The goal of Brengle is to deepen the delegates’ experience of holiness not only intellectually, but also emotionally and practically.
WC: How has Brengle changed over the years?
CH: For one, it’s shorter. When the Brengle Institute started, it was three full weeks. The delegates commented that it was too long to be away from their appointments, but that there’s great value in it. They suggested that we shorten it, so we’re at two weeks now.
A review of the curriculum shows only minor changes. There’s always been an emphasis on practical holiness. At Brengle Institute, there’s always been a class on the Holy Spirit in our lives. In recent years, we’ve added a one-day lecture series by Dr. Jonathan Raymond on the practical relationship between Doctrine 9 and Doctrine 10. He shows how our continuance in a state of salvation is directly related to our experience of holiness.
WC: How does Brengle Institute contribute to Army life?
CH: By making better, stronger officers. We as officers are so involved in “doing” for the Lord that it’s easy for us to neglect “being” with and in Christ. Brengle Institute allows people to restore their being. They realize how much stronger they are with their faith, how much more effective they are in their work when they simply take time to be with Christ.
WC: What’s the best moment you’ve ever had at Brengle Institute?
CH: When I was waiting tables as a member of the training college staff that served during the Brengle
Institute, there was a younger male officer there who was noticeably angry.
Nobody wanted to be with him. He really was in a bad way. It was very moving to watch God reach out and change his heart
through classes and especially during the Sunday morning Holiness meeting.
During that time, he really reconnected with God, and we could see that
relationship visibly restored. It was
a supremely beautiful moment.
WC: What do you think people should understand about Brengle Institute?
CH: It gives time to rest and reflect, and not just while delegates are in class. It starts with a prayer meeting at 7:30 a.m., then there are classes all morning as well as some in the afternoons and evenings. We allow ample time for recreation and set aside unscheduled time as well. It’s a good balance not only for learning, interacting and growing with each other but also for rest and reflection.
WC: Is there anything else you would like to add?
CH: Brengle Institute is probably the closest that most Army officers will ever get to a sabbatical because of the way we are structured. It allows people time to explore the doctrines again and what they mean not only for the individual officer, but also for the people he or she is responsible for. Of course as preachers we have always paid attention to what we teach, but at Brengle we make time to purposefully reflect in a deeper way on what we believe and then figure out how that applies to our lives.
It is very valuable. I’m glad we’ve been doing this for 69 years.