Brengle for Today

Crest Books will release an updated reprint of the book titled “Brengle for Today” by Major Peter Farthing. The following excerpts on Christian conversation and how God guides His people are from the book. by Major Peter Farthing

Commissioner Samuel Logan Brengle was The Salvation Army’s most prolific and influential teacher of holiness. The author of several books on the topic, Brengle served for many years as the International Spiritual Special Ambassador, which enabled him to teach and preach on what he described as the “second blessing” of personal holiness.  

This summer, Crest Books will release an updated reprint of the book titled “Brengle for Today” by Major Peter Farthing. The following excerpts on Christian conversation and how God guides His people are from the book.

Christian Conversation

Do not imagine blasphemy and bad language are the only forms of sinful talk. Many Christians who never swear, sin by other forms of wrong talk. Crowds of people have backslidden; many almost-Christians have turned back into darkness; and churches have become spiritual graves, all because of such sinful talk. 

1. What are some examples of sinful talk?

It is sinful to tell lies about any person, or slander him in any way. “No lies about your neighbor!” God says (Exodus 20:16 The Message). A man’s reputation and character are sacred in the sight of God, and just as God forbids one man to rob another of his property, so he forbids him to rob him of his good name. Paul gave hard warning to the sexually immoral, to the greedy, the idol worshipper, and the adulterer. But in the very same sentence he included slanderers
(1 Corinthians 6:10)! “Believers … must not slander anyone” (Titus 3:2). This is a command of God, and should be thought about and obeyed. 

It is wrong to go on about the faults and weaknesses of others. This is a very common form of sinful talk. It is beautiful the way children never appear to notice the disabled playmate’s difficulty, and it is Christ-like when grown-ups overlook the faults and weaknesses in others. 

It is sinful to tell others about any person’s sins and wrongdoing where and when it will do no good.

2. Whom does sinful talk hurt? Whom do we wrong by sinful talk?

First of all, we wrong the person we are talking about. You do not like any one to speak critically or pass on negative gossip about you. You consider it wrong for anyone to do so. But why? When you have answered you have given yourself a reason why you should not speak evil of any man.

Second, we wrong the one we are speaking to. We fill their mind with unjust prejudice. Our talk excludes good thoughts, and it tempts them to think and speak wrongly.

Third, we harm ourselves. We destroy generous and kind thoughts, and stifle love. We open our hearts for the devil to enter. Talk like that prevents us from praying in faith and love for the person, which would be infinitely better than speaking harmfully about him. 

Fourth, we grieve the Holy Spirit and break the commandment of God. The Holy Spirit leads us to love all men—even our enemies. He leads us to love them, just as Jesus loved them. But sinful speaking destroys love. The Holy Spirit leads us to pray for all men, especially for those who are faulty and sinful. Sinful talk stifles the spirit of prayer as sure as water puts out a fire. 

Fifth, we wrong Jesus. He died for that person you speak about. He bought him with His blood. And even though the man may be a sinner, or a hypocrite, Jesus loves him. Jesus identifies with people so much, that He will say at the judgment, “When you (gave food or water or shelter) to the least of these brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me” (Matthew 25:40). Unless we repent of sinful talk, at the judgment He will face us with the wrong as if it were done to Himself.


Every mature Christian who has asked for God’s guidance will tell you God truly does lead His people. This is not at all an unusual experience.

But we must be wise in this matter. We need to understand how God guides us, and not take every event as a sign from God. How then does the Holy Spirit guide us? 

1. Through the Bible. God speaks through His Word, especially by revealing to us the character and spirit of Jesus and His apostles and leading us to follow in their footsteps.  

2. Through circumstances. God speaks through the ordinary circumstances of our daily life. 

3. Through other people. God may speak through the wise counsel of godly and experienced people.

4. Through inner conviction. Sometimes God gives us an inner conviction. As we pray, the conviction only increases. It is by this sovereign conviction that men are called to preach, to go to foreign fields as missionaries. 

If we look for God’s guidance in these reliable places, we will find it. Why then do people sometimes ask for guidance and not receive it?  

1. Because they do not study God’s Word. They neglect the cultivation of their minds and hearts in the school of Christ. Read the Word, use spare moments to soak up God’s Word, and you will be shaped by that Word. 

2. Because they do not humbly accept circumstances as something God can use.

They do not think of them as part of the providences of God. They do not realize these events may be God’s school in which He is training them for greater things. They wish to escape what God may not want them to run from.

3. Because they are not teachable. Any person who is not humble and teachable is not going to be led by God. 

4. Because they do not listen and obey. They are self-willed; they want their own way. Someone has said, “Very often people are really not asking God for His will, but for approval of their own will.” Paul took his orders from God. He said of himself, “I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven” (Acts 26:19). He obeyed God at all costs, and so the Holy Spirit could guide him.

5. Because of fear and unbelief. It was this fearfulness and unbelief that caused the Israelites to turn back and not go into Canaan, when Caleb and Joshua assured them that God would help them to possess the land. They lost sight of God and feared the giants and walled cities, and so missed God’s way for them and perished in the wilderness. 

6. Because of impatience and rush. Some of God’s plans for us unfold slowly; and we must patiently and calmly wait for Him. It is never God’s will that we should get into a hurry. He wants us to stand still when the pillar of cloud and fire does not move, and then pull up our tent when it does move (see Exodus).    

Major Peter Farthing is a retired Salvation Army officer who currently resides in Australia. | Image by  R. L. Keller  /  Tzido via Getty.

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