A Better Sacrifice: Bible Conference 2016

Salvationists from across the USA South gathered at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat center for the annual Southern Territorial Bible Conference Aug. 14-21. Delegates were joined by special guest speakers Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle, Colonels Richard and Janet Munn and Dr. John Oswalt, who delivered a series of sermons centering on this year’s theme, “A Better Sacrifice.”

Commissioners Peddle traveled to Lake Junaluska from International Headquarters, where they serve as chief of the staff and world secretary for women’s ministries and world president of Salvation Army Scouts, Guides and Guards. Colonel Richard Munn is the Eastern territorial secretary for theology and Christian ethics, and Colonel Janet Munn is the Eastern training principal. Dr. Oswalt is the Old Testament professor at Asbury Theological Seminary.

The conference opened with a special performance by the Mountain Faith Band, a western North Carolina bluegrass band that previously performed on America’s Got Talent, followed by a lakeside carnival featuring professional clowns, games and cotton candy and s’mores.

Daily Bible sessions began the following morning with a rotation of lectures from the speakers, each offering a different take, and using a different passage of Scripture, on sacrifice.

Dr. Oswalt offered in-depth Bible study, speaking on topics such as a better priest and a better covenant. Commissioners Peddle both spoke on the atonement and holiness.

“I didn’t learn about holiness in a book,” Commissioner Brian Peddle said. “To learn about holiness, I saw it. I wonder if the 16-year-olds today are seeing it as clearly as I did.”

Colonel Janet Munn described a disrupting and desperate faith, using often-overlooked women in the Bible and personal stories to demonstrate these ideas.

In her final sermon, she spoke about being delivered from overwhelming anxiety as a young woman.

“If I hadn’t been freed then, my little contribution to the world would not have been realized,” she said. “God has the power to make the crooked straight, to lift you from your shame.”

Thursday evening featured former NFL player Oscar Roan who returned once again to Lake Junaluska to lead morning devotions with the ARC delegation and to serve as the keynote speaker on ARC Night.  Roan’s message centered on the power of difficulties to reveal our true character, and to demonstrate the depth of our faith.

“I want to talk about midnight,” he said. “Unless you’ve had a midnight, you don’t know how deep those waters go. In the midst of your midnight, grab onto the realization that God is still in control.”

On Friday evening, the children and teens performed the musical Super Heroes Faith, written by Bethany Farrell, territorial creative arts director. The play highlighted Salvationist heroes and concluded with a parade of faith as the young people marched back into the gathering room, demonstrating their faith now and representing the hope of the future.

The final weekend concluded with teachings from Dr. Oswalt and a Sunday morning sermon delivered by Commissioner Rosalie Peddle saying, “God help us to be faithful to our calling.”