Some might think of Roxbury Holiness Camp as perpetuating only one strand of the Brethren in Christ Church’s three-strand heritage. And while few would argue that Holiness theology has dominated the preaching at the camp in its 75 years of existence, at least one person — Brethren in Christ historian E. Morris Sider — would qualify the view that Roxbury only represents one strand of the church’s heritage.
Sider made such a point during a presentation to members of the Brethren in Christ Historical Society during their annual meeting on July 31, 2010. Held at Roxbury Camp, the meeting served to commemorate the camp’s 75th anniversary and to celebrate the release of Sider’s newest book, A Living and Growing Ministry: The Story of Roxbury Holiness Camp.
More on the theological significance of Roxbury Holiness Camp (and more reflections on the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Historical Society), after the jump.
During his presentation, Sider made two points about the theological significance of the camp:
(1) Although the focus of the sermons preached at Roxbury were on holiness (a Pietist/Wesleyan emphasis on one’s relationship with God), many of the sermons (including four of the five that Sider selected for brief treatment in a chapter entitled “Five Preachers and their Messages”) are also focused on how we live out our holiness in relationships with other people, thus illustrating an Anabaptist element.
(2) The Camp serves as a unifying element in that it brings people of various theological views and from various geographic areas together, thus performing in a kind of social way what the earlier institutions like the love feast, Bible conference, and General conference (among others) performed for the church.
Sider’s comments were part of a larger lecture reflecting on the writing of A Living and Growing Ministry. He also discussed why a historian, especially a Brethren in Christ historian, would want to write a history of the Camp.
Following Sider’s lecture, two members of the Historical Society — Audrey Brubaker and Nelson Byers — spoke briefly on why they are members of the group.