So, here it begins. I have to admit that I am a man with an agenda. Yes of course, to see the Kingdom of God grow and expand to all nations, for people to find salvation and grow in holiness. But more specifically, that people will once again The Salvation Army and all those who we win will walk again in the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
I discovered today, by mistake almost, that during the 1960s there was a huge split at the William Booth College for training officers in London. The Evangelist Session started its life with around 200 cadets and after the first year of training was down to 100. Why? Because 100 people felt that they had to leave The Salvation Army because of reticence to move in the gifts of the Spirit. WOW! What a sad year that must have been.
I am spilt on what I think on this. First thing that comes to mind is “deserters.” The people who left undoubtedly left The Army at a critical stage in its history. I think 100 spirit-filled, charis-oriented people would have made a huge impact in The Army of its day. Perhaps their commitment to the movement would have meant that we would have avoided the dogmatism and legalizing, cold formality that existed in the Salvation Army at that time. Why did they desert? Surely they were on the brink.
But then, how powerful a statement is the departure of 100 leaders from a movement en-masse. Huge! A huge lesson to be learned. So, I guess we say thanks to those who were bold enough to leave everything for that principle. I guess that there was a degree or resistance in the college and in leadership in general. These days we cannot afford to have a reluctance in these things. The harvest is plentiful, even if we don’t always see it or get off our seats to bring it in.
So, my agenda has been made clear. The Salvation Army needs to see what it is to walk in the Spirit within the regiment. We can be too quick to throw away this thing we call The Salvation Army and the Spirit in which we do our warfare. Not that I am advocating tradition for traditions sake…I am advocating an aggressive spirituality and mentality that is heroic and passionate. My fuel has been flamed by many, by Captain Steve Court of http://www.armybarmy.com fame. By Captain Geoff Ryan who constantly challenges my boxed image of salvationism. But where is the UK equivalent? We have some fantastic officers in the UK. We have fantastic people like Wall and Rook. But who will there be who will dare to commit to covenant with God “out of the spotlight” in the frontline of mission in the United Kingdom.
I am in the Army because I caught a glimpse of something consuming, something revolutionary…little did I know that I had joined a movement which in many places had lost its fire. But my sense of “something more” has urged me on and God has shown me.
William Booth once said “Your days at the most cannot be long, so use them to the best of your ability for the Glory of God and the benefit of your generation.”
Its going to look different, sound different, smell different, march to a different beat, sing to a different songbook, but The Salvation Army is God’s and he will lead it. I commit myself again to living as God has called me. I commit myself to taking seriously this God metaphor and to live my life as an officer in The Salvation Army
yours in the fight