Its Official!

Interestingly, Commissioner Shaw Clifton made a statement at officers councils which sort of fits in with where I was coming from re Sabbath.

He spoke of how when you go on holiday, you are faced with the option:

‘Now, on Sunday do I go to the Army, do I go to church, or do I go to the beach…..and if the beach wins (which it often does), am I allowed to buy an ice cream on a Sunday? Yes, I think I am, but only one because otherwise that would be gluttony. Cheif Secretary…I think we should send out an official minute on this.’

So there we have it, I present to you and almost exact quote from the official mouth of the official Territorial Commander of the United Kingdom Territory. I await the Official Minute. :))

Its a heart matter. If our heart is the Lords then we will make sure that we have opportunity to meet together with the Lords people. We must of course take all scripture together. There is value in meeting, there is a need to be nurtured in faith and to worship God with his people.

But no amount of legalism will produce that desire. Not buying or selling on a Sunday, not going to a restaurant or a petrol station to fill your car as an expression of sabbath may well be a biblical principle, but is it Scriptural? Judas went and hung himself…its in the bible, its biblical, but is suicide Scriptural? There is a difference between biblical and Scriptural. We must take scripture together, and in the light of New Testament teaching, we discover that the sabbath is made for man, not the other way around.

The point I am making, is that we must not use legalism to produce faith. The experience of the Pharisees have shown us that it couldn’t happen…it doesn’t work. The Army have used legalism to encourage faithfulness for years and is it surprising that people rebel against it? Legalism is a bigger stumbling block to a young person or new Christian than me buying an ice cream or selling a Christian book. No doubt this will come around again as we make CDs and biscuits available for purchase at the Somerset Hall Carol Service. Tsk tsk…naughty.

yours
Andrew

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Sabbath?

Most of you probably read Captain Stephen Court’s blog and will have read this, but I want to stick it here. I’ve long had ‘theological reservations’ about prominent sabbath teaching in the Army in these days….reservations which actually began when I was at Bible College…I remeber Dr. Kearsley doing a lecture on Christian Sabbath as discinct from Jewish Sabbath.

We get a bit legalistic about sabbath keeping and that worries me. I know it leads to trouble in corps all the time, especially when it comes down to what yougsters can and can’t do together on a Sunday evening.

Anyway, here is what Court says:

“Sabbath has a holy place in Church tradition. Often Christians take some liberty on it and enjoy it on Sunday, but, well, it is still SORT OF sabbath (at least Biblical obedience on THEIR terms, at their convenience).

But here is a position most don’t consider:
John 5:17 “My Father never stops working, so why should I?”

Romans 14:5 In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. Each person should have a personal conviction about this matter.

So, it seems that Sabbath rest might, in the new covenant era, be more a spiritual rest (it seems akin to holiness) than physical ‘day off’. Let’s have at it.”


Preach it brother, hallelujah.

Andrew

(PS…there is something in Hebrews somewhere about this too….search it out and see what you can find….Im not giving you the chapter and verses….don’t want to make life too easy for you :O) )


Influences

Here is the thing that has provoked radical primitivism in me…this might be interesting for some of you.

1) my family are unsaved and sinking into hell. I’ve burried too many of them into an uncertain destiny and I watch too many of them tied up in the cycle of sin and darkness.
2) I’ve been part of corps that have lost the real sense of who they are, what they are doing, and what the point of it all is
3) In spite of my family, in spite of where the Army is at the moment, God dramatically saved me
4) My experience of God has been of a strong supernatural flavour…I’ve always experienced God in that way and have always had a strong sense of prophetic calling on my life.
5) My early exploits in uniform wearing at school convinced me it works, even if it is ‘irrelevant’ – whatever that means.
6) the writings of people like Geoff Ryan and Stephen Court have influenced me..but more than that, the evidence of the kingdom success that these men (and their wives) have had in ministry is like no other story that I have heard in the Army in modern days. The Salvation Army in Romania, decidedly primitive, is also a great success story which has shown me the same. The capture the heavenly romance that Salvationism was birthed to be…you know, passionate heroism.
7) the older writings of Booth, Brengle and the likes are full of passion for the lost and that strikes a cord in my life.
8) other flavours of salvationism leave me cold, rather uninspired and uninterested. Formalism is a good dose of religion without power. I’m not into that. Half-hearted Christianity will never save a dying world.
9)I don’t think God asks us to commit our live to anything less than complete submission and surrender.

There you go, thats it. Thus endeth.

Ok, I admit it…

Well, believe it or not, Primitive Salvationism got some good press in the Salvationist magazine this week. I gave myself a little smile when I read this definition of Neo-Salvationism (aka Primitive or Radical Salvationist) and felt like I was reading my biography :o)

I quote Lt-Col Graham Durston, DC in an Australian Division, writer of the article:

“Ne0-Salvationist (aka radical or primitive Salvationism) voices are saying:

  • Get back to William Booth’s vision of the Army: ‘Go for souls, and go for the worst.’
  • Make a strong call for mission and sacrifice
  • Emphasise the social aspects of the gospel by reaching out to the poor and the marginalised, but with strong evangelical intention
  • wear uniform, but not the ‘tin soldiers’ kind. Do not wear it on Sunday to worship but through the week when engaged in mission
  • wear a ‘work’ uniform, not a ‘corporate’ type
  • making ‘fighting’ soldiers is important, but only if they have something relevant and challenging to do
  • engage in incarnational ministries. Living in the housing estates or flats with the poor
  • emphasise holiness teaching
  • teach that bias to the poor is a sign of true holiness
  • engage in some contemporary forms of worship but include mission songs (ie battle songs)
  • change the world by converting the individual, but also address structural evil
  • get involved in social justice issues
  • take on the prophetic mantle. Speak to the Army and the world.
  • encourage the exercising of Gifts, such as words of prophecy and special revelations”

Well, I think Colonel Durston has summed me up well. Glory be…I feel complete having now been pigeon-holed! :o)

The Colonel also describes the traditional, pentecostal, seeker sensitive, and radical change groups too quite helpfully and fairly accurately…its worth reading if you can get a copy. I like the way that the Colonel emphasises the important contributions to salvationism that these voices make and we need to learn from each other in the positives.

The thing is, if you have a combination of all the groups in the corps and your corps is led by a primitive salvationist, life isn’t always easy. Afterall, I’m a primitive salvationist by conviction because I believe its what the Army was called to in its original conception. But then…..I think a lot to do with my ‘persuasion’ is my prophetic gifting.

So here is a question…if the vast majority of the people who take up the prophetic mantle are primitive salvationists, might God be saying something ‘prophetically’ to The Salvation Army? Are we only prophetic in our own sub-culture of Salvationism, or do we really have a wider voice and are you excused for listening because you’re not primitive salvationist?

Well, thats an interesting question. Quite profound for me at this time of the night anyway.

yours for the advance of primitive Salvationism worldwide,

Andrew Clark

Captain

Aggressive Christianity Conference Resources

Aggressive Christianity Conference
Pill Corps, UK Territory, 9-11 September 2005.

After our successful Aggressive Christianity Conference here in the UK, the first ever, we are happy to make our recources from the weekend available to you for purchase! The CD’s of the talks have been produced in house, but they are good quality and contain fantastic teaching and prophetic insight.

The titles available are as follows:

Offensive to God? – Major Jo Norton, CO Wandsworth Corps/Boiler Room
Taking the Land – Offensive to Satan! – Major Jo Norton
Prayer Roles – Major Jo Norton
Will the real Salvation Army please stand up? – Captain Martin Thomson, DYO South Western
Primitive Church – Primitive Salvationism – Captain Ian Mountford, CO Bristol Citadel
Authentic Community – Andrew Grinnell, Alove UK
Engaging God – Andrew Grinnell
Knowing the Enemy – Julian Cozens, Wandsworth Prayer Team
Know your offensive strategy – Vicki Adams, Wandsworth Prayer Team

All CDs are £3.50 each plus £1 p+p.

We also have copies of Cory Harrisons modern rendition of Catherine Booth’s classic, ‘Aggressive Christianity’ available for £5.

Please send orders to our CSM, Pete Brewer at brunel@aol.com and he will be glad to receive your cheque, payable to The Salvation Army.

For those who live overseas, please feel free to pay via paypal.com in GBP to andrew.clarksa@btopenwold.com but please email me at andrew.clark@salvationarmy.org.uk to ask for shipping advice.
We look forward to hearning from you. We will fulfil the orders as soon as we can.

Well, what a day!

We certainly had an intersting day….primarily a day of blessing in many ways. However, the enemy did rear his head and show is usual opposition in the old usual ways!

I spoke simply this morning on the bare gospel…literally a ‘this is the gospel’ sort of thing and the Holy Spirit moved powerfully in peoples hearts. People just responded to the totally simplicity of it all.

One of the unusual blessings I noticed was one of our regular bandsmen sitting in his seat in the band crying. It was one of those ‘I’m crying, but I’m actually really happy’ blend of tears and that was just a little glimpse of grace.

It was all the more special to me because tomorrow, (17th) is my spiritual birthday….I am 10 tomorrow!!! And by the time people started responding God had just reduce me to a big blubbering lump. I couldn’t sing or speak for a good 5 minutes for crying! God just blessed us so very much and it was sad to see the old ‘opposition’ strongholds raising thier heads even after such a blessed morning.

The evening meeting, on the other hand, was very different. The devil had obviously taken note of the morning and decided he would step up the anti. I was preaching on strongholds and the schemes that satan sets up in our thinking against the gospel. As I was preaching I watched something like a damp blanket decend over the congregation and I could see people starting to nod off! Now, I am not a dull preacher and it was certainly the Word for the corps, but it was phenomenal to watch this thickness descend and then people, at least 10, start to fall asleep.

But thankfully, we exposed that and the meeting ended with a bit of victory. It was interesting to hear the responses of those who ‘may’ have been sleeping….’I wasn’t sleeping, I was praying’. Well, perhaps….perhaps not!! There was no sort of ‘I pour guilt on you for sleeping’ but satan even used the exposure of his plot to his advantage.

Anyway, in all its been a remarkable day. Our youth alpha course was, again, chaotic, but great fun and even more great is that nuggets or the gospel are getting through in little bites.

So…its good to be an officer. Tremendous privelege, tremendous responsibility!

yours in Christ
Andrew

Army Changes its Stance

We are happy to report that the Army have changed their response to the Religious and Racial Hatred Bill and we are happy that as a corps, little old Pill here, have been able to play our small part in that, however small. Here is the Army’s new statement, as of 5 October.

Racial & Religious Hatred Bill
Statement as at 5th October 2005
The Government is currently seeking to enact legislation to outlaw incitement to religious or racial hatred. The Salvation Army deplores any action intended or likely to incite hatred against persons on any grounds.
A number of Christian denominations and organisations, along with other faith bodies support the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. However, several groups oppose it, arguing that it is an unnecessary addition to adequate existing legislation and that it will limit freedom of speech. The Salvation Army has dialogued with many and considered the various arguments in addition to carrying out its own research.
We are not persuaded that existing laws are adequate. Neither are we convinced that restrictions on the full and appropriate proclamation of the Gospel are either intended or inevitable consequences of the legislation.
We are concerned about the possible inadvertent creation of an environment in which the freedom to communicate the Gospel is challenged, and acknowledge that the present wording of the bill may in theory provide the potential for such abuse, albeit unlikely in practice.
We therefore support calls for amendments to the bill aimed at removing possible ambiguities, so as to preclude any undesirable consequences.
The Salvation Army is engaged in wide-ranging, ongoing discussions with Government departments concerning a variety of issues that could potentially impact greatly upon the Church. The Salvation Army wishes to continue to be at the centre of any debate concerning the right to proclaim the Gospel.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.(1 Peter 3:15-16)