So, surprise! surprise! I took myself along to the ‘Primitive Salvationism’ presentation by Stephen Court on Sunday afternoon at Roots. Was encouraging to see around 150 people there interested enough to turn up to a talk on Primitive Salvationism. Shame it wasn’t more.
Anyhow, I think people generally caught the idea and I guess armybarmy.com will ge getting some extra hits these days. Whether they will take it to prayer and take it to heart is a different matter.
We got round to soldiers and the making thereof. I’m keen on making sure soldiers are well converted, committed to discipleship and committed to and educated as to what their articles require of them. I’ve said before that you can sort of shape the soldiers you have the responsibility of enlisting.
Problems comes with those who’ve been on the road a bit longer. In the session on PS, the question was raised ‘is it fair for those who signed their covenants in ignorance to get in the band or being unaware of the real nature of it to then suddenly demand of them an extreme expression of those same articles.’
That is something I’ve long grappled with, especially as a corps officer. I’ve just read some words of Mrs General Bramwell Booth and she is warning about non-fighting forces and the importance of maintaining an aggressive fighting force.
Firstly, I don’t think its unfair to expect people to live up to what they have signed. If you sign something, even in the ‘normal’ world, you are bound by your signature…you try and get out of it…if you’ve signed it without reading it its kinda tough. Also, given that older soldiers signed a slightly more radical Articles of War the realisation that they should be living what they sign should be obvious.
How do you raise up a fighting force that was never taught to fight in the first place? I dunno. I guess I’m trying and thankfully some are responding.
Andrew Bale recently commented that he didn’t necessarily want to be identified as a Primitive Salvationist…simply a Salvationist. Now, by character and lifestyle Andrew is what you’d call a Primitive, but its his desire that his passion and his commitment and salvationism would be the norm. I share that idea. But oh how far removed is this experience common to Andrew and I (and others) from mainstream salvationism, which is, actually, a poor reflection of its own.
Mrs General Booth comments on the usage of the word ‘Christian’ back in her day. It had come to be synonomous with double standards, hypocrisy, snobbery and Conservatism (yes, with a capital C). The term Christian had become so far removed from its meaning of ‘being like Christ.’ She discouraged salvationists from using it, because the early expression of that word was really nowhere to be seen. The early Christians who got their name from persecution, insult and opposition to their passion, could not be compared with early 20th century Christianity, she said, and so salvationist was a much better term. T
Why? Because salvationism was formed in persecution, insult and opposition to passion for the lost and for the salvation of the world. After all, she continued, we are agressively committed to Salvation.
So, such is the sadness of The Army these days that there is a need for a distinction in Salvationism. I believe in restoration, in renewal and I will do all in my influence to restore the Army’s passion for the lost, the least and the lonely…for holiness and righteousness displayed unashamedly for all to see.