Announcing the Launch of Corps Cadets!

Whoever has heard of a soldier who doesn’t train? I have…they are often called Salvation Army soldiers (officers included!). I have had a growing conviction in recent days that there is much basic spiritual warfare and discipleship teaching that is just not happening in The Salvation Army. The more I spend time ministering to congregations and soldiers one to one, the more I realise that there are many missing gaps in our understanding of the true nature of the Christians battle.

And this gap is not only in terms of actual spiritual fighting in the world, as in prayer warfare, evangelism etc. There is often a lack in understanding about how to live in victory in our every day Christian walk. There is also a lack of balanced Chrsitian teaching in this area, and certainly not a great deal of teaching from a Salvation Army source.

Because of this, it is my desire to build up a resource of simple bite-size teaching in a new blog. You can catch the first post now over at corpscadets.blogspot.com

I was never a corps cadet, and I don’t know how effective a programme it really was, but for me it captures that idea of getting yourself prepared for war. So, inspite of any potential negative connotations the title may have for you, I hope you will pop over!

I offer this blog in the hope that at least someone may find it helpful.

yours
Andrew C

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Storming the Forts!

I’ve no idea how I managed to forget to blog about this, but we’ve had some recent success in the old spiritual warfare with regards to closing some buildings!

The first one was quite a few months ago…a sex shop (sorry, a massage parlour!!) in Hotwells, Bristol. It is on the route back to Pill from the city and every time I passed I asked the Lord to close it. Ann, our Assistant Sergeant-Major, had been praying the same as she passed on the bus each day. Within a few months the ‘For Sale’ signs were up on the shop. Hallelujah!

Secondly, late last summer we led a prayer walk around our community, involving other Christians from other churches, and we stopped outside the Railway Inn and asked the Lord to close it. Within a few months the pub was boarded up and no longer in business. The Lord answers prayer.

We pray that those employed in those businesses will find other suitable employment.

yours
Andrew

New pastures…

So, we’re moving into a new phase of ministry again. Thats probably the best way to sum up thoughts about our impending move. Its a very different appointment to Pill and to Dennistoun…praise God that he is a God of variety! It will be a pioneering appointment, with a heavy emphasis on evangelism. We will be spending the vast majority of our time with those who are not yet saved. We will be involved in chaplaincy at four primary schools and one secondary school, as well as overseers of a a 180 strong childrens ministry in the corps. We have a mandate to develop youth work and work with the families of the children connected with the schools ministry and our childrens ministry

As far as the corps goes, we have a strong and godly collection of faithful men and women, long standing salvataltionists, getting on in years, but still working hard for the kingdom. I see our role with them is encouragement in their faith and life and in reaching their own generation.

Now that I know all that, I can get back to the task in hand! The work at Pill here continues to be one of equipping local leadership, faciliting deeper spiritual growth, inspiring for the work of evangelism and developing a fighting corps! (though, hopefully more against the enemy than against themselves!…thats every Corps Officers dream!)

So, looks like I’ll get to know whether I’m better at pioneering or mountaineering. (Mountaineering is my personal term for mobilising a corps for evangelism…its rocky, perilous and a tough climb with the constant threat of avalanche!!)

Finally, just a note to say that Armyrenewal Blog has finally made it…it was mentioned (and quoted from!) in the DC’s weekly circular this week. You would think that knowing the DC was a regular reader would encourage me to behave myself….

Up North

So we are off to Scotland tomorrow on holiday. Staying a few days with my mum in Irvine (about 400 from here)then taking the extra 350 miles up to Wick! :o) It will be interesting to get a feel for the place, sort our some practical stuff, and get some video footage to settle the mind until its time to go!

Turns out that you get extra allowance for being in the Highlands. The simple logistics of getting lorries up there with food, petrol etc add to the cost of living. Fair enough. But as Tracy was saying on her blog, there isn’t a huge deal of things to spend money on! That can only be a good thing.

People keep asking me what I think about the move. To be honest, I’m really happy with it. The distance is obviously quite astonishing, but again, I’ve got a peace about the appointment and I can see why we are going there.

When we get to Wick in July, I’ll be starting a new blog to keep up to date with all thats happening up there in Wick. Details to follow. Army Renewal will continue as my ‘general comments’ blog. There may well be some overlap, but we will see.

Anyway…this will be the last post until we get back from holiday unless there is something really exciting to say when we’re away!

Moves


Picture of Wick Corps Hall

Well, the Clarks are heading to Wick Corps, North Scotland. We are being succeeded by Majors Alan and Carole Young…which is a real answer to prayer for us.

As for our appointment, I leave you with my blog from the 1st Novemeber 2006:

Prophesy for Scotland

The Lord desires to move through you like a north wind, quickening, awakening, helping the church to realise that its time to reap a harvest before the winter. Put your boots on, grab your ploughs and head to the fields for the harvest will be plentiful.

The wind will bring floods flowing down from the mountains of the highlands into the lowlands. There will be streams of running water that will make even the cities polluted streams taste sweet. The streets of cities and villages will be blocked with streams.

Some will set barriers around the streams and mark danger, but clansmen will know no fear and follow the flow to the deep water where the invitation is to get in above the waist.

Insomnia Attack

Now…you can normally jig a merry dance around me when I am asleep and I’d be none the wiser. I normally sleep like a baby (whatever that means!). But here I am at 3am wakened. I’ve been asleep for three hours, but then Ben wakes and moans about something, Tracy gets up to check him, Ceitidh is rumbling around, I’m awake and my throat is sore and in need of some water and a Strepsil…not to mention a touch of indigestion from some lovely duck fajita’s from Chiquito’s from our celebration of Tracy’s birthday last night!

And, of course, even the smallest hint of awakeness encourages the brain to engage the possiblities that lie in the certain envelope which will be landing on the doorstep in about 6 hours time!

Where could we be going?
Who will be coming here?
Will it be a joyous revelation or an ‘oh dear, lets pray!’ ?
Will we have the joy of seeing our children having a good Scottish education or will I still have to continue to work out why on earth Church of England Schools bother to exist?
Will I be picking up daisies in the countryside or will I be picking up used needles with a sharps box in an alley way behind the hall..or both?
Will I be lounging around in the luxury of a newly built hall or frantically trying to hold an 1800s citadel together?

So many questions. But there has been a, what I suppose you could call a prayer, going round in my head for the last couple of weeks. I think it is a methodist sort of liturgical thing (which is an unusual thing to be floating round my head) but I’ve always liked it nonetheless:


The Methodist Covenant Prayer

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you;
let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing;
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.

And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

..and Amen!!!!

A Different Approach…

Lets try and approach this question in a different way. Its clear that I’m conservatively evangelical in theology and much of emergent stuff is not…that my main problem. We could discuss that til the cows come home. (Interestingly, I’ve heard that emergents are generous to everyone about everything except conservative Christans and their theology) :o)

Here is another question I’d like to invite as many people as want to to respond to:


What is it about emergent church that means that it needs to re-write classical evangelical theology? Why can it not emerge with classical theology?

Answers on a postcard (or hey, save paper and use the comments function!)

I guess we will either sum up that there is not reason as to why it can’t, or it will hang itself in the processs….but..lets see!

Here comes an unpopular post…

Rob Bell. You all heard of him? Yep…the Nooma guy. He’s very trendy, moreover, he has caught on to a fascinating and very effective tool for reachinga generation by way of his Nooma DVDs. The style is attractive and I can see how good they would be….

However, I believe we must sharpen our spirits when it comes to Mr Bell. His concept of salvation is worrying and typical with the rebranding of theology that is coming out of the emergant movement. I believe we need to emerge church into something new, not theology.

Anyway…a (not so) brief look at a couple of things. Bells ‘soteriology’ (understanding and teaching of the doctrine of salvation) is wonky. On page 108 of his book, Velvet Elvis, he comes out with this:

point of the cross isn’t forgiveness. Forgiveness leads to something bigger: restoration

As he elaborates further,

The Bible paints a much larger picture of salvation. It describes all of creation being restored. The author of Ephesians writes that all things will be brought together under Jesus. Salvation is the entire universe being brought back into harmony with its maker. This has huge implications for how people present the message of Jesus. Yes, Jesus can come into our hearts. But we can join a movement that is as wide and deep and big as the universe itself. Rocks and trees and birds and swamps and ecosystems. God’s desire is to restore it all (ibid., 109,110)

As for many emergents (in the theological sense) salvation is all about the here an now, yes heaven is still a hope, but the focus is on now. For the Rob Bells of the world, the whole universe was redeemed by Christ on the cross when he took punishment so that God could restore it. Its not clear exacly how God is doing it, but the main point is that all people have to do to be redeemed is become ‘followers of Jesus.’ (or not, as the case may be).

You need to understand that although Bell says that “Jesus can come into our hearts”, in Velvet Elvis, he spends the whole of the previous chapter speaking against what is normally meant by that phrase in evangelical circles, so he is meaning something different.

Its unlikely to hear Bell speak about being born again because in his thinking, all that is necessary is some type of decision to believe. Its not enough just to believe, there must be repentance, faith, regeneration…regeneraton comes at the stage of repentance and faith, its not something we just gradually become until the point we make a ‘decision.’

EC has gone way too far in the opposite direction, which would not be surprising when one considers the denial of the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the Cross by virtually all of its leaders. The church must seriously begin to examine this question: How can someone even be saved by Jesus when they are denying the very means that God has established for being born again in the first place? And in 1 John chapter 2 God the Holy Spirit quite clearly tells the true follower of Jesus:

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (vv.15-17)

There is very good reason for this beyond the obvious. That obvious would be that Jesus taught for one to even be born again in the first place he must “repent,” which is to turn away from “the world.” Another reason not to love the world or anything in the world is for the literal fact that everything in the world will pass away. This is what we read in The Old Testament, as evidenced by Isaiah 51:6 – Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. And this is further confirmed by the Apostle Peter, whom we must understand received this information from the Creator Himself. Whether taught in Person or by revelation Peter tells us with clarity:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. (2 Peter 3:10-12)

Undoubtedly we can see here that everything will be destroyed. The only way to ignore this truth is to follow men like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren who allegorize texts such as this. However, to do so is to think as a child who covers his face with his hands and exclaims: “You can’t see me!” The fact is no matter how loud an untruth is told, it will always remain an untruth. Better that we grow up and face the real world that is passing away and let those like Rob Bell who choose to ignore warnings such as this go where they will.

So, why would the Lord destroy something completely redeemed?

And, as for the hints of universalism in his understanding of how men and women can come to the saviour, best to watch out…its not the case of starting the journey until you decide you can believe, its repentance and faith, then regneration by the Holy Spirit.

More Velvet Elvis to close:

So this reality, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody. Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross he was reconciling “all things, in heaven and on earth, to God.” All things everywhere. This reality then isn’t something we make true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making. (146)

See what I mean? You’re already saved, you just have to start living as if you are. Thing is…its close to the gospel, could even be closely mistaken for the gospel, but I’m afraid it stops a little bit short.

Go on…shoot me down! :o)