Thursday, March 30, 2006

A fragile blog - handle with care.

This is a deeply personal blog today – please treat with care.

This time next week I will be preparing to go to the William Booth College for my reacceptance conference.

How do I feel?

I feel nervous, humbled, excited, scared – all of these things. Over the next seven days these feelings will increase in their intensity.

Why do I feel like this? Why am I not calmly resting in the presence of God? Why am I not serenely surrendered to the fact that whatever happens will be his will?

The Salvation Army is not my hobby it is my life. I was not born to speak up for, or out to, the wider church – my ministry is completely wound up in The Salvation Army.

When (if?) I get my rank back and I am able to literally give every minute to the Salvation War then I will enthusiastically yield myself, allowing God to spend me in any way he sees fit.

In the meantime, I get days like today, days when the frontline seems so far away. Days of doubt, days when my enthusiasm and energy temporarily lose their ongoing battle with the cry for balance, thought and reflection.

In truth I am doing as much as I can, even on a practical front I am content to describe myself as ‘a doer’. There is nothing in my life which is not already given over and my commitment to loving the lost is real and has a tangible impact upon myself and my family. Yet this is only the beginning of the beginning, something unbelievable is yet to come.

So why do I have this ever increasing anxiety about next week? Mainly because I don’t believe I have it within me to present a toned down impression to the panel. What they see is what they will get, what they hear is what I will say and I don’t think it would be right or proper to try and present to them some ‘scrubbed up’ version of what I am.

So what will they see?

They will see a man who lives ever close to tears, tears that fall for oh so many reasons: tears for my sin, tears for the wasted years, thankful tears for God’s forgiveness, and tears of absolute joy at his closeness to me, tears for the lost, tears for the Army’s sin, tears for the apathy and callous state of many who call themselves Salvationists. Will I cry next week? Almost definitely – if not in public I will cry in private – how can I pray without tears?

They will see a man who can see no bounds in the extent of ultimate Christian commitment, what others see as extreme he sees as the minimum. They will see a man who would willingly take up his post unsalaried if that were required. A man who would be quite happy to start with nothing if that is the best way to bring God glory.

They will see a man who has no time for the aristocratic autocracy of The Salvation Army. A man desperate to be led, but only by those who want to lead! A man who has no time for the exclusive cliques which are being established within the Army – where access is determined by academic qualification, name, heritage, appointment or (God forbid) musical ability. They will see a man who will salute and go, but will rebel and revolt if God is not evident in the command structure, a soldier who will always obey the ‘lawful commands’ of his leaders.

They will see a man with a genuine love for those who the world considers unimportant, a man far more at home with ‘sinners’ than with those who claim to seek their Salvation. They will see a man who simply can’t stay silent when the unloved and unwanted are rejected or quickly packed off to a nearby hostel or worse sent on their way with a food parcel and a ‘God bless’.

They will see a man who can fall from extreme confidence to absolute doubt in seconds and then just as quickly re-ascend.

If they allow me to come back into harness then they will see one who pulls as hard as any other and who constantly champs at the bit.

They will see a humble man, who doesn’t believe that he is worthy of another chance and who will be overcome if that chance is ever given.

They will see a man who will be completely unreserved and unrestrained in his service and who will expect to see the same level of commitment in those around him.

In the meantime, I wait, I serve as a local government Officer, I support my wife (also my CO!), I take every opportunity that comes my way to extend God’s kingdom, I ask daily that God would be glorified in my life!

Saviour, if my feet have faltered
On the pathway of the cross,
If my purposes have altered
Or my gold be mixed with dross,
O forbid me not thy service,
Keep me yet in thy employ.
Pass me through a sterner cleansing
If I may but give thee joy!

All my work is for the Master,
He is all my heart's desire;
O that he may count me faithful
In the day that tries by fire!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Holiness, hell and Salvationism

Salvationists are answerable to three documents. One is (supposedly) compulsory guidance for all Christians and two are specific to Salvationists. They are the Bible, the Doctrines of The Salvation Army the Articles of War.

Increasingly over the last few months I have felt myself being cornered by the Holy Spirit wherein my commitment to, and belief in, the validity of these three documents is being challenged..

Let me just take three examples –one from each document.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)

“We will be actively involved, as we are able, in the life, work, worship and witness of the corps, giving as large a proportion of our income as possible to support its ministries and the worldwide work of the Army.” (Articles of War)

“We believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of the body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; in the eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the endless punishment of the wicked.” (Doctrine No.11)

The question I have been asked by God in my personal relationship with him is a simple one “Do you believe what you read?” (indeed - do you adhere to what you have signed?) It seems a straightforward question which demands an equally straightforward answer – “yes of course I do!”.

Now this is where my problem starts!

Consider doctrine no. 11 – ‘Hell’ is considered by many Salvationists today to be nothing more than a metaphor or a myth. The idea of a ‘hell’ doesn’t fit in with their understanding of God and his love. Yet there it is – bang in the middle of our doctrines (and of course throughout the bible too!)

My own opinion is that in order for Christ to have undergone what he experienced at Easter ‘hell’ must be a reality – if there were not a place of severe regret and ‘gnashing teeth’ then why did God go to such extremes to save us? I am quite certain that Jesus did not die to save us from a metaphor! Anyway I shouldn’t have to argue about the existence of hell with Salvationists because it is in our doctrines.

However, if I accept that hell is a real place, and that people suffer there, then it makes it extremely difficult for me to comfortably watch the TV when I could be doing something to reverse there plight, which brings me on to my other two examples…

Paul obviously believed in hell which is why he gave everything he had and was to the cause of propagating salvation. That is also why he expected other Christians to do the same. Those who founded the Salvation Army obviously believed in hell which is why they expected their soldiers to give as much as ‘possible’ and to do as much as ‘able’. I know they were motivated by love and not by their belief in hell – the point I am making is that their simple understanding of man’s eternal lot played a part in pushing them on.

Now, what of me and today?

If I am passionately involved in watching England win the world cup (sorry getting knocked out in the quarter finals by either Germany or Argentina), or, if I am relaxing by listening to classical music, reading a novel, stamp collecting, selling on eBay – whatever – Railton’s endless ‘streaming downwards into hell’ doesn’t stop. If the bible is true (and I think it is) then whilst I ‘lie wrapped in ease and worldly scheming’ the dying continue to ‘gnash’ their teeth and plead – “If only someone had told me!’ – Is it any wonder that good old Catherine wanted to ‘tear their bandages off and make them look!’

Some people see me as an extremist and say to me ‘that may be your ministry Andrew, your calling but it’s not the same for everyone’ as though they were talking about an optional extra. I do not see the constant commitment of everything as either optional or extreme – much rather I see it as the norm, the bare minimum. Indeed the story of the rich young ruler seems to indicate that even lacking ‘just one thing’ when it comes to consecration is a fairly perilous exercise.

Holiness is nothing more or less than the fulfilment of the greatest commandment, in which we love God with everything we have and are. We don’t do this by degrees or now and again but we agree to do it in an instant and then we by his grace we do it forever. Holy people don’t avoid TV, football, novels, crosswords and soduko because such pastimes are ‘sinful’ they avoid them simply because they’re a waste of time and all of their time belongs to God.

My knowledge of the history of revival teaches me that when men and women start to see the surrender of everything to the cause of Christ as the norm and respond by ‘putting all on the altar’ that things like The Salvation Army get raised up.

Am I alone on this front? I am an unreasonable fanatic? A kill joy? A disciple of Finney? A deceptive Christian (delivering evangelism by stealth) - Is this all historical claptrap that just wont work in a post-modern world?

I’d be interested to know what you think – although my course is set, after all if it’s the Holy Spirit cornering you what can you do?

Monday, March 27, 2006

If no hell - why an Eeaster?

If you believe in hell - not out of spite -
but on the basis Jesus died to stop you going there.
If you believe he winced his way through Thursday night
and prayed and cried ‘til blood dripped from his hair.
If you believe that he did that because he thought
that if he'd not, then life for you would quickly turn
into a place of deep regret, where people caught
Like Moses’ bush light up the sky but never burn.

If you believe that Christ wore thorns in place of hat,
And on his hands thick nails in place of gloves,
If you believe that he did all of that
And did it all because he simply loves,
If you believe his side was stabbed and legs were broke,
And he with godly fists unclenched - though spat upon
Still not a word of selfish protest spoke
And never called for Gabriel – though God’s own son.

If you believe and sing at Easter ‘Wondrous cross’
And all of ‘love’ and ‘sorrow’ mingled down,
If you believe your soul cost him this loss
And hail as King the one with thorny crown –
Then how can you – still waste your time with toys
And not give him the very life you owe,
How can your heart be glad with joys
that do not - cannot - crucifixion know?

If you believe in Christ the King of Kings
And you believe in his commands and his decrees
if you accept discipleship and all it brings
then how can you rise from your knees
Without at first agreeing to donate
Your life, your love, your mind, your everything
To one you say is wonderful and great
and in your songs of praise you crown as king.

God is not mocked, and now’s the time
To bring him to him, the minimum he’s bought.
And slightly less than all is still a crime -
For 95% to God is less than nought.
If you can see that Christ his execution wore -
and gladly wore - to set his people free
And those imprisoned you can still ignore
You’re not as safe as he would have you be.

Andrew Bale

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

No Blogs since Friday because I have been putting together a web page devoted to the restoration of holiness in TSA.

It is a work in progress but you can check out what I've done so far at

Love and prayers Andrew

Friday, March 17, 2006

God's will for The Salvation Army

There is so much talk about method, approach, system, style - some people seem to think that we can design ourselves a revival. Everyone wants to know what God's will is for the Army. Indeed many people peddle their own plans as though they were Gods. If we want to know God's will for the Army we must meet the conditions laid down.

It is in hearts entirely surrendered to the Lord Jesus, in hearts separating themselves from the world, and even from ordinary religious exercises, and giving themselves up in intense prayer to look to their Lord — it is in such hearts that the heavenly will of God will be made manifest. (A.M.)

Written in 1895 by a man who never knew The Army but who's wisodom has no shelf life.

Love and prayers


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More Murray - tis time on love!

Following on from the deabate at Urban Army and just to show some balance to my own well stated opinions.

In his wonderful book, Absolute Surrender, Andrew Murray offers the following example and plea:

"I heard one not long ago. A lady had been asked to speak at a Rescue Home where there were a number of poor women. As she arrived there and got to the window with the matron, she saw outside a wretched object sitting, and asked: "Who is that?" The matron answered: "She has been into the house thirty or forty times, and she has always gone away again. Nothing can be done with her, she is so low and hard." But the lady said: "She must come in." The matron then said: "We have been waiting for you, and the company is assembled, and you have only an hour for the address." The lady replied: "No, this is of more importance"; and she went outside where the woman was sitting and said: "My sister, what is the matter?" I am not your sister," was the reply. Then the lady laid her hand on her, and said: "Yes, I am your sister, and I love you"; and so she spoke until the heart of the poor woman was touched. The conversation lasted some time, and the company were waiting patiently. Ultimately the lady brought the woman into the room. There was the poor wretched, degraded creature, full of shame. She would not sit on a chair, but sat down on a stool beside the speaker’s seat, and she let her lean against her, with her arms around the poor woman’s neck, while she spoke to the assembled people. And that love touched the woman’s heart; she had found one who really loved her, and that love gave access to the love of Jesus.

Praise God! there is love upon earth in the hearts of God’s children; but oh, that there were more! O God, baptize our ministers with a tender love, and our missionaries, and our colporters, and our Bible-readers, and our workers, and our young men’s and young women’s associations. Oh, that God would begin with us now, and baptize us with heavenly love! "

No dichotomy here just a perfect example of the full gospel (evangelism and mission) expressed holistically. The act speaks not just to the lost but also to the supposedly saved.

May God give us more of this.

L&P Andrew

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

No social Gospel here - Just the Gospel!

A very interesting debate at Gordon Cotterill’s Urban Army Blog ( has inspired me to post an important warning about the church’s current infatuation with social gospel (read on!)

Let me start with an absolute truth.

Christianity never operates outside of an eternal context. Everything a Christian does and says is done and said in an eternal context.

Christians exist and serve in ‘The Kingdom of heaven’, for Christians there is no clear definition as to where the physical realm ends and the spiritual realm begins. For a Christian the Kingdom of heaven brings both realms together.

Jesus said the following about the kingdom of heaven;

  • It is near (Matthew 10:7)
  • It is within you (Luke 17:21)
  • It is in the future ( Matthew 22:1-14)

Accordingly, the Christian lives in the kingdom, strives to establish the kingdom (sometimes by ‘force’ ), does God’s will ‘on earth’ as it is done in the kingdom and at the same time looks forward to the kingdom.

Indeed, the Christian’s first thought in everything he does is the kingdom (‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God…’).

There is much talk today of a ‘social gospel'. The emphasis on action is most welcome but the delineation is definitely not.

Christianity is not a buffet of disciplines and practices in which the ‘believer’ can select those foods which are to his liking. Christianity is Christianity and comes as a complete lifestyle which requires as the bare minimum the absolute surrender of the devotee.

Breaking down Christianity into specialist chunks is dangerous, destructive, distracting and has deadly consequences.

No longer do we say ‘I am Paul’s man or ‘I belong to Peter’ instead we divide ourselves along lines of service and practice.

Let us be clear:-

  • You cannot have mission without evangelism,
  • You cannot have social service without evangelism,
  • You cannot have ‘friendship evangelism’ without both the friendship and the evangelism.
  • You cannot love for loves’ sake unless it is done within the context of ‘The Kingdom’

Jesus fed the five thousand because he was 'moved with compassion' – but Jesus never offered love or mercy outside of an eternal context.

In John 6:26-27 we read Jesus answered,

"I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you."

Jesus is saying quite plainly my job is not to dish out free bread. Jesus is clearly saying, I’m on to you! You are following me because you are hoping I will meet your physical needs but that is not my immediate priority’. In effect, Jesus is saying it is not my job to subsidise your inability to organise a packed lunch my job is to preach the gospel. However he is saying (like Booth) that if a barrier to your belief is a physical need then I will meet it. If as a consequence of your seeking the truth you present a physical need then I will meet it.

Of course we must love, indeed Matthew 7:21-23 (probably the scariest scripture in the bible) makes it clear that isolated ‘preaching’ and isolated ‘ministry’ are just as dangerous as isolated ‘social service’. In addition Paul’s love chapter places compassion above even faith in the hierarchy of Christian practice and James (chapter 2) reminds us of the obligatory duty we have ‘to act’.

However, as a committed Christian, practicing an incarnational ministry, delivering a socially active gospel we must remember at all times that "Man cannot live by bread alone!”

Our only priority is to ‘save’ if you want a good definition of salvation – how about this:

To populate God’s eternal kingdom with citizens of this temporal world within the restraints and confines of the ‘time’ we have available.

L&P Andrew

Monday, March 13, 2006

The 'Daniel Process'

I have been quite frustrated and a little despondent recently, I am mature enough to recognise spiritual attack when I see it and I have ‘sufficient grace’ to ‘live above feelings’ but recognising that one is in the heat of the battle doesn’t make the fighting anymore comfortable.

The source of this attack has been my frustration at not being able to do everything I want to do – even worse – maybe even everything that God wants me to do! Hopefully this time next year I will be well on my way to becoming an Officer again but I have at least another twelve months in the ‘chains’ of local government.

Yesterday morning I attended Bromley Corps, South London (UK) as my wife (who is a non-residential Cadet) was required to participate in the meeting as part of her ‘Corps placement’.

The Officer preached on Daniel 9 (If ever a chapter of scripture leant itself to primitive Salvationism then this one does!). I have read these verses many times and repeatedly prayed into them – yet yesterday a new (yet astoundingly obvious) insight came my way
  • Daniel studied the Word.
  • Daniel understood the Word.
  • Daniel responded to the word.
  • God acted.

The first three bullet points actually had to take place before the Israelites could return from exile. In the same way primitive Salvationists have to study, understand and respond before decline in the west can be halted and global revival can take place! As I considered these verses yesterday morning it suddenly occurred to me that Daniel’s prayers were an essential prerequisite to the end of the exile.

The following is a very brief breakdown of the ‘Daniel process’.

  • Daniel Studied and understood the word (verse 2
  • Daniel responded to the Word with prayer, petition and fasting (verses 3 and 4)
  • Daniel recognised God’s blamelessness (verse 4)
  • Daniel recognised our wickedness (verse 5 - 7)
  • Daniel recognised God’s (undeserved) mercy (verse 9)
  • Daniel recognised corporate sin as well as individual sin (verse 11)
  • Daniel recognised the consequences of individual and corporate sin (verses 11-14)
  • Daniel pleaded for mercy (verses 15-19)

Before God could act someone had to apply the word (nothing positive ever happens in the spiritual realms without the application of God’s word). How does the ‘Daniel process’ work?

  • Understanding the word fuels prayer and fasting…
  • which in turn fuels the word…
  • which in turn fuels repentance…
  • which (by dealing with sin) frees up the Spirit to act…
  • and ‘Bingo!’ miraculous events begin to unfold.

Basically, the ‘Daniel process’ brings together the divine and the human and produced miraculous activity. This idea of God working through mankind is often forgotten in a church that increasingly celebrates (quite rightly) signs and wonders. Too often we consider the status quo and expect God to ‘give us another Pentecost’ without recognising the important role God requires us to play in the process.

Yesterday I powerfully felt God come to me and say “Brother Bale you can pray and fast and then pray and fast some more, you can repent for your own sins and for the corporate sin of the Army (just as Daniel repented on behalf of Israel) and you can start now!”

I don’t suppose I will get a better opportunity to do this - God in his infinite mercy has given me a fifteen months to pray and fast in preparation for the restoration of TSA in the western territories. At the moment I am not tied down by the responsibilities of leadership or ministry, I am therefore completely free to participate in the ‘Daniel Process’.

Coincidentally, if I the Army accept my application to become and Officer again and allow me to take up an appointment in July 2007 (the earliest practical opportunity) then the time allotted to me for this period of prayer, fasting and repentance is 70 weeks (‘seventy sevens’). As said this time frame is probably nothing more than a coincidental encouragement to me. However, whether we have seventy weeks available to us or not we all need to consider whether we are being called to participate in the ‘Daniel Process’ and act accordingly.

Love and prayers Andrew

Friday, March 10, 2006

All or nothing?

Andrew Murray never ceases to amaze me. This quote hit me yesterday whilst sitting on Liverpool Street Station. Sit down, read slowly and respond positively!

"Let us bow before God in humility, and in that humility confess before Him the state of the whole Church. No words can tell the sad state of the Church of Christ on earth. I wish I had words to speak what I sometimes feel about it. just think of the Christians around you. I do not speak of nominal Christians, or of professing Christians, but I speak of hundreds and thousands of honest, earnest Christians who are not living a life in the power of God or to His glory. So little power, so little devotion or consecration to God, so little perception of the truth that a Christian is a man utterly surrendered to God’s will! Oh, we want to confess the sins of God’s people around us, and to humble ourselves. We are members of that sickly body, and the sickliness of the body will hinder us, and break us down, unless we come to God, and in confession separate ourselves from partnership with worldliness, with coldness toward each other, unless we give up ourselves to be entirely and wholly for God. "
In my opinion - that says it all.

L&P Andrew

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The excellent web site ‘Council of war’ has reprinted an intriguing article by Lt. Col Graham Durston see the following link

By the Colonel's definition I must be a Neo-Salvationist (echoes of the Matrix or skinheads, braces and facism? I hope not!)

However I would also borrow characteristics from some of the other definitions - but I am to all intents and purposes a Neo!

There are one or two points however in the Colonel's article that I would question (as a Neo)
The Colonel suggests that the following comments might be hurtful to a Neo:

"You cannot come to grips with the present post-modern society by going back to a vastly different society. You will be selective with what you bring from the past. The romance of serving the poor is one thing, but what of the discipline and quick-changing mission mentality of that period of Army expansion?"

Not at all, far from hurting me such comments would spur me on! I am not going back to a vastly different society but to a vastly different approach. Railton would have succeeded today with methods quite unlike those he used then. Railton was a ‘natural’ evangelist in that his actions were always reactive to the spirit within. They were never planned, never proactive – they were always responsive. Neos are responsive to ‘calling’ and ‘need’ and will produce an ‘alternative’ but equally effective “discipline and quick-changing mission mentality” which fits our post modern society as well as Railton’s fitted his. Indeed Neos are the only people who can do this.

The Colonel hypothetically quotes the Neo…

“We will focus most of the Army’s ministry and resources on the poor and marginalised, and middle-class, suburban ministry will be seen as secondary. The Army will become increasingly an inner-city mission, influential in social justice issues, but lacking a broad base of support in the suburbs. We are finding it difficult to recruit sufficient workers with the spirit of William Booth. It is taking decades to develop stable leadership from the ranks of the converts. Funding is difficult because of a reduced support base and decreasing involvement of corporations and the general public.”

This is not true because we are ‘natural’ evangelists. We will fish out of the right side of the boat at the right time whether the waters be middle class or poor urban (wherever they are they will always be ‘marginalised’ from the gospel) Funding will never be a problem because ‘God’s work done God’s way will never lack God’s provision’ (This quote is a Neo mantra!)In summary the Colonel says…
“I want to conclude on a completely unspectacular but vitally important note. Wherever we serve in the Army we need to be praying for the Lord’s direction. The God who called us into being as an organisation has not stopped speaking to us. There is abundant evidence that he is still blessing our ministry.”

The Neo responds. This is absolutely ‘spectacular’. For the Neo there can be no other direction. His only motive is Christ. Prayer is a central facet of the PS movement. Perhaps God is blessing TSA is some parts of the world but he is not doing so (collectively) in the west. General Clifton has suggested why, is it because there is ‘sin in the camp’? - The Neo says ‘Yes!’

Therefore our prayer must not just be for direction (that will come naturally, to a Neo as surely as their next breath!). Our prayers must identify and confess and repent of individual and corporate sin. This is the absolute essential if revival is to come.

Read the article and draw your own conclusions.

Thanks to the Colonel for his words.

Love and prayers Andrew

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Two quotes, some questions and a call to arms!

“We deny that we are in any proper sense a sect. We refuse to settle down into places of worship such as might be agreeable to our people and their families but insist upon the open air stand and the place of amusement where there may be little comfort, but where the most good may be done. We refuse to allow evangelists to stay very long in any one place, lest they or the people should sink into the relationship of pastor and flock, and look to their mutual enjoyment and advantage of others… We are a corps of volunteers for Christ, organised as perfectly as we have been able to accomplish, seeking no church status, avoiding as we would the plague every denominational rut, in order to reach more and more of those who lie outside every church boundary.” (George Scott Railton, Heathen England and what to do about it 1877)

Railton says in this paragraph that we would avoid like ‘the plague every denominational rut’. Friends what are we today? Are we simply just another denomination? If so what kind of denomination are we? What special skill do we bring to the ecumenical pot? Is it still accurate to refer to our Officers collectively as ‘evangelists’?

“I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. ... He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (St John, Revelation 1: 1-6)

Is not the letter addressed to Sardis addressed to us? Do we not have a reputation for doing good yet (in the western territories) aren’t we on the whole ‘dead’? Rejoice fellow revivalists for these verses do offer hope.

There are four positive things in this message
  • The command ‘wake up!’ suggests a deep sleep rather than death.
  • God's work in The Salvation Army is not complete.
  • The reference to those ‘have not soiled their clothes’ suggests a ‘remnant’.
  • The statement ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ suggests the possibility of a change.

Are you true to the spirit of Railton’s mission? Do you seek the lost or the comfort and enjoyment of yourself and your flock? Are you constantly on the look out for new opportunities? Have you ‘soiled your clothes’ with the consumerism and materialism of contemporary western society? Do you love ‘the light of your TV’ in preference to the ‘light’ of God’s word? Do you belong to the remnant of Sardis? If you do then it is time to start waking the dead! This is our command as a good friend of mine put it recently it is time to ‘jump’.

In summary:
  • The Salvation Army is not dead but in a deep sleep.
  • God has not finished with The Salvation Army.
  • The remnant of Sardis must sound a call to arms.
  • Those who have ears and are responsive to the message will repent!

Comrades if we are faithful and courageous then we will once again ‘reach more and more of those who lie outside every church boundary.”


Monday, March 06, 2006

Employment Opportunity?

The following advert originally appeared in Railton's "Heathen England, And What To Do For It" [1877]

Wanted always, for the Christian Mission Evangelistic Staff, Men and Women of God, anxious to devote their lives to the work of saving souls.

Whose character will bear any amount of investigation;

Who can talk to a crowd of people out of doors and in, so as to wound sinners’ hearts;

Who can lead a band of godly men and women to do anything likely to win souls;

Who are perfectly ready to speak, pray, visit, sit still, travel a hundred miles, or die at any moment;

Who have given up drink, tobacco, and finery for Christ’s sake, or are willing to give up anything and everything for Him;

Who are willing to be led and taught, and to be sent home again if they do not succeed.


Persons whom “being out of employment, desire to give themselves entirely,” &c., &c.;

Who “do not think they can be expected” to exhaust all their strength in labouring day and night to save souls;

Who “if engaged will endeavour to give satisfaction to their employers;”

Who will take any notice of the fact that their “friends object” to their going or living anywhere or doing anything they are asked to do;

Who desire “light employment,” “find their work begin to tell on them,” &c., &c.;

Who “would like to know particulars as to salary, hours, home, &c. before engaging”;

Who “are sometimes troubled with doubts” about the nspiration of the Bible, the divinity of Christ, the Atonement, election, the possibility of falling from grace, eternal damnation, or the personality of the devil;

Who “having had considerable experience” in our kind of work, think they know how to do it.

Why doesn't the Candidates department do something with this little gem!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The dam and the demons

Is it possible to overestimate the value of talking and praying with like-minded individuals?

Recently I have been privileged to get together with people whose spiritual credentials I hold in high regard. It was great to talk and pray (I wish we’d prayed more and talked less – but we’re human and my being in the group didn’t help!)

Last night there were seven of us firing each other up. I was so excited and wound up at the thought of imminent revival that when everyone had gone home I couldn’t sleep – so I prayed instead! I repented of the fact that I hadn’t got as much out of the time as I could have done. I repented of the fact that I’d dominated the conversation. I also praised God that I am what I am (warts and all) and that subject to the ongoing influence of grace WYSIWYG!

I wish we could have prayed all night, I genuinely didn’t want to stop. God is doing some wonderful things – I’ve never considered myself a prayer warrior and prayer is something I have had to be disciplined about – yet prayer is starting to come naturally and I sense the overwhelming presence of God’s spirit with me when I pray!

Friends I believe that we are standing on the verge of something big, something Pentecostal, something comparative to the SA 1870-1890.

A couple of months ago at the UK congress an African Officer (who I didn’t know from Adam) came up to me resplendent in his white uniform , hugged me and said “Don’t worry brother the revival is coming it wont always be like this!” What made his comments even more remarkable was the fact that we had just come out of an excellent meeting! (It obviously wasn’t as excellent as he is used to!)

I have this vision...

I see a great huge demonic dam behind which swell the stored up (but withheld) blessings of God.

Beneath the dam (on the dry side) is a well established but somewhat complacent and ragged camp of demons. The village is dilapidated and they are disorganised and unfit. Yet from this dry spot these ‘powers’ tease and taunt The Salvation Army with experienced and relative ease.

A hundred years ago these flabby minions were some of the devil’s best, keenest, most eager, well honed warriors. However, over the years they have become apathetic. From the security of their camp they consider their job done. The dam has held back the water for over a hundred years. It is a feat of remarkable and despicable engineering.

The dam is constructed of hypocrisy, legalism, a lack of compassion, a lack of holiness, a love of reputation, ecumenical status, misplaced priorities, commercialism, a lack of faith and worldliness.

Yet there has recently been a flurry of activity in the camp. Rusty swords are being sharpened, dry shields are being oiled, out of condition bodies are exercising for someone has noticed a crack in the dam and then another and then another. Resources have rapidly been requested from other parts of the realm. High ranking 'principalities' have visited the camp and taken the guardians of this distant outpost to task.

The prayers of the remnant are starting to crack the dam. The cracks are getting bigger and fasting and repentance is seriously threatening the integrity of the structure. They never expected this archaic, autocratic, incestuous, once evangelical dinosaur to stir. They had made this mistake before? Why hadn’t they learnt their lesson that with God nothing is truly dead until he says so!

Friends, the dam is coming down and the village and its occupants will be washed away. The raging torrents will cleanse and feed and remove anything that is not firmly anchored in Christ.

Booth used to weep over Acts 2 and cry out in prayer “do it again Lord, do it again!”

Friends - God is about to ‘do it again’

In his absolute generosity he has allowed us to be alive at this time and to be a part of this? This is going to happen in our life time, it is going to happen around us and in and through us!

Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sound familiar?

Check out the following video by clicking here... does this sound familiar?

Soldier rouse thee!

On Tuesday afternoon I ordered a copy of ‘Soldier Saint’ from amazingly the book arrived the following morning! Providence provided me with an unexpected opportunity to read this masterpiece in one sitting. I finished reading at 2:30am this morning.

My natural reaction on completing the book was to cry, these tears soon turned into repentance and culminated in a time of renewed commitment to the cause of Christ! Eventually I retired at about 4am but was unable to sleep. In spite of this Railton inspired insomnia I got up this morning with more energy and vigour than I have experienced in a long time!

Why have I never read this book before? Railton is my hero, he is my absolute inspiration - yet I have never read this excellent biography. I have read everything there is to read on SA history and committed anything I consider relevant to memory! I have even read the forbidden history such as F.A. Mackenzie’s ‘Clash of the Cymbals’. Yet I have never read this book?

This is essential reading for anyone who truly bears the name ‘Salvationist’!

Bernard Watson (maybe because Coutts was General) manages to get most of the hitherto indigestible truth in about the clash between the Booths and Railton but understandably doesn’t come down on any one side of the argument.

In summary, Watson says.

William never really (in his heart) disagreed with Railton but increasingly allowed Bramwell to determine the direction of the Army. Bramwell never stopped loving Railton but did what he felt was necessary to ensure the worldwide development of the Army. Railton did what God told him to do regardless of what anyone else thought! Watson leaves the reader to make up his own mind and to take sides if they wish.

As one would expect – I took sides! Railton was right, absolutely right and had Catherine lived as long as William it would have been Railton’s line that was taken and not Bramwell’s.

The proof of the pudding is seen in our current decline and in the tragic and rather disappointing end of Bramwell. When one considers how sycophantic, obsequious and unaccountably autocratic the Army was in 1926 the fact that Bramwell was actually deposed says an enormous amount about how desperate things must have become!

The truth is that the poison (slow working though it was) took hold as early as the 1890’s and the only one who could see it was Railton (maybe a few others would have seen it had it not been for their blind and understandable loyalty to the Founder).

I do not doubt that Bramwell was anything but a conscientious and sincere custodian. His efforts have entrusted us with what is (in the west) a largely humanitarian and vaguely evangelical organisation. If we wish to fulfil Railton’s (and in my opinion God’s) unfinished business and (in Railton’s words) ‘remake’ The Salvation Army it will require the following absolute non negotiable essentials. We must:

Entirely sanctify ourselves to God (without any reservation whatsoever!)

Renounce the world, the flesh and the devil and set ourselves apart (not from those we week to save but from their distractions)

Embrace poverty and be prepared to live by faith alone if necessary (not only individually but corporately too!)

Quantify our practical actions (however ingrained they have
become) by their evangelical success rather than their PR value

This will be no easy road but it is the only road down which any future Salvation Army will be permitted to march!

Love and prayers Andrew!