Tuesday, May 29, 2007
How come uniforms are so 'last century' to everyone other than new converts who can't wait to put them on!
Also pictured is my beautiful wife and soul mate Tracey!
On to the conflict...
Friday, May 25, 2007
John Harding and Andrew Skipjack have enlisted for the Salvation war.
In preparartion for the big day I have written the following song to be used during the signing of the soldier's covenant.
We will sing these words to the tune of Repton:
In faithfulness we humbly bow
Before your throne Lord Christ,
Draw close and hear our sacred vow
And may your grace accept just now
The lives we’ve sacrificed.
As soldiers we are called to fight
In this dark world of sin.
O Pentecostal flame ignite
Our lives with holy fire and light
So we will fight and win.
We’ll feed the hungry, save the lost,
The prisoner we’ll release
The poor and lame we’ll gladly host
We’ll pray and preach but love the most
Empowered by your peace
So come and seal our offering
Accept our lives we pray
As in our hearts we crown you king
And with the angels gladly sing
Of soldiers made today.
May God bless the new converts - pictures and a full report will appear here on Monday!
Love and prayers
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Our little hall was full to capacity.
We sang the following songs:
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
As for me... "I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day!" (2 Timothy 1:12)
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Those arguments have been summarised and dismissed in an article by Chick Yuill in the Rubicon (for more detail and context go here)
Yuill dismisses the surpassing importance of personal holiness over and above ceremony and rite as follows:
“That line of argument—beautifully, movingly and poetically expressed by Albert Orsborne—has been that the sacramental principle is too big and too important to be limited to a ceremony and that, properly understood, the true sacrament is the fully surrendered life of the Christian… This, to me, is the Army’s position at its best. But alas, it now seems that the noble and worthy position of Orsborne and his like has been hijacked and even perverted into a rather unpleasant statement of superiority—one which not only denigrates the convictions of many sincere, seeking and troubled Salvationists, but also effectively dismisses almost the entire Christian church who do not share our position.”
I find this paragraph highly offensive to those sincere proponents of personal holiness who do not see themselves as superior to the rest of the church but sincerely and humbly believe in the “noble and worthy position of Orsborne” The Osborne position is still valid – the only reason it seems weak isn’t because it has been hijacked or perverted by those who see themselves as superior but because the demands of holiness appear unrealistic (or perhaps unpalatable) to the majority of contemporary Christians. Even if this argument was ‘perverted’ surely our responsibility toward what was once ‘a noble and worthy position’should be to reclaim it and restore it not discard it.
Chick goes on to say
“I would contend, however, that the real issue—and here I come to the heart of my argument—is not that red juice fascinates less spiritual comrades who are not sufficiently tutored in the blessing of a clean heart, but that faith in Jesus Christ as a perfectly adequate, all-sufficient Saviour does not nullify our humanity.”
I agree that holiness does not ‘nullify our humanity’; holy people remain quite capable of making mistakes and still require the grace of God to motivate and maintain their holiness. Humanity also makes us susceptible to the power of symbols and ritual. However, whilst holiness does not ‘nullify our humanity’ it does supplant our human nature by creating the image of Jesus in us.
Charles Finney used to argue that if a believer surrenders 99% of their life to God and knowingly withholds 1% their sacrifice is worthless, as the 1% withheld represents deliberate disobedience and deliberate disobedience amounts to sin. Holiness is about grace inspired and fuelled surrender – complete surrender. A completely surrendered life might well remember Christ at mealtimes (indeed at all times throughout the day!) but would have no need of a ceremony in order to remind themselves of the one to whom they have consecrated themselves and who, in return has sanctified them.
This issue is hugely important because without meeting the demands of holiness the church – let alone TSA has no future! This is why our denominational witness is so important.
As a mission we need to travel light – our job is to make converts, enrol soldiers, train evangelists, fight for social justice and help people to lead holy lives.
I have read and re-read Yuill’s article with great care, and whilst the reintroduction of the sacraments might expand or broaden our corporate and personal worship I cannot see how it could possibly make us a more effective mission.
If our mandate is still to save the maximum number of people in the minimum amount of time how would such a change help?
Surely what we ought to do is just get back to preaching the gospel, pressing for decisions, supporting converts, helping people live holy lives.
The restoration of communion (in whatever form) might make Sunday more fun for believers but do very little for the lost.
One final thing – if Salvationists feel so strongly about this issue there area plethora of evangelical churches they can join which will adequately meet their needs. For those of us committed to a non-sacramental stance there is only TSA.
Dare I say that the main reason many (not all but many) Salvationists want to see the sacraments return is because defending the Army's position becomes increasingly tiresome when they are constantly rubbing shoulders with sacramental Christians on the 'preaching circuit'. It's bad enough always having to say 'sorry I don't drink I'm a Salvationist' but at least that only usually happens in a secular environment but constantly being asked 'why don't you have communion' for some is obviously a bit wearing.
Love and prayers
If it be asked whether I mean by sanctification or a Personal Pentecost the mighty rushing wind and the tongues of fire, gifts of healing and miraculous power, I answer emphatically, "No!" But I mean the plenitude of the Holy Spirit, the filling of our hearts with the Divine love and power which results in the salvation of many souls. Thank God we may now be so filled with the Spirit, entirely sanctified, made perfect in love, and possessed with a passionate enthusiasm for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
But in order to come into the enjoyment of this glorious experience certain conditions must be met. Need I point out that God has attached conditions to the bestowal of all His great gifts, and clearly stipulates them in His Word. With these conditions we must cheerfully comply; we must add nothing to them, and take nothing from them. But as soon as we meet the conditions, God undoubtedly will fulfil His pledge. He cannot mock us. He will not go back on His own truth. He lovingly waits now to confer the infinite riches of His Holy Spirit upon His every obedient child.
But now, putting aside all preliminaries, what are the conditions with which we must comply before Jesus can baptise us "with the Holy Ghost and with Fire," and fill us with all the fullness of God. Briefly, they are these:-
1. THERE MUST BE A GENUINE HUNGERING AND THIRSTING FOR THESE GIFTS. "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." This is the initial step - the cornerstone of the whole structure. No hungering, no thirsting - no filling. We may reckon positively that the Holy Ghost will never pour resurrection life and fullness into our lives until we are right dead in earnest about it, and feel we cannot live and work another day without it. Are you hungering and thirsting for this incoming? This is the first step, and we cannot take the second until we have taken this one.
2. THERE MUST BE A SPIRIT OF ABSOLUTE AND UNQUESTIONING OBEDIENCE. This was the condition attached by Christ to the bestowal of the first apostolic baptism. He commanded them “that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me" (Acts 1:4). This condition of all blessing is expressed in the words of the mother of Jesus, "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it" (John2:5). The obedient alone shall eat of, the fat of the land. There must then be prompt, exact, and cheerful obedience if this gift is to be possessed.
3. THE BAPTISM MUST BE SOUGHT SOLELY FOR GOD'S GLORY. Not for my comfort, nor my joy, nor the promotion of neither my interests, nor that I may be happy. All these things will come in their natural course. One thought and purpose alone must possess and move me; "Not my glory, but His, and His alone!"
4. I MUST YIELD MYSELF UNRESERVEDLY TO GOD. I must “present” my “body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is" my "reasonable service" (Rom 12:1) “What things” are "gain unto me, these I” must count “loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I” must count “all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, and ... count them but dung.”
Another condition upon which the fullness of the Divine blessing is dependent is given in Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, If I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
See also Matthew 19:20; Mark 12:44. To yield is to possess; to lose is to find.
5. LASTLY, I MUST TAKE. One of the most significant words of the whole Bible is that little word TAKE. It is a case of "take it or leave it." You will get no more than you take. Do not remain talking about “trying” to take it. Take it! Help yourself!
The results to any company of people receiving this baptism must be similar to those produced at its first bestowal. Let us see what those first results were, and their present day analogies on our life and work.
1. THE BAPTISM QUALIFIES US FOR ATTRACTING THE CROWDS. We read that immediately after the first Pentecost, “when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together.” A house on fire always attracts a crowd, so does a man on fire. A Band or Brigade filled with the Holy Spirit and with Fire will not be long without crowds.
2. IT SETTLES THE QUESTION OF " HOW TO GET A MOVE ON - In some places the work of God may be stagnant; almost everything has been tried by way of a remedy, and yet things remain in, many instances as they were. Why not try a Pentecost? You will be certain to create a stir then. We read that when the hundred and twenty were baptised the people “were all amazed and marvelled”, they were “confounded” … "in doubt, saying to one another, what meaneth this?” (Acts 2:6-7 and 12). There is nothing like the Holy Ghost for creating interest, causing a stir, “getting a move on” among the people.
3. IT WILL SETTLE THE QUESTION OF WHAT WE ARE TO PREACH. Read Peter's sermon as recorded in Acts 2 from verse 17 to the finish of the chapter. We must give the people the pure unadulterated truth of God, without trimming or qualification, if, we want to cut men and women to the heart. There must be no withholding the sword from blood, no holding back unpalatable truths about sin or judgment or hell. The Holy Spirit will teach us to deliver “the whole counsel of God.”
4. IT WILL HELP TO SETTLE THE QUESTION OF CONVERTS STANDING. They will remain steadfast -not carried away by every wind of temptation, persecution, or false doctrine that blows. “And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship." (Acts 2:42.)
5. IT WILL HELP TO SOLVE MANY DIFFICULTIES. “And all they that believed, were together, and had all things common.” They were of one heart and of one soul. Men sometimes call the sacrifices of love of that day fanaticism. Such practice is, perhaps, not possible in these days, but the spirit of it is as necessary now, as then, to the success of God's Kingdom on earth. No stingy man can have the Holy Ghost. The work of God is backward in many places, almost solely because of the stinginess of God's people. Nothing but a general and genuine Pentecost will alter such a state of things.
6. IT ALSO BRINGS CANDIDATES FOR OFFICERSHIP. “And ye shall be witnesses unto Me... Unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” A Pentecost brings men and women to that point where their highest joy is to devote all their powers to the publishing of the everlasting Gospel.
In conclusion, let me say that I believe it will help to solve all the problems connected with ourselves and the work God has given us to day. It is your high privilege, and the command of your Lord: - “Be ye FILLED with the Spirit.”
Monday, May 14, 2007
Love and prayers A
WHY DO BANDS EXIST
"Having assured you of the deep sympathy I feel with you in your work, and of my true appreciation or your toil and trouble involved in the discharge of your duties, I want to suggest some improvements which, if adopted, will, I think, make the services you render to the Corps more valuable and useful still.
I will begin by reminding you of the object for which The Salvation Army Bands exist, and after we have looked at that, I think you will be better able to judge whether your particular Band is conducted in the manner calculated to secure the accomplishment of that object.
NOT FOR THIS!
1. A Band is not created and maintained for the mere amusement of the individuals composing it. To say that this were the case would lower it very nearly to the level of a Cricket Club or a Choral Society.
2. Neither does a band exist for the benefit of its members, either as regards their musical attainments, or the promotion of their personal religion.
To those members who are faithful to their opportunity and the duties it devolves upon them, the band will doubtless prove, a school in which their musical ability will be developed, and a means of grace by which their souls may be greatly blessed; but these are not the ends for which the band exists.
3. A band does not exist for the amusement of other people.
Music is, beyond question, very attractive, and capable of imparting many delightful emotions; but I certainly am not called to raise Salvation Army bands for the purpose of merely gratifying our own Soldiers or of pleasing the crowd outside.
THE ARMY'S PURPOSE
In a general way, I may say that a band exists for the same purpose as The Salvation Army itself. We all know what that object is but I may just express it in a few words; The Salvation Army exists to promote the Glory of God in the Salvation of a dying World, the Sanctification of our Soldiers, and the inspiration of all alike with that same Spirit that brought Jesus Christ from Heaven to live, suffer and die for the Salvation of the world.
That is the object for which The Salvation Army exists, and the bands, as a part of that Army, must have the same object, and be actuated by the same spirit - that is, if it is loyal to the purpose for which it has been called into being.
Is not this the object for which you expect your Officers will live and after which you desire that they should aspire? Would you be content with any aim lower than this in them? Suppose a Captain came to your Corps; who made it evident that all he wanted was to show off his abilities, to set forth how eloquently he could talk on the platform, what wonderful words and ideas he could express in his prayers, what marvellous reports he could write for "Cry," or how cleverly he could play on the cornet or something else of the same description, would not every right-minded Soldier in the Corps look down on such a Captain with pity, if not contempt, and say, "We thought you had come here to help us to save souls and live holy lives; we are afraid that you have mistaken your calling; had you not better go to the Penitent Form and get saved yourself?”
What do you reckon, my Comrades, is the purpose for which your General journeys to and fro over land and sea; for what do I sit writing at my desk by night and by day; for what do I argue and plead in councils and conferences with my Officers; for what do I stand on the Platform and talk, and pray, till I can scarcely stand at all? It is, as you know, that I may cooperate with my Comrades in the attainment of this object, that is, thee blessing of my Soldiers, and the saving of the People.
Now, as a part and parcel of The Army, the object of the band must be the same as is that of The Army; the same as your Captain's; the same as your General's - you wish it to be so, and you glory in the fact that it is so.
This purpose can be carried out in various ways. And first and foremost, it can do this:-
1. By attracting strangers to our meetings, cheering up our own people, and generally commending The Army to public notice. I think this part of the work of a band is generally aimed at in a very rational and hearty manner, and I believe that in this respect great success has crowned the efforts put forth. Most of our tunes are of a popular character, and the manner in which they are played is in many cases very pleasing and attractive to the public ear.
In the performance of every kind of music I give to all my Bandsmen the same rule for their guidance that I give to every other class of Officer in the Army, the rule by which I hope I constantly strive to be guided myself, and which says: “Whether you pray to God, or talk to man; whether you write for the 'Cry,' or play your Music, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God, do it for the benefit of your fellows, do it in the Spirit of The Salvation Army, and do it as well as ever you can”
Now, without posing as a musician, there is one thing I would like to say with regard to the playing of our bands which, if attended to, will, I am convinced, do more to improve our music, and more to make it acceptable and useful to our people, than perhaps any other thing that can be done. That one thing is, let there be an honest attempt on the part of every Bandsman to bring his particular Instrument into such agreement with the rest of his Comrades’ that the united sound shall be one harmonious whole.
In listening to a band we do not want to hear the cornet, or the trombone, or even the Drum, clanging and banging out loud and distinct above the rest. What we want is to hear the sound proceeding from every instrument, so blended together that it shall be as if the whole volume came from one instrument only. This will be a result not attained in a day, but, it should be aimed at and persistently sought if the highest success in band performances is to be reached."
Friday, May 11, 2007
The text below is from the full page advert (left) printed on the backpage of the 'The Bandsman, Local Officer and Songster' March 14th 1914.
Aren't the sentiments it conveys equally valid today?
Love and prayers
"There is a charm about Salvation Army uniform which is perhaps, better experienced than described. It has an attractiveness which is entirely its own, and the impression it makes upon the casual observer is without parallel in the realms of religious attire.
How many thousands of people have been attracted to the Army, won for God, and helped in many ways by the means of this world famous uniform?
In every land the wearer of the Army uniform is recognised as a servant of suffering humanity... The Uniform is, undoubtedly, the most potent advertisement The Army has ever adopted, and its value cannot well be overstated. It brings blessing to the wearers as well as those with whom they come into contact. A Salvationist’s personal appearance should endorse his testimony. It is quite possible for the Army Suit of blue to be a silent testimony as to ‘whose we are and whom we serve.' As our Army Mother wrote; 'we speak to numbers by our, appearance to whom we can never speak by our words' "
Thursday, May 10, 2007
No III - HOLINESS.
THE convert, especially if he has not been brought up within the sound of Army teaching, soon begins to enquire about the holiness which he finds the subject of so much of the Officers' talk and the Soldiers' testimonies. Sometimes he grasps it at once; in other cases he finds it "after many days."
The Penitent-form Sergeant will have to be very practical if he is to be of use to the searcher at the eleven o’clock Sunday meeting or Friday evening meeting. He will find himself kneeling by the side of people perhaps more learned than he is, seeking greater light; and will also be called upon to declare plainly to others that what they want is salvation before they go a step further.
There is much that cannot at once be comprehended about holiness; beautiful to talk over; and yet to bring it down to earth it just means having the heart right with God.
A man gets his sins forgiven and knows the past is "under the blood"; but what about the future? Is he to be a conqueror, an overcomer, "immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord"; or is he to be a weakling, up today and down tomorrow, always crying out "Oh! Wretched man that I am, I love the evil I flee from, and and every now and then it catches me!” It all depends on whether there is a heart-whole surrender to God; and a being filled, in return, with that spirit which gives rise to right action.
People come to the penitent-form - altar is the right word in their case - with a vague idea that by some instantaneous process they will be converted into angels. The best man who ever lives will never be an angel till he gets to Glory, but he may do the will of God on earth as the angels do it in Heaven.
That is holiness; doing the will of God; not your will, but His; living so that you have a conscience void of offence; and loving God so that you have no. love for sin.
Possessing that holiness you may be buffeted, storm- tossed, bewildered, pained, bereaved, brought into dire straits of poverty and ill-health, but never betrayed into the sin which surely over takes and overcomes the man who being cleansed of his leprosy gees off to his companions without thinking any more about the blessed One who cleansed him.
The man at the altar, fresh from a terrible lapse into sin, needs salvation, when he says he is after holiness! Tell him so! Get him to lay down his sin once for all, to cry to God for the power to hate it, to believe that God gives him strength to take his enemies of lust, drink, and worldliness by the neck and pound the life out of them with the clubs of faith and prayer, and he will assuredly pass out of the troubled waters, where Christ has met him in the darkness of the tempest, into the sunlit ocean of full salvation.
The trembling soul who is giving up all to God at the altar, only needs prompting to say "I dare! Lord!" to enter into such a rapture of soul as shall make Heaven more real than earth!
Up with the weeds! Tear down your idols! Throw open the doors of your heart and the King of Glory will come in.
The Penitent-form Sergeant can safely talk like that, as circumstances require; and afterwards may counsel patience, courage, perseverance, a pressing onward, and a high standard stopping nowhere short of perfection -in brief, the holiness set forth, as what God expects from his people, from cover to cover of the bible.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
"That's, your man," said the" publican to a “Brother Bung" as he pointed to "Sam the Bear," sitting in a corner of the taproom, and looking wistfully into an empty pint pot. "Good," said Mr. Bung, and approaching Sam with a great show of friendliness, he ordered the pot to be filled. "Drink that off," he said; "and when it’s gone, there's another waiting for you."
Sam did not want a second bidding, but he was quite sure he was not being “treated” for nothing, and therefore when he was well on the way of swallowing the second instalment of "free beer", he bluntly' asked what was wanted of him.
“Oh! Nothing much,” said Mr. Bung. “Only a bit of fun. The fact is some of us in the trade think these Army people are going a bit too far, hollering about the streets, deceiving honest British workmen into giving up their beer, and drawing our customers out of the bar. Why should they have it all, their own way? Why don't you, and a few lads of spirit, stick, up for your rights? We'll help you; and as for beer you can have as much of it as you want, and a quart to pour over the Army Captain as well!"
"I'm your man”, said the poor drunkard. "Lor'! What a game we'll have!"
The publican, who had recommended him as a fitting leader for a local "Skeleton" army, came round from behind the bar, and patted on the shoulder. "I'd back ‘Sam the Bear’ for beer and devilment against any man breathing," he said.
“‘Sam the Bear'?" queried Mr, Bung. “Is that his right name?” Sam laughed. “It's what they call me,” he said, in drunken pride, “for a bit o’ play-acting I used to do when me, and, my mates wanted a copper or two for beer. I was younger then, and a lot of us were up to anything. A pal o' mine says to me one day, when we was both stone broke and dreadful thirsty, ‘Sam, you play bear and I'll act keeper, and we'll make" as much as that Frenchy who went round the fair last year!’ So he gets a rope and puts it round my neck, and I gets down on all fours, and then dances about while he flourishes his pole and says, 'drop a copper in my cap, ladies and gents, to encourage the British bear and his keeper. "Lor’ how it worked, we wasn't sober for weeks together!”
“Well, you play the bear with them interfering Salvationists and you won't go short of beer," said Mr Bung. "There’s a few at my house as will be pleased to join you. We’ll show those red-shirted chaps that the British working-man ain't going to be frightened out of having his pint by the likes of them."
"So the ‘Skeleton’ army sprang into being that very night, and its appointed leader, ‘Sam the Bear,’ did his best to earn the beer which flowed in a never-ending stream from the taps of the publicans who had at first only laughed when The Army ‘opened fire’ in the town, but, when they saw some of their best customers leaving the bard for the penitent-form, they grow angry.
‘Sam the Bear,’ became a regular attendant at The Army meetings, indoor and open-air, and made himself a thorough nuisance to the Officers and Soldiers.
Every now and then, however, a ‘shot’ went home. He couldn’t help seeing that these people were better of than he was, and when they told him he was ‘a slave to drink’ he knew it was true! He roared out some drunken song in reply, but he fairly ‘squirmed’ when the Captain got in another ‘arrow’ in the shape of the words, “The wages of sin is death!”
In the middle of the night he woke up and thought it all over. “A slave to drink!
“Yes, he had been that from his youth up, and the demon had proved a hard taskmaster. At his bidding, ‘Sam the Bear’ had made a public exhibition of his own foolishness, become a terror to his Wife and children, broken up home after home, gone upon the tramp, and got into trouble of all descriptions. He had tried to get free many a time, but the demon drink had only riveted his chains the, faster. That Army man was right! He was a slave!
Yet he was going to be paid his wages! He had seen many another slave "paid off" on this earth, and wondered when his own time would come. Death! Yes, that was the Devil's currency in which" he- paid his bitter wages. The Army man was right, and yet he, ‘Sam the Bear’ was trying every night to upset these' people whose every thought was to do him good! He was a fool for his pains! He would give up beer and get better work than leading the Skeletons. So he thought, but, with the morning all his good resolutions vanished.
Presently, a ‘Skeleton’ got converted - then another - and another!
‘Sam the Bear’ looked on aghast! Very soon the publicans told him he was recruiting for The Salvation Army instead of driving them out of the town!
The comrade, who sent us the outlines of the above story, adds: “The whole of Sam’s Skeleton army were caught in the Salvation net; and at last, Sam himself, utterly broken down, fell at the mercy-seat and within half an hour was testifying to the fact of his conversion, in the open-air before hundreds of people congregated at Rowell Fair. For twenty-two years he has continued praying, preaching, and testifying to the saving and keeping power of God, indoor and out.
The ‘Skeleton, the, drunkard who was once known as ‘Sam the Bear,' is now Band-Sergeant Law, of the Rothwell Salvation Army Band, Northants, prompt, with spiritual counsel, ever ready to visit the sick, assist in the meetings, to go anywhere and do anything for God, and The Army.
Friday, May 04, 2007
The first is an article by the Founder called 'What is worldliness'... happy reading.
"What is Worldliness? BY THE GENERAL
Some time ago on one of my world-wide journeys, I was invited out of respect to my position and in sympathy with my philanthropic work, to a banquet at a ladies’ college. The building was imposing and commodious. The repast was set forth with great taste in the spacious lecture hall, the tables were highly ornamented and laden with almost, every luxury in season, while the guests included nearly every celebrity, religious and secular, of the City and neighbourhood.
Everything savoured to me of the worldliest of the worldly, and as I sat over my cup of tea- for it was 7pm – between a couple of high-class Doctors of Divinity, I could not refrain from remarking to one of the gentlemen something after the following:-
“You gentlemen are ever holding conventions where you discuss questions concerning the welfare of the Church, the maintenance of sound doctrine, and the progress of religion generally; might it be useful if you could, on one or other of these occasions consider and settle what giving tip the world really signifies? In every country thousands of simple hearted souls are denying themselves the pleasures, comforts, and in some cases even the necessaries of life in order to comply with that renunciation of the world which they are taught to believe is required from them in the Bible; and yet I cannot conceive how we could have a more complete exhibition of that world which we are supposed to give up, than we have tonight in this college which is regarded as a fountain-head of religious teaching.”
I forget now what answer I received on that occasion, but I have often put the same question to myself since that day, and I desire to propose it again to you, my comrades, with a view to seeing if we cannot find an answer that will be useful to us. What is the worldliness that we are called to give up?
A DEADLY ENEMY.
Of its importance I need not wait one moment to speak. A single remark which, if received – and I don't think an individual will be prepared to contradict it - will prove, its importance, as we sometimes say, "up to the very hilt"; and that is, that worldliness is the most deadly enemy with which the Kingdom of Christ has to contend. In contests with Christianity of former days it has been victorious where every other foe has failed. Where persecution, heresy, poverty, and devils have had to acknowledge themselves defeated, worldliness has, without nose or stir, quietly succeeded, and left the Cause of Christ vanquished, like Samson of old, a byword, a reproach, and a laughing-stock to earth and hell.
Worldliness must not be confounded with respectability. - For instance, a man may be very worldly, and yet the reverse of respectable - witness your Card Sharper, Bogus Company-monger, and a host of other characters who live by their wits, and whose society would simply disgust the whole circle of wealthy, gay, and fashionable folk.
On the other hand, a man may, by his conduct, character, and appearance, command the respect of a great many of the people around him, and yet be the opposite of what would ordinarily be termed worldly.
To be decent in manner and appearance is to be respectable, but surely it is not, worldly to speak correctly, have a clean face, with, the dirt brushed off your clothes, and your house swept up and set in order.
To be truthful, industrious, honest, and just is to be respectable, but surely it cannot in any way be counted worldly to avoid falsehood, to work hard, and to pay your debts.
To be intelligent and honourable in your dealings with men, and capable and methodical in your business, will command the respect of all around you, whether they hate your religion or admire it, but surely no one in their right senses would think of putting such, qualities down as being worldly.
THE GREAT CHANGE.
No; the most reprobate and dissolute wretch saved in The Salvation Army commences a career of respectability at the Penitent Form, if not with the first resolve to seek God that rises in his bosom. He goes home, embraces his wife, asks her forgiveness for past ill-treatment, kisses his children, and promises to be a good father. He turns up at the hour when work commences the next morning, gives up the drink to the amazement of his old companions, surprises the Publican and the Shopkeeper by announcing that he is going to pay his debts, takes his earning to his wife on the Saturday night, and appears at the Hall on the following Sunday morning in his right mind, and clothed with a suit that has been in the careful keeping of his "Uncle" for many a day. Consequently he comes at once to be a regarded by a large number of his old acquaintances as respectable man, and yet he is further from being a worldly man than he has ever been before, or ever expected to be.
Neither does worldliness consist in the possession of some of the good things of the World; that is, if they can be possessed under lawful conditions.
I prefer to have good wholesome bread on my table. I like fresh air in my crowded HaIls. I choose the shady side of the road in summer, if there is one, when the sun is high in the heavens, and am thankful for a warm-coat and a good fire in winter. That is when I can get these things without injury to the interests of those about me, but that does not make or prove me to be worldly in the sense in which worldliness is condemned in the Bible.
Neither does worldliness consist in any resemblance to the world in being conformed in those of its usages which appear to us necessary to health and well-being.
For instance, I wear clothes; I live in a house; I use soap; I take a bath. Ought I to give up these practices because worldly men enjoy the same comforts? Again The Army has an account at what is, in a certain sense, a very worldly Bank; the International Headquarters are situated in a very worldly street, one of the best for high-class business, that is, worldly business, to be found in London; but these things do not prove either The General or The Army, or the International Headquarters to be worldly.
Neither does Worldliness consist in a man equalling or even excelling the world in some of its choicest or most valuable possessions or gifts.
For instance, it does not make a man worldly: -
- Because he wears a, more becoming and comfortable dress than the ordinary run of mortals, which is the case with Salvationists.
- Because he possesses a better voice for a song, which many, Salvationists do.
- Because he is more eloquent and effective in, speech, which many Salvationists certainly are.
- Because he has more brains - more common sense - which is not at all an uncommon occurrence.
- Because he may possess greater wealth that is, if he makes a good use of it.
- Because he wields greater influence with the world around him for good which Salvationists doubtlessly do.
- Because he might be able to command a more imposing and commodious building for his Salvation Temple than the worldlings possess.
These good gifts of God, or good acquisitions of man, are not, I say again, sinful in themselves. If they were, Heaven where beauty, and wealth, and intellect, and every other good and perfect gift, will be found in perfection, would be the most sinful, place in the Universe, instead of being the most spiritual and holy, which it certainly is.
THE ANSWER.What, then, is the worldliness condemned in the Bible, which is the enemy of our Salvation, and which every Officer and Soldier in The Army is bound to combat and forgo?
Worldliness is the possession, and the manifestation of an evil spirit. It is not the form in which this spirit makes itself manifest that is so important, but the evil spirit itself - it is not the fruit that needs so much to be considered as the tree on which it grows. It is the motive which settles the rightness or wrongness of moral action.
You may have the same conduct in two people, which in one may be benevolent, good, and, therefore, commendable; but in the other it may be selfish, bad, and therefore, to be execrated.
For instance, two men may each give twenty shillings to two other men, but one gives the twenty shillings to the first to assist a poor family in distress, and the other gives twenty shillings to the second to bribe him to give his vote contrary to the dictates of his conscience, and the interests of the community.
It is the motive which determines the moral character of actions. Just so you will see that two men may possess similar good things, and expend them; one on the gratification of his selfishness, and the other on the glory of Christ and the Salvation of men. One has a worldly and the other a divine spirit.
If therefore, we look in the light of this truth, at the spirit which controls and actuates men and women of all classes, around us, and carefully examine also our own hearts, we shall soon discover what worldliness is and what is not. "
Yours set apart, for the lost, in the Army
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
The Regulations are widely misunderstood. Those promoting them talk about the need to eradicate prejudice against homosexuals not realising that without the necessary safeguards these Regulations are creating a new prejudice against those who want to live according to the bible's teaching that all sex outside heterosexual marriage is wrong.
The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship has produced Guidance on the new law which is available here.
The Guidance should be read in conjunction with the Frequently Asked Questions document.
Also see debate in The UK Times this week to understand how the Regulations are being misunderstood, here and here.
As Fred Fry put it...
"We go forth not to fight 'gainst the sinner, but sin;
The lost and the outcast we love;
And the claims of our King we before them will bring
As we urge them his mercy to prove.
Love and prayers to EVERYONE!