Thursday evening I had twenty minutes to kill and that is exactly what I did – I killed them! I started playing a stupid game from 'Facebook' called 'Staries". When I clicked on the link 'add application' I could clearly hear God telling me that there were infinitely better ways I could spend 20 minutes but I ignored him. The following day I was 'obligated to defeat' and it was a lesson I mean to learn. It's time that those of us who dare to call ourselves Salvationists stopped pussy-footing around and began to preach the glorious holiness heritage that is ours without hesitation, compromise or apology!
The surrender of one's all means exactly what it says – "all"!
Below are a few quotes from the 1923 edition of the Doctrine Book – the meaning of the text is unequivocal!
"The bestowal of entire sanctification, as with every other gift of God's grace, is conditional — it depends upon the whole-hearted co-operation of the person to be benefited… It is but reasonable that seekers after Holiness should completely renounce everything wrong or doubtful. God could only rightly bestow so great a blessing upon those who separate themselves from all that is opposed to Him... By consecration a man once again yields himself fully to God to live only to please Him. Consecration to God must be both entire and real. To be entire it must include the body, with all its members and powers; the mind, with all its faculties; the heart, with all its capacities; also goods, money, family, influence, reputation, time, ability, life, indeed everything. To be real it must be not in imagination or sentiment merely, but everything must henceforth actually be used as belonging to God and not to ourselves."
On April 27th 2006 God revealed to me a plan for my life. On May 2nd of the same year, after prayer and consultation, I both published this 'manifesto' and pledged myself to it. I included the manifesto in an article published in the Journal of Aggressive Christianity, Issue 43 (June 2006). This was round about the same time that I received a letter from The Salvation Army welcoming me back into Officership. However, by September 2006 I was already confessing (on this blog) my failure to stick to the promises within that divinely revealed plan. A further acknowledgement of disobedience followed in November 2006. On Good Friday 2007 I was still publically admitting my failure to adopt the lifestyle I felt God was demanding of me. On June 5th 2007 I published a posting on my blog called 'Have I grieved thee with an ill kept vow?' in which I criticized Soldiers and Officers who deliberately break their covenants by publically doubting our doctrines and reinstating formal sacraments into Salvation Army meetings. An anonymous comment on that posting reprimanded me in the following way:
"Andrew your holiness manifesto states that it is "an extension of my Articles of War, and is from now on a sacred part of my Salvationist covenant." Yet you have admitted previously that you have not fully complied with its contents. Therefore have you broken your covenant to the Salvation Army and God? You seem so quick to condemn others simply for questioning certain beliefs and practices peculiar to this denomination... Perhaps those that hang on to legalism are the problem."
I must admit that my problem in being true to this manifesto was 60% disobedience and 40% doubt as to whether the demands I was placing upon myself were actually from God or simply the production of that sometimes overwhelming desire to 'self-harm' which is present in the hearts and minds of primitive Salvationists. On June I responded with the comment "like all Salvationists and Officers there have been (and undoubtedly will be) times when I fall short of the promises contained in my covenants but there is a difference between failing, repenting then re-consecrating and deliberately breaking a promise because you think it is no longer valid or because you think the promise is wrong but do not have the courage to renounce it."
On March 14th 2008 yet more public confession appeared with the comment "sadly, I have fallen well short of my self-imposed standards..." but this was followed by the statement "the conviction that created those resolutions has not gone away but intensified." Then last November I posted the following "May God forgive me for the length of time I have spent prevaricating over this clear and concise call. Talk about vacillating – my life - since receiving this call, has been a rollercoaster of commitment, obedience and victory followed by the plummeting and hellish compromise that is always the ultimate consequence of disobedience. I have lost count of the number of times I have blogged about being 'in a corner'!"
Finally – and it has to be finally (MUST be finally) I concede defeat – holiness must be the surrender of everything – every penny and every minute - even the odd twenty minutes we find here and there. Indeed I am now absolutely convinced that it is our reluctance to renounce the doubtful things, the little almost unnoticeable things that is the cause of our constant defeat.
I'm going to republish my original manifesto here and once more publically declare my intent to live my life this way. For me this is the only way to go.
My Holiness Manifesto
I believe that the following lifestyle manifesto is a gift from God, it is not an attempt to earn God's blessing but is a response to blessings already received, it is not an attempt to win 'salvation by works' it is a commitment to see God's words reflected in my actions. This manifesto is an extension of my Articles of War, and is from now on a sacred part of my Salvationist covenant. I would encourage others to sign up.
- As long as people are hungry I will only eat the minimum required to remain healthy.
- As long as people go thirsty I will only drink water.
- I will not waste or mince my words while there are people who remain deaf to God's word.
- I will not abuse my freedom in Christ but will use it to release those who are bound by sin and addiction.
- In a world of increasing leisure and dubious entertainment I surrender all my spare time to God to reach the distracted.
- In a world of increasing materialism and consumerism I will embrace poverty (as much as I practically can) and surrender my money to God to reach the dissatisfied and sell all personal possessions which are not essential to my mission.
- In a fragmented world of broken relationships, where individuals are increasingly marginalised, I will not forget my own family in my enthusiastic efforts to welcome the excluded.
- I will remember that rest is a command and obey it even though to do so is against the grain.
- In an environment damaged through the apathy of greedy industry and lazy humanity I will use the minimum of both natural resources and energy. Practically, I will wash only with cold water, walk (where possible instead of drive) and where I can travel by public transport.
- In a world of political, economic and social oppression I will fight for social justice, champion the cause of the forgotten and bring those out of sight into mind. I will make myself aware of, and join in, campaigns for social justice, I will use any purchasing power that comes my way to shop ethically.
- In a world of political correctness and Christian hypocrisy I will hate and oppose the sin but adamantly refuse to hate the sinner - I will love the unloved as Christ loves me.
- I am a resource in God's hands made freely available for him to spend as he wishes. I give myself totally and without any reservation to God and the Salvation War.
- I am dead long live Jesus!
What about everyone else..?
Well your commitment might look different to mine but whatever it looks like it must include everything – especially the little things. If it doesn't then let me assure you that you will be 'obligated to defeat'. We cannot hide the 'devoted things' among our own possessions and expect the result to be holiness. Holiness demands all that's why it's called entire consecration.
Thanks to those who have stuck by me and prayed for me during this three year struggle I am so grateful.
Now let's go to war!
Yours irrepressibly under Christ and over the devil.
Grace and peace, A