Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another William Booth...

The Daily Mail is not my favourite newspaper, it tends to be conservative, middle class, sensationalist and unreliable. It doesn't generally print news but merely comments on it. However, in a recent edition it ran the following story:

A vast study of youngsters' wellbeing in 30 industrialised nations ranked Britain among the worst for health, lifestyles and school standards relative to public spending levels. Under-age teenagers in Britain are more likely to get drunk than those in any other country, and the proportions of teenage mothers and single-parent families are amongst the highest in the survey. In "risky behaviour" - a combination of drinking, smoking and teenage pregnancy - Britain's performance is worse than all nations other than Turkey and Mexico. Educational achievement is low given the billions poured in by Labour, with more than one in 10 youngsters aged 15 to 19 not in school, training or work. This is the fourth highest rate in the 30 countries. Only Italy, Turkey and Mexico perform worse. . . The report, published by the economic think tank the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, compared data from 30 leading countries on children's welfare. . . Teen drunkenness, as measured by the number of youngsters aged 13 and 15 who have been drunk at least twice, tops the league table at 33 per cent.

By coincidence (I think not!) the letters page in the same edition contained correspondence from Derek Hanna, of Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim. It said:

One of the nation's greatest sons, William Booth, once said: "The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, politics without God, salvation without regeneration and heaven without hell."

According to Mr Hanna what hope does the UK have? That God will raise up another William Booth, or another John Wesley.

What set Wesley and Booth apart from other men and women?

Booth was once asked (close to the end of his remarkable life) what was the secret of his success, was that he had given everything to God when he was a young man? He replied (words to the effect of – I can't remember the exact quote) that there was nothing extraordinary in his giving everything to God, such consecration was not uncommon, what set hi apart from other men was that he never took anything back!

We need holiness, we need it now and we need it to be not complete but consistently complete.

"O thou God of every nation,
We now for thy blessing call;
Fit us for full consecration,
Let the fire from Heaven fall.
Bless our Army! Bless our Army!
With thy power baptize us all."

Grace and peace to all who love Jesus!


Sunday, September 06, 2009


What is real courage? Is it leaving all to go and live among the poorest of the poor? Is it being tortured for one's faith? Is it facing ravenous lions or gladiators or is it simply standing up and refusing to compromise when one is clearly in a minority?

Not according to William Booth.

The following quote is taken from an extensive article in The Officer Magazine (1895) the article was printed across several editions.

"Perhaps the highest form of courage of which the human soul is capable is that which goes up with boldness to the throne of grace, claims a full salvation at God's hands, and power to maintain and fight for it day by day. That dares to walk in the light of God, relying upon His arm for all the grace needed for a holy, conquering life.

We want the courage that will face the rebellious world of today, come out from it, renounce its riches and fashions and recreations and follies, which will despise them, and which will reject its friendships as being enmity with God. We want a courage that will recognise and resist and defy the devil. We want a courage that will trample on the daily desires of the flesh for ease and luxury.

We want a courage that will confess our Lord and glory in His salvation and proclaim deliverance from sin by Him before the whole world. We want a courage that will tell the truth, the whole truth, the plainest truth and most soul-cutting truth, on the platform, on the streets; that will warn men of the evil of sin and beseech them to flee from the wrath to come, no matter what sacrifices may be threatened or involved thereby."

According to Booth – "the highest form of courage of which the human soul is capable" is simply being holy.

To meet the conditions of holiness - to comprehensively renounce sin (and all things doubtful), to completely surrender all to God, to establish - and ten to maintain those links which will continuously fuel holiness and finally to embrace the consequences of such a commitment – according to Booth that takes guts – real guts.

No wonder there are so few holy men and women alive in 2009.

God grant us the grace to find such courage.


Friday, September 04, 2009

Poole and humble beginnings...

While on holiday in Bournemouth I visited Poole to research the 'Bartletts' and the 'Gibbs' these are my ancestors on my Gran's side. Sadly the earliest records at Poole SA only go back to the 1920's. There was a reference to the funeral of a Mrs Wynn Bartlett in 1985 who must have been a relative but nothing else.

There were, however some cuttings from early Army SA periodicals about the earliest days of the Corps – including in 1878 a visit from 'Mr Railton (William Booth's secretary)'. There was also the testimony of a local fisherman – my great-grandfather was a fisherman and was saved by 'The Mission' – it is quite possible I was reading his testimony!

Walking around the town it was strange to think that it was here that my Great grandparents got converted and joined the 'Army of the Lord'. It is encouraging to know (although in reality has no significance) that my ancestors on both sides were in it from the start. My maternal great grandparents linking up with the Army in Penge at the turn of the last century and my paternal ancestors converted fishermen in Poole probably in the 18870/80's.

The picture above is of the 'Custom House' where the early pioneers held their open-air meetings. Maybe it was here that my Great Grandfather knealt at the drum or was encouraged to attend 'The Temperance Hall' (this was the building used before the pioneers were able to secure their own hall.) My Great Grandparents lived in a (now demolished) slum area in 'Love Lane'. This (as the name suggests) was the red-light district. Maybe it wasn't an open-air meeting that first led my forbears to Christ - perhaps it was a 'slum and gutter brigade'.

I wonder where I would be now if those early pioneers had been less faithful than they were in preaching the gospel!

Father, make my heritage significant for your kingdom, help me to ensure that the passion and courage of those who led my ancestors to you not be in vain. Through your spirit make me an effective soul-winner like they were. Amen.