Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Salvation Army Wake Up Call


I don't want another ecclesiastical corps, or social centre, or small group or council meeting or mainly music program, cumbering the earth. When The Salvation Army ceases to be a militant body of red hot men and women, whose business is the saving of souls, I hope it vanishes utterly.

Though, I'm not ready for this movement to vanish. I'm not ready for it to be less than what God intended it to be. I'm not ready for this blood and fire movement to become a monument; where a decade from now we have some distant memory of well attended Congresses and Sunday School meetings, when the Lord used to do great and powerful things.

Though, here's the thing:

If the middle majority remain silent, the movement dies. And that's the work of the enemy. Silence the troops. That's not the work of flesh and blood, but it's the clear strategy of the evil one. Shut them up. If I can just get them to shut their mouths. If I can just get them to choose not to speak out. If I can just get them to cower away in fear, then I've won.

Well, here goes... If you want to help mobilise The Salvation Army you have to stop sleeping and wake up! Revival doesn't come to you served up on a platter with cheese and biscuits. No one said it was going to be easy. You can't sit around and expect the world to conform to the idealistic, Kingdom picture you have for it. You have to soldier up.

You won't find me lamenting about the glory days of The Salvation Army. I believe in a rich future for The Salvation Army. One that upholds the fundamental tenets of faith that made this movement what it is. I believe in a Spirit-filled, Jesus-focused, Justice-expressing, Faith-abiding movement, that wants to win the world for Jesus.

I have settled for less than that in recent days. Devil watch out, because I'm shaking the slumber from my eyes. The light is growing clearer. I'm not going to sit any longer idly by, while the heedless millions die. I lost my voice. You have tried to silence me for too long!

If you're still reading, here's what I want you to do. Understand the context in which you live. Understand what it means to live a prophetic life, that holds culture in tension.

As Court and Noland write in Reinventing the Movement:

Popularly understood, culture is far from the be all and end all for Christians. We’re not about conforming to it; we’re about transforming it. We’re not about cultural awareness as an end, but as a means. And it is awareness, not imitation. Ultimately, we don’t want to become like the culture, we want the culture to become like us.

It's time to stand for Christ. For Christ alone. I'm not going to sing. 

It's time. 

Don't be silent in the middle of the left and right of theological discourse. Wake up. 'Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet!' (Isaiah 58:1-2). Come on. I've heard some of your brass bands. Now raise your voice like a trumpet. Go and tell people what Jesus has done for you!

See, this is why that's important...

A truth not articulated is a truth unheard. A truth unheard is a truth unable to be embraced.

As Court and Noland state:

It is good and nice to save people from thirst, hunger, cold/embarrassment, indigence, unemployment, loneliness, silence, and ignorance. But such a “salvation” is but a human imitation of the divine salvation that we are really all about. Only divine salvation lasts beyond the grave. Human helps are merely that. Don’t settle for a cheap imitation. Insist on the real thing; without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. AND, without the shedding of sins there is no forgiveness of sin. We are The Salvation ARMY. We are not a metaphor.  

Friends, we must storm the forts of darkness. Anything less underestimates the global context in which we live. Take a look around! Have another look. We are not living out a dress-rehearsal. We are in a spiritual battle.

And in the midst of that battle we have to remember the words of Isaiah:

If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 

 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday. (58:9b-10)

We have a job to do: United together in the transformative work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through his life, death and resurrection we have the forgiveness, faith and fortitude to move forward in his name.

I call you to pray.

I call you to repent.

I call you to holiness.

Wake up.

Lest one day you find yourself still sleeping as the bridegroom arrives...

*The contents of this blog reflect the thoughts and opinions of Pete Brookshaw.

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