Ok – first off, thanks for all your feedback – it’s been interesting to read through your thoughts. Just in case I painted myself as someone who more more activist than reflector, be assured that I’m by nature more a thinker than do-er!
Second, it’s incredible how God works – I’ve been away this week at an event for new ministers in The Salvation Army, and the themes were…holiness and the emerging church – wow…
Now for my own reflections on Army DNA…these are not meant to be exhaustive, but just what I felt over the last few days thinking on this. For each one I’ve attempted to get some scripture backing, although it may not be the best example!:
- Holiness – 1 Peter 1v15 – our roots are firmly in the holiness movement – we are a people called by God to be like God…think (if you’re Army!) of Brengle’s vast legacy! For me, discipleship, worship, fellowship and the whole concept of a sacrificial life (Romans 12v1) fits into this.
- Incarnational Ministry – John 1v1-14 – Taking Christ’s example, we set up our tents with our neighbours – think of Booth Tucker and the slum brigades – this is about being at one with our communities
- Mission focused – Matthew 28v18-20, John 3v16+17 – a massive passion for the lost, and seeing the world won for Christ – Booth’s words “Go for souls, and go for the worst!”. But not forgetting the concept of grace – God longs for creation to become one with him once again…and we are part of the plan to do this…
- Whole gospel believers – Mark 16v16, John 14v6 – whosoever will may be saved, but there are consequences for those who turn their back on God…we can’t ignore that. However, again, grace gets in again – we don’t do everything simply to fill our pews, but to show the world that there is a greater hope
- Social Justice – Micah 6v8, Amos 5v21-24 – “while women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight” – need I say more – this is core to who we are and how we engage in ministry (as Tim says, we can’t divorce social from corps)
- Adaptive – Romans 9v22 – this is in terms of methodology, not in terms of tehology! Music, uniform – all negotiables as we seek the best method to tell the world about Christ
- Covenental – 1 Peter 2v9-10, Romans 12v1 – whether we are officers or soldiers we are in covenant with God, a chosen people, a royal priesthood – ties in the ideas of “joyful abandon” and sacrificial living once again”
- Prophetic – Isaiah 61v1-11 – God called the Army into being to remind the churches of the need to reach out to the lost, especially those on the fringes of society, and to give a voice to the voiceless – we have a commission to fight to change society as well as getting ourselves into better relationship with God (no split between secular and sacred, Gordon!) – think “Darkest England” – a vision for the transformation of the whole of society…wow!
These are preliminary ponderings – written quickly before going out again – I needed to get them onto the blog before my thoughts moved on. I’d argue that any TSA centre would need to exhibit these (I guess any church/denomination/emerging movement too!) if they were to be honest to their calling…maybe…!