“I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.” -General William Booth
Yesterday we explored the first part of this quote by General William Booth “Danger Zone” Part 1 – “…religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance…”
Today we will explore the last portion of this seemingly prophetic quote. I would like to note however, that General William Booth is not the end all and be all of what it means to be a Christ-follower. I don’t mean that to sound disparaging or diminish what He and Catherine were able to accomplish in their ministry as co-founders of The Salvation Army. I simply wish to state that although I believe this statement to be true and even prophetic William and Catherine were far from perfect themselves. They did their best, they were good stewards of what God had given them, although I personally find their militant, staunch treatment of their children and officers to be lacking at times in compassion and forgiveness…but I digress. (See this article for further discussion on the Booth Family: A Good Father?)
I only wish to point out that though I believe Booth hits the nail on the head with this quote he also, like all of us, was imperfect and fallible. To point this out simply means that we all still struggle with life and temptation, but as children of God we are all called for a higher, holy purpose.
Politics Without God.
I must be careful here so as to not offend anyone. What I take this to mean is this: I believe all authority on earth has been allowed to exist by a sovereign God who holds ultimate authority over everything that He has created. Any political system in our world, no matter how good or bad, falls under God’s sovereignty. As children of God and as Salvationists we are called to be proactive in our outreach to the marginalized, the outcast and the poor. Presenting Christ’s grace and compassion even through social and political pressure on governmental bodies. Booth worked closely with certain political leaders to improve human labor conditions in Victorian England. Defending those who have no voice should be part and parcel with our identities as not only Salvationists but as Christ-followers. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.‘” (Matthew 25:35, 40)
Today, injecting God into politics is a touchy subject, but there are many worthy causes to fight for. For example, the blight of human slavery and sexual trafficking in our world is often an unseen but active evil that causes many innocent to suffer and die. Currently, The Salvation Army has called for an International Day of Prayer (Click on hyper link)for the victims of Human Trafficking. Here are additional resources that we can use to help fight this crime upon humanity: IHQ Resources
There are many other ways in which we can include our faith in Jesus Christ within our local and national political platforms. We should, first of all, be diligent in prayer as we ask the Lord for guidance and wisdom before we take any kind of action. Be discerning and wise. Take a stand to help the innocent and defend the marginalized. Do it with intent and love. Show respect for every political leader regardless if you like them or not. Living a holy life means that we are to conduct ourselves as imitators of Christ. Be mindful that we ought to take action in our world and to be proactive in such vital causes, not because ingrained family-learned political alignings but because we care for others and wish to “win the world for Jesus”!
Heaven without Hell
I do not wish for we Salvationists to consider Satan to be equal to the goodness and sovereignty of God. There is no equality here. No ying and yang. God has already claimed victory over sin and death through the blood of Jesus Christ. Yet we still live within a fallen world. There is certainly evil in our world. All we have to do to see it is turn on the nightly news. We live in uncertain times. Yet I believe that when Jesus stated the kingdom of heaven is here, He didn’t just mean that He was the kingdom, but that we could live as kingdom people in the here and now! There is real hell on earth for many people still today. There are also consequences for rejecting God…but it is our choice to choose Him or reject him which brings upon our personal and even eternal hell. I believe that God does not want to punish His creation, and so He extends His grace far beyond any kind of grace mankind can comprehend or imitate.
Our 11th doctrine of The Salvation Army is probably the hardest for us to grasp when it comes to us viewing God’s grace along side with that of God’s judgement:
“We believe in the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, in the general judgment at the end of the world, in the eternal happiness of the righteous, and in the endless punishment of the wicked.”
There are positive and negative consequences to the choices that we make here on earth. How we live our lives makes a difference. How we conduct ourselves within the knowledge and practice of holiness contains eternal consequences. I would like to state here also that we should be careful in how we judge others.
“”Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)
This doesn’t mean that we do not hold each other accountable within our faith. We ought be be diligent in this which must be represented and enacted with love and care of our fellow soldiers and officers and adherents.
Is eternal separation from God His desire? NO!
Is it possible to choose to live without God? YES!
Are there eternal consequences to such a choice? YES!
Heaven and Hell? Yes…but I am convinced that these eternal “destinations” are not truly how we see Heaven and Hell depicted in our society today and through representations of it by various Romantic and Renascence authors.
Hell exists just as Heaven exists here and now. In how we live, in what we choose in this life, and in whom we serve.
Heaven = a life lived for God, devoted to God and paved for us by Christ alone, also an eternal destination which is eternal life lived with Christ.
Hell = choosing to reject God, devoted to selfish desires alone and paved for us by hatred, rebellion and sin. Eternally speaking – separation from God and an eternal life lived apart from Christ.
There is so much more to discuss within this topic of heaven and hell. I believe General Booth states this correctly. It is human nature to want to view God as completely merciful and gracious and loving while choosing to reject any kind of consequence to unfaithfulness and open rebellion towards Him. I believe this is specifically directed first at the Church and The Salvation Army. How can we ever expect win the world for Jesus if we cannot place Him first in our lives in all and through all that we do? Secondly, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. Keep the standards high in OUR living just as God’s children are to be salt and light, a city on a hill to be seen what godly living looks like. Again, we cannot afford to live and preach wishy-washy watered down versions of the message of the cross. Redemption, love and salvation are available to the whosoever, and it is our duty as an Army of Salvation to continue to bring the lost to Christ through the power of The Holy Spirit.
Was this quote by General William Booth prophetic? I believe so.
Are we, as The Salvation Army, called to this higher, holy calling? Absolutely!
Dear Salvation Army Solider
– Keep the banner high!
-Keep Christ at the center of all that we do!
-Keep striving to live and be holy just as Christ was indeed holy.
-Shine the light of God’s holiness throughout the world.
-Do not lose the fight in your heart – Christ has already claimed this victory for all who would seek Him.
Something more for our Army to ponder today. To God be the glory!
Do you agree? Do you have something more to add? Let’s continue this conversation together! Responses and feedback are always welcome. Please add your comments and responses below. Thanks for reading!