God Invented Rock ’n’ Roll
Are We Biblically Illiterate?
Choosing Life Over Abortion
Salvationist The Voice of the Army
Our Man in Ottawa Michael Maidment
gives the Army a voice on Parliament Hill
Thank God for Heretics Eight Staff Bands Meet for ISB 120
Salvationist.ca I August 2011
CLarIoN Call word “teacher.” Each of the four Gospels addresses Jesus as teacher. Together they refer to him in this way more than 50 times. While the sacrifice of Jesus brought salvation, it can be argued that his teaching turned the world upside down. Yet in the Church we often relegate teaching to 20 minutes on a Sunday morning. This is not because the pastors and officers don’t see the importance of teaching; it is because most churchgoers are not interested in learning. When was the last time you had a serious theological discussion? When was the last time you talked at length about holiness, redemption or the Incarnation? What about church history? Most Christians jump from the Book of Acts to the present day and completely ignore the two thousand years of church history between then and now. They don’t know how we got the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed, if they even know they exist. They know almost nothing about how the Western Church divided into Roman Catholic and Protestant factions or the issues that brought that about. They have very little understanding of the work of the Jesuits, Moravians or Methodists. They barely recognize the names Martin Luther and John Calvin, although most Salvationists do have an appreciation for the work of William Booth and Billy Graham. I am afraid that in most Salvation Army churches, the old teachers have indeed lost their class. There is no one interested enough to show up and learn. Yet, according to the Bible, teaching is one of the most important sacraments of the Church. A sacrament by definition is a means of grace, and what better means of grace is there than one should teach and another should learn? The Bible says, “So Christ himself gave [to the Church] the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). The pastor-teachers are a gift that Jesus gave to the Church. They are right up there with the apostles, prophets and evangelists. Theirs is a holy calling, the purpose of which is “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:12). Before we rush out to do our works of service, we first have to meet with our teachers to be equipped. We can’t do a class act of service in the world without a classroom of learning in the Church.
Appointment With Destiny?
Is the army’s appointment system too restrictive? Should we consider an approach where congregations “call” their own officers?
I take exception to Major Fred Ash’s comment that “most churchgoers are not interClass Act ested in learning” (Class Act, May 2011). While this may indeed be the case, sadly O the issue lies with the teachers and not the churchgoers. All one has to do is take a look at the percentage of time that “teaching” gets in a typical Sunday morning holiness meeting to see that it isn’t even given the priority that music receives. By the time you add up the band selection, the songster selection, the congregational singing, the endless prayer choruses and the weekly soloist, you have made up approximately 40 minutes of your average meeting. If the officer speaks more than 20 minutes, the congregation is up in arms because it’s too long! Stuart MacMillan
I believe that our territorial leadership NO. The appointment system links us in meaningful ways. It allows us to do things should be trusted with the responsibility together that we couldn’t accomplish separately. of appointing officers, for they are best placed to know intimately the gifts and qualities that the officers possess and the needs of the appointments (Appointment With Destiny?, May 2011). This responsibility must be seen as a sacred trust among our leaders, ministry units and officers. However, I think this system could be better balanced by having the corps sergeant major, if not all the local officers, be an official part of the appraisal process for our officers. I think this would recognize the stewardship of all concerned and their spiritual responsibility to their community and the Army. Name withheld
Major Ash raises some great points. All too often we’re content to remain ignorant in our knowledge of the Scriptures, theology, church history, etc. However, there’s a growing number of Salvationists who are more theologically literate than ever before. This is evidenced in the plethora of deep and theologically rich articles that appear regularly in this and other publications. I’m fortunate to be in a corps where people love to learn; Bible study is our best-attended weekly activity. However, give us the passion, courage and foresight of our Army forefathers/mothers. Let’s continue to hold holy living and wisdom in tension with one another. As Charles Wesley wrote, “Unite the pair so long disjoined: knowledge and vital piety.” Lieutenant Robert Jeffrey
It is unfortunate that officers who make great corps officers, speakers and communicators receive administration positions. Our churches could be growing if only the good communicators were in positions of influence with the people in our communities. Is it really necessary to follow the ways of the business world? If one has a God-given gift to teach, let him teach. Name withheld
When was the last time you had a serious theological discussion? BY Major FrED aSh
ld teachers never die, they just lose their class.” With an opening like that, some of you are probably thinking that I have finally lost mine. You may be right. If so, I take solace in the fact that I am not alone. It seems that most of the Evangelical Church, including The Salvation Army, has lost its class. Bible class, Sunday school class, soldier’s class—many no longer exist or are very poorly attended. When we do manage to entice a few to Bible study, the content is like the inside of a cream puff—sweet and gooey but mostly air. It was one of the complaints of the Apostle Paul that the Corinthians were not ready to get into the meat of the Word. “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready” (1 Corinthians 3:2). The writer to the Hebrews expressed the same sentiment: “Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s Word all over again. You need milk, not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12). We Salvationists are not known for our theological prowess. We minister with emotions and action. We feel compassion for the hurting in society and rush out to do something about it. As one of our mottos puts it, we serve “with heart to
God and hand to man.” That is all good, but there is more to a human being than that. God also gave us a mind. God gave us the ability to think, ponder, reflect and learn. While we are eager to feed the hungry with bread, we shouldn’t forget to feed our minds with the Word. Peter put it this way: “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God in order to wait on tables” (Acts 6:2). Perhaps we can expand our motto to read: “Reflecting on the Word, we serve with heart to God and hand to man.”
Most of the time when Jesus is addressed, he is called “teacher”
While we like to recount the stories of Jesus healing the sick, giving sight to the blind and raising the dead, nowhere in Scripture is Jesus ever referred to as “doctor.” Most of the time when Jesus is addressed, he is called “teacher.” His reputation was that of a teacher. In the King James Version, the word for teacher is translated “master” or “rabbi,” but the new Bible translations correctly use the
Major Fred Ash is the corps officer of Burlington Community Church, Ont.
30 I May 2011 I Salvationist
at s u n i Jo anadian ion The Cnal Exhib2it011 Natiog.19-Sept.5,ronto Au
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BY Major raY harrIS
IT WAS A SULTRY night in June 1974. I stood with my wife, Cathie, on the stage of Toronto’s Massey Hall. General-Elect Clarence Wiseman looked us squarely in the eyes and said, “I appoint you to Drumheller in the Alberta Division.” Drumheller? I knew nothing of the Alberta Badlands, let alone its valleys full of dinosaur bones! But in the presence of fellow Salvationists, we heard our first appointment announced and began the journey of officership. At a time when the desire is expressed for Salvation Army congregations to choose their own officers, I would argue that there is something about our appointment system that is integral to the Army, and can be a prophetic voice within our culture. First, it’s important to understand that our appointment system is not an end in itself. It functions within a much larger picture that views The Salvation Army in its wholeness and not simply its parts. St. John’s Citadel, South Windsor, Berkshire Citadel Community Church and West End Community Church in Bermuda are individual congregations with their own personalities and commitments. But they also belong to each other. They are connected by a shared story, by important doctrines, by a common mission and by an organizational structure. Because of this, they can do things together that they can’t accomplish separately, such as responding to an earthquake in Haiti or combating human trafficking. The system of appointing officers is intended to serve the wider Salvation Army. If I can draw on a hockey analogy, its purpose is to strengthen not only individual teams but the league itself. At a time when concussions threaten the future of individual players, it’s evident that not only do players and teams have a role to play, but the league itself must act for the good of the game. In principle, officers are appointed for the good of the game, for the good of the Army’s mission in the whole territory. The practice of appointing officer leaders has its roots in the soil of Methodism. John and Charles Wesley spoke of the separate Methodist Societies as being in “connection” with them and with each other. They appointed Methodist preachers to an itinerant
ministry within the movement. This view also has roots in the Early Church. The Apostle Paul, for instance, worked hard with Macedonian churches to raise funds for “the poor” in the Jerusalem church because they were connected. And he appointed leaders to move between the various congregations to help carry out the task. This was a communal expression of “the mind of Christ,” of looking to the interests of others (see Philippians 2:4-5). While our appointment system is designed for a Salvationist expression of the Church, I believe it also has relevance within the wider culture. For one thing, it can counter excessive individualism. Our culture places much emphasis on self-fulfilment. Universities market their programs by appealing to the benefits for the students. Jobs are advertised on the basis of what they will do for the applicants. What we also need to ask is how our vocations seek to contribute to the world beyond the fulfilment of the self. While an appointment system is not the only way, it at least indicates to our culture that we look to “something greater.” And because of this we are prepared to seek the greater good. We are prepared to find our life by losing it. In arguing for our appointment system, I believe it is also open to change. Appointments in the past have been used to discipline officers, if not punish them. Yet the current model is vastly different from the one that sent Cathie and me to Drumheller for our first appointment. Over the years, some appointments blindsided us, some involved conversations with supervising officers and congregations, and one even included my involvement in a search process for a position at the then William and Catherine Booth College. The model by which we appoint officers is adaptable, and we can make changes. But the underlying principle to which
10 I May 2011 I Salvationist
I think it is appropriate to express a large measure of gratitude to those retired officers who have continued to answer the Lord’s call by filling vacant corps appointments across the territory. Blessings to you all! Name withheld
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Departments 3 4 Editorial
Life As We Know It by Major Jim Champ
5 Around the Territory 14 Social Issues
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21 Media Reviews 4 21 Territorial Prayer Guide 24 Army Roots The World for God by Lt-Colonel Maxwell Ryan Cert no. XXX-XXX-XXXX
25 Ministry in Action
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Michael Maidment, federal government relations officer, shares how The Salvation Army is making its voice heard by Julia Hosking
12 Jesus the Feminist
Throughout his ministry, All You Need is Love Jesus promoted the PRODUCT LABELINGby GUIDE FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL Ken Ramstead dignity and equality of women Chief Priorities Celebrate Community by Major Danielle Are We There Yet? Enrolments and recognition, Strickland by Colonel Floyd Tidd tributes, calendar, gazette Choosing Life by Estee Lau
20 Book Review
30 Gospel Arts
Love Wins by Dion Oxford and Geoff Moulton
God Invented Rock ’n’ Roll by Julia Hosking
16 Compassion Fatigue Is ministry leaving you tired, numb or overwhelmed? You’re not alone by Julia Hosking
17 Thank God for Heretics
How fighting theological errors has kept the Church on track—Part one of six by James Pedlar
18 Are We Biblically Illiterate?
Our increasing ignorance about Scripture is hurting the Church’s witness by Donald E. Burke
22 And the Bands Played On
Canadian Staff Band travels to London, England, for historic weekend celebrating the 120th anniversary of the International Staff Band by Major Ken Smith
31 Oprah’s Legacy
As she reflects on her successful career, Oprah Winfrey gives God the glory. But who is God to her? by Captain Mark Braye
Cover photo: Andrew Van Beek
Inside Faith & Friends Paging Dr. Thistle
A greater sense of spiritual calling keeps the Salvation Army physician grounded in Zimbabwe.
... And Nothing But the Truth?
Could you go a year without lying? Phil Callaway accepted the challenge.
In the Pink Again
It took hitting rock bottom for
Janette Pink to admit she was an addict.
When you finish reading Faith & Friends in the centre of this issue, pull Faith & it out and give it to someone who needs to hear about Doctor Without Golfer Faces Christ’s lifeBiggest Borders His changing Handicap A Year power Clowning Without
Salvationist.ca World Watch
Keep abreast of what the Army is doing internationally. Visit Salvationist.ca/worldwatch to read more about the Army’s work in over 120 countries.
Inspiration for Living
Salvation Army physician heals wounds in troubled Zimbabwe
Around for God
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Life As We Know It
ell me a story!” These words are music to every parent’s and grandparent’s ears. But stories are not just for kids, as everyone likes to hear a good tale. CBC’s Vinyl Café radio program with Stuart McLean is a favourite in my family. We’ve spent many hours in the car listening to Stuart weave stories about people’s lives. My father was a great storyteller. At the dinner table when we were kids, and even when we returned home as adults, there was always time for a good yarn. Somehow my father could take the ordinary things of life and find the humour in them. Work, vacations, grocery shopping, it didn’t seem to matter; there was always an amusing account followed by our gales of laughter. Dad died almost 10 years ago, but he leaves behind a rich legacy with many life-lessons learned. Such is the value of storytelling. Most stories seldom find their way into print, but they contribute to who we are and reflect our values and beliefs. We all have stories to tell. In each issue of Salvationist, we have the privilege of sharing a few of them, and this month is no exception. You can read about Michael Maidment, a Salvationist who represents the Army on Parliament Hill in Ottawa (page 8), or Dion Durdle, a worship leader who is using rock ’n’ roll to reach a new
generation with the gospel (page 30). Don Burke reminds us that storytelling is an essential part of the biblical tradition (page 18). The people of God were called upon “to rehearse again and again the story of God’s gracious deliverance.” Moses urged, “Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when are at home and when you are away” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NRSV). In our Celebrate Community section (page 26) we pay tribute to those Salvationists who have served the Lord and the Army with distinction. Lives lived; lessons learned. And we also acknowledge the many corps events, individual achievements and personal and corporate milestones that tell the story of the Army. Send us your stories. We may not be able to print them all, but we promise to read and handle them with care. MAJOR JIM CHAMP Editor-in-Chief
Editor’s note: Commissioner Helen Clifton, former World President of Women’s Ministries, was promoted to Glory on June 14, 2011. She courageously faced her illness with a strong faith and trust in God. We pray that General Shaw Clifton (Rtd) and other members of their family and friends will know the reality of the peace and grace of the risen Lord Jesus. Salvationists throughout the world are committed to pray for them in these days. A tribute to Commissioner Clifton is available at Salvationist.ca/Helen-Clifton.
is a monthly publication of The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory Linda Bond General Commissioner Brian Peddle Territorial Commander Major Jim Champ Editor-in-Chief Geoff Moulton Assistant Editor-in-Chief John McAlister Senior Editor (416-467-3185) Major Max Sturge Associate Editor (416-422-6116) Timothy Cheng Art Director Pamela Richardson Production and Distribution Co-ordinator, Copy Editor Julia Hosking, Ken Ramstead, Captain Debbie Sinclair Contributors Agreement No. 40064794, ISSN 1718-5769. Member, The Canadian Church Press. All Scripture references from the Holy Bible, Today’s New International Version (TNIV) © 2001, 2005 International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide. All articles are copyright The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory and can be reprinted only with written permission.
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AROUND THE TERRITORY
The World’s Oldest Oppression ON MAY 27-29, Kingston Citadel hosted a conference, Let There Be Light, in the Ontario city to raise awareness of social justice issues and to encourage constructive action within the community. Plenary speaker Victor Malarek, CTV senior reporter for W5, painted a disturbing picture of deception, violence and drug-induced slavery in the worldwide sex trade. Malarek asserted that “prostitution is the world’s oldest oppression.” To combat this injustice, he advocated adopting the Swedish model: since the Johns create the demand for commercial sex, they should be criminalized, not the prostitutes. Commissioner M. Christine MacMillan, The Salvation Army’s international director for social justice, said that before tackling social issues the Church must understand the many aspects of injustice, ask the right questions, know the risks and boundaries, and then develop appropriate corrective strategies. Marty Van Doren, former RCMP superintendent, said the driving force behind human trafficking is immense profit. “Awareness of these activities is increasing within law enforcement agencies, laws are being improved and hence convictions are increasing,” said Van Doren. Eight workshop sessions covered hous-
ing, homelessness, poverty and various aspects of human trafficking. In his workshop, The Good News About Injustice, judge Ken Pedlar explained the work of the International Justice Mission, a Christian organization that rescues oppressed people in several countries. On Saturday evening, The Salvation Army’s Youth Justice League
from Toronto conducted two workshops for teens, which included printing antihuman trafficking slogans on T-shirts. Sunday afternoon’s session included a speakers’ panel presentation, brainstorming possible actions to eliminate social injustice and discussions on public policy and advocacy in Kingston.
Commissioner M. Christine MacMillan addresses social justice conference in Kingston, Ont. With her is Victor Malarek, CTV senior reporter for W5
Megan Bolton and Andy Peterson print antitrafficking slogans on T-shirts during the Let There Be Light conference hosted by the Army in Kingston
1–2–3–Go! at St. John’s Citadel THE THEME FOR ST. JOHN’S Citadel’s 123rd anniversary celebrations was 1-2-3-Go!, based on Hebrews 12:1-3, stressing the importance of fixing one’s eyes on Jesus in order to persevere in the Christian
race. In the Sunday morning service, Matthew Osmond and Earl Tucker received their commissions as assistant corps sergeant major and band librarian. Following the message, over 20 people knelt
Clare Osmond solos in St. John’s Citadel’s youth musical
at the mercy seat in recommitment to Christ. The evening’s service featured the beginner and YP bands and the corps’ gospel arts group. Assisted by 25 adults, the youth also pre-
sented the musical, Under God’s Seas in 3D, created by Celeste Clydesdale and arranged by David Clydesdale. It included the theme chorus, Goin’ Under the Sea and A Whale of a Tale. The production����������������������� challenged those present to dive deeper into God’s Word. Over 40 young people performed to a full sanctuary. “The musical showcased the talent and enthusiasm of our youth, built community with our young people and with parents during rehearsals and created opportunities for fringe families to re-connect with the corps,” says Major Brian Wheeler, corps officer. Josh Mosher and Ethan Snow perform during St. John’s Citadel’s anniversary celebrations Salvationist I August 2011 I 5
AROUND THE TERRITORY
Hockey Changing Lives THE RICHMOND HILL Stars Midget AA hockey team, boys aged nine to 11, donated funds to the junior hockey league run by the Army’s Richmond Hill Community Church, Ont. The gift covers all equipment and registration fees. Some of the sponsored children were identified as being “in need” by their school. “Through their contribution more kids can be sponsored to join our league,” says Matt Delaney, the church’s sports and recreation outreach co-ordinator. “That means we build more relationships and have a greater influence in our local community. “The long-term mentoring also leads to opportunities for the children to accept Christ. We need to maintain contact with them year-round, so I go into schools, create relationships and offer mentoring.”
Other needs of the children are often met as well. They might receive school books their families could not afford, or they may be sent to an Army summer camp. “The continued connections off the ice have led to great results,” comments Delaney. Matt Delaney coaches a Salvation Army youth hockey team in “Two boys who were Richmond Hill, Ont. sponsored to play hockey with us were also helped finanRichmond Hill Stars AA hockey team, cially for swimming and to attend a camp. Delaney thanked the players and was also There, they committed their lives to God able to talk to them about the work of The and now attend our youth group.” Salvation Army. “It’s clear to me that the When accepting the cheque from the kids have a heart to help others,” he said.
125 Years of Banding at St. John’s Temple
Christmas in July Benefits the Needy
ST. JOHN’S TEMPLE, N.L., recently hosted a Heritage of Brass weekend to celebrate its 125 years of brass banding ministry. Over the years, the senior band has produced several well-received recordings and has demonstrated exemplary evangelistic ministry. One hundred people are currently involved in banding at the corps. After the senior band’s extended prelude to the Sunday morning service, the meeting then highlighted the group’s ongoing ministry program. The afternoon musicale featured individual items by the senior, youth and junior bands and several by the combined bands. Also, retiring bandmaster David Rowsell received a Certificate in Recognition of Exceptional Service. The honour acknowledges Rowsell’s commendable service for 28 years as bandmaster and his contribution to the Army world through his many brass compositions that reflect his desire to musically enrich the body of Christ.
THE SALVATION ARMY in Halifax again partnered with Molly Maid for their Christmas in July food drive. The program boosts food bank shelves during the difficult summer months. During the event, clients are encouraged to fill pink Molly Maid bags with non-perishables when their homes are cleaned. Molly Maid locations are then paired with local food banks to put the donated goods to use. “Food drives like this one help to support food banks and generate awareness during the summer months when these programs are often overlooked,” says Major Brenda Bungay, executive director of Halifax community and family services. “Thanks go to Molly Maid and its clients for their contributions.” In 2009, Christmas in July collected 29,200 pounds of food across the country.
Bandmaster David Rowsell, St. John’s Temple, N.L., receives a Certificate in Recognition of Exceptional Service. From left, Mjr David Braye, CO; Joan and David Rowsell; Mjr Wade Budgell, DPRS; Mjr Elaine Braye, CO.
Frank Sullivan, of Molly Maid Halifax, and Alex MacDonald, of the Halifax Centre of Hope, load bags of food collected during Molly Maid’s Christmas in July project
6 I August 2011 I Salvationist
AROUND THE TERRITORY
Nineteen Children Make First-Time Commitments
to follow Jesus. “The highlight of the weekend was Sunday morning when 19 children and one adult made first-time commitments to the Lord,” says Major Wanda Vincent, div-
isional youth secretary, Maritime Division. “Also, 43 other children renewed their commitment to serve God.” The Sackville Corps’ worship team provided musical support for the event.
THE MARITIME DIVISION held a weekend children’s gathering at Scotian Glen Camp for spiritual development and social interaction. Guest Bible teachers Captains Kristian and Lesley Simms, then corps officers at Glace Bay, N.S., used the theme Hero Headquarters—Where Kids Join Forces With God. The 62 children learned four Bible stories about unlikely heroes and memorized 1 Timothy 4:12, which emphasizes that we are never too young
Getting Off on the Right Foot ON MAY 18, BioPed, a company dedicated to treating conditions related to feet and lower limbs, shut down its clinics across Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and British Colombia to help promote The Salvation Army’s Dignity Project. This year they travelled to 23 Salvation Army shelters across Canada to give away thousands of gently-used shoes to the less fortunate. A pair of worn-out shoes can be a sign of poverty. Without adequate footwear, people may be risking foot and other lower limb ailments. BioPed assesses potential risks and creates a plan to prevent or treat existing problems. To bring quality shoes to less fortunate Canadians, BioPed created The Goodytwoshoes Foundation. At the Booth Centre in St. Catharines, Ont., over 150 men and women received either a pair of shoes or brand new orthodic inserts. For some clients, it was the first new pair they had received in years. Bioped staff were touched by the appreciation of people and their heartfelt stories. Did you know … … that 14-year old Hannah Boone and 15-year old Megan Howse of St. John’s Temple, N.L., won gold at the SanofiAventis BioTalent Challenge (SABC) in Ottawa for their project in creating a compound derived from green tea extract and an Omega 3 fatty acid? They wanted to know if the acid would help a body absorb the antioxidants from the tea extract and what its effects would have on potential treatment for cardiovascular diseases. … on the long weekend in May, Edmonton Castledowns hosted Alberta’s first Go for Souls conference? Michael Collins and Jonathan Evans preached and Major Danielle Strickland led worship.
Participants engaged in door-to-door evangelism and outreach to children. “Six people got saved, many heard the gospel and many people were invited to follow-up barbecues and sports nights,” says Major Stephen Court, corps officer, Edmonton Crossroads. … with its new cardiac clinic, The Salvation Army Catherine Booth Hospital in Montreal was officially integrated into the Centre de Santé et de Services Sociaux Cavendish (CSSS) on June 16? Patients can now access a range of services provided by a multidisciplinary team, whose objective is to prevent heart complications. … at The Salvation Army in Nanaimo, B.C., chiropractor Dr. Norm Detillieux has been
devoting a part of each week for three years to provide his professional services free to the less fortunate, including those who sleep on the streets? “For me, it’s been a blessing,” said Detillieux. “In a community, there is much value in giving services.” … on May 27-28, in Swift Current, Sask., Captain Bruce MacKenzie, corps officer at Brandon, Man., trained facilitators in a faith-based Salvation Army anger management program that has been used, among other places, at Canadian Forces Base Shilo, near Brandon, Manitoba? The corps in Swift Current is offering the course as part of its justice ministry.
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Serving God on Parliament Hill Michael Maidment, federal government relations officer, shares how The Salvation Army is making its voice heard BY JULIA HOSKING, STAFF WRITER
8 I August 2011 I Salvationist
nly 20 years after the Movement was founded, The Salvation Army became embroiled in one of the most groundbreaking political actions of its time. Fuelled by the desire to eliminate child prostitution, a petition containing 343,000 signatures was presented to the British government by Salvationists in 1885. As a result, the age of sexual consent increased from 13 to 16. More than 125 years later, the Army continues to be active in politics. Its views are regularly voiced on Parliament Hill in Ottawa by Michael Maidment, who is the area director for public relations
and development in the National Capital Region and the federal government relations officer. “I’m the guy on the street, so to speak,” explains Maidment. “I’m the one attending meetings, making presentations and building relationships with MPs, bureaucrats and parliamentarians. However, I depend on others in the organization for research and assistance. I might call upon an expert in the THQ social services department, talk to someone in a ministry unit or liaise with a divisional commander.” Maidment’s presence in the National Capital Region enables him to follow upcoming legislation. In addition to net-
working and participating in meetings, he scans four daily newspapers and various social media sites such as Twitter to see what priorities and policies are up for discussion in parliament and committee meetings. “A few years ago, the Consumer Safety Act was created in response to the large number of toy recalls and food safety issues,” Maidment explains. “If the act was enforced as originally written, we would have had to collect data on all donations made in thrift stores across the country— something we wouldn’t have been able to comply with. After the issue was identified by our territorial legal department, we
Salvationist I August 2011 I 9
Photos: Andrew Van Beek
Michael Maidment works with MP Joy Smith in the fight against human trafficking
wrote to the Health Minister and chair of the House of Commons health committee, and met with senior officials in the Health Department and Prime Minister’s Office. The end result was that our concerns were heard and the proposed regulations changed to exempt us and other similar charities from the reporting requirements contained in the legislation.” Responding to issues that could affect the Army is only part of Maidment’s role. Sometimes, parliamentarians or house or senate committees will phone Maidment for the Army’s perspective on an issue, such as what the impact of eliminating the penny would be on the charitable sector. “As well, issues such as human trafficking, human rights, poverty, homelessness and affordable housing are mainstay issues and we adopt a longer-term focus on those,” Maidment says. “They are priorities for our organization regardless of what government is in office.” The emphasis on human trafficking, in particular, emerged from a request that General Shaw Clifton (Rtd) made several years ago. As a result of a common interest, the Army’s government relations representatives developed a strong connection with Joy Smith, a member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul,Winnipeg. “MP Smith has an incredible passion 10 I August 2011 I Salvationist
for this issue and has advocated for the government to take more action,” says Maidment. “With input from Dianna Bussey, the Army’s social services consultant on human trafficking, Joy has proposed a national strategy on human trafficking. Within that, The Salvation Army is listed as an organization that should benefit from government investment in victim services. God is at work in Parliament and I see MP Smith as a person who not only has Christian faith, but displays it.” The issue of commercial and sexual exploitation of children and youth is also being addressed by the Army. Maidment participates in relevant committees, some of which are headed up by Senator Roméo Dallaire, retired lieutenant-general, who served as a commander for the United Nations during the Rwanda genocide. “I recently made a presentation to the standing senate committee on human rights, which at the time was examining the issue of sexual exploitation of children and youth,” Maidment adds. “I shared The Salvation Army’s experience in combatting this evil and some of our thoughts as an organization about what could and should be done.” Advocating for Our Clients Although Maidment actively forms rela-
tionships with government officials and participates in various committees, The Salvation Army maintains an apolitical stance. “Our ultimate concern is for the people we serve,” he asserts. “And their concerns are what we pay particular attention to in politics; mostly, it comes down to giving clients hope and dignity. And just as we serve anyone who needs our help and care—no matter what their circumstances—we work with all parliamentarians no matter what their political stripe or who is in power. Our priorities as an organization don’t change when the government changes.” However, the shift to a majority government, as happened in the most recent election, does influence The Salvation Army’s ability to make change. “I think that the government will now take a longer-term focus and we’ll probably see more willingness to tackle issues that are a little less popular or more complex,” says Maidment. “We are also likely to see the government focus on growing the economy and reducing the deficit, which could be a concern for us as money to develop new programs to address our key areas of interest, such as affordable housing, could be limited.” In these situations, or when important
Beyond the Election: How You Can Impact the Government
• Have your voice heard by making a phone call or writing an e-mail or letter to your local politician. Organize and encourage your family, neighbours and friends to do likewise. • J oin advocacy groups that focus on issues important to you, changes fought for do not occur, frustration and cynicism can develop. Nonetheless, Maidment says, “We, as Salvationists, are compelled to be involved in politics on behalf of the 1.6 million people who needed our care last year. “Throwing our hands up and saying, ‘It’s too difficult; they’re not listening’ isn’t how we operate. I don’t think that’s something the Founder would have done. William Booth would have continued to press forward and look for a new way to influence change,” he continues. “And then, there have been times when I’ve sat in committees, given a report on behalf of the Army and seen the recommendations accepted. It’s incredible when that happens.” Recognition in Parliament Maidment’s work in Ottawa offers him the privilege of hearing comments about the Army’s work. In one particular meeting
such as homelessness, human trafficking, affordable housing or the exploitation of children and youth. • E ducate yourself so that when elections occur, you know who you want to vote for. Read up on issues that you care about and see what stance political parties are taking. • S peak out on behalf of the marginalized in your community.
with Governor General David Johnston and Commissioners William and Marilyn Francis, former territorial leaders, the Governor General commented: “The Army helps people when other people fail…. The Army is always there.” “I thought that was very kind and special, and representative of several comments I’ve heard on the federal stage,” Maidment reflects. “Part of our strategy across Canada is to have local and federal politicians involved with The Salvation Army in their communities. As a result, when they’re on Parliament Hill, many speak highly of what The Salvation Army is doing locally.” When The Salvation Army’s Dignity Report was released in March, it received national media attention. Highlighting that one in 11 Canadians live in poverty, the report was immediately deemed relevant by government members. “Two days after the report came out, an
MP walked into a meeting with a copy,” shares Maidment. “I was congratulated on The Salvation Army’s behalf for releasing the report, which dispelled some of the myths about poverty. It was positively received and there was general recognition among MPs that more needs to be done on this issue. “This is also an area where Salvationists can encourage the government to continue to improve. We’ve become so global that sometimes we forget the issues that need our attention in our local communities. As Mother Teresa said, ‘In your own neighbourhood there is a family who needs your care and love.’ I believe those words capture the essence of The Salvation Army’s mission: to be a transforming influence in the communities in which we serve. Transformation begins with helping one child, caring for one family, writing one letter or speaking at one public meeting.”
Salvationist I August 2011 I 11
Jesus the Feminist
Throughout his ministry, Jesus promoted the dignity and equality of women BY MAJOR DANIELLE STRICKLAND
esus vigorously promoted the dignity and equality of women in the midst of a male-dominated society. This is an amazing thing. Considering most, if not all of the rabbis, plus the Pharisees, the Romans, the laws and the customs, were united in their horrible treatment of women, Jesus really stands out. In every interaction Jesus had with women he showed respect toward them and treated them as equals. His attitude was an incredible contrast to the cultural norms of his day. This must have been deliberate, a choice that Jesus made. Because he knew that it was important. Jesus continually broke with the traditions, religious law and attitudes of the time regarding women. He affirmed, honoured and encouraged them in their faith, gave them dignity, equality and value, and talked about them to men as positive examples of faith. Jesus showed compassion for women’s needs, even risking the hostility of the religious leaders on numerous occasions to receive ministry from women and to minister to them himself. Every time he spoke with a prostitute, every time he touched a dead person and every time he received things from “dirty” people—which included women—he offended the religious teachers. So when the woman broke perfume over his feet and washed them with her hair, or the woman with the issue of blood touched his robe, or he took the hand of the dead daughter of Jairus, or Mary sat at his feet listening to his teaching, whenever those occasions happened, they defied all the normal rules of that society. The Gospels not only reveal Jesus’ unique attitude toward women and distinctive relationship with women, but also show the emerging pattern of God’s release of women into liberty and ministry. Jesus encouraged women to be disciples, allowing them to travel with him as companions. He revealed truths about himself to women, often before he revealed these same truths to men. Commentator Dee Alei says that “Jesus’ words and actions leave no doubt as to his position regarding women. He laid a sure foundation during the three years of his ministry on the earth for their release as valued witnesses, teachers and leaders in the emerging Christian Church.” Jesus and Women Disciples A number of women, married and unmarried, were regular followers of Jesus. In Luke 8:1-3, several are mentioned by name in the same sentence 12 I August 2011 I Salvationist
as the Twelve disciples: “He made his way through towns and villages preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. With him went the Twelve, as well as certain women … Mary … Joanna … Susanna; and many others … who provided for them out of their resources” (NJB). Mark 15:40-41 refers to three women: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, who had followed Jesus in Galilee and ministered to him, caring for his needs. The Greek word translated in Luke as “provided for” and in Mark as “ministered to” is diekonoun, the same basic word as “deacon.” In the Early Church, deacons carried out the same sort of tasks as these women undertook in ministering to Jesus. In a culture where men were encouraged to thank God that they had not been born a woman, the fact that Jesus welcomed women into his inner circle is revolutionary. He didn’t hold women at arm’s length. He allowed them to get close to him. “The significance of this phenomenon of women following Jesus about, learning from and ministering to him, can be properly appreciated when it is recalled that not only were women not to read or study the Scriptures, but in the more observant (traditional) settings they were not even to leave their households, whether as a daughter, a sole wife, or a member of a harem,” writes theologian Leonard Swidler. Jesus and Women Thinkers Jesus clearly did not think of women’s roles in culturally restricted terms. He directly rejected the stereotype that a woman’s place is in the home. During his visit to the house of Martha and Mary (see Luke 10:38-42), Martha took the typical woman’s role: “Martha was distracted with much serving” (ESV). Mary, however, took the supposedly male role; she “sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching” (ESV). Martha apparently thought that Mary was out of place in choosing to do this, for she complained to Jesus. Jesus’ response was a refusal to force all women into the stereotype. He treated Mary first as a person, who was allowed to set her own priorities, and in this instance had “chosen the better thing.” She had used her own autonomy, her intellect and spirit, to make a rational choice to distance herself from the frantic domestic activity that was going on. And Jesus applauded her decision: “It will never be taken from her” (NCV).
Theologian N.T. Wright makes this point about the story of Martha and Mary: “Devotion is undoubtedly part of the importance of the story, but far more obvious to any first-century reader, and to many readers in Turkey, the Middle East and many other parts of the world to this day, would be the fact that Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet within the male part of the house rather than being kept in the back rooms with the other women.”. Mary is “sitting at his feet,” a New Testament phrase that doesn’t mean what it would mean today—the adoring student gazing up in admiration and love at the wonderful teacher. Rather, to sit at the teacher’s feet is a way of saying that you are being a student, picking up the teacher’s wisdom and learning from him. And in that very practical first-century world you wouldn’t do this just for the sake of informing your own mind and heart, but in order to be a teacher, a rabbi, yourself.
about its fulfilment. Think about the song that Mary sung when she knew that she would conceive and that God’s Kingdom would come through her (see Luke 1:46-55). The revolutionary nature of her song still rings across the globe today. It calls believers to recognize the very nature and plan of God to uproot the systems of injustice and oppression, and to release, equip and empower the “weak” to overthrow the “strong.” That’s a beautiful vision.
Jesus and Women Evangelists The first evangelist recorded in the New Testament was a woman with whom Jesus struck up a theological discussion. The story of the Samaritan woman at the well (see John 4:1-42) involved not only a woman but a Samaritan woman. We all know how the Jews felt about the Samaritans—verse 9 spells it out: “Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans.” Not only that, this woman was a Samaritan woman who had had multiple husbands and was in an acute moral dilemma, evidence of her own victim status in a world where men held all the rights and women lived at their disposal. Rather than majoring on the sin of living together, Jesus understood that the situation the woman was in was less about sin and more about being sinned against. This is a phrase that Catherine Booth used to describe prostituted women, in her work among them. She understood the Church’s view of the life of a prostitute as one of sin. But, after having heard story after story of injustice, she clarified that the women she had met who had found themselves as prostitutes were much more sinned against than sinning. We see this attitude in Jesus a lot. He looked beyond the obvious religious sentiment to find the root causes of injustice and situations that tell us much more about the sickness of sin. Gender injustice is a deeply rooted sin sickness. Jesus invites the Samaritan woman into a conversation about worship and admits to her that he is the Messiah. This confession of Jesus’ true calling (see John 4:26) is not found anywhere else in his public ministry. He gives this startling good news to a Samaritan woman in moral (or at least religious) trouble. Wow! Even the disciples were uneasy when they returned and saw Jesus in this apparently compromised situation. Actually, they were just “surprised to find him talking with a woman” (John 4:27). The woman immediately responds to what Jesus has said to her by telling others about it. This is the classic definition of an evangelist: someone who shares the good news. The Samaritan woman brings the whole town to Jesus through the witness of her encounter with him. Scripture tells us that “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:39). The conversion of these people by and through a woman evangelist is hard to believe given the cultural norms at the time. Technically, Jesus shouldn’t have even spoken with her—that’s how culturally oppressive her situation was. Clearly, this good news of a new Kingdom was going to uproot the existing powers. Now, this gospel story—the one that empowers women and liberates them with the good news to use their gifts to change the world—this gospel has power! Throughout the New Testament, women were often the first to hear good news, and were intimately concerned with bringing
Despite decades of legislation, women are still straitjacketed into subservient roles. The Church needs to stand against such practices. In The Liberating Truth, Major Danielle Strickland argues that the Church should seize the lead in offering women everywhere new opportunities to develop their talents. Using her gift as an evangelist along with the guiding of Scripture, reason, tradition, and experience, Major Strickland makes her case that the more women are empowered to be true equals to men, the closer we come to the Kingdom of God.
This is an excerpt from Major Danielle Strickland’s new book, The Liberating Truth: How Jesus Empowers Women. Together with her husband, Major Stephen Court, Danielle is the corps officer of Edmonton’s Crossroads Community Church. Starting in September, she will be a columnist for Salvationist.
The Liberating Truth
Presented by Ontario Central-East Division
With Special Guests Marjory Watson, Soloist, United Kingdom Colin Fox, Dramatist The Peterborough Singers, Syd Birrell, Director Ian Sadler, Organist and featuring The Festival Chorus with Canadian Staff Band, John Lam, Bandmaster Major Leonard Ballantine, Artistic Director
Saturday, December 3, 2011 - 7:30PM Roy Thomson Hall
60 Simcoe Street, Toronto, Ontario Tickets available through TicketMaster.ca and RTH Box Office. Salvationist I August 2011 I 13
CwTSA2011_Sal_Qtr - Aug.indd 1
6/2/2011 10:29:04 AM
As Christians, we are called to defend the rights of the unborn
hen my friend told me about her abortion, I was shocked. It happened in her early 20s. At the time, she and her husband didn’t feel ready, mentally or financially, to have a child, so they terminated the pregnancy. Now in her early 40s, my friend desperately wants to have a child but has been unable to conceive. She regrets the decision made in her youth. In another case, a co-worker of mine was expecting her third child. Because of her age, doctors advised amniocentesis, a procedure in which a small sample of amniotic fluid is drawn out of the uterus in order to detect genetic abnormalities in the fetus such as Down Syndrome. In case of a positive finding, the parents can elect to abort the fetus. She refused to take the test on the grounds that the child growing inside her was a gift from God. Two different cases; two different responses. One couple chose to terminate the pregnancy because it was inconvenient. The other resolved to put their trust in God, regardless of the outcome. While each case is different, the responses typify the growing divide between the Church’s emphasis on sanctity of life and society’s pressure to prioritize personal choice and convenience. Medically Necessary? The Salvation Army’s Position Statement on Abortion states that “human beings are made in the image of God. Each person is of eternal value and each life a gift from God worth cherishing, nurturing and preserving.” This includes the unborn. Although age and immaturity are often cited as factors for unplanned pregnancy, statistics tell a different story. According to Statistics Canada, in 2003 women aged 20-24 years had the highest number of induced abortions at 32,662, nearly double the rate of teenage abortion (17,656). The next highest category was women aged 25-29 years with 22,236. From this data, it appears that abortions have become socially acceptable and are increasingly 14 I August 2011 I Salvationist
used as a form of birth control by mature, educated women. In practical terms, abortion is an enormous drain on our already overburdened health-care system. Canada is one of only a few nations to fund “medically necessary” abortion at the taxpayer’s expense. As the current Health Act does not define what is “medically necessary,” each province receives funding on a very loose basis. The result is that even those who disagree with abortion are forced to support it indirectly through their tax dollars. Abortion also continues to be a highly charged political issue. During the federal election in May 2011, the International Planned Parenthood Federation voiced its dissatisfaction with the Conservative government when Prime Minister Stephen Harper changed the criteria under his G8 initiative to exclude safe abortion services in developing countries. Though the government has vowed not to reopen the abortion debate at home, there are many Christians who passionately feel that a pro-life voice needs to be heard. Avoiding Judgment Are there circumstances in which abortion should be allowed? Is it ever permissible to end the life of an unborn child? Sometimes a pregnancy can jeopardize a mother’s life. In the case of pregnancy from rape or incest, some feel that having the child only compounds the violation. These situations pose difficult ethical questions for Christians. Regardless of the reasons or rationale, we must be careful not to become judgmental toward those who choose abortion. Our position statement says, “Women who have had an abortion deserve care and respect, and The Salvation Army will offer them its services in a loving and compassionate manner.” Too often the Church has stood in judgment over people at a time when they most needed the love of Jesus. Violence, whether physical, emotional or verbal, is never the answer. I think the best thing we can do is
Photo: © istockphoto.com/Rubberball
BY ESTEE LAU
be an example and remind others of the sanctity of life, which begins from the moment of conception. As Christians, we must not grow ambivalent about this issue. Although choice and tolerance are seen as supreme virtues in our society, it is possible to be pro-life and pro-women. When I was pregnant, I experienced a wondrous intimacy with my unborn daughter. My husband was terminally ill at the time. He told me that God gave us a daughter to keep me company when he was gone. For that reason, I’m acutely aware of the preciousness of life. May God help us to show the world that every life matters, no matter how small. What do you think about the Army’s stand on abortion? The Social Issues Committee would like to hear from you. Write to us at email@example.com or join the conversation at Salvationist.ca. Estee Lau is executive assistant to the secretary for business administration at territorial headquarters in Toronto. Estee was appointed as a member of the Social Issues Committee in February 2009.
Are We There Yet?
Before we start the journey, we need to know where we’re going BY COLONEL FLOYD TIDD
Questions for Coffee and Conversation
Where are we headed? What is our focus? Where are we now?
1. Sharing the love of Jesus
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In the Gospels, how did Jesus show love to others? In the Book of Acts, how did the Early Church pick up on that example and share the love of Jesus? What will effectively sharing the love of Christ look like in our community? What will be the results? And how do we prepare for them?
2. Meeting human needs
re we there yet?” Over the summer months, the question is posed by children from the back seats of thousands of cars travelling along Canadian highways. Despite the distractions of video games, mini DVD players, comic books and sibling rivalry, the exasperation builds and builds until the question is repeated: “Are we there yet?” While the more philosophical among us might say, “Relax, it’s all about the journey,” most of us respond with, “No, not yet.” It’s a logical answer, as the car is still moving. Generally, this is followed by another query: “How much farther?” The answer can be quickly found with a glance at the GPS. Less than 50 kilometres leaves all the passengers happy; any more than that will find the driver slinking lower into her seat. As the summer draws to a close and we prepare to return to our routines at work, school and church, it’s important that we determine our destination. Where is The Salvation Army headed? And how long will it take us to get there? Our mission statement says that we “exist to share the love of Jesus Christ, meet
human needs and be a transforming influence in the communities of our world.” General John Gowans (Rtd) suggests that the Army was created by God “to save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity.” In light of our mission, we need to give serious consideration to what our destination looks like territorially and also locally at every corps and ministry centre. These are questions for the “we,” not just “me.” By divine design, we share this journey in community with other believers. As we consider these questions and explore how best to apply the Army’s mission, we will be better informed and positioned by working together with those in our corps ministry boards, corps councils, senior/junior pastoral care councils, management teams and community councils. If we’re not there yet, then the question of “How much farther?” requires us to evaluate where we are currently. Just as a GPS unit identifies our present location, ministry leadership teams help identify and articulate where we are now and where we should go next. A GPS looks beyond itself, receiving and comparing signals from at least three or four satellites. We,
What are the needs in our community? How do we identify those needs? What is putting dignity out of reach for some people? What voices can clarify our understanding? What are specific needs we can target that would have the greatest impact?
3. Being a transforming influence in the communities of our world
What does Jesus mean when he says we are salt and light in our world? Where could we bring the impact of salt and light in our local community? What difference would this make? How can we be salt and light in this coming year? too, will gain a more accurate evaluation of ourselves when we are ready to receive and compare the information offered by soldiers, adherents, employees, clients and people in our community. With a fresh view of our intended mission destination, and a clarified understanding of our progress, we will be better prepared to commit to the next steps together as partners in the gospel (see Philippians 1:3-6). Colonel Floyd Tidd is the chief secretary of the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Salvationist I August 2011 I 15
Compassion Fatigue Is ministry leaving you tired, numb or overwhelmed? You’re not alone
Photo: © istockphoto/GeorgePeters
BY JULIA HOSKING, STAFF WRITER
onday: Meet client to go over immigration papers, have lunch with someone struggling with abuse, visit two hospital patients and plan the centre’s monthly dinner. When Liz Garrison first started in frontline ministry, she found a day like this exciting. She loved being able to minister to others and work toward social change. “Although my colleagues at the centre shared my passion for serving, they no longer had the energy or enthusiasm they once did for ministry,” reflects Garrison, territorial social services consultant. “It was an awakening experience for me to see the toll it had taken on them.” What Garrison first witnessed in her colleagues, and later in herself, was “compassion fatigue”—unhealthy behaviours and emotions resulting from helping or wanting to help traumatized or suffering people. Compassion fatigue leads to a reduced capacity to express empathy and is often experienced by individuals offering care continually through social services or in one-off traumatic situations. “My colleagues and I had to learn to be intentional about how we gave to others in order to sustain ourselves over the long-term,” Garrison says. Understanding the Signs As a result of her experience, Garrison decided to educate herself on compassion fatigue and now delivers workshops on the topic. “Compassion fatigue can be a natural response to care-giving,” she says. “It’s not the abnormal caregiver that gets fatigued; it’s the abnormal caregiver that doesn’t.” Captain Ginny Kristensen, corps officer, Ottawa’s Gladstone Community Church, and chaplain, Ottawa’s correctional and justice services, has also undertaken training. “People come to work in the caring profession because they want to help people,” she says. “But when you are repeatedly hearing stories of trauma, you start to carry other people’s burdens that you can’t do anything about.” Signs of compassion fatigue include exhaustion, headaches or addictions; a loss of ability to listen, be creative or empathize; or feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, guilt or cynicism. The Call to Serve “Faith needs to be put into action,” Garrison says. “That’s an important part of who we are as Christians—serving each other and the world as witnesses of God’s love.” Because of this Christian call, Garrison warns that compassion fatigue can affect people in caring roles outside of the social services realm. 16 I August 2011 I Salvationist
That means people who are caregivers for other family members, individuals ministering in their community or congregation, corps officers and people who are regularly reading about poverty—“anyone operating out of a compassionate heart, giving of themselves emotionally and listening to people’s stories,” says Garrison—could experience compassion fatigue. Captain Kristensen has seen her corps volunteers become emotionally stressed and has also felt it personally in her corps work. “Corps officers have lots of demands on our time,” she says. “We need to take at least one day off every week to keep our own prayer life active and vibrant, and our relationship with God fresh. If we don’t do this, we get spiritually and physically fatigued. “We tend to get so involved in helping others that we forget about ourselves,” Captain Kristensen continues. “And if we forget about ourselves, we cannot effectively help others. We have to realize that we can’t do everything and we don’t have to.” “While we need to love our neighbour,” adds Garrison, “it’s important to follow Jesus’ example: he rested, spent time away from the crowds and took time to celebrate. “In the end, I’m involved in ministry because I believe that God works in the world. And so, to reduce the impact of compassion fatigue in my life, I need to remember that God works in many ways, not just through me and what I do.”
Alleviate Compassion Fatigue
• Observe the Sabbath. Proper rest is crucial for caregivers dealing with high stress situations. • Do a self-assessment. Are there things that can be delegated to others? Can you change anything about your schedule? Are you taking enough time to recharge? • Be self-aware. Know what your “normal” is. • Rebalance your caseload. Do certain clients deplete you? Spread them out across the day or week; share them with coworkers. • Be careful what you watch. The media sensationalizes trauma and this can trigger emotional responses. • Engage in professional development. Additional training can help you gain perspective.
Thank God for Heretics
How fighting theological errors has kept the Church on track—Part one of six
elieve it or not, Christians owe a lot to heretics. The word “heresy” comes from a Greek word meaning “choice.” A heretic is someone who chooses to believe something that is in contradiction to official church doctrine. But church doctrine has developed gradually over time, and some of the most important doctrinal developments were made precisely in order to exclude particular heresies. Christian doctrine is like a set of rules that help us to faithfully proclaim the gospel. Doctrine sets up boundary markers that tell us when our teaching is on safe ground, and when we’re “out of bounds.” If everyone always stayed on safe ground, we wouldn’t need the boundary markers! Sometimes the boundaries of faithful Christian teaching are identified specifically because someone has wandered “out of bounds.” For example, in the 2nd century, Marcion was a popular teacher who rejected the Old Testament and issued his own “canon” of scripture, which included only 10 of Paul’s letters and part of Luke’s Gospel. The problem was that Christians had not yet established an official list of biblical books. Of course, orthodox Christians knew which Scriptures were authentic, because they used them regularly in worship and as standards of teaching. But thanks to Marcion’s errors, orthodox Christians were forced to begin the process of making a clear list of accepted biblical books. In the process, Marcion officially became a heretic. Why should we worry about this today, since heretics like Marcion have already been dealt with centuries ago? Are Marcion’s ideas still a threat to the gospel? Knowing the history of heresy is important because heresies have a habit of cropping up again and again, sometimes in less obvious forms. Some psychologists argue that otherwise mentally healthy people struggle with so-called
“shadow disorders”—mild forms of serious mental illnesses that show up in subtle ways most of us wouldn’t even recognize. Knowing the history of heresy will help us to identify the “shadow heresies” that may crop up in our own thinking and teaching from time to time. For example, the Old Testament is virtually ignored in many Christian pulpits. The lack of Old Testament preaching and teaching could give the impression that it is not authoritative for Christians today. This doesn’t mean the contemporary church is full of Marcionites. But revisiting the story of Marcion should remind us to emphasize the continuity between the two Testaments, and the unity of God’s purpose from Genesis to Revelation. The example of Marcion also shows how heresy is not merely an “academic” issue. Heresies can affect how we proclaim and live out the gospel message. Heresy is serious, and we should take it seriously. On the other hand, we shouldn’t be overzealous about hunting for heretics.
We need to remember that, in the past, many people were falsely accused of being heretics, and they often faced severe consequences. Thankfully, we no longer burn suspected heretics at the stake. We have learned that it is possible to disagree on many issues without compromising the gospel message. Within the orthodox Christian faith, there are many legitimate theological perspectives. Wesleyans disagree with Calvinists about the nature of human freedom, but we don’t consider Calvinists to be heretics. And we certainly wouldn’t want Calvinists to call us heretics! The English reformer Richard Hooker offers a wise warning on this subject: “Let us beware, lest if we make too many ways of denying Christ, we scarce leave any way for ourselves truly and soundly to confess him.” So, we need to be keenly aware of the dangers of heresy, but this awareness shouldn’t leave us paranoid. The early Salvationists had this balance of concerns in mind when they established the Army’s doctrines. By limiting the doctrines to 11 articles of faith, they created a clear standard on essential matters of Christian faith, while leaving plenty of breathing room on questions of secondary importance. Over the next few months, I will be reviewing five major heresies from the Early Church, and showing how the rejection of these heresies shaped Christianity’s central beliefs about creation, the Trinity, Jesus and human sinfulness. I will also explore potential “shadow heresies” that may crop up in contemporary Christian thinking. Cultivating this awareness can help us to faithfully proclaim the gospel today. James Pedlar is a doctoral student at Wycliffe College, in the Toronto School of Theology. He works part-time as assistant co-ordinator of faith and witness at the Canadian Council of Churches. Visit his blog at jamespedlar.wordpress.com. Salvationist I August 2011 I 17
Photo: © istockphoto.com/thepalmer
BY JAMES PEDLAR
Are We Biblically Illiterate?
Our increasing ignorance about Scripture is hurting the Church’s witness BY DONALD E. BURKE
Photo: © istockphoto.com/cstar55
ave you ever described yourself as a Biblebelieving Christian? Part of our ethos as Salvationists is that we see ourselves as a people who take the Bible seriously. After all, our first doctrine focuses on the Bible: “We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that they only constitute the divine rule of Christian faith and practice.” A quick analysis of this doctrine reveals several key
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declarations: God inspired the Bible; the Bible consists of both the Old and New Testaments; these writings are the “divine rule” that teach us what to believe and how to live out our faith. However, although we affirm Scripture’s importance, biblical literacy among Salvationists (and other Christians) is diminishing rapidly. The Bible plays a decreasing role in most sermons, partly because it is mistakenly viewed as being
irrelevant to life in the 21st century. Sunday school curricula often trivialize Scripture in an attempt to be fun or trendy. Bible study groups spend less and less time studying and function more like group therapy sessions. The result is that we can no longer assume a shared knowledge of the Bible, even among Christians. While we might occasionally discuss the Bible, we know less and less about what the Bible actually says and, more importantly, about the demands it makes upon us. In 2005, American pollster George Barna observed, “American Christians are biblically illiterate. Although most of them contend that the Bible contains truth and is worth knowing, and most of them argue that they know all of the relevant truths and principles, our research shows otherwise. And the trend line is frightening: the younger a person is, the less they understand about the Christian faith.” Without doubt, the same is true of Canadians. Barna’s report suggests several reasons for this growing biblical illiteracy: • people think they know what is important to know • the importance of Bible teaching in the life of churches has declined • families are too busy to make Bible learning a priority • while most parents rely on churches to provide biblical education for their children, the churches themselves rely on
volunteer teachers who are poorly prepared to provide effective, reliable instruction • the messages communicated through our culture often conflict with biblical teachings, causing confusion or an outright rejection of biblical values. What are we losing in the process? The diminishing prominence of the Bible in our public worship and in our private world comes with a high price. The Church is being assimilated into our dominant culture even as the distinctive voice of Christian faith is being drowned out. Increasingly, we have little to say to the world that doesn’t simply parrot its own values and assertions. We are in danger of becoming ineffectual and redundant. Of course, this is nothing new. The threat of assimilation by a powerful alternative worldview is a long-standing concern for God’s people. Many biblical books focus on how Israel in the Old Testament, or the Church in the New Testament, maintained its faith in a world that enticed the people of God to blend in. Read the first six chapters of Daniel to learn about the pressure that faced Daniel and his fellow Jews under the Babylonian Empire. Or consider the Apostle Paul’s letters to churches that were often swayed by negative cultural influences. Or think about the Gospel of Mark, which contrasts Israel’s messianic hope for worldly power and influ-
ence with Jesus’ message of servanthood and humility. In every instance, the people of God were called upon to maintain their identity in a context that threatened to overwhelm them. The Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy addresses this problem of assimilation in great detail. It chronicles the transition of Israel from the wilderness to the Promised Land. In the desert, the Israelites daily depended on God for the essentials of life—food, water and safety. In Canaan, however, the abundant resources tempted Israel to increased self-reliance and less dependence on God. Their newfound affluence might lead to amnesia—forgetfulness about who they were and from where they had come. Also, the dominant Canaanite culture might appear more appealing than the rigours of Israelite faith. There was a danger that Israel would simply assimilate into the culture of Canaan. In anticipation of the transition into Canaan, Moses addressed Israel. He urged the Israelites to remember that God had delivered them from Egyptian slavery and oppression. He reminded them that in the wilderness the Lord had provided their “daily bread.” Finally, in Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Moses exhorted the Israelites to keep the words of the Torah (the Word of God as they knew it) before them at all times. It is important to recall that the Torah was not simply a set of rules; it was also the story of Israel’s relationship with God, including their deliverance from Egypt. Israel was to be a holy people, a people set apart. Moses urged, “Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and
write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NRSV). The antidote to Canaan’s pervasive cultural influence was to rehearse again and again the story of God’s gracious deliverance and to meditate on its implications for Israel’s life as the people of God. By focusing on the Torah, Israel would be able to withstand the subtle and not-so-subtle influences of Canaanite economics, society and religion. Israelites needed to constantly and intentionally remind each other of the ways in which God had intervened to rescue, preserve and protect them. This would give Israel a fighting chance of surviving as the people of God in the land of Canaan. Today’s societal influences are even more powerful than those faced by Israel in ancient times. Cultural values are
Tips for Improving Your Biblical Literacy
The key to learning the Bible is consistency—regular study over a long time will enrich and transform you. Here are some suggestions: 1. Begin your study with one of the Gospels. Start with Matthew, Mark or Luke. Save John’s Gospel for later. One of Paul’s letters, especially Philippians, is a good follow up. Avoid Revelation! It often sidetracks people from the heart of the gospel when read too early in one’s journey into the Bible. 2. Devote several months to each book you study. This will allow the message of the specific biblical book to sink deeply into your heart and mind. Don’t worry about learning everything; take to heart what you do learn. Avoid waterskiing through the Bible; dive deeply into it. 3. Find a good commentary or study guide to help you. Begin with a fairly short commentary that not only explains the biblical text, but also helps you to see its significance for Christian living. If you have difficulty identifying one, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a recommendation. 4. Listen for God’s Word. I am a firm believer that God not only inspired Scripture, but that the Holy Spirit continues to inspire the Bible when we read it. Intentionally ask God to speak through your study of the Bible.
Sunday school lessons often trivialize Scripture and Bible study groups become group therapy sessions broadcast through the media, in advertising and in countless other ways. Our ethics are shaped by reality shows that set person against person in the effort to win the prize. Advertisers and entertainers, lobbyists and bloggers all project images of the kind of life to which we should aspire, with autonomy and independence valued above community. Immediate gratification is the standard for measuring happiness. Good is determined on the basis of self-interest. And life is ours to shape as we please. These are values that run contrary to our Christian understanding. As we drift away from our identity as the people of God, we quickly lose sight of the vulnerable among us. In the world’s eyes, the poor are not pretty or appealing. In fact, they are often perceived as a
threat to our perfect lifestyle. In an economy that reinforces and rewards affluence, the poor are viewed as collateral damage. A “successful” life becomes more about money and cars, houses and vacations, fortunes and fame, than about faithfulness to the biblical witness and service to God. Without a strong anchor in Scripture, our spirits can become numb to society’s assault on goodness and purity. Our values become indistinguishable from the culture around us and the prophetic voice of our Christian faith is muffled. Immersion in Scripture is the antidote to worldliness. When read thoughtfully and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word provides us with an alternative set of values, lifestyle and worldview. We study the Bible to allow its story to shape us more
deeply than the incessant propaganda of the media, the secular ideologies of our time and our inherited tendencies toward self-interest. In this light, the function of Scripture is not a rulebook or a source of quasi-science; neither is it a reservoir of arcane information that has no impact on who we are and how we live. Rather, Scripture is an ever-present shaping influence in our lives. When it sinks deeply into us, it will help us to maintain our identity as God’s people. Taking our first doctrine seriously means allowing Scripture, under the Spirit’s continuing inspiration, to shape us in ways that actually make a difference to how we live and witness. If we commit ourselves and make Scripture central to our lives, we will be biblically literate Christians who are salt and light in the world. Dr. Donald Burke is president and professor of biblical studies at The Salvation Army’s Booth University College in Winnipeg. Salvationist I August 2011 I 19
Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell REVIEW BY DION OXFORD AND GEOFF MOULTON
he evangelical world is in an uproar about a controversial new book called Love Wins by Rob Bell, founder of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, and featured speaker in the popular NOOMA video series. So what’s the big deal? While most evangelicals believe fervently in Heaven and Hell as real places where souls are punished or rewarded for eternity, Bell challenges readers with a new set of questions about our ultimate fate. Bell states that the story of Jesus is “first and foremost about the love of God for every single one of us.” He then criticizes the Church for making questions about Jesus, Heaven, Hell and salvation off limits. There is no question too big for Jesus to handle, Bell argues. And too many people have walked away from the Church because no one listened to their doubts. Particularly vexing for Bell are questions about Hell. He writes, “It’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief [in Hell as conscious, eternal torment] is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.” Bell then outlines a number of alterna-
tive theories of Hell, including universalism, the belief that Hell is not permanent and that God will eventually reconcile all of humanity to himself. “Of all the billions of people who have ever lived,” he asks, “will only a select number ‘make it to a better place’ and every single other person suffer in torment and punishment forever? Can God do this, or even allow this, and still claim to be a loving God?” Using the parable of the Prodigal Son, Bell suggests that Heaven and Hell may be one and the same place, depending on our perspective. The younger son joins the celebration even as the elder son sulks in a self-imposed “Hell” of his own creation. While God, in his universal love, extends the invitation to all to participate in the abundant life, our choice to accept or reject him determines our experience, argues Bell. “If we want isolation, despair and the right to be our own god, God graciously grants you that option,” Bell writes. “If, however, we crave light, we’re drawn to truth, we’re desperate for grace … God gives us what we want … the peace that transcends all understanding.” For Bell, death doesn’t cut off the ability to repent. In the Bible, Bell sees no “infinite, eternal torment for things [people] did in their few finite years of life.” Despite his enthusiasm for the subject
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matter, Bell’s book leaves a number of questions unanswered. What do we do with Jesus’ teaching about the final judgment? Why are the Apostle Paul’s words about Christ as the model or exemplar of our faith taken seriously, but the verses on substitutionary atonement dismissed as an outdated metaphor? Is Bell tailoring his message to the current culture at the expense of biblical revelation? And if we all end up in the same place anyway, what is the point of the gospel? In the face of intense criticism, Bell denies he is a universalist. Rather than embracing any particular view, he wants to leave room for uncertainty. Love Wins presents his “case for living with mystery rather than demanding certitude.” Some evangelicals see this “uncertainty” as incompatible with biblical teaching, while others say that the book is simply promoting overdue conversation about traditional interpretations of Scripture. No matter where you stand, these are questions worth exploring.
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The Essential Works of John Wesley
Edited by Alice Russie John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is remembered for his passionate preaching and delivering thousands of sermons while “riding the circuit” on horseback. He also wrote many articles, essays and letters. The Essential Works of John Wesley, edited by Alice Russie, features Wesley’s foundational works, covering the wide range of his thought. Selected sermons include: The Almost Christian, The Means of Grace, The Duty of Constant Communion, The Wilderness State, Of Hell, On the Education of Children and The Difference Between Walking by Sight and Walking by Faith. Russie includes Wesley’s detailed story of coming to faith in Christ and his rejection of works-based salvation. A particularly helpful feature is a 31-page scriptural index, allowing Bible students to check what Wesley said about a particular verse or passage. The text has been lightly updated for ease of reading. Salvationists will appreciate exploring their Wesleyan roots through this book.
God Behaving Badly
Is the God of the Old Testament angry, sexist and racist? David T. Lamb How do we reconcile the Bible’s depictions of God as wrathful and angry in wiping out armies and punishing enemies with pictures of God’s love, goodness and slowness to anger? How do we make sense of apparent contradictions? David Lamb unpacks the complexity of the Old Testament to explore the character of God. He gives historical and cultural background to shed light on problematic passages. Without minimizing the harsh realities of the biblical record, Lamb assembles an overall portrait that gives a coherent understanding of God in both the Old and New Testaments.
When Life’s Not Working
Seven simple choices for a better tomorrow Bob Merritt Life is hard for everyone. No matter how blessed we might be, we all face difficulties in our jobs, schooling and relationships. In When Life’s Not Working, veteran pastor Bob Merritt notes that by following basic life disciplines, anyone can experience accomplishment, freedom and confidence in navigating daily challenges. His chapters include Give It One More Day, Don’t Quit and Manage Your Loads, Do a Few Things Well.
Territorial Prayer Guide WEEK 1 – AUGUST 1-6 Focus on Children and Youth • God’s blessing for the ministry of the territorial youth department • Leaders to be anointed role models • Wisdom for camp staff, employees and volunteers in relating to children • Participants in the territorial youth institute at Jackson’s Point Camp, August 27-September 1, to be filled with love and zeal for God WEEK 2 – AUGUST 7-13 Focus on the Call to Our Life in the World • Strength and victory over self-indulgence (see Philippians 2:5-7) • The servant model of Christ (see John 13:13-15) to be practised in every ministry unit • Reflect on 2 Corinthians 3:2: The most authentic gospel I can share is what I daily do and say • God to show you one thing to help the helpless this week (see Isaiah 58) WEEK 3 – AUGUST 14-20 Focus on Territorial Adult Ministries • Doors to open to people who could benefit from community care ministry • Seniors restricted to their homes to be visited • God to raise up facilitators to grow Careforce Lifekeys program • More leaders for adult ministries WEEK 4 – AUGUST 21-27 Focus on the Territorial Call to Prayer • Thank God for renewed interest in prayer (see Luke 18:7-8) • God’s reconciling grace to work through us (see Hosea 14:2) • The Global Call to 24/7 Prayer to transform lives (see Romans 14:17)
The not-so-simple truth about following Jesus Greg Sidders When Jesus called his followers, his invitation was simple: “Follow me.” But after deciding to follow Jesus, Greg Sidders found that this invitation is harder and scarier than it sounds. He suddenly had to ask himself, “How can I call myself a Christian when I don’t do what Christ says?” Sidders invites readers to venture beyond riskfree Christianity to take the leap of obedience and break through to the vibrant faith we long for.
The Kingdom Life
A practical theology of discipleship and spiritual formation Edited by Alan Andrews Spiritual formation leaders such as Dallas Willard, Bruce Demarest and Bill Hull collaborated with other colleagues to create a collection of reflections on discipleship and spiritual formation. The result is The Kingdom Life, a fresh approach to the spiritual disciplines through a focus on transformation, community and outreach. Connect with God and his Kingdom by understanding how he sees grace and doctrine, brokenness and obedience, outreach and justice.
WEEK 5 – AUGUST 28-31 Focus on Overseas Personnel • Cpt Heather and Lt Nicholas Samuel, COs, Thurso, Scotland, United Kingdom Tty with the Republic of Ireland • Brigitte Kloosterman, corps helper, Furth Corps, Germany and Lithuania Tty • Cpt Elizabeth Nelson, assistant undersecretary, South Asia Zone, IHQ, London, England • Lt-Col Joan Canning, executive director, Salvation Army World Services Organization (SAWSO), National Headquarters, U.S.A. Salvationist I August 2011 I 21
And the Bands Played On
Canadian Staff Band travels to London, England, for historic weekend celebrating the 120th anniversary of the International Staff Band BY MAJOR KEN SMITH
was so excited when I heard that the Canadian Staff Band (CSB) had been invited to participate in the ISB 120 weekend!” Valerie Moreton beams as she recalls her initial reaction to learning about the band’s visit to London, England, in June to play with seven other staff bands from around the Army world in celebrating the International Staff Band’s 120th anniversary. Valerie’s enthusiasm was shared by her fellow band members as the CSB embarked 22 I August 2011 I Salvationist
on a week-long tour of The Netherlands and Germany in advance of the June 3-5 weekend. Arriving in Amsterdam on May 28, the band spent the first two days in Almelo and Leeuwarden, inspiring local Salvationists and friends with their uplifting musical ministry. During two days in Germany, the band marched and performed in the small town of Zetel and shared an afternoon workshop and concert with brass band students at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen.
A highlight of the tour was the CSB’s participation in a memorial service at the Canadian War Graves in Holten. The Dutch people remain grateful for the Canadian soldiers who helped liberate Holland at the end of the Second World War, and the band was privileged to honour those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom. Later in the week, the CSB joined with the Amsterdam Staff Band in a joint concert at Baarn and played several items together in preparation for the ISB
Impromptu outdoor concert, Almelo
Canadian War Graves Memorial service, Holten Cemetery
Valerie Moreton prepares for the march to Buckingham Palace with fellow band member Rick Allington
The Canadian Staff Band leaving Buckingham Palace
ISB Bandmaster Dr. Stephen Cobb conducts the massed bands at London’s Royal Albert Hall
anniversary weekend. After a concert in Stowmarket, England, on Friday night, it was off to the Royal Albert Hall in London for a day of music making at its finest. In total, eight staff bands from around the world participated—a Salvation Army first. During the sold-out program, individual band performances in the afternoon were followed by a massed band extravaganza in the evening. Following Sunday morning worship at Westminister Central Hall, crowds of Salvationists, friends and tourists braved inclement weather to watch the eight staff bands in a grand march of witness to Buckingham Palace. Several thousand people lined The Mall, cheering and applauding the bands’ progress. The march was followed by a brief outdoor concert in the forecourt of the palace, before each band marched off individually with General Linda Bond taking the salute. For more information and pictures of the CSB’s tour, visit CanadianStaffBand.ca. Major Ken Smith is the assistant music secretary, THQ. Salvationist I August 2011 I 23
The World for God
From the east end of London, England, The Salvation Army’s evangelistic mission has spread to 124 countries BY LT-COLONEL MAXWELL RYAN
became the Army, challenged by a vision that included the whole world. They took to heart John Wesley’s phrase: “The world is my parish.” Early Army “war songs” (found in the current Salvation Army Song Book) reflect this imperialistic vision and reveal the motivation behind worldwide expansion: “Salvation Army, Army of God, onward to conquer the world with fire and blood”; “All the world to save, to battle we will go ... with a trumpet voice we’ll let the millions know, there’s salvation for the world.” As for mission strategy, some thought it did not exist. When the Army “invaded” the U.S.A. in 1880, the press could not contain its surprise as Railton and seven young unmarried women disembarked. This was an Army? The same year two men, who had been saved through the Army in the U.K., met in Adelaide, Australia, and commenced Army meetings. A year later William and Catherine Booth sent their daughter, Catherine, to one of the worst slums in Paris, France, to “open fire” and establish the Army. In 1882, two young men in London, Ontario, met at a church
Lt-Colonel Max Ryan is retired in Burlington, Ont., where he serves as a part-time hospital chaplain and amateur Army historian. William Booth with representatives of his soldiers from all parts of the world
Photo: Getty Images
illiam Booth, founder of The Salvation Army, loved evangelistic campaigns. He viewed them as colourful, exciting and an effective way of getting things done. In fact, the Army—from its beginnings with General Booth—to the present with General Bond― has engaged in a continual campaign to win the world for Jesus. Even though Army language has changed from battles and conquest to worship and relationship, the Movement still proclaims that “we are an Army, mobilized by God.” During the two decades following Booth’s first open-air meetings in England in 1865, the Army’s leaders busily directed a Movement that spread like wildfire throughout the British Isles. Drawing heavily on the orders and regulations of the British armed forces, Bramwell Booth and George Scott Railton formulated The Salvation Army’s own Orders & Regulations, which provided a cohesive yet flexible structure that ensured the fledgling Army would survive and grow. The evangelistic energy of early converts meant that wherever they went they
service and discovered each had been a Salvationist in England. Before long they took to the open air to preach. The same year Frederick Booth-Tucker—a converted magistrate—and five companions planted the Army flag in India, much to the annoyance of the British ruling class. The same tactics were repeated wherever the Army “opened fire”: go in faith, preach the love of Jesus, be prepared for anything. Is it any wonder that by 1914 four international congresses had been held, with thousands of Salvationists from every country where the Army was at work bringing unimagined pageantry to London? From small beginnings in the east end of London 146 years ago, The Salvation Army has spread its ministry throughout the world in 124 countries. Recent additions include Togo, the Turks and Caicos Islands, United Arab Emirates and Solomon Islands. Active Christian concern has given the Army a visibility that far exceeds its numerical strength. And throughout the world there are unnamed, yet heroic, Salvationists who have answered the call to service, seeking nothing but the privilege of introducing people to the Saviour and thus healing the world’s ills.
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MINISTRY IN ACTION
All You Need is Love
How a simple Bible verse transformed a corps in Montreal BY KEN RAMSTEAD, EDITOR, FAITH & FRIENDS AND FOI & VIE
aptain Pierre Croteau was in rough shape. The corps officer of the Centre Communautaire Chrétien in Montreal had been laid up for weeks, after a freak gym accident in February 2010 fractured his big toe in five places. As a result, Captain Croteau’s doctors forbade him to do any of his customary activities, such as visiting sick members from the corps. Essentially confined to his office while his wife, Captain Claudine Tardif, dealt with the day-to-day business of the church, Captain Croteau had time to think, and there was much to occupy his thoughts. A Frost in the Winter The Centre Communautaire Chrétien is situated in the east end of Montreal. From meagre beginnings in 2007 of less than three dozen parishioners, by 2010 the congregation had grown with its members representing 23 countries. “I know, because I have to find and purchase the appropriate flag every time we welcome someone from a new country!” laughs Captain Croteau. While the congregation seemed outwardly content, there was a malaise that occupied his thoughts. “Many of the parishioners from different nationalities were not talking to one another,” says Captain Croteau. “Many families had separated. There was a frost on many of the relationships. Plus, my corps had merged with another and there was a tension that I didn’t how to resolve.”
Twenty-three countries are represented at Centre Communautaire Chrétien
A Plan is Born All through that winter and spring, Captain Croteau read Scripture and focused his thoughts in prayer, seeking guidance from God. The more he prayed, the more he realized what the answer to his corps’ problems was. He found himself focusing his reading on John 13:35: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
“When you get down to it, it’s really not such a burden to preach on brotherly love” While there was no doubt in his mind that the Lord was speaking to him, revealing his will for the congregation, it took him months before he unveiled his plan of action. “I thought it would sound pretentious,” he says. “But week after week, this inspiration kept coming back and I had no other alternative but to proclaim it to the church members in order to free myself from the idea.”
When he did, it took the form of weekly sermons that concentrated on the theme of brotherly love, as highlighted in Psalm 133. Week after week, Captain Croteau concentrated on this, using other verses in the Bible to support this theme. “When you get down to it, it’s really not such a burden to preach on brotherly love.” Words on a Wall The theme of brotherly love fostered an atmosphere of unity that bound the different nationalities and cultures together. In addition to the weekly sermons, the theme was reinforced in Sunday school, Bible studies and all other corps activities. Slowly, the congregation began to embrace the concept in their own lives, and many confided that their thoughts had also been directed along the same lines. “It seems that God had been speaking to all of us,” says Captain Croteau. The campaign has been going strong now for 16 months, and the corps has even printed John 13:35 on the walls of the centre in huge letters for all to see. New members have flocked to the corps. In fact, it has doubled its numbers. “It’s just amazing what happened in the hearts of our members,” reports Captain Croteau. “We’ve seen children making up with their parents with whom they’ve had problems in the past. Old friends or acquaintances have buried their differences and grievances and we’ve seen couples reconciling. We are a happier church family, stronger now than we have ever been.” Salvationist I August 2011 I 25
ENROLMENTS AND RECOGNITION
AJAX, ONT.—Mjrs Greg and Patricia McInnes, then COs, and Mjr Doug Binner, then AC, enrol 22 people at Hope Community Church: 10 senior soldiers, seven adherents and five junior soldiers. One person was reinstated as a soldier. Front, from left, Gavin Bradburn, Hailey Frampton, Danielle Trottier, Sarah Lyons, Abbie Trottier, Mjrs Greg and Patricia McInnes. Middle, from left, Heather Smith and Cheryl Ash, junior soldier
RICHMOND HILL, ONT.—Richmond Hill Community Church celebrates the enrolment of five adherents and three soldiers. From left, Werner and Ruby Santizo; Denise Hughes; Ardelle Carruthers; Adrian and Eliz Beros; Mjrs Beth and David Pearo, COs; Diane and Grant Eberlin.
WOODSTOCK, N.L.—The faithful service of four local officers is recognized at Woodstock-Ming’s Bight Circuit. From left, Barb Saunders, 12 years as HLT; Donna Sacrey, 13 years as YPSM; Vicky Canning, six years as HLS; Les Canning, 14 years as CSM; Cpts Brian and Betty Thomas, COs; ACSM McKenzie Mitchell. WOODSTOCK, N.L.— Two soldiers are enrolled at Woodstock-Ming’s Bight Circuit. From left, Cpt Betty Thomas, CO; Goldie Companion; Cpt Brian Thomas, CO; Henry Companion; AC SM McKenzie Mitchell.
26 I August 2011 I Salvationist
class teachers; Matt Trottier, youth pastor; Lynnette Trottier; Laura Smith; Jenna Ash; Melanie McInnes; Diane Gauthier; Amy Smith; Heather Lyons; Andy White; Jeff Robertson, membership class teacher. Back, from left, Mjr Doug Binner, John Ferris, Maureen Rego, Stephen Rego, Yasemin Duarte Maciel, Ana Duarte Edwards, Alison Limerick, Miya Robertson, Tyler McInnes, Kayla Lyons.
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I.— Mjrs Larry and Velma Martin, then divisional leaders, Maritime Div, enrol senior soldiers (below) and adherents, and add people to the friends roll at Summerside. Front, from left, Mary Pyke; Mjrs Priscilla and Willis Drover, COs; Marj Montgomery. Middle, from left, Joan Burch, Sandy Gallant, Lucein Duffenais, Cathy Simmons, Wayne MacKenzie, Cindy Burke, Marjorie MacDonald, Philip Peckham, Wilfred Anderson, Wilson Warren. Back , from lef t, Gar y Three soldiers are enrolled at Summerside. DesRoche, Myrna Ramsey, From left, Brenda Arsenault, Wilma Brenda Gallant. Duffenais, Sarah Downey. RED DEER, ALTA.—Under the leadership of Cpts Jason and Tammy Sabourin, former COs, Red Deer Church celebrates the enrolment of one senior soldier and four adherents. From lef t, David Juzkow, Sue Juzkow, Linda Beadle, Darlene Enns, Mark Weber.
CELEBRATE COMMUNITY SPRINGHILL, N.S.—Seven new members display their adherent certificates during Springhill Community Church’s 125th anniversary celebrations. Front, from left, Cpt Chad Ingram, CO; Karen Morris; Eunice White; Minerva Godfry; Paula Tucker; Mjr Stan Folkins, AC, Maritime Div. Back, from left, Aaron Turfry; CSM Marion Varner; Bernice Rushton; June Dix; Cpt Kathleen Ingram, CO.
STRATHROY, ONT.—On May 17, Mjrs Edward and Roxzena Hayden, community and family services officers in Strathroy, were sworn in as chaplains for the Strathroy-Caradoc Police Services and 911 Call Centre. The Haydens will serve 31 police officers and their families and 15 civilian call centre employees. In photo, from left, Sgt Mike Overdulve, liaison officer between chaplains and police officers; Mjrs Edward and Roxzena Hayden; Police Chief Richard Beazley, Strathroy-Caradoc Police Services. TROUT RIVER, N.L.—Guests Mjrs Stephen and Elaine Hibbs, AC and ASWM, N.L. Div, led the 111th anniversary celebrations at Trout River, an outpost of Deer Lake, N.L. Mjr Leighton Patey has been conducting Sunday services bi-weekly and also weddings, funerals and dedications for the past four years. In photo, during a fellowship hour after the Sunday evening meeting, Tanisha Parsons and Sadie Butler cut the anniversary cake.
GODERICH, ONT.—Lucy Martin has been a hospice volunteer for over a decade in the Goderich area, volunteering in hospitals, homes and various nursing facilities. Recently, Martin received the June Callwood Circle of Outstanding Volunteers Award, one of 42 people who received this award for all of Ontario. Martin has also been a faithful soldier of Suncoast Citadel for 48 years, and often visits the local nursing home to deliver Salvationist and Faith & Friends. In photo, Cpt Bram Pearce, CO, congratulates Martin on her accomplishment.
The Salvation Army Springdale Citadel Band Celebrates 50 years of spreading God’s love through song and music All former band members are invited to attend and bring your instruments to a Celebration Weekend November 12-13, 2011 If you are interested in attending, contact Brian Hancock at firstname.lastname@example.org or 709-673-4410, or the corps office at 709-673-3576
Cpt Chad Ingram presents Wally Armour with the commission of welcome sergeant at Springhill Community Church.
Mae Johnson is welcomed as an adherent at Springhill Community Church. With her is CSM Marion Varner.
EDMONTON—LtCol Junior Hynes, territorial secretary for program services, and Mjrs Fred and Wendy Waters, then divisional leaders, Alta. & N.T. Div, conducted a consultation at Edmonton Crossroads Community Church. The corps’ initiatives include continuous prayer since January 1 as part of the global call to 24/7 prayer, forays into the subculture of victims of prostitution, evangelistic adventures and attempts to win children for Christ. In photo, from left, Mjr Fred Waters; CCMS Corry Frost; CSM Bruce Davison; Lt-Col Junior Hynes; Louise Topham, prayer sergeant; Sylvia Overton, prospective candidate; Mjr Wendy Waters. EDMONTON—Corps sergeant major Bruce Davison congratulates Alicia Bondy and Sylvia Overton on being the first soldiers of Edmonton Crossroads Community Church to become members of the territorial candidates’ fellowship. Salvationist I August 2011 I 27
Nineteen Junior Soldiers Enrolled at Beaver Creek Camp
CHARLOTTETOWN, N.L.—On Easter Sunday, Craig and Fallon Stringer dedicated to the Lord their son, Jackson Robert Roy. With them are Lts Darren and Dannette Woods, then COs.
POWELL RIVER, B.C.—“The enrolment of Bev Stirling and Scott Loftus as adherents was a special event in our corps,” says Cpt Jennifer Robins, CO. “They have lots of enthusiasm, and their caregivers and our people were excited to make them an official part of our congregation.” In the photo, Cpt Robins shares a congratulatory cake with Bev and Scott.
INTERNATIONAL Appointments Mjr Marsha-Jean Bowles, chief secretary, Germany and Lithuania Territory, with promotion to the rank of lt-col Promotion to Lt-Colonel Mjr David Bowles Long service—25 years Mjrs Leonard/Rossyln Millar, Mjr Glenys Pilgrim, Mjr Frederick Pond Long Service—35 Years Mjr Agnes Hailes Long Service—45 Years Mjr Martin McCarter Retirements Mjrs William/Sharon Mason, out of Berkshire Citadel. Last appointment: community and family services workers, The Salvation Army Stan Hagen Centre for Families, Victoria, B.C. Div; Mjr Susan McCann, out of Charlottetown, P.E.I. Last appointment: special projects and chaplaincy, Montreal Montclair Residence, Que. Div
Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle Aug 28 morning service at national music camp, Jackson’s Point, Ont.; Aug 30-Sep 1 welcome of territorial leaders and installation of Mjrs Larry and Velma Martin as divisional leaders, Camp Sunrise, B.C. Div Colonels Floyd and Tracey Tidd Aug 31 installation of new divisional leaders, Camp Sunrise, B.C. Div 28 I August 2011 I Salvationist
SASKATCHEWAN—During junior youth councils at Beaver Creek Camp, 19 junior soldiers were enrolled, 12 from Haven of Hope Church in Regina and seven from Saskatoon Temple. Using the theme, Music N Motion, activities incorporated timbrels, worship flags, puppets, games and Bible teaching sessions. The celebrations concluded with a music festival at Saskatoon Temple, with the Guelph Citadel youth band. In photo, from left, Cpts Corinne and Steven Cameron, former COs, Haven of Hope, Regina; Cpt Mark Hall, TYS; Cpts Jamie and Shelly Rands, COs, Saskatoon Temple.
Officer Retirements Major Winn Blackman was commissioned with her husband, Bill, in 1973. They enjoyed corps appointments in Saskatchewan, Ontario and British Columbia. “I cherish my years as a corps officer and am grateful for those who touched my life,” says Winn. She served as co-ordinator of volunteers and divisional secretary for corps ministries in the then Manitoba and Northwest Ontario Division and as the divisional director for women’s ministries in Saskatchewan, later with the added responsibility of divisional secretary for program. In 2006, Winn became the divisional director of women’s ministries for the British Columbia Division and the liaison officer for Vancouver Corps 614, the War College and cross cultural ministries. Winn is pleased that her dream for safe housing for victims of sexual trafficking has been accomplished with the opening of Deborah’s Gate. “Officership has been a wonderful time of challenge and opportunities to serve Jesus Christ,” says Winn. “He is my first love and I desire to serve him until he calls me home.” Winn is looking forward to joining Bill in retirement and spending more time with their children and grandchildren. “Salvation Army officership gave me the opportunity to minister in a variety of ways and places,” says Major Betty Boyd. Leaving Tizzard’s Harbour, N.L., in preparation for training college in St. John’s, N.L., Betty taught school in Gander Bay, N.L., and served as an envoy in Carmanville and Cottrell’s Cove, N.L. Commissioned in 1973, she served as corps officer in Woodstock, Embree, Too Good Arm, Bayview, Burin, Mount Pearl and Botwood, N.L. Administrative appointments took her to the training college in St. John’s, territorial headquarters in Toronto and to Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L., as social services co-ordinator. “I have experienced much fulfilment in doing God’s work and am grateful for every blessing enjoyed along the way,” says Betty. Retirement brings her back home to Tizzard’s Harbour. Major Marjory Peddle, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, met Salvation Army officers holding an open-air meeting, one of whom was playing a tambourine. “My desire to play the tambourine brought me to Sunday school and eventually I became a junior soldier and played in the timbrel brigade,” says Marjory. “ ‘In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight’ (Proverbs 3:6) has been my motto since leaving for Canada in 1966.” After commissioning in 1974, she and her husband served in several corps. She became a single parent in Montreal and then moved to Burlington, Ont., where she developed the family services program. Marjory subsequently served for eight years at The Homestead in Vancouver and for the past 12 years at Kate Booth House, a safe haven for women and their children escaping abuse. “I have enjoyed attending Cariboo Hill Temple for nearly 18 years and the Lord has blessed me abundantly,” acknowledges Marjory.
Accepted for Training Randy Holden, Collingwood, Ontario Great Lakes Division I accepted Christ into my life as a child at The Salvation Army’s Roblin Lake Camp in Ontario. I recommitted my life to him years later and the Lord led me from my military career to Bible College. Ministry as a counsellor with the Army in Saskatoon and Hope Acres Rehabilitation Centre, Ont., deepened my passion for serving others. My wife, Anne, and I are thrilled to be members of the Proclaimers of the Resurrection Session and believe that “[We] can do all things through Christ who strengthens [us]” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). Anne Holden, Collingwood, Ontario Great Lakes Division I accepted Christ as Saviour at the age of 15 at a youth retreat and have served in various children’s and youth ministries. In 1997, I began a period of my life when my future seemed very dark. Yet, the Lord revealed himself to me in powerful ways, especially through the promise: “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:11), which I clung to when fear of the unknown threatened to overwhelm me. My husband, Randy, and I sense that God has been directing us toward officership and we are excited to become Proclaimers of the Resurrection. Peter Hickman, Weston Community Church, Winnipeg, Prairie Division Reflecting on my journey with God, I see many circumstances where he has been equipping me for officership. For example, my wife and I share a conviction to work with the marginalized and my education in social services has given me a new desire to seek social justice. God has challenged my view of him and his world and is breaking down the walls of stereotyping that have clouded my vision. Anticipating what God has in store excites me, and I believe he will continue his good work in me. Ruth Hickman, Weston Community Church, Winnipeg, Prairie Division Though I’ve known God’s presence and love all my life, my view of our relationship has continually changed. From protector to provider and Abba (Father) to King, the constant has been his faithfulness in revealing more of himself. My life has been shaped by the challenges and joys of raising a family, but God has been sharing with me the presence of his kingly rule. He is calling me to minister to my family and community, to love as God loves and to spread the good news of Christ. I am looking forward to becoming an officer and growing deeper in my relationship with God.
AN INVITATION Oshawa Temple would like to invite university/college students coming to the Durham Region in September to join us for worship on Sundays at 11 a.m. We will be happy to offer you the opportunity to join one of our church families for lunch. A Youth Adult Fellowship Club meets for dinner and a show on Thursdays at 6 p.m. (bi-weekly) hosted by our youth pastor. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
TRIBUTES SARNIA, ONT.—George Dunsworth was born in 1927 in Halifax. A retiree of Imperial Oil, George loved to work with children. He served faithfully at the Salvation Army food bank for 17 years in retirement, making sure that children were cared for first and foremost. Devoted to Christ, George faithfully attended the corps and was a shining light in the community. He is greatly missed by wife, Martha; son, Robert; and three grandchildren. BIRCHY BAY, N.L.—Ruth Canning (nee Freake) was born in 1926 in Joe Batts Arm, N.L. She moved with her family to Birchy Bay, N.L., and committed her life to Christ at the age of 13, serving as an Army soldier for 68 years. She worked as a nursing aid for six years in St. John’s, N.L., showing a deep compassion for the children under her care. After moving back to Birchy Bay in 1952, Ruth married Cecil Freake and they raised nine children. Ruth took great pride in her home and taught her children the ways of God. She also worked at the nursing home in Porterville, N.L., and at Brookview Manor in Birchy Bay, and always demonstrated a strong love for people. Ruth was promoted to Glory surrounded by the people she loved: husband, Cecil; her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other family members. TORONTO—Major Anne Davies grew up in Guelph, Ont., and committed her life to Christ when her parents settled in the Rhodes Avenue Corps in Toronto. Commissioned in 1948 as a member of the King’s Messengers Session, Anne served as a sergeant at the training college for a year and married William John Davies in 1949. They served as corps officers for nine years and later ministered with youth. International service took them to the training college in Nigeria, public relations in Germany and divisional ministry in Bermuda. Returning to Canada, Anne became secretary for literary affairs at territorial headquarters. In retirement, Anne touched many lives through the Intercom Tape Ministry, providing inspirational music and encouraging messages to the sick, shut-ins and missionaries. She also assisted William with the Singing Pilgrims ministry by organizing social activities and ministry opportunities. Anne is remembered as a gracious and godly woman who loved Christ, and whose friendly personality encouraged all who met her. She is missed by sister, Gloria; nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends. EDMONTON—Walter Wallace Bellamy was born in Edmonton in 1928. He lived with his officer parents in various places in Canada and the United States and later moved to Meadow Lake, Sask., where he met his wife, Eva Wicks. After retiring from the Royal Canadian Air Force, he settled in Edmonton, where he became a valued member of Edmonton Temple. Walter served as corps secretary, in community care ministries visitation, leading Bible studies, tape ministry, Bible distribution and managing the sound system. His kind nature, interest in others, faithfulness and dependability endeared him to all who knew him. Next to the Lord, Walter’s greatest delight was his family. He is missed by his wife, Eva; daughter, Kathi (Mike Risk); sons Ronald (Violet) and Reginald (Sandra); 10 grandchildren and many relatives and friends. SACKVILLE, N.B.—Born in Sackville in 1929, Cathy Chase was an active Salvationist in the corps from childhood, becoming a graduate corps cadet, Sunday school teacher and young people’s sergeant major. After transferring to Saint John, N.B., she served as a girl guide leader and in community care ministries. When she returned to Sackville, she led women’s ministries at the corps in Amherst, N.S. During her three years at the Drew Nursing Home in Sackville, she was a blessing to many people. Left to celebrate her life is her sister, Margaret Murray. Salvationist I August 2011 I 29
God Invented Rock ’n’ Roll
And Dion Durdle uses it, along with Salvation Army tunes, for worship BY JULIA HOSKING, STAFF WRITER
Deep Connections Starting on the cornet in a Salvation Army brass band, Durdle’s musical aptitude widened to include singing and playing the piano and guitar. “After rededicating my life to Jesus as a young adult, all I wanted to do was use my musical abilities for him,” says Durdle, as he recounts his experience in a high-school rock band and a four-year stint with Grounded, a Christian rock band based in Halifax. Durdle is a dedicated member of Sackville Corps’ worship team, is involved in Ignition—a local youth event—and has been guitar and worship stream leader at the Maritime Division music and gospel 30 I August 2011 I Salvationist
Photo: Matthew McMullen Photography
ock ’n’ roll brings to mind many thoughts and images—from Elvis to Aerosmith. Some would describe it as “loud,” “rebellious,” or even “obnoxious.” But few would make an automatic link to the Resurrection of Jesus as Dion Durdle does. “When God rolled the stone away from Jesus’ tomb, that was the real rock ’n’ roll,” explains Durdle, a soldier from Sackville, N.S. “I use this music in ministry because it is raw, honest, blunt, bold and aggressive. I believe Jesus’ words work well with this genre because they are powerful and at times can make us uncomfortable.” Wanting to share his original music, Dion created a Myspace website and recorded a CD, appropriately titled, The Real Rock ’n’ Roll. “I write songs for evangelistic purposes, so it’s important that they are heard,” Durdle says of the album. “Satan is after the minds and hearts of young people and I hope that my music can play a part in reaching them for Christ. “I also write about the reality of sin, spiritual warfare, redemption, faith and our struggles with doubt and fear,” he continues. “I believe the songs I’ve written speak to the Church, and especially The Salvation Army. I’m passionate about the Army’s mission to save and serve and that inspires me as a songwriter.”
Dion Durdle embraces all forms of worship
arts camp for six consecutive years. “Music is a wonderful part of God’s creation that allows us to communicate with him in a unique way,” he says. “It is important to me in my relationship with Christ because it helps me respond personally and emotionally to his Spirit.” Consequently, the busy father of three takes any opportunity he can to praise God through music, including bedtime lullabies and Sunday-school ditties. “When I’m rocking my son to sleep and humming O Boundless Salvation, I’m worshipping God,” shares Durdle. “Or, when I’m singing Building up the Temple with my children, I’m worshipping God. Those times are deeply spiritual for me. I feel a connection both to God and to my kids.” Various Expressions Outside of the home, Durdle’s regular involvement at Sackville has taught him many lessons about worship—in particular, the need for innovation in small corps. “My corps is small so we have a unique worship team that consists of two vocalists, saxophone, digital drums, trumpet, keyboard and electric, acoustic and bass guitars,” says Durdle. “It is important to do the best you can with what you have. Worship doesn’t need to
be perfect and it always will look and feel different in every corps. Personally, I love the opportunity to visit other churches, meet new people, gain a different perspective on worship and see how the Lord is working in other congregations.” These experiences have shown Durdle that God can be honoured in various ways. “The most important thing is to be inclusive and sensitive to the Holy Spirit,” he says. “If music is created or interpreted with the intention to glorify Jesus, it can impact us spiritually in a way that few other things can. “I love the traditional songs of the Army; I am moved by songs such as Send the Fire and To God be the Glory. I also feel that Salvationists should be open to other forms of worship such as drama, art and media. There are many expressions and they all add to how we praise God. Regardless of the approach taken or songs chosen, it is important to be spiritually prepared for worship because, ultimately, it is about engaging and connecting with God.” Dion Durdle is married to Jenelle and father of Linea, Jehona and Elijah. In August, he became associate pastor for Corner Brook Temple, N.L. To hear The Real Rock ’n’ Roll, visit www.myspace.com/diondurdle
Photo: OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
life” are prudent and admirable: being healthy, happy and having strong relationships. However, without a firm theological foundation they come across as merely self-help steps. A Christian’s best life is one lived in Christ. “I am the vine, you are the branches,” Christ said in John 15:5.
As she reflects on her successful career, Oprah Winfrey gives God the glory. But who is God to her? BY CAPTAIN MARK BRAYE
fter 25 years and 4,561 television programs, Oprah Winfrey hosted her concluding show on May 25, stating: “I won’t say goodbye. I’ll just say, until we meet again. To God be the glory.” These final words highlight the controversial question that has followed her throughout her career: Is Oprah Winfrey a Christian? As one of the most successful and powerful people in show business, Oprah hasn’t experienced a public meltdown, nor has she incited backlash from her fans. But during her two-and-a-half decades on television, she has garnered her fair share of criticism and concern from Christians.
To be fair, Oprah’s philanthropic work cannot be denied. She exhibits the fruit of the Spirit that Paul writes about in Galatians 5:22-23 and has been nothing but generous and gracious her entire career. However, there are a few aspects of her career that should concern Christians: 1. Live your best life! Oprah’s primary message and mantra through the years has been to “live your best life!” At first reading, this is a very positive and practical maxim. It even seems to line up with Christ’s words in John 10:10: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (NRSV). The basics of this “best
2. Don’t judge a book by its cover; judge it by its content. Oprah’s Book Club featured authors from various genres of literature. She has promoted literacy and helped sell millions of copies of books. Some of her selections and the promotion of them have been controversial, such as The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. These books are, for lack of a better phrase, New Age spirituality. The “teachings” and “truths” these books promote deviate from Christian principles. The Secret emphasizes the law of attraction and positive thinking. Think about wealth and you’ll become wealthy. Think about a new house and you’ll get one. Think about your ideal weight and you’ll fit into those skinny jeans soon enough. Bible verses are misquoted and misrepresented and The Secret proclaims a self-centred view of life: “The universe is supporting me in everything I do. The universe meets all my needs immediately.” In A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle quotes Christ, Buddha and other religious figures, but rejects concrete truth in favour of subjective experience. He writes, “How ‘spiritual’ you are has nothing to do with what you believe but everything to do with your state of consciousness.” A New Earth is a mish-mash of religious proverbs and psychological statements that undercut the main tenets of Christianity. When Christians come across books and materials that do not seem to fit within
our doctrine, we should heed the advice of the Apostle John: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether are from God; for many false prophets have come into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God” (1 John 4:1-3 NRSV). 3. Final statements and contradictions Oprah’s final show was an hour filled with contradictions. At one point, she referred to the hymn Amazing Grace as the theme song for her life. At another, she referenced Newton’s third law of motion (which states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction) as “the abiding law I live by.” Newton’s third law of motion has a religious equivalent: karma. Karma, a tenet of Hinduism and Buddhism, is the polar opposite of the Christian concept of grace. Oprah also made a pantheistic statement during her final show: “What is your life? What is all life? What is every flower, every rock, every tree, every human being?” Her answer: “Energy.” However, Oprah also shared her belief that “God is love” and said that the only way she managed to do her talk show for 25 years was her team and Jesus. So, the question remains: Is Oprah Winfrey a Christian? I won’t go so far as to say no— who am I to judge? However, Oprah clearly has one foot in Christianity and the other in an eclectic and eccentric mix of world religions and New Age spirituality. That’s unfortunate, as God wants us to jump with both feet into a relationship with him. Captain Mark Braye is the corps officer of Tri-Town Community Church in New Liskeard, Ont. Salvationist I August 2011 I 31
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