Thursday, 4 September 2014

William Booth on Discipline

I don't advocate making the church into a regiment with military titles like 'General' and 'Captain'.  However, when I read these quotes it suggests to me that the church has lost it's sense of militancy.  What has happened to discipline?

We are in a battle, not a game of charades.

A man who has been in the Queen's Army is a man who has learnt to obey. He is further a man who has been taught in the roughest of rough schools to be handy and smart, to make the best of the roughest fare, and not to consider himself a martyr if he is sent on a forlorn hope. I often say if we could only get Christians to have one-half of the practical devotion and sense of duty that animates even the commonest Tommy Atkins what a change would be brought about in the world!

Another quote:

The ordinary operations of the Army have already effected most wonderful changes in the conditions of the poorest and worst. Multitudes of slaves of vice in every form have been delivered not only from these habits, but from the destitution and misery which they even produce. Instances have been given. Any number more can be produced. Our experience, which has been almost world-wide, has ever shown that not only does the criminal become honest, the drunkard sober, the harlot chaste, but that poverty of the most abject and helpless type vanishes away. Our fourth credential is that our Organisation alone of England's religious bodies is founded upon the principle of implicit obedience. For Discipline I can answer. The Salvation Army, largely recruited from among the poorest of the poor, is often reproached by its enemies on account of the severity of its rule. It is the only religious body founded in our time that is based upon the principle of voluntary subjection to an absolute authority. No one is bound to remain in the Army a day longer than he pleases. While he remains there he is bound by the conditions of the Service. The first condition of that Service is implicit, unquestioning obedience. The Salvationist is taught to obey as is the soldier on the field of battle.

Food for thought.

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