“War is hell.” (General William Tecumseh Sherman)
“It is fatal in any war to enter it without the will to win it.” (General Douglas MacArthur)
“Nobody ever defended anything successfully; there is only attack and attack and attack some more.” General George S. Patton)
General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, received a message from a lieutenant in a distant city: “While preaching on the streets today, we were attacked by saloon keepers and their mobs. Some of us ended up in jail; some in hospitals; and the rest of us are fearful. What shall we do? Surrender?”
Booth immediately sent a reply: “Surrender? Never! It looks like you’re finally having some success in your city. Continue the battle.”
Looking at today’s Salvation Army, it’s hard to envision the militant spirit of General Booth (1829-1912). His motto, “Go for souls, and go for the worst,” compelled him to preach in front of gin joints, saloons and brothels. Night after night, he returned home, bruised and bleeding from stones, beatings, hot tar and whatever the angry mobs threw at him. At home, he would then pray with his wife, Catherine, for souls. Then, the next day, he went back on the streets, preaching salvation to angry crowds.
His preaching converted thieves, prostitutes, gamblers and drunkards. Then, these converts were encouraged to become evangelists themselves and join him on the street, preaching and singing to crowds. In this manner, cities were shaken and slums changed for the better.
His secret: all night prayer meetings and tears.
Booth never cared that newspapers lambasted and ridiculed him. He just figured it went along with his calling to save souls. Even when spat upon, he thought of it as a badge of honor.
During the course of Booth’s life, he traveled 5,000,000 miles and preached 60,000 messages, mostly on the streets. His advice to his Salvation Army: “Work as if everything depended on your work, pray as if everything depended on your prayer.”
If ever America needed men like General Booth, we need them now.
Christianity’s tolerant, wish-washy, lovey-dovey, “God loves you no matter how you live and how big your sin” message is not working. Sin now abounds in America’s cities, especially San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, but where are the grace messages, confronting and combating this sin?
Where are the General Booths who are willing to stand in the streets of Compton, South LA, the Castro District of San Francisco, other inner cities and gay communities and speak the truth to them? Where are the men who have the courage to proclaim: “Go and sin no more?”
If you hate ugly messes, find a comfortable seat on the sidelines and keep quiet. Why? Because this will be a messy, long war to deliver people in gay communities, inner cities and out of gangs. Well-meaning Christians with soulish pity will end up on the wrong side in this war and will oppose Spirit-backed men and women with the word of the Lord in their mouths. It will be an absolutely ugly mess. Christians against Christians. And Christians against the world system and its media.
You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals. (General George S. Patton)