Thursday, 2 July 2015

On this day... William Booth preached in Whitechapel

On this day in 1865, exactly 150 years ago, William Booth spoke in an open air meeting at the old Quaker burial ground on Mile End waste in Whitechapel, and realised this was to be his ministry from that day onwards. Salvationists see that day as the beginning of what became The Salvation Army. 
One of his most well known quotes signposts the only viable way ahead for the Salvation Army today:
The chief dangers that confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God and heaven without hell.
The Army is nothing unless it is a Christ-centred movement, empowered by the Spirit, preaching a gospel of real repentance and change, that touches on and confronts the real, public world and which keeps always in its mind a two-destination eternity of awful seriousness.

When Salvation Army soldiers and officers can joke about hell, Booth's farsightedness has really come home to roost.