While reflecting on a powerful quote from the lips of Catherine Booth, I was struck by the fact that the latest strategies of the American church, strategies to avoid conflict with the world, are not only wrongheaded. They are actually diametrically opposed to the strategies we should be following.
Let me explain what I mean.
Catherine Booth was the co-founder of the Salvation Army, along with her husband, William Booth, and for decades the Salvationists were known for their fearless, uncompromising preaching of the gospel, their sacrificial living and their compassionate care
for the hurting and the poor.
Catherine was the more fiery preacher of the two, and in her sermon "Aggressive Christianity," she exclaimed, "Opposition! It is a bad sign for the Christianity of this day that it provokes so little opposition. If there were no other evidence of it being wrong, I should know from that. When the church and the world can jog along together comfortably, you may be sure there is something wrong. The world has not altered. Its spirit is exactly the same as it ever was, and if Christians were equally faithful and devoted to the Lord and separated from the world, living so that their lives were a reproof to all ungodliness, the world would
hate them as much as it ever did. It is the church that has altered, not the world."
I had quoted these words almost 25 years ago in my book How Saved Are We?-not to mention many times since-but last week, when I posted them on my Facebook page, something hit me between the eyes.
On the one hand, Catherine's words are more relevant now than when she uttered them in England in the 1800s, since in so many ways the church of America and the world do "jog along together comfortably" today. read