by Major Stephen Court
Greetings in Jesus’ name.
Welcome to the 110th issue of Journal of Aggressive
innovations just keep coming at JAC and this issue we’re
tabbing ‘Engaging Needham’.
Commissioner Phil Needham has written an article called
‘Missional Salvationist or Cultural Salvationism’ that ran to
much interest in a recent issue of The Officer magazine.
The General and the Commissioner granted us permission
to run it here.
Commissioner Phil Needham doesn’t pull any
punches in his challenge to the status quo.
He warns, “The worst threat to the future of a
missionally transformative Salvation Army could be… ‘cultural
inspires, “The DNA of a true Salvationist cannot be limited to
traditional Salvationist practices.”
And he prophetically outlines the way forward:
“What it does do when given a chance is to release such
a passion to live the transformative life of Jesus in the
world that its bearer will do just about anything beyond or
within current Salvationist practices to live and witness to
the Kingdom of God in today’s world.”
JAC invited some Salvationists from around
the world to reflect on Needham’s thoughts.
And they’ve taken varying perspectives.
Lieut-Colonel Miriam Gluyas (AUE)
contextualizes Needham’s article in Ephesians 4 (apostles /
prophets / evangelists / and shepherd\teachers) and Papua New
Guinea and Australia to apply his proposed mission toward a
Lieut-Colonel Winsome Merrett (AUS) attends
to Needham’s challenge personally, offering biographical
testimony to its truth in her experience growing up, and then
applying the challenges of the proposed personal mission
statement to her own life and warfighting.
Major Leanne Ruthven (Romania) compares the
Army to a battleship, a cruise ship, and a fishing boat.
Applying examples from Romania, the country in which
she leads The Salvation Army, Ruthven argues that we must aim
always to play the role of fishing boat, focusing on Jesus.
Ministry Director Aaron White (C&B), in I
Hope I Die Before I Get Old, compares our situation with the
rock band, The Who, and figures that, “Survival becomes more
essential than mission.”
CSM Phil Wall (UKI) argues for a ‘Military
Reformation’ that turns the conventional challenge – ‘are we
too Army?’ on its head by wondering, instead, ‘are we Army
enough?’ With a
dip into military history and a dash of Pentecost, Wall
proposes a redemption of the culture of salvationism.
Major Danielle Strickland (C&B) is clear on
her approach to Needham’s article in the title of her piece,
‘Smashing the Idol of Cultural Salvationism’.
She outlines 10 indications of entrenchment, and then
And I also took a stab at Needham’s article,
extracting a handful of the many quotables to give them closer
attention from a typically primitive salvationist point of
This is the start of a conversation.
We hope that you pick it up and extend it across tables
and alleys, with soldiers and officers, on Sundays and on
other days in this coming season.