JAC Online

Editorial Introduction
by Major Stephen Court


Greetings in Jesus’ name.  Welcome to the 110th issue of Journal of Aggressive Christianity.  The 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 Salvationism’.”  He 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 ‘glorious future’.


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 10 solutions.


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 view.


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. 










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