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Response to Pillar One Of General Eva Burrows’ Agenda for the Future
by Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee

 “Emphasise the supremacy of evangelism in fulfillment of the Lord’s great commission – ‘Go therefore and make all nations my disciples.’ (Matthew 28:19)”


Few Generals have enjoyed a higher position of influence and popularity than General Eva Burrows. Part of that is rooted in her ability to challenge Salvationists as well as articulate the heartbeat of the Army. One such call is as follows when she called the Army to:


“Emphasise the supremacy of evangelism in fulfillment of the Lord’s great commission – ‘Go therefore and make all nations my disciples.’ (Matthew 28:19)”


She broke this into three parts:


1.       To evangelise – to share the good news with an understanding of the social and cultural context in the life of those being reached. The message must be free from racial bias and any national prejudice which detracts from the universal truth of Christ as Saviour of all. The central focus of the gospel is Christ – his cross and resurrection, his grace to redeem and transform. And this leads on to spiritual maturity through the power of the Holy Spirit.


General Burrows stated several missional priorities. First, to take the time and make the effort to love the people enough to whom we are ministering to understand and know them in their context. Unfortunately in the past and somewhat in the present, those going to serve a people group have merged colonialism, ethnic elitism and/or conveyed a superiority to the people to whom they are to minister. We need to learn more than a people’s geography, their history or even their language. How do they see themselves as a people? What stirs their hearts? What are their needs? 


Sorting through our own cultural bias is not easy. But if our desire is to evangelise and make disciples, it is our duty to the Lord and the people He died to save to rethink our thinking.


2.       To work to the end that every man and woman and child has the opportunity to hear the good news of the gospel, to make a personal commitment to Christ and become his disciple and a member of the Church of God of which The Salvation Army is a part; this is our commission.


Our evangelism is not complete until every person on the globe has had the opportunity to respond to the gospel. The early Salvationists’ post-millennialism has been dismissed by more recent generations, but what we have lost and not replaced, is the sense of urgency to reach everyone, everywhere. Frankly, I would rather have us a little foggy on this point of eschatology and have people busy soul-winning, than have a more well-defined eschatology and an “Oh, well. I hope the world wakes up before it’s too late” attitude.


The other point about discipleship is key. We want more than a nursery full of spiritual newborns. We want people who grow in Christ, be baptized by the Holy Spirit, and who are students of the Word and committed to reproducing themselves in souls won to the Kingdom.


3.       To have a vision for growth, and actively work to bring that vision to reality. We must dedicate ourselves and our resources to encourage growth. Evangelism should lead to growth which the Lord requires – both numerical and spiritual, both quantitative and qualitative. Every soldier a soul-winner.


The practicality of General Burrows is clearly seen here. While calling on us to have vision for growth, she likely had seen (as many of us have), well-crafted mission and vision statements gather dust, destined to become cliches of good intention. No. Burrows will have none of that. We are to “bring that vision to reality.” That involves more than a head nod and a whispered, “Amen.” It demands our dedication, our putting our money where our mouth is, our going after it as the runner presses for the finish line.


And I like that she talks about numerical growth. Again, it has become popular to say that we are going for quality over quantity. These are not mutually exclusive. The book of Acts reports specific numbers of converts, which if number were not important, pray tell why would the Holy Spirit inspire Luke to include them in his narrative? Yes, quality. But also quantity! Bring them in.


Every soldier a soul-winner remains a challenge. Too many see becoming a soldier more like joining a church than enlisting in spiritual warfare. Shame on us if we fail to educate them as to their obligation to take up the fight to win the world to Christ.











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