Response to Pillar One Of General Eva
Burrows’ Agenda for the Future
by Lt. Colonel
“Emphasise the supremacy
of evangelism in fulfillment of the Lord’s great commission –
‘Go therefore and make all nations my disciples.’ (Matthew
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:
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
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.
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”
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.
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
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.