Thursday 14 March 2019

Equal rights to serve

Eighteen months ago, Easter Europe Territory held a seminar for employees and members of The Salvation Army (TSA). The purpose of the seminar was to give the delegates a better insight into what TSA is all about. In the final gathering, I had challenged the delegates to answer the question “Why did I choose TSA?”. Afterwards, I followed up with answers to the question: “Why did God choose TSA?”

I believe God chose TSA because he needed not only the prophetic voice of those whose hearts were fully committed to him, but also their prophetic actions. When you read ‘their prophetic actions’, maybe you immediately think about the social ministry of TSA. This is of course very important, but in the field of humanitarian work we are far from being lonely activists. Down through the history, many Christians from different traditions have had focus on the diaconal side of Christian living, and in doing so, they have contributed to the mission by making the faith credible.

I believe God chose to strengthen and bless William and Catherine Booth, because he saw the potential of Catherine’s prophetic voice and action, and that William would be ready to support her. So I think the third answer to the question above is:

God chose TSA because everyone who receives the call has the same right to ministry!

This view is closely related to holiness simply because there is no holiness outside of Christ. Paul describes our status in Jesus Christ in this way:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28
In other words, it is contradictory to holiness and to the essence of what Jesus is all about if people in a church are limited because of their race, social status or gender. In our movement a saved person from the gutter or the prison, should be worthy the same trust as a saved person with a spotless record and university degrees. In fact, sometimes it has taken longer for representatives from the latter group to be accepted in TSA, however, no-one should be excluded on such grounds.

The same attitude of equality relates to ethnic background and to gender. When we read the history of the Church, a general observation is that women have not been treated as equal to men with regard to the right to ministry.

I am convinced that it has been in the devil’s interest to keep it this way. Therefore, God chose to bless TSA because he wants to mobilize women, single or married. This is still a challenge even in our own movement. There is a tendency to give the leading positions to men rather than women. This tendency becomes particularly evident when appointments are given to married couples. So, for the sake of the mission and a desire to keep God’s blessing upon our movement, we are now making efforts to ensure that our rules and practices are in line with the rules and practices in Christ.

What is right in Christ, is right in the church! 

Published in the Russian 'War Cry' (Vestnic Spasenya) # 2 2019
* Text in illustration = 'Equal rights to serve'

No comments:

Post a Comment