Preaching That Cuts
Sections taken from Catherines Booth (co-founder of the Salvation Army) final public address
But supposing they do get pardoned from their past sins, they do not realize that Jesus has the power to deliver them from the sin reigning in their hearts; from their besetting sins; from that which constitutes their misery. Perhaps on no point has The Salvation Army suffered persecution more than on this one point of its teaching
.that He not only washes their past sins away but has the power to keep them from their sins, and will, if they trust in Him, enable them to live in righteousness and holiness all their lives, walking in obedience to His commands, keeping that inner law of which we have just heard-the law of Christ-which is the most perfect law and fulfills all others-loving the Lord thy God with all the heart, mind, soul, and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself
Even in a Christian land this is not known, and consequently, we have professing Christians the most ready of all to persecute us when we announce such a doctrine.
A man who was sitting in his easy-chair, with his feet on an ottoman, said to me the other day: But the Lord will come presently and put all things right. I replied: I am afraid you are expecting the Lord to do what He has called us to do. The Lord does not say He will go and preach the Gospel to every creature; He says you are to go and do it. He does not say He is going to convert the world; He says you are going to do it
..How are you going to get them down from their tower of self-satisfaction, sin, and pleasure? Do you think they are coming down by you saying, Here, come along; hear me; let me preach to you. Come and be converted? Oh no! The Christian Church has been trying that game too long. The people are far to busy. They turn around and tell you so. They say, I am doing a great work; I cannot come to you. Listen to what Jesus Christ commissioned His disciples to do. Not to ensconce themselves in comfortable buildings and invite people to come, and then, if they would not come, leave them alone to be damned. No, no! He said: Go ye, which means, Go after them. Where, Lord? Into all the world. What to do? Preach the Gospel to every creature.
On balanced preaching:
You would think, if you heard some peoples representation of the truth of God, that it was all honey and soap; you would not think there was any cut in it any dividing asunder.
You must preach Gods justice and vengeance against sin as well as His love for the sinner. You must preach Hell as well as Heaven. You must let your Gospel match the intuitions of humanity, or you may as well throw it into the sea, and thus save both trouble and money. A Gospel of love never matched anybodies souls. The great want in this day is truth that cuts; convicting truth; truth that convicts and convinces the sinner and pulls of the bandages from his eyes. The Lord knows the order in which His truth ought to be preached better than we do. Hence His commission to Paul, to go and open the eyes of sinners to their danger, and turn them round from the power of Satan unto God. This was to be done before they were converted. Oh! says someone, do not talk to them about Hell, death, and judgment; show them the love of Christ. But we always get wrong when we reverse Gods order. Tear the bandages off. Open their eyes, turn them round from the desire, the embrace and choice of evil to the embrace and choice of God. That they may receive forgiveness of sins.
Tell them the truth; tell a man the truth about himself. Drive in the red-hot, convicting truth of God on to his conscience, and make him realize that he is a sinner. Never mind how he howls, even if he groans as loud as the Psalmist did when the pains of Hell got hold of him. Until he has been made to feel himself a sinner he will never make anything of a saint. Then give him the Gospel.