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On the Hunt: Pulling Down the Devil’s Kingdom

On the Hunt: Pulling Down the Devil’s Kingdom

Open AIr Band“Pull down the Devil’s kingdom,
Where’er he hold dominion,
Storm the forts of darkness, bring them down.”
SASB 696, Robert Johnson

In January, 1880, Catherine Booth began to give a series of lectures on, “Aggressive Christianity.” These lectures encapsulated the militarism that had caused an explosion of evangelism across the United Kingdom and was just launching into a worldwide movement. Between the years 1878-1883, the Army was multiplying more rapidly than at any other time during its’ history (Glenn Horridge, The Salvation Army Origins and Early Days, 1993, p.38).

On April 10, 1880, The War Cry shared a report from an independent group called, The Protestant Standard. It offers one of the most incredible descriptions of spiritual warfare and fervent evangelism that highlight the key to the Army’s success. The imagery describes Salvationists ‘on the hunt’ – inspired by what was being witnessed through first-hand testimonies that ‘aggressive Christianity’ was not merely a cute metaphor, but an inspirational reality. Read these words taken verbatim from their report:

The Devil has been well used to the business of assaulting others, but, we suppose he was scarcely prepared to be assaulted himself after the manner in which he being treated by The Salvation Army. His roaring Lion business is getting considerably damaged. Just as he fancies he is Serengeti_Lion_Running_saturatedclearing off nice and safe with a sheep or a lamb in his mouth, up comes one of those terrible and valiant Captains of The Salvation Army such as Dowdle, and snatches it out of his jaws.

Hitherto the Devil has been pretty safe in the streets; and as he took his walks abroad he was pretty well secure and safe from insult or injury from either the parsons of deacons of the quiet churches; but now forsooth, under the new order of things, he scarcely gets a moment’s peace. Day and night the sharp-shooters of The Salvation Army are firing away at him. Bearing the Lion in his den. Rooting him out of the town of Mansoul by the sword of the Spirit. Attacking him in his camp, amidst his game preserves, and anywhere, and everywhere where the mark of his cloven foot is discernible, or the merest tip of his tail is to be seen.

This is as it should be: Aggressive Christianity from the fire-away lively brigade of General Booth’s Army. Why was this not the sort of thing thought of before? Because the Churches have been to sleep. Took too much of Lucifer’s Soothing Syrup. We wonder they ever awoke. Some are scarcely awake yet, others are in a death-like slumber still. Fire away the Salvation guns, the noise may awaken them: There is plenty of armor for all: Gird it on, brethren, and then march on to battle, and fight, and conquer, for it is decreed by the great Captain of our Salvation that the kingdom of darkness shall fall and that His Army shall go on from victory unto victory until not an enemy is left to dispute the right of King Jesus and His saints to reign triumphant everywhere. (The Protestant Standard quoted in The War Cry, April 10, 1880)

What a description! I pray that we will find inspiration to live up to this today. The world needs it!

About Steve Bussey

Steve is the Co-Director of Salvation Factory. He is passionate about understanding the beliefs, values and behaviors of Salvationism and translating these with innovation and creativity into new expressions in the life and ministry of The Salvation Army.