Boundless 2015

rainbow shield

This past week The Salvation Army held an International Congress in London, UK. The theme for it was “Boundless 2015”. This was taken off of William Booth’s most famous hymn, “O Boundless Salvation”. The Salvation Army is currently in 126 nations worldwide.

The last Congress was held in 2000 in Atlanta, USA. Normally these congresses are held every 10 years. For some reason there was none held in 2010. I’m not certain why.

A lot of money is spent on these congresses. I’m not privy to how much is actually spent. One could make the argument that the money could be spent on far better purposes, but I also believe it serves a greater purpose for fellowship. It’s not as if these Congresses happen every year and the last one was 15 years ago.

The Salvation Army divides the world into territories. Each territory designed its own pin. These pins become collectable items quite quickly; however, the most sought-after pin did not come from a territory, but was an unofficially produced Rainbow Salvation Army shield. (See the picture above.)

When I saw these pins, I rejoiced. I know that I am not alone in my denomination and in my beliefs. I know that we are on the beginning of a long journey which will eventually lead to full inclusion of all LGBT Salvationists. I long for that day. I know that this inclusion will take time and will involve a lot of love. We will need to be patient, but also persistent.

This Rainbow Shield has given me hope! I am so grateful for it.

25 thoughts on “Boundless 2015

  1. I leave a note to encourage you, as Jim Wallis said..Hope is believing in spite of the evidence and then watching the evidence change.His good friend Tony Campolo has just come off the fence, in support of LGBT people.In the U. K. Steve Chalke, a well known evangelical publicly expressed support, despite attacks, and one day the Inclusiveness so loudly proclaimed by the Army to those it serves will be extended to those who serve. Then, who knows, a more democratic, rank free peace army?

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement! Yes, I hope and pray this will happen with The Salvation Army as well. It might not happen in this current situation, given the current leadership and the very blunt statements given by not only the territorial leadership, but also the international leadership. Still, I am hopeful for the future.

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  2. So it’s not as if the SA leadership doesn’t have an idea of what’s going on in the minds of those belowdecks if this rainbow shield wasn’t made to vanish or no one got their heads handed to them for creating and possessing it, right?

    Those who hold on tightly to the religious tenets have to be made to understand that one’s faith – and one’s willingness to serve – has nothing to do with their sexuality and that, indeed, the reason why they serve is because their sexuality can teach them the compassion which is so very much needed to serve God.

    I’ve never quite understood how we’re supposed to live by the words of the New Testament but when it comes to some things, we always revert back to the fire and brimstone (and laws that end in death) of the Old Testament… but it tells me that even in the face of the obvious evidence, we refuse to change, we refuse to put the old ways behind us and when things like sexuality comes up, we run and hide behind some rules that were, in fact, changed in the New Testament.

    It sends a very bad message, I think, to preach love and tolerance and other bits of wisdom but want to impose the worst punishments to anyone who doesn’t toe the line or, “If you don’t do things the way we tell you to do them, woe be unto you!”

    It’s clear – and by what you’ve graciously shared – that there are many who serve as you do who don’t quite believe in the old ways and, again, that service can be honorably done without having that old sword hanging over their heads…

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    1. Oh, they do understand what’s going on. Unfortunately, they are trying to curtail that, too.

      The Salvation Army is growing the strongest and quickest in Africa and in East Asia (Korea and India). These places tend to be quite conservative in their views. Leadership has been trying to say that these places would not accept LGBT inclusion. However, the United States is the country that has the most funds. So I think that argument is Hogwash. Many in the United States are conservative, too. Those who aren’t are actively shunned and told to be quiet. If they aren’t, they are dismissed.

      The UK is a bit more tolerant, but even here the territorial commander has adopted a strict policy of non-inclusion for active members of the LGBT community, unless they are celibate. The only Salvation Army where there is widespread tolerance of the LGBT community is in the Netherlands.

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      1. Don’t the know that oppression of the truth has never worked? Have they not ever learned from history? And do they not clearly see which way the wind is really blowing?

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  3. Oh, sure, they see which way the wind is blowing. It’s my opinion that they believe that “the wind” is blowing for evil and they need to stand against it. Bollocks.

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  4. Hi! I have seen the Rainbow Shield too, Im a soldier of the Salvation Army and have been in London for the congress. It was a big sourprise and also make me happy. Hope to get one some day, but maybe I will not use it. Im glad to find you, will keep reading your posts. See You! Blessings!!

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  5. Another thing that should give you hope is that not only are you NOT the only one, but there are also many supporters for GLBT acceptance in The Army.. God is working, and He has something up His sleeve the likes of which we have not yet seen, and it’s going to be wonderful! While there may be times of hardship and trial as these things unfold, God will bring us through!

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  6. You probably won’t post this because I disagree with you in the strongest possible way. I am an Envoy and lead a Corps, in the same appointment for 15 years. This has nothing to do with catching up with the times or thinking that God will do something wonderful to help your cause. Sin is sin. If you feel you were born into homosexuality, that still doesn’t give you license to join in what the bible clearly states is sin. Sin is sin and God will never bless such a thing. It is no different that murder or any other sin.

    I am not condemning you and the words I speak are spoken in love. But I urge you to rethink your postion bisalvo. (If you truly had the courage of your convictions, you would not be anonymous) I will pray for you and hope that you will not attempt to rewrite the Word of God to make it more accepting of your particular sin. That would be no different than Charles Manson saying that God killed people so murder is OK now.

    Sin is an abomination to a holy God and He will never accept sin as a “good” thing. Darkness is always destroyed by light. Overcome, my friend. It’s the only way we may dine with the King of kings.

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    1. You are not condemning me, but you’re saying that I’m sinning? That seems hypocritical. Plus, I wasn’t born into homosexuality. I’m bisexual. There’s a difference.

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  7. I’m a saddened by these post and the belief that The Salvation Army needs to change it’s stance on homosexuality and bisexuality. The bible is very clear on these topics in both the Old and New Testament. What do you say to 1 Cor. 5 & 6 which talks about sexual immorality and clearly says that the those who practice sexual immorality and homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Also, the biblical model for marriage was given to us in the Old Testament from the very beginning. God created a man and a woman and said that they should be united together to be fruitful and multiply. Any other form of marriage is not biblical and therefore sexual relations outside of this model fall into the category of biblcal sexual immorality (adultry, fornication, homosexuality, etc.).

    I have stated before that the Army needs to accept those who live in this lifestyle into our Corps, just the same that we would anyone else who is struggling/living in sin. We need to love them and accept them, however we still have a biblical obligation to teach them about how God desires for us to live. The aurgument that God “made me this way” is not a license to act upon our temptation. We are born with a sinful nature. For some that comes out with the temptation to lie, for some it’s anger or drunkeness and for some it is sexual in nature, either toward the opposite sex or the same sex. This temptation is not sin, but acting upon it is sinful and exposes us to God’s judgement upon sin.

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    1. The concept of original sin is in my opinion not Biblical. It was developed by St. Augustine in his Confessions. However, the word “homosexual” is a new word to the English language. Earlier English translations of the Greek do not have this hybrid Latin-Greek word. I would refer you to Matthew Vines’ excellent treatise on this, called “God and the Gay Christian.”

      What does “loving and accepting” them mean to you? How would you express that? How would you demonstrate that to your LGBT soldier?

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  8. Like Jeremy it saddens my heart to read these posts. I have defended the rights of homosexuals to attend my Corps when soldiers wanted to prohibit their attendance. I never once watered down the gospel message. If you were to ask either of them they would tell you that I never demonstrated anything less than love and friendship while encouraging them to repent of their sins and follow Christ. Jesus died for the sinner regardless of the sin they find themselves engaged in. I believe Scripture is clear both in the Old and New Testaments that engaging in homosexual behavior is sinful, as is pre-marital sex, murder, gossip, and list goes on. I would like to pose two questions what makes Matthew Vines Treatise on homosexuality more valid than the scriptural interpretation of Ravi Zacharias, John Piper or others who hold a more traditional view?

    Please do not consider this question hateful but if you do not agree with the doctrine of original sin which we believe in the Salvation Army to be true and you are unhappy with the Army’s position statement on same-sex marriage why not find a denomination that supports your views?

    Praying that God will give you peace of heart and understanding of Scripture.

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    1. Why don’t I leave? Why should I? I’d rather stay and see the change through. This next generation coming up will, I believe, do away with homophobia. If everyone left the organisations they had problems with, there would be too many splinters. It is easy to say that we should leave. It is more difficult whilst also more worthwhile to make the changes necessary. This will not be overnight. I grant you that. This will be a slow process, but one for which much fruit will be born.

      It is possible to be a Christian and a member of the LGBT Community. Theologians such as Piper, Zacharias, Guthrie, and Vines have shown us that the Bible is not clear on these teachings. Otherwise there would be a consensus on the subject matter.

      Theology is simply our meager attempt at trying to ascertain the will of God. We have often erred, as history has proven over and over again.

      Why not admit that we have erred in regards to the LGBT Community?

      Firstly, I have some doubts as to how you treat people in the LGBT Community. When you insist on calling them “homosexuals,” you are demeaning them already. That term has a stigma surrounding it, which stems from the period of when same-sex orientation was considered to be a psychiatric illness. People in the LGBT Community prefer being called by their own moniker: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or whatever they wish to call themselves. You would do them the favour of respecting them and calling them thusly instead of automatically demeaning them by calling them “homosexuals.”

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      1. Let me be brief, you do not know my heart and to presume so is wrong. Vines dosen’t have a Bible degree where as Guthrie, N.T. Wright, Zacharias, Piper, Robert Gagnon and many others have degrees in Bible and Theology and are in agreement regrading SSM. I pray “Army” leadership will remain faithful to God’s Word and will not give into the pressures of the world.

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      2. Vines might not have a degree, but he did break off his studies to study this specifically. One doesn’t need a degree to be adequate in defense of the Gospel. I did not need any university training before I entered Training.

        However, I would not dismiss his teachings out of hand simply because he does not have a university degree. Guthrie does have a degree and has recanted his former stance. I also would not discredit the overwhelming testimony of psychologists, who say that same-sex attraction is not a disorder. It is normal. The only disorder associated with same-sex attraction is denying one’s orientation.

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  9. So with equality that means all sexual preferences should be included in marriage? If not – then it is not equality. Those other groups would also profess their genuine love and call for equality would they not?? Where does this leave marriage? Can marriage or the family unit now be a combination of as many men and women and whatever sexual preference? Jesus when talking on marriage spoke of a man and a woman didn’t He? If anyone wants to check – nowhere does scripture support gay marriage- anywhere- not at all. People are free to do as they wish so long as it is within the law of the land- but if someone wants to be a Christian- then aren’t they supposed to leave their old life behind and follow Christ and live by kingdom rule and authority. No it may not be politically correct to do so- but we are in the world and not OF the world. That is why the world cannot understand and can even hate those who represent Christ. Jesus said that if anyone was to be His disciple and follow Him then they are to DENY themselves and take up their cross (take whatever comes with being a Christian the good and bad) and follow Him. Thing is some people want to follow Christ but forget about the denying part. As Christians ALL are welcomed into the church and we are ALL sinners – but after accepting Christ the goal is to then grow in Christ – to pursue holiness- No none of us are perfect and we will continue to make mistakes – but if we at least try to grow in holiness then I think that’s all Hod wants. Fact is – no matter what the argument for and against same sex marriage – if you are truly a Christian – then you would know that you cannot have Christianity on your own terms.

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  10. To my way of thinking and my understanding of the scriptures – you cannot walk the the wide and the narrow gate at the same time- can you????

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    1. How do you mean? In what way am I doing both? As far as I am concerned, I am not. I believe that I am justified by grace through faith in my Lord Jesus Christ. I have the witness in myself.

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  11. The reason you (or anyone else) are justified by grace is because grace is the divine influence on your heart and the reflection of that influence on your life. If you state that you are justified in your sin, you deny grace. Foir grace to be effective, one must cease from sin. That is the evidence that grace is present. When we continue in sin, we deny grace.
    Romans 6:1-2
    What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? NKJV

    So do you really think it possible to live in sin and be pure at the same time? Or do you just deny that what the bible calls sin is really sin? That would make you much more intelligent and godly than all those who authored the books of the bible, not to mention much more in touch with God than say a Paul or a Moses….If that is the case, please re-write the bible to fit your own lifestyle and tell God He can keep His version. Your’s is better….I would pray for you, but I don’t know your name. I refuse to pray to a holy God for someone named “bisexual salvo”. Stand up for what you believe and take whatever happens. But please stop attempting to make a church that has existed for more that 150 years with a doctrine of holiness change to fit your particular brand of sin. It is a very sad thing to see.

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  12. Just was really suprised to see this initially.

    I am a salvationist and have no problem with this.

    Are there any available for purchase still?

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