[anzac] The "JESUS ARMY"- U.K - RADICAL!

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2006 12:46:14 -0500
NOTE:  The "Jesus Army" in Britain took off in the late 1980's. It
was founded by a radical Spirit-filled group that believed in living
in "Communities" with a "common purse", etc - just like the early
church. They had a strong emphasis on Revival, the poor,
evangelism, the gifts of the Spirit, etc,- with many 'community'
houses spread across Britain. Out of this sprang the "Jesus Army":

BIRTH of the "JESUS ARMY" - U.K. (1987)
by S. Cooper & M. Farrant.

As the Jesus Army began to take shape, some of us hoped
we wouldn’t go overboard on this military thing. After all,
Jesus Army was only our campaigning arm, the church on the
streets. As for the Salvation Army, they had been brilliant at
soul-winning, but had neglected baptism, communion, charismatic
gifts, and much that makes for a full-orbed New Testament
church. Their outdoor, go-for-the-worst approach was
superb, their holiness stance admirable, and their concept of
the battle, marvellous — but their captains, peak caps and
uniforms were a bit over the top. ‘At least there’ll be no uniforms
for us!’ we thought.

Meanwhile, Noel had been noticing the combat jacket that
the leader of Operation Mark was wearing.
‘Ummm,’ he thought, ‘there’s a manly image. They’re easily
available and cheap... Let me see now — 300 men’s jackets...
Sisters can have green skirts... We need to be an identifiable
people on the streets.

‘Yes. The Jesus Army! Now what about the logo? The cross
must be central to it. Ah yes! A blood red cross between JESUS
and ARMY, and below LOVE, POWER AND SACRIFICE!
That’s it — a people who live sacrificially.
‘“The Army with a heart to fight for you!” can be the motto.
Booth was right! An army of the blood of Jesus and the fire of
the Holy Spirit — but also of covenant with God and with our
brethren. Yes, BLOOD! FIRE! AND COVENANT! That must
be our battle cry.’

He could see the Army in action — banners waving, colours
flying, guitars strumming, shouts ringing, and the name of
Jesus echoing through the streets. The Jesus Army! It would
be a beacon to the masses and a cause for the radical. It meant
commitment, compassion, loyalty and self-sacrifice.

We quoted C. T. Studd in our magazine:
"I would sooner have a few dare-devil, care-for-nothing-and-nobody
soldiers aflame with love for Christ than a million workers
just ten per cent below the standard... Christ’s call is to raise
living churches of souls amongst the destitute, to capture men
from the very jaws of hell, to enlist and train them for Jesus and
to make them into an almighty Army for God. This can only be
accomplished by a red-hot unconventional, unfettered Holy
Ghost religion. Soldiers of Jesus! Nail the colours to the mast!"

Jackets would be purchased. Colours would be displayed —
army green, red for the blood of Jesus, white for purity, black
for the darkness and gold for God’s glory. We would buy a
double decker and paint it up in Jesus Army colours — and
the coaches, Crusader 1 and 2. Patches would be ordered —
and badges, arm bands, khaki shirts, flags and banners! We
would march in London! There in Trafalgar Square we would
read the Jesus Army Manifesto. But first there would be a
commissioning in Northampton Town Hall, and this time we
would invite the press!

On April 18th, 1987, the Jesus Army was born.
A long column, something under a thousand strong, moved
through the busy shoppers. Combat jackets, banners and ex
cited faces broke into the Saturday scene. Jesus shouts split
the air. Green, gold, red, white and black — the flags waved
defiantly in the spring breeze. A few skinheads marched with
us and others tagged on the end!

We arrived at the Guildhall and streamed inside. Still singing,
we squeezed through the stone corridors. Somehow we
all got in and from the platform I enjoyed the sight of my
friends.

Mick ‘Temperate’ tapped my shoulder from behind. ‘All right,
“Overcomer”?’ he asked. ‘Good to see you wearing your combat
jacket!’

That irritated me (slightly). I was a pacifist at heart and
might have felt more at home in a friar’s habit!

My eyes scanned the portraits on the wall. What would those
dignitaries make of the Jesus Army? ‘These men who have
caused trouble all over the world have now come here!’ I
quoted to myself, and smiled. They didn’t look very amused.
We had gone off the rails — again! The Jesus Army were
‘rebels’, soldiers of the Lamb. Our heart had opened to the
needy and our community houses would be places of healing
that welcomed the downtrodden and attracted the strong.

Up on the platform stood a map of England. BRITISH CAMPAIGN!
(Noel loved exclamation marks!) Every community
house now had this wall map with places of Jesus Army activity
marked by plastic pins. A brother pointed out our projects
with a cane — all good Montgomery stuff. We planned campaigns
in London and the larger cities. Marching through
them, and pitching our Golden Marquee, we would witness
to thousands. In pubs, night clubs, red-light areas, squares
and back streets, the Jesus Army would befriend people and
bring them the love of God.

Noel spoke of how the harvest was plentiful and a hunger
for God was growing in the nation. The church as an army
was becoming a visionary concept throughout the radical
churches. We, and others, were to go on the offensive, challenging
the devil, storming his strongholds, and proclaiming
release to the captives. Mark ‘Strong’ read out the Jesus Army
Manifesto in his clear preacher tones:

‘The Jesus Army is the campaigning arm of the Jesus Fellowship
Church. It is created in response to God’s call for his
church to be an army of his kingdom conquering the spiritual
powers of darkness...
‘The Jesus Army campaigns aggressively against the social
evils so common in our ungodly British society, and also
against religious hypocrisy...
‘The Jesus Army will go where others will not go. It will
take the gospel to the “forgotten people”, the crowds outside
the influence of Christian religion. It will bring healing to the
sick and deliverance to the oppressed...
‘The Jesus Army respects all Christians and churches, and
will not deliberately compete. It will not however allow the
necessary all-out offensive to be slowed down, nor the prophetic
word silenced, because churches are defensive.
‘Jesus Army soldiers pledge full loyalty. They will receive
any training to make victory possible and are committed to
sacrifice and hardship...
‘The Jesus Army unites believers into holy and loving church
communities, which show the end of all divisions and demonstrate
a sharing lifestyle, true brotherhood, and a light to this world...’

In fifteen clauses we promised to be a one hundred per cent,
red-hot, Christian army.....
I looked up and saw that many were moved. After this, we
sang ‘Onward Christian Soldiers!’ and a stirring Salvation
Army song: ‘Wanted hearts baptised with fire!’:
Wanted, hearts to love the masses,
Hearts to help him seek the lost,
Hearts to help him save all classes,
Hearts to help him save the worst.

A time of loud praise followed, then Noel asked us to look
up. High on the wall, encircling the hall in huge golden letters,
was engraved a verse from Psalm 115. We read it out
together: Not Unto Us, O Lord, But Unto Thy Name Give Glory!
I found myself loving God. His faithfulness was superb! What
God had begun with some humbled failures in a tiny chapel
with a funny name was now a challenge to the nation. Buzz
magazine had called us ‘one of the most controversial Christian
groups in the country’. As we joined under those banners,
I felt the thrill of God’s call.

The commissioning finished and we filed out. I glanced up
at a friendly portrait. William Carey, Missionary Pioneer. Carey
once spoke of the power of ‘loving brotherhood’, and out in
India had set up a multiracial household with ‘all things in
common’. The school where I worked was yards from where
he once laboured as a shoemaker, and every day, for years, I
had read on Carey’s plaque:
"Expect great things from God!
Attempt great things for God!"
That was our heart, too.

‘The Jesus Army will go where others will not go.’ As I pondered
the words from the Manifesto, my spirit rose to the
challenge. I smiled at my combat jacket with its colourful
badges — We Fight For You!
‘Lord,’ I thought, ‘how did you get me into this?’

The Jesus Army marched into the press and on to radio and
television. We now courted publicity, and certainly couldn’t
avoid it. With jackets, banners, marches, city action days,
marquee missions and convoys, we were unmistakable. We
even had a four-man, Jesus Army quadricycle!

Soon we were in London and pitching the Marquee in
Battersea Park. Mounted police flanked our ‘march for Jesus’
from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. It was an unforgettable
day. There in the square we had a rally and a national
commissioning. Then Mick ‘Temperate’ took a small group and
carried the flag to 10 Downing Street. The letter they handed
in to the Prime Minister (one also went to the Queen) was
printed in shortened form in Heartcry, our magazine of ‘social
concern and action’:
Dear Mrs Thatcher,
We urge you to call the nation back to faith in God. Christians
are praying for a revival that will change society. The members
of this church have become a Jesus Army to fight the evils in
society and bring the gospel to the victims of vice. We pray that
God will give you wisdom, compassion and strength for your
responsibilities.
Yours respectfully,
The Jesus Fellowship.

Heartcry focused on areas of need: homelessness, alcoholism,
racism, abortion, AIDS, drug addiction, violence, prostitution
and crime. It was great to tell the stories of those who
had broken free. We issued a ‘blood and fire’ edition of Jesus
Army magazine. ‘We declare WAR!’ it read, ‘on behalf of every
man, woman and child in need of God’s life-changing love.’
Two brothers were arrested in Soho for obstruction. The
pimps had got annoyed — the gospel wasn’t too good for business!
The case was dismissed and we were awarded costs.
All this appeared in the press. Our courage grew. We prayed
on the street and often people felt a touch of God.
‘I met a Jewish man in London,’ wrote Bill ‘Truthful’. ‘We
talked and I prayed with him to receive the Spirit. As I laid
hands on him and spoke in tongues, he reeled backwards under
the power of God. “Where did you learn Hebrew?” he
asked as he got up!’

We became well-known as people recognised our jackets.
Street kids found us unusually down to earth and friendly for
Christians. ‘Anyone in the Jesus Army is a friend of mine!’
said one skinhead. At London’s Cardboard City, Victor’s wife,
Sheila, was treated with reverence — like a nun. They even
called her Sister. With her Army headscarf she looked like one!

Channel 4 filmed us at the Glastonbury Festival when we
took our Crusader 2 bus there in July. Several came back from
the new age hippy scene and joined us in community. Two of
them had their wedding in chapel. The local newspaper
showed them in uniform with an archway of flags behind them.
The sister’s kit included a green skirt, blue body warmer, khaki
blouse and headscarf. Brothers, as ever, wore jeans.

Of course, the image provided a field day for critics. Northampton’s
Archdeacon compared us to paramilitary rebels and
one local MP described us as a ‘Rambo’ cult. Others found
the association with war a little disturbing. We understood,
and ensured that the jackets were well adorned with badges
and a large golden JESUS ARMY patch on the back. Red
epaulettes were added to distinguish us further from any other
‘street people’ with combat jackets!

But many greeted the army image enthusiastically. It was
strong and dynamic. God was in this latest initiative. Men
and women were attracted and a fresh batch of zealous Christians
joined us.

The press was full of headlines like ‘Onward Christian Soldiers!’
and ‘Jesus Army Marches In!’ ‘Bugbrooke’ still carried
some shrouds of mystery but ‘Jesus Army’ belonged to
the public. It crystallised our vision of commitment and compassion.
As the months went by we learned more and more to
lay down our lives and love the needy ones. As this was seen,
our acceptance with church and people increased. We ‘did a
good job’ — there was room for us in Britain.

But what of Zion? A hunger grew amongst the veterans. What
about our standards, our depth, our holiness? The eighties
had doubled the church and now many knew little of the way
we’d come. The glory of the early days burned in our memory.
Then we had thrilled to be a people for God. Jesus Army was
exciting, but did we really have the depth and anointing to
take the nineties for Christ?

~From "Fire in our Hearts" found on the "JESUS ARMY" website-
http://www.jesus.org.uk/
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