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25 August, 2010 / theexpositor

His Grace is amazing…dont be ashamed to shout it!

I have always respected the work of the  Salvation Army. In years past its ministry was soup, soap and salvation…nowadays…..you hear hints of ministry, but sadly very little that is direct and distinct. Case in point the following video of a SA ad that’s runs nationwide I follow the video with the actual lyrics from John Newton great hymn. Please…don’t be ashamed of Him.

Amazing Grace Lyrics

John Newton (1725-1807)

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

 

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

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8 Comments

  1. Sally / Aug 29 2010 17 02

    Not sure what exactly you are saying?? How are they ashamed of Christ by saying that they “were ” all these things (of which “lost” was mentioned) and now they are “found”.. I defintely don’t think that the Salvation Army is trying to avoid the Gospel, just trying to show a BRIEF (key point) idea of the wonderful work they do. We need to be careful we are not just looking for things to criticize, instead of supporting ministries that help the poor and outcasts, as Jesus would have us do.

    • theexpositor / Aug 30 2010 7 14

      I agree Sally that the Salvation Army has done wonderful work, and I think I stated that in my short intro. But as its a Christian ministry, I dont think it would be too much to expect to have them insert something that makes it clear that the “Grace” Newton was writing of, and the Grace the SA is referring to, is the Grace of God, and not just being kind. I kind of compare this to the trend today when people say they are “spiritual but not religious”. I think now more than ever, Christians must be clear and concise. Thank you.

  2. Johnny Laird / Sep 3 2010 4 12

    Hi!

    As a Salvationist, I’m intrigued by your post and wondering what it is that informs your opinion of The Salvation Army?

    Is it this particular ad that has caused you to think (I notice you’ve posted about it before), or your broader experiences of the Movement?

    Are you expressing your view and knowledge of The Salvation Army at a national (US) or global level?

    I do think we have a unique challenge being at once a Christian denomination and a massive global social service agency. Sometimes the balance gets out of whack, or can appear to.

    Would love to explore this a little with you…

    Feel free to have a browse through some of my posts about TSA; an insider’s view, if you like: http://www.johnnylaird.net/?s=salvation+army

    J

    • theexpositor / Sep 3 2010 13 36

      Hi Johnny,

      Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate it, and yes I will check out your site. I admire and appreciate the work of the Salvation Army, and as it is a Christian ogranization, denomination, church, ministry…I would like to see it be direct and clear that it is such.

      What do you think about this? What if at the end of the commercial, the announcer said something like, “everyday lives are being restored through the grace of Jesus Christ…”

  3. Johnny Laird / Sep 7 2010 5 02

    Hey Mike
    First off, the views I express are as an individual Salvationist, rather than me expressing an official line or policy of The Salvation Army.

    As I alluded to in my first reply, there are challenges for The Salvation Army related to perception of the general public vs the reality of the movement, and those challenges vary from country to country, understanding that we operate in somewhere over 120 at the time of writing.

    For example the ubiquitous image of The Salvation Army thrift stores or bell ringers is much greater in the public consciousness in North America than it is throughout the rest of the world. UK Salvationists react with a degree of bemusement when they encounter this unfamiliar notion, as it’s not how we are perceived in the UK, where I guess people see us as an old fashioned and slightly quaint Christian group selling our papers in the pubs and playing Carols in the street at Christmas time.

    In fact, both perceptions are only a small part of the story. We do those things, but at our heart we are still a mission movement of Jesus followers, and a worshipping community that tries to roll our sleeves up and help folks.

    I think there ARE occasional examples where we may have appeared to been over-subtle in stating that we are first and foremost a Jesus people, but I have to say – for me – that the “Amazing Grace” ad is NOT one of those. As “Amazing Grace” is one of the – if not THE – most well-known – Christian hymns in the English-speaking world I think it’s quite to a stretch to imagine that this is anything other than a specifically Christian message, and most people understand “grace” to be something way beyond mere kindness.

    In the interest of balance though, I’m not sure who put the ad together, what the brief was, and precisely who the intended audience was (it’s clearly a US fund raising ad, but I don’t know how widely it was aired)…but I think it hits the spot, and certainly without any sense of shame of the Gospel.

    Again, I don’t know the facts, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if an ad is aired on regular network TV (as oppose to say especially Christian networks) is subject to any number of legal directives…perhaps related to prothletising etc. If that is the case, the “Amazing Grace” ad does its job within those parameters, yet without compromise.

    Another important factor that occurs to me that our screens and the airwaves are full of folks who would invoke the name of Jesus, but beyond that show little or no evidence of actual or authentic Christ likeness. The Salvation Army has always been a pragmatic movement, giving emphasis to the “show” as well as the “tell”, and I would hope at the incarnational and relational level that people can meet Jesus through The Salvation Army.

    All that said pretty much all of our online and media presence – there’s a lot of it – is absolutely clear that we are a Christian movement.

    I’d actually be quite keen to see some examples where it is not so.

    Glad to be able to share in some dialog on this…

    J

    • theexpositor / Sep 8 2010 8 53

      Johnny,

      I agree with your comments regarding perceptions; sometimes people will perceive what they want. As Christians we are called to be obedient and faithful and not to obsess ourselves on what the world thinks of us personally, but not to bring reproach to the cause of Christ. I’m sure we have all been guilty of doing this at one time or another. I have.

      As to understanding or it being-a-given that people will understand the meaning of grace in the song, let me offer this comparison. It has been cited on many occasions that the Bible is the biggest selling book of all time. Most would agree with that, even those who are not Christians. Many Americans have at least one copy; there are still many hotels that include a Gideon’s bible in the hotel rooms; It is quoted, written about, cited and debated…yet how many people do not recognize it as God’s holy written word, and even more, how many who claim the Name do not believe it and obey it.

      I really don’t think we can assume that just because something is Christian or it widely recognized as Christian, will be accepted and affirmed as being Christian by those who do not know or seek Christ.

      My whole thought in this is…..why is it that we, the church, sometimes feel we need to skirt around being direct and deliberate with who we are and Who we serve. Most of us are not placed on a cross to die before the world, yet He hung on the cross openly.

      Mike

  4. Ian Haylett / Sep 9 2010 4 32

    Hi Guys – I was wondering if I could put my pennyworth in?

    First off, I am an SA officer in the north of England, having planted a church and now running it. I have no expertise or insight into the SA in the US, marketing strategies, professional fundraising, employment law, national SA strategies for the US or the UK, etc. I am not sure if this makes me more or less qualified to say what the Salvation Army is about. 😉

    What I would say is that I would be wary of making judgements about an entire organisation on the basis of a video. I might be going against the flow here, but I would want to know much more about Pastor Terry Jones before simply dismissing him as a crank. I love what I do. I take grace to the people I meet and take the opportunities when they arise. But I can only do that because someone raises funds for it. To suggest that we have lost our way because we do not plaster Jesus in an advert assumes that Jesus never gets a mention anywhere along the “chain of grace”. If we can’t judge a book by its cover we shouldn’t judge an organisation by its adverts.

    The Salvation Army hierarchy wrestle with these issues constantly and I feel they are subjected to pressure not only from the World but also by other denominations who seem to think they have it more right. Our leaders a gracious, dedicated, God following people who face tremendously difficult decisions. I for one pray for them in all that they do.

    Remaining in Him
    Ian

  5. Johnny Laird / Sep 9 2010 5 57

    Hey Mike
    I get what you say, now that you have moved to a more generic dialog, but you started by calling out a specific denomination over a specific piece of media in your blogpost.

    That is why I was so keen initially to find out more about what informed your opinions about my tribe, The Salvation Army and how broad your experience and firsthand knowledge is of them?

    I once said the following in another post I wrote on my own blog:

    “We’re not beyond criticism – we do wrong things. Lots of them….and often! Let’s be humble – take the criticism on board when it’s justified – and be gracious in our response when it is not. Sometimes it’s good to be metaphorically hit square between the eyes, just to keep you alert and awake.”

    Yet, when I think about the many men and women I know who are part of my life, and part of The Salvation Army in all its global breadth and diversity, I wouldn’t want to suggest that they are ashamed of Jesus, corporately – and perhaps more significantly – individually.

    That’s not my call, and I don’t see many signs of that.

    Grace & peace

    J

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