By Robert Docter, Dr. -
General Paul Rader (Retired) and Commissioner Kay Rader urge The Salvation Army to immediate action with their “carpe diem” call To Seize This Day of Salvation (Salvation Books, 2015). Together, they have never played a waiting game. Their message means now—today—and pushes us to do so.
Upon assuming command of the USA Western Territory in 1992, Paul Rader wrote a framework of faith within which he was called to work and to define his mission. How wonderful it was for officers and soldiers to hear the factors of his own accountability. Under the title “This I Believe,” he articulated the belief system that guided his life and, thus, laid out criteria for individuals to use in examining their own. What a way to begin. This framework of faith appears first in the book.
The first of 16 points in the credo states: “I believe that in winning souls, the service of people and the building of the Army, our ultimate concern must be for the glorification of God. More important than doing the work of God is doing the will of God.”
Second, he wrote: “I believe that our primary task is to lift up the Lord Jesus Christ, to glorify him, to proclaim him as our risen Lord and present, powerful Saviour. Christ is Head of his Church and Captain of his Army.”
In reading his credo, I pondered what the factors might be in my own belief system. I have strong beliefs, but have never written them. I suspect I reveal much in my writing for New Frontier Publications. Perhaps, you will wonder as well.
Each of his points began with “I believe…” Some of his points concern the authority of Scripture, the centrality of the cross, the nature of salvation, the power of the Spirit, world evangelisation, growth, the value of persons, and integrity of the family.
The Raders have always encouraged active participation in the planning process for the accomplishment of the mission, and the book explains why this word takes on important meaning for them both. They continue to pursue the achievement of the Army’s reason for being. Paul Rader writes: “I am not a mindless proponent of expansionism…I am committed to strategic advance. We need a new birth of evangelistic innovation and daring.”
I worked under the Raders leadership during the planning of “Mission 2000” in the West. Its boldness frightened some traditionalists, however it achieved great success in expanding the number of corps and modifying worship style to the 21st century.
In section three, the reader finds important information relating to our Wesleyan heritage and a chapter titled “Lest we Lose Our Legacy – the Place of Women in Salvation Army Ministry.”
Two inspiring and informative speeches to the High Council bookend this volume. The first, delivered in 1993, carries the identical title to this book: “To Seize This Day of Salvation.” Beginning with quotes from 2Corinthians 6:2 concerning a forward push now, Paul Rader details the daunting challenges and exciting opportunities the Army faced during that time. He deftly revealed his knowledge of the terrors and triumphs of every region of the world. He said then: “I am committed to the intentional invasion of the King of Darkness,” and urged his listeners to “hear anew the call of the streets and slums, the barrios and favelas, the highway and the hedges and the haunts of sin and shame.” Then, I imagine with power, he stated: “Our unity is our strength.”
The book closes with “A call to Prayer from Lazarus’s Tomb” wherein Rader reports on his final visit with his father Lieut-Colonel Lyle Rader prior to his promotion to Glory. A fantastic evangelist, Lyle Rader gave his son his orders and identified subject for prayer: “We need to pray for the purity of our movement. Then we can pray for renewal and revival in our corps and among our people.”
This book is a valuable read for all people interested in the development of this Army of salvation, of a world for God, of our commitment to the forgotten.