“When William and Catherine met it was an instant love-match.
At their church wedding ceremony, only four other people were present. But such was the impact of their joint lives that at their respective funerals—20 years apart—35,000 people were present in London’s largest hall, with thousands more unable to gain entry.”1
What story did the lives of this duo tell that swept thousands of people into a hall as each took a bow from the stage?
Let’s find out… as we “watch” various scenes from the lives of these two Generals.
The Life Of Catherine Booth
Catherine Booth (nee Catherine Mumford) was born into a Methodist family in central England in the year, 1829.
At teen, she suffered from a curvature of the spine which confined her to the bed. That bed rest gave Catherine the opportunity to tear through the pages of many books. She is reported to have read through the bible 8 times by the age of 12. And that period as well provided her time to study the books of prominent men of God like Charles Finney and John Wesley.
These and more shaped the Catherine Booth who challenged the norm and stands as a role model and mentor, inspiring women for Christ till today.
Living in the Victorian age when it was strange for women to have a public voice, Catherine dared to share her thoughts in magazines and on a world stage.
She met with public backlash and condemnation for wanting to step into a public ministry – because then, it was unusual to hear women speak in public. But that didn’t deter her bold spirit, which adamantly termed the people’s ideologies wrong.
She inspired the hearts of thousands of young girls to be bold and very courageous, in sharing their thoughts and ideas on top of the roof.
“If we must better the future, we must disturb the present,” she once said. She lived up to that. By disturbing her “present” with her dogged spirit, we have a better future today – women can speak out and teach without being shut up.
What a legacy!
The Life Of William Booth
William Booth, born in 1829, in Nottinggham England got converted through a Methodist minister.
He grew up with a passion for social reform – to ease the sufferings of the needy and outcasts. Before the age of 20, he – a once timid person, but sharpened through God’s power – preached and reached out to people on the streets of England. At 21, he became a Methodist minister. And it was in one of the Methodist gatherings he met a young woman that caught and held his attention – Catherine.
What a fruitful union they had!
William & Catherine Booth, And The Salvation Army
William and Catherine were each passionate about winning souls for Christ and reaching out to the helpless and needy. Little wonder God joined them together to storm their time for His purpose.
Salvation Army emerged as a great channel for this work. It was born one morning, as William reviewed a printer’s proof about his mission. The main heading read: “The Christian Mission is a Volunteer Army.” Ruminating on it for some moments, he struck off the word “Volunteer” and replaced it with “Salvation.” That was it! Salvation Army was born.
They addressed themselves as soldiers and operated as such – soldiers for the Lord. William, their Commander, often wrote letters to his soldiers. Letters that fueled them to do more for God and humanity.
“Through the Darkest England scheme of 1890, William Booth announced to the world that his Army now officially embraced a two-fold mission—it existed not only to save souls but also to serve suffering humanity. The salvation proclaimed by The Salvation Army included the temporal.
And the implementation of the scheme was so successful that the Army virtually rebranded itself. In the eyes of the public, the Army’s image went from that of a slightly eccentric evangelistic movement to that of a high-powered agency for social action and reform. And so effective was this unintended rebranding that to this day most people think of the Army as an organization that “does good work.” 1
William and Catherine Booth not just excelled as ministers of the Gospel; they were great parents too. They had eight children, three boys and five girls, all of whom lived to adulthood and all of whom became Salvation Army officers.
I’ll leave you with some quotes of these two generals. May these words set you’re your heart on fire and “initiate” you into the army – as a soldier for God and humanity.
William Booth’s Quotes
I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.
You cannot warm the hearts of people with God’s love if they have an empty stomach and cold feet.
The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart. Anyone who has tended a fireplace fire knows that it needs to be stirred up occasionally.
The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.
Look! Don’t be deceived by appearances – men and things are not what they seem. All who are not on the rock are in the sea!
Work as if everything depended upon work and pray as if everything depended upon prayer.
While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight-I’ll fight to the very end!
We must wake ourselves up! Or somebody else will take our place, and bear our cross, and thereby rob us of our crown.
If I thought I could win one more soul to the Lord by walking on my head and playing the tambourine with my toes, I’d learn how!
I want to see a new translation of the Bible into the hearts and conduct of living men and women.
Catherine Booth Quotes
The waters are rising, but so am I. I am not going under, but over.
If we must better the future, we must disturb the present
Responding to a man who argued, “Paul said to the Corinthians it is a shame for women to speak in the church”: Oh yes, so he did; but in the first place this is not a church, and in the second place, I am not a Corinthian; besides [she continued, looking at the man’s wife], Paul said in the same epistle that it was good for the unmarried to remain so.
There comes a crisis, a moment when every human soul which enters the kingdom of God has to make its choice of that kingdom in preference to everything else that it holds and owns.
What the law tried to do by a restraining power from without, the gospel does by an inspiring power from within.
Many do not recognize the fact as they ought, that Satan has got men fast asleep in sin and that it is his great device to keep them so. He does not care what we do if he can do that. We may sing songs about the sweet by and by, preach sermons and say prayers until doomsday, and he will never concern himself about us, if we don’t wake anybody up. But if we awake the sleeping sinner he will gnash on us with his teeth. This is our work – to wake people up.
We are made for larger ends than Earth can encompass. Oh, let us be true to our exalted destiny
A barracks is meant to be a place where real soldiers were to be fed and equipped for war, not a place to settle down in or as a comfortable snuggery in which to enjoy ourselves. I hope that if ever they, our soldiers, do settle down God will burn their barracks over their heads!
“Do not give way to lowness while you are young. Rise up on the strength of God and resolve to conquer.”
You are not here in the world for yourself. You have been sent here for others. The world is waiting for you!