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The Life of General William Booth Two Volume Set
Product Code: 0201117067
Many years ago, a Salvation Army officer put an old copy of Harold Begbie's biography of William and Catherine Booth into the hands of my wife, Gail. Soon she was poring through it and reading passage after passage to me. The book—no small piece of work—became a companion to us whenever we were driving someplace. I would drive; Gail would read. Many times we had tears in our eyes as we delved into the remarkable lives of the Booths.
We were profoundly moved by William's tenacity and courage and by Catherine's eloquent and fierce commitment to his spiritual and moral health. Her letters to William belong among the very best examples of Christian writing. Their marriage was an uncommon union, and the energy and dynamism that came from it was awesome, an inspiration to us. Most of all, their love for the poor broke through and shaped us.
Because we had to return the borrowed copy of Begbie, we arranged to have the entire two volumed photocopied so that we could re-engage with the Booths whenever we wished. My memory is that a personal assistant spent the better part of two days making this happen.
I was not raised in a Christian tradition like that of The Salvation Army, one that so powerfully molds the Gospel of saving faith with the Gospel of practical compassion. Today I cannot imagine a biblical view of life that isn't and alignment with the things that William and Catherine stood for when they raised up that might band of soldiers. If I am asked for a short list of personal heroes—the men and women who have marked my life, my thought, and my ministry—William and Catherine Booth are quickly named.
The Salvation Army must understand this: that in the 21st century, it has a very powerful lesson to teach the rest of the Protestant movement: how to proclaim Christ not just in words, but in acts of grace and mercy. This great stewardship, which had been handed form the Booth to succeeding generations of Salvationists, must not be taken lightly.
Not long ago, retired friends in the Salvation Army presented Gail and me with their first—edition copy of Begbie's biography of the Booths. The two volumes rest in a most prominent place in our library. And why not? Begbie's story of the Booths changed us.
Canterbury, New Hampshire