Tuesday, March 13, 2007

John Pugh XIII: 'Forward!'

By this time Pugh's evangelistic efforts had acquired a name and an identity of their own, the General Assembly of the Calvinistic Methodist Connexion initially called the work "The Society for Church Extension and Mission Work," but this was later changed to "The Forward Movement." The Welsh version of this, Y Symudiad Ymosodol, 'The Aggressive Movement,' a title that summed up Pugh's approach perfectly. Never one to consolidate, Pugh would act, trusting God to provide, rather than making sure all the money and the back-up were present first.

Within the first year, Pugh had launche a monthy magazine, The Christian Standard, to keep the public informed about the work. In the first issue, John Pugh gave a five-point summary of its purpose:

1. To advocate aggressive evangelical and evangelistic work among the masses of the great centres of population which ordinary methods barely touch.

2. To impart fuller knowledge to our converts ofthe great truth of the Gospel through their own organ.

3. To give information to many friends throughout the country of God's doings in the various mission branches.

4. To warn the centres of the dangers of false religion which are now threatening our fatherland in the guise of Ritualism and Romanism. [This was the age of the Ritualist 'slum-priest,' such as 'Father' Griffith Arthur Jones at St. Mary's Church, Butetown, in Cardiff]

5. To interest mission churches in the activities of the churches as well as in the courts of our Connexion, so as to make them denominationally conscious.

In contrast to the wretched efforts of the recent 'decade of evangelism,' Pugh was no ecumenical bigot, but recognised that only robust evangelism by men who believed in the power of God to save souls would bring God's blessings. Pugh could have cordial relations with Independents and Baptists, but he was a Calvinistic Methodist, and the works he innaugurated would be organised along Calvinistic Methodist lines.
And God mightily blessed the work. By the end of the fist year, the Forward Movement had three centres, East Moors, Canton and Clive Street, which between them attracted 2,680 to hear the Word of Life preached, and 1,161 Sunday Scholars. But there was more land to be conquered. Most of Canaan still lay before the pioneers.



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