In the years between the JAC interview with the then Colonel Linda Bond she has moved on and held leadership appointments as Territorial Commander in the USA Western and Australia Eastern Territories before being elected to the Army’s highest office as General. The General now lives in retirement in Toronto Canada and is a very active member of the North York Temple Church. She's in charge of the post-worship service prayer circle. She teaches a Bible Study every Sunday morning for young adults. 'The young people love her - at least my grandson does'. She often does visitation with seniors or people confined at home due to illness. She is very active at the Corps and we thank God for her presence.
Interview: Colonel Linda Bond
Original Publication - JAC #13, June - July 2001
Linda Bond is the Chief Secretary for The Salvation Army, Canada & Bermuda Territory. She has been a Divisional Commander in the United Kingdom and Canada. She has also served at I.H.Q. in London.
JAC: Please tell us a little about your conversion experience.
LB: I don't recall having a dramatic conversion. I was raised in the Army and my earliest memories are of hearing the gospel. It took no "leap of faith" for me to confess my sins and accept Jesus as my Saviour. Those who shared the Good News with me were Sunday school teachers and officers who were credible witnesses.
JAC: Please tell us a little about your experience of holiness.
LB: If I look to a dramatic experience, it would be while I was a cadet in College. This is not the time or place to go into detail, but the Lord came to me in a very clear way and assured me of a deep cleansing. I do have to confess that I have failed Him miserably, but I am convinced that His call to holiness is insistent and every provision through His Son and Holy Spirit has made it possible for me to claim by faith this holy life.
He has all there is of Linda Bond and whether He chooses to grant dramatic encounters in my spiritual journey or requires me to walk by faith alone, then that is His choice. I seek to be like Jesus and be open and responsive to the Holy Spirit.
JAC: What are the greatest challenges of your current appointment?
LB: The greatest challenge is to see every part of my work as His. It is to recognise that He is in charge. It is to take tough decisions when they are not popular. It is to recognise truth even when it comes from sources least expected and respected.
JAC: What books have had the greatest impact on you over the years? Why?
LB: The Bible (It is still my favourite textbook for living and leadership), The General Next to God, Knowing God, The Cross of Christ, The Disciplines of Grace, Songs of Heaven. There are many more but these have either been significant because of a spiritual need or to stretch my mind to take in something of the magnitude of God's grace.
JAC: Who are your heroes? Why?
LB: Commissioners Ed Read & Roy Calvert. These men have modelled a believable holy life and leadership. Our leadership styles are different but I am convinced that one can have their approach to life and leadership sanctified.
JAC: General Catherine Booth went on record, stating, "The great fundamental principle of The Salvation Army is the law of adaptation." This comment has been used by many salvos at many times toward diverse ends. What is the proper understanding of this fundamental principle for us today, in light of tensions between priestly vs. prophetic roles?
LB: In my earlier years, I thought it was necessary to protect and preserve the Army that I had grown up knowing. John Larsson's article in the April 1998 Officer Magazine entitled "Back to the Future" has provided me with the best understanding of what we need to hold on to. It is not the snapshot of the 19th Century Army but rather this flexibility at the essential core to carry out our mission. General Gowans has also been helpful with "save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity".
I have personally adopted the UK Vision 2002 Statement and added one line on
holiness, "We will be a Spirit-filled, radical growing movement, with a burning desire to lead people to Jesus Christ, lead believers into an experience and expression of holiness, actively serve the community and fight for social justice."
If the above clearly describes our identity and mission, then we must hear the Army Mother out on "adaptation", and in my mind that is the willingness to change in order to get the mission done, not change our essence but change our methods, if in fact they are kept only for preservation and not for advancement.
JAC: What is the most significant part of your ministry today?
LB: The proclamation of the Gospel. I take my covenant very seriously on this matter. I have never allowed my office to interfere with my platform ministry but have trusted the Lord to give me strength to attend to the "business" entrusted to me and keep a rigorous schedule for preaching/teaching. However, I use more than the platform. Personal relationships, correspondence, and even board meetings are also avenues for Kingdom news and values.
JAC: What are your dreams for The Salvation Army?
LB: Perhaps the vision statement above best describes it. I do have "watchman/warrior mentality and therefore I dream of an Army moving forward to claim people for Christ, moving in purity and courageously. I still believe we must be a soul-saving movement. I have great hopes for the reclamation of our Wesleyan doctrine. I also believe the Army will once again find its "voice" and speak with conviction and intelligence on issues that matter to our Lord.
JAC: What is God teaching you these days?
LB: The Lord has been teaching me that He is absolutely trustworthy when it comes to guiding us in the right direction, if only we listen, obey and act with courage. I have been helped by the words of Jehoshaphat, "We don't know what to do but our eyes are on You", and on Alan Kreider's (Towards Holiness) interpretation of "Be still and know that I am God -Stop fighting and know". He is right I believe that our God has promised to provide for and protect His children. My leadership these days is characterized by my conviction that this is true.
JAC: You are considered one of the Army's great preachers. What are your keys for faithful, bold and compelling preaching?
LB: I don't think of myself as a great preacher. I am unpolished and not a great adherent to the disciplines of sermon-making and presentation. The keys for me are a healthy devotional life, allowing the Scripture to speak and then seeking to understand the principle and translate it for today.
If the Word excites me than I can preach with passion and if the Holy Spirit anoints me, I can speak with power. I generally pray that I will be "fuel for His burning". I don't try to be anyone else; I don't even try to conform to any set standard. If I am faithful in preaching, it is because I tell people what the Bible says, what it means, and what it can mean for us. It first of all meant something to me in order for it to be considered for others. Boldness- This could be a personality trait but it is more than this. I do believe in the Word and if the Spirit has used it to speak to my heart, I don't, find it difficult to speak clearly, with conviction. If I have been a compelling speaker, it is because I maintain eye contact. I preach from outlines. But beyond that, it is because, once again, I have personally been "fired up" and have given myself to the Holy Spirit for His anointing.
JAC: Can you tell us of any memorable preaching you have heard and what made it outstanding?
LB: My favourite preacher is John Eric Akexanader, a Scottish preacher that I heard many years ago at Urbana. He was outstanding in my mind because he preached the Word clearly and cleverly (not in a negative sense). His deep convictions come through in his passion. You never felt he was trying to sell himself or make an impression. He was totally sold out to the Lord and committed to faithful proclamation.
JAC: Please comment on the state of aggressive Christianity in the 21st century. How relevant is primitive salvationism?
LB: In 32 years of officership, I have never known such a sense of the Church desiring to move forward. Prayer is more intense than I have ever known. Our young people are mission-minded in a way that my age group never was. The Church is linking arms, not to submerge their own personalities but to proclaim the gospel in word and deed. This is primitive salvationsim. This is primitive Christianity. The world may appear to be bleak but greatest extremities provide greatest opportunities. I used to say that the Army's greatest days are ahead but I think it was more "wish" than truly belief. I now have hope as I have never had before. There is much cause for optimism. There are still many salvationists in the "barracks or on the parade square". We need to encourage them to "move out". We are on the march. Its an old chorus but it has profound truths: "The world is need us, Christ is heeding us, comrades let us be true".