Affirmation #1: Doctrines

1. I believe the doctrines of The Salvation Army

One thing I like about Salvation Army doctrine is that its short and to the point…doesn’t beat around the bush and are as simple or as deep as you are able or want to explore. They are memorable, can be recited without having a 100GB memory stick stuck in yer brain. Some would say that 9 and 10 are controversial, and certainly back in my bible college days, I seemed to have a lot of discussions about them seeing as 60% of the college were more calvinist. I’ve not problem with either of them, having studied them closely.

The doctrines begin with a clear cut declaration of the authority of scripture and our firm adherence to the Word before moving on to speak about the nature of God and the ‘person’ of the Lord Jesus. Our great and full salvation is then expounded and then the great holiness doctrine comes in at number 10. Then the great final doctrine which cadets love to hear echo around big auditoriums after they recite them at commissioning…. “punishment of the wicked, (echoe) wicked (echo) wicked!”

Long term readers of the blog will know I’m not too much of a fan of ‘generous orthodoxy (read ‘liberalism’) and I believe there is much danger in dumbing down or watering down. Salvation Army orthodoxy is belief in our 11 statements. I think there is lots of room for different perspectives and aspects, and the doctrines certainly aren’t exhaustive (not much on spiritual gifts, end-times etc) and you’ll notive that there is much room for divergence in secondary areas, such as the second coming, but on the essentials, such as salvation, we’re clear cut. So, its the case of really firm at the core for the essential stuff, leaving ‘space’ with the other stuff.

I’ve used the doctrines publically in a corps context as a corporate act of declaration of faith…it works well like that. They are short enough and easy enough to use them like that. Read with enthusiasm and meaning, they are very affirming of faith. I’ve done preaching series on them and even used them in evangelism. The doctrine on what is needed for salvation is a great but simple sentence which will keep any evangelist in the clear when trying to use some sort of map for explaining the gospel and shows wonderfully the trinity’s involvement in salvation.

“We believe that repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and regeneration by the Holy Spirit are necessary to salvation.”

But yes, we are in days when any form of doctrine is criticised by the new generation. I don’t even to pretend to understand the problem. Maybe they see it as being narrow minded or boxed in…hey, lets get some perspective…our doctrines are simply a list of beliefs that unite The Salvation Army internationally and draw us back to the scripture.

Yeah, I believe in the doctrines of The Salvation Army.

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Firm


A couple of days ago Stephen Court blogged a list of nine affirmations he found somewhere on someones blog, I think. He didn’t quote, so I can’t either. Here they are:

1. I believe the doctrines of The Salvation Army;
2. I believe that we should (and can) be holy;
3. I believe that we should (and can) win the world;
4. I believe that lots of people are going to hell forever (some who never got saved, and some who lost their salvation);
5. I believe that signs and wonders and prophetic and deliverance will play a big role in winning the world;
6. I believe that charismatic cell-based Christian communities are the most effective means of accomplishing mission today;
7. I believe that God can do something unprecedented with The Salvation Army.
8. I believe that The Salvation Army is a revolutionary movement of covenanted warriors exercising holy passion to win the world for Jesus.
9. I believe that covenant is the only hope of avoiding the international fragmentation of The Army within 20 years.

They are an excellent summation of salvationism. I’d want to add something about our call to the poor – the lost the last and the least, but otherwise great. Actually, they are in essence a good summary of all the good stuff that has been coming Stephen himself for the last decade, its the emphasis of every faithful salvationist and I hope that people would hear those things under my ministry.

Those nine little sentences evoke hope, faith, vision and joy and are just an excellent reminder of what I, as a Salvation Army officer, am about.

In this last year or so, you’ve probably noticed, I’ve had some serious doubts and concerns, not about God or my faith, but about my calling and more specifically, my calling as a Salvationist. No doubt they are from the enemy, trying to divert me off track. However, God – gracious, faithful and merciful as he is – has used this last year in a serious time of solidifying and confirming…not to mention shaping and refining. I maybe needed it again just to confirm that resolve of my heart.

I am sincerely in a place today where I can thank God for it all.

Like Stephen said when he posted them, there are some who don’t sign up to this for whatever reason, either through ignorance or through determined objection, perhaps. We can’t always do much about the determined objectors, but there is certainly great purpose in teaching and instructing those who just haven’t heard salvationism described in these ways.

It is my hope, over the next nine blogs, to take each statement and just give comment. Hope you’ll tune in and wade in with your tuppence.

Back from hols

All rested, refreshed and all the other ‘re’ words after a wee holiday, we’re now back at the helm. So good to be back (not that the holiday was bad, its just good to be back!)

Spent the week in a place I used to go as a child. In lots of ways, lots of bad memories about the place. But actually, part of the reason for going (for me) was to redeem them. I wandered round that place and thanked God that he’s changed me. I’m in a different place, in Jesus. Best place to be. I thoroughly recommed this. Going back to places you’ve once been and testifying to yourself about the change God has made is such an encouraging experience. Go do it (if you need to).

In other news, we had a great Easter celebration at Torry…our first monthly celebration, a gathering of our cells/groups/people. Was a great little crowd and just thank God for it. Not long until the next one! Yup…good steps forward, praise God.

Missional Salvationists Update

Just a note for those interested in the ‘Missional Salvationists’ group. We intended to use shapevine.com because it offered a good variety of media opportunities, however, its not seeming as if its quite up to coping with the numbers of people wanting to join the group! So, we’re going to use the facebook group for the main ‘hub’ of the group as well as other sites for hosting documents/files and good old youtube for teaching videos.

We will be starting in full after Easter and my little holiday after Easter with ‘gospel for the poor.’ For now, there is a ‘primer’ on Primitive Salvationism…a discussion on a document written by Captain Stephen Court which can be found online (in both JAC and Primitive Salvationism website) from the link on the facebook page.

I hope in time to include some video teaching from some other folks, not just little ole me.

Head over to facebook, search for Missional Salvationists, and join up before it all kicks off in full.