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.