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Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine

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  • SALVATION STORYSalvationist Handbook

    of Doctrine

    The Salvation Army International HeadquartersLondon, England

  • First Published 1998COPYRIGHT 1998 THE GENERAL OF THE SALVATION ARMY

    ISBN 085412 659 7 (cloth)ISBN 085412 660 0 (paper)

    GENERAL ORDERThis volume contains an exposition of the principal Doctrinesof The Salvation Army as set forth in its Deed Poll of 1878 andconfirmed in The Salvation Army Act 1980. It is for the use ofall Salvationists.

    These Doctrines are to be taught in connection with allSalvation Army officers training operations, both preparatoryand institutional.

    It is required of officers of all ranks that their teaching, inpublic and private, shall conform to these eleven Articles ofFaith.

    International HeadquartersLONDON, England

    Scripture quotations from the New International VersionCopyright 1986 by the International Bible Society

    Cover design by Mickhail GavrilovProduced by UK Territory Print and Design Unit

  • TABLE OF CONTENTSPage

    Salvation Army Doctrines ix

    Foreword xi

    Introduction xiii

    Chapter One Word of the living God 1The source of Christian doctrine

    Chapter Two The God who is never alone 14The doctrine of the Trinity

    Chapter Three Creator of Heaven and earth 25The doctrine of God the Father

    Chapter Four Gods eternal Son 35The doctrine of Jesus Christ

    Chapter Five The Holy Spirit, Lord and giver of life 50The doctrine of the Holy Spirit

    Chapter Six Distorted image 58The doctrine of humanity

    Chapter Seven Salvation story 67The doctrine of the Atonement

  • Chapter Eight Salvation experience 76The doctrine of salvation

    Chapter Nine Full salvation 85The doctrine of holiness

    Chapter Ten People of God 100The doctrine of the Church

    Chapter Eleven Kingdom of the risen Lord 115The doctrine of Last Things

    Appendices 1. Determining the Canon 112. Infallibility and inerrancy 133. Wrong paths trinitarian heresies 234. Wrong paths Christological

    heresies 445. The names and titles of Jesus 466. Spiritual warfare 567. Interpretations of the holiness

    experience 968. The use and abuse of spiritual

    gifts 1119. The sacraments 113

    10. Interpretations of the return ofChrist 122

    11. The Classical Creeds 124An introduction 124The Apostles Creed 126The Nicene Creed 126The Athanasian Creed 127

  • 12. Sources of the Eleven Articlesof Faith 130

    The Doctrines of the MethodistNew Connexion (1838) 131

    13. The Lausanne Covenant 133An introduction 133The Covenant 134

    Glossary of doctrinal terms 145

    Glossary of English usage 150

    Index 153

  • SALVATION ARMY DOCTRINESAs set out in Schedule 1 of The Salvation Army Act 1980

    We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testamentswere given by inspiration of God, and that they only constitutethe Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.

    We believe that there is only one God, who is infinitely perfect,the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, and who isthe only proper object of religious worship.

    We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead theFather, the Son and the Holy Ghost, undivided in essence andco-equal in power and glory.

    We believe that in the person of Jesus Christ the Divine andhuman natures are united, so that He is truly and properly Godand truly and properly man.

    We believe that our first parents were created in a state ofinnocency, but by their disobedience they lost their purity andhappiness, and that in consequence of their fall all men havebecome sinners, totally depraved, and as such are justlyexposed to the wrath of God.

    We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by His suffering anddeath made an atonement for the whole world so thatwhosoever will may be saved.

    We believe that repentance towards God, faith in our LordJesus Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit, are necessaryto salvation.

    ix

  • We believe that we are justified by grace through faith in ourLord Jesus Christ and that he that believeth hath the witness inhimself.

    We believe that continuance in a state of salvation dependsupon continued obedient faith in Christ.

    We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be whollysanctified, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may bepreserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    We believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection ofthe body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; inthe eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the endlesspunishment of the wicked.

    x

  • FOREWORDWhat Salvationists believe has never been incidental to how welive out our life in Christ as individuals, or as a global spiritualmovement. Our faith, grounded in Scripture, and validatedvictoriously by personal experience, has been the motive forceof our obedience in mission. Salvation Story is written to assist usin reflecting on the foundation of that faith, and its meaningfor our life together as the people of God in mission and forour programmes of redemptive and compassionate action.

    It is an important step forward in better understandingourselves and what our statement of faith commits us to in thelight of the word of God. Salvation Story puts us all into the flowof what God has been doing across the centuries for thesalvation of the world. It is our story. For we believe that Godraised up The Salvation Army as part of his programme, bornof love from all eternity, to heal and restore a broken humanityand draw it back into fellowship with himself.

    These chapters not only aid our understanding of oureleven doctrines that form the basis of belief for ourevangelical mission, they draw out the contemporary relevanceof these doctrinal statements and relate them effectively to ourexperience and calling as Salvationists today.

    The vital heart of the faith of Salvationists is the redeemingblood of Christ and the purifying and empowering fire of theSpirit. We are an army of Blood and Fire. But now other wordslike community, mission, sacramental, and church, aremore important to our story than ever. They help us tounderstand what our new life in Christ makes possible and

    xi

  • necessary for sustaining our inner life, fighting the good fightof faith and fulfilling our role in the grand scheme of humanredemption.

    General Eva Burrows gave a mandate to the InternationalDoctrine Council in 1992 to prepare a new Handbook ofDoctrine with a fresh approach. Salvation Story is the fulfilmentof that charge. During the whole of the project, the originalcouncil has remained intact with the exception of changes inits chairman and secretary. Every Salvationist is indebted tothem, and to the corresponding members, for their prayerfulparticipation in the preparation of Salvation Story.

    David Guy, Chairman Gudrun LydholmEarl Robinson, Chairman Christine ParkinJohn Amoah Rae Major, SecretaryPhil Needham Benita Robinson, SecretaryRaymond Caddy

    Salvation Story is issued with the prayer that it will be a meansof grace to all Salvationists who study its pages and that, by thepower of the Spirit, its illumination of the essentials of our faithwill be translated into saving action.

    General Paul A. RaderInternational Headquarters

    London, England

    xii

  • INTRODUCTIONThis book is about the faith of the Salvationist. It is based uponthe eleven Articles of Faith which, since 1878, have been thebasis of The Salvation Armys witness to the Christian gospel.

    Some may wonder why Salvationists place such emphasisupon a written statement of faith. After all, they are people whorightly maintain that a Christian is one who enters trustfullyinto a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and is born againof the Holy Spirit. They emphasise that faith is a personal affair,often springing from an experience of Gods grace that isbeyond the reach of definition or analysis. They may well besuspicious of any attempt to reduce this life-changingencounter to a form of words on a page.

    Yet without words, the experience fails to be named,clarified or shared. Faith is not only personal: it has a publicface. The earliest Christians acknowledged one another in thesimple confession: Jesus is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3). This wastheir creed. As they shared it, they grounded their personalexperience in the risen Christ, verified one anothersexperience and called upon the world to acknowledge thelordship of Christ. It was from these biblical beginnings thatthe creeds of the Church grew to be authoritative statements ofthe Christian faith. They have a long history, some of which isreferred to within these pages.

    Doctrine is the teaching of the Church. It is an expandedexplanation of faith, founded on Scripture and developedfrom a basic creed. The eleven Articles of Faith are anexpression both of personal faith and of a common vision.

    xiii

  • They are consistent with the classical Christian creeds andidentify Salvationists as members of the universal Church. Theyalso express the fundamental evangelical convictions ofWesleyanism, the branch of the Church out of which TheSalvation Army grew. Salvationists emphasise in their doctrineand in their mission the universal call to personal salvation, thechallenge to holiness and the need for evangelical zeal.

    The Eleven Doctrines have remained essentially unchangedin a rapidly changing world. A number of Handbooks ofDoctrine have, however, been produced, the most recent ofwhich was published in 1969. It was decided that the time wasfitting for a further explanatory volume.

    This book differs from its predecessors in a number of ways.It is narrative in form, so that teaching is presented in shortparagraphs, rather than point