Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Philosophical Transformation Series: The United States, A Dream Realized

Battle of Guiliford Courthouse, CC 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Accompanying Video: 

Audio Message:

I’d like to take you back in time to the birth of this nation. The year is 1775, and the British are marching in the dead of night to capture the guns of the colonial militia. Four riders launch into the night to awaken the minute men. The colonials succeed, and beat the British to their supplies of weapons. The British get nothing. At Lexington plain clothes militia line up in a field as British troops march toward them. The two groups stand across from one another, pointing weapons at each other, and someone fires. The colonials are driven back.

Later at Bunker hill the colonials fight off wave after wave of British soldiers ,but are finally defeated when they run out of ammunition. 

Artistic depiction of the Battle of Bunker Hill
A war had begun that would change the world. The colonials would make a new state of independence from Britain, outlining the rights of all men. A radical new notion would begin to spread from America across much of the world: the notion that all men are created equal under God.

Soon a Christian nation would be born. A Constitution would be constructed with the intention of putting biblical principles into practice, not to force religion on the people, but to offer the people God given liberty and freedom, something that God had given all people. This was scandalous, at that time in history, it was unthinkable to even consider the possibility that everyday peasants were in any way comparable to royalty, the rich, or the affluent.

Today it’s something we take for granted. When the teacher in school asks the students what they want to be when they grow up, and one child says “I want to be president of the united states” the teachers natural reaction is to say: maybe you will be. Anyone can be president. We’re a meritocracy. We rise based on our merits and based on hard work.

Our ancestors, during the American revolution, were bands of farmers, traders, and merchants, armed with rifles, taking on the most powerful military in the world. Early on in the war of independence, General Washington was attempting to route the British from Boston, which they had occupied. Naturally he could do this with artillery, only one problem: He didn’t have any. Can you imagine that? An army of peasants, with a handful of ships, squirrel rifles and buck shot, fighting the strongest power in the world. A continental army, with no artillery, no training, and quickly running out of black powder, which was rare in the colonies, against this mighty British empire.

Yet the hand of God almighty seemed tied to the fate of our fledgling nation. General Washington called it “the hand of providence.” Henry Knox one of Washington’s trusted advisors, managed to gather the artillery from a captured British fort (Fort Ticonderoga) ride it across the frozen lake George, and bring it to Washington to use to drive the British from Boston. Washington positioned the artillery on a tall hill overlooking Boston, called Dorchester heights. And from Dorchester heights, the artillery could hit the British fleet in harbor, and the troops garrisoned in the town. So they won the day, by taking the high ground.

Against near insurmountable odds, the outlook seemed grim. The British went on to capture New York and drive out Washington’s army. Washington army was poorly supplied and their were outbreaks of small pox in his camps. Thousands were taken ill and many returned home after their enlistments were up. 

Near the end of 1776 it seemed like there was little hope, but a great turning point in the war took place, when on December 25th Washington launched a surprise attack, crossing the Delaware river at dawn. He won a stunning victory at Trenton, rallying the troops to victory.

So a nation was born, the United States, after many years of war, in the most unlikely of contests. God’s sovereign hand of providence rested on human history to guide the founding of America. It’s my sincere belief that God guided the events of the American revolution to found a Christian nation.

All the way back to over a hundred years earlier, in 1620, the pilgrims were planning their voyage to the new world. I’m sure many of you studied the mayflower compact in elementary school. But did you know that the pilgrims believed that they had been called by God to establish their colony for the purpose of the advancement of the Christian faith?

They wrote in their compact:

In most public school textbooks the references to God and Christianity are omitted. They’re just edited out. They call this revisionist history. And it cuts off young people from understanding the truth of their country, their heritage, and their faith. Maybe that’s why young people are so confused these days.

The founders firmly believed that America could only survive if it upheld two vital factors in the culture: Religion and morality. And when the founders referred to religion, they weren’t referring to world religions like we think of it today, they were referring to the various denominations of Christianity at that time in history. But they understood that our society is upheld by Christianity and Judaeo-Christian ethics. Let’s look at what some of the founders and framers had to say about this.

George Washington…

"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity." -George Washington, Farewell Address

Samuel Adams…

Benjamin Rush…

Patrick Henry…

"The great pillars of all government and of social life are virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor... and this alone, that renders us invincible." -Patrick Henry, Letter to Archibald Blair, January 8 1799

Many of the founding fathers of our great nation understood the value of the Bible, religious faith, and morality. They declared it time and again, as the underpinning of the Constitution and our entire way of life.

Unfortunately over about the past two hundred years something has happened to America. Especially in the last fifty years it’s really picked up pace. But it really began with Darwin’s publishing of the Origin of Species in 1859. This led to a sort of evolutionary idea taking on a framework within science, philosophy, and the law. Slowly this evolutionary naturalism began supplanting the idea of natural law. Instead of God given rights that government had no say in, which is natural law, instead a new idea called legal positivism began to take hold. And essentially this view states that government is the ultimate arbitor of rights, and the government is the only entity that can give rights. Legal positivism is the idea that law evolves, and is ever changing.

This began with two men, Charles William Eliot and Christopher Columbus Langdell. Eliot arrived as the new president of Harvard and he quickly placed Langdell as the new head of the Harvard law school. They were both huge proponents of Darwin’s theory of origin of species, and they pushed that agenda into education. Over the next fifty years every leading university in the country began moving away from their Christian roots, embracing naturalism, evolution theory, and legal positivism. Did you know that every major university in the country was founded as Christian institutions? That is true for Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Columbia universities. In fact Princeton’s founding motto was “truth for Christ and the Church.”

There are so many other factors that play into the ideological decline of the United States. One could look to Hollywood, or secular media, or the sciences, or modern philosophy, but at the root, much of it comes down to education. A secular minority was able to begin to take control of the education system, and with it went the youth and soon America was slowly being transformed from Judaeo-Christian roots to a survival of the fittest mentality.

A huge influencer of our modern education system is a man named John Dewey. I remember learning about him when I was in elementary school. He was the one who developed the Dewey decimal system used in libraries. Here’s what Dewey had to say about Christianity:

 “Faith in the prayer hearing God is an unproved and outmoded faith. There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no need for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes.” –John Dewey

Can you believe the utter madness of this? This foolish, self contradictory idea of relative truth, and how destructive that is to young minds trying to understand the world around them? The kind of confusion, immorality, and moral chaos this invites is truly staggering. Is it any wonder we see school shootings? Is it any wonder we see such rampant immorality in youth? We’ve allowed our educational system to become an amoral breeding ground of unsound teaching.

The founders understood the necessity of the Bible, religion, virtue, and morality. And as Christians we understand the immense value of this timeless wisdom. In a country so deeply inspired by the word of God, it was simply astounding to hear reports from some of the young people I work with. They’ve told me that if they dare bring their bible to school with them, to read, they will have it taken away from them, and they may get detention. They are told they do not have the right to pray. They are told they cannot wear crosses or religious t-shirts. Yet all of those simple activities are explicitly protected rights under the 1st amendment of the united states; giving all people the right to practice their faith wherever they go, and to speak and share their values. This sort of thing is rampant in bigger cities, but to hear about it happening in a small town is quite troubling. I hope you’ll be in prayer for your local school, and for the children of our world.

America has truly moved far from the original intentions of the founders and of the Constitution and bill of rights. But I see great reason for hope. Many are waking up and coming to realize the value of God and the Bible. Many are growing tired of the intrusions of government into the daily activities of citizens. Many are upset with the government’s violations of religious freedom. And many are looking to reclaim and reshape education to better reflect the traditions of the people. But we have an obligation as parents and youth leaders to share our values with our children, and help them understand their rights. We must help them to remember who they are, and who their God is.

Our Lord in scripture reminds us time and again in scripture, he instructs us to: Remember.

When Joshua was leading the Israelite's out of the wilderness, to take the promised land and establish the nation of Israel, which exists to this very day, they had to cross the Jordan river. And by God’s miraculous power, he parted the waters so they could cross on dry land. But God did something special when He did this for Joshua and the people. He told Joshua to have 12 men take 12 stones from the river and keep them as memorial stones. God said to them, Joshua chapter 4 verses 21 to 24: ““When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”

In the same way, that the Israelites passed over the Jordan, and the Red Sea, so when we are washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, we are set free from sin. Sin passes over us and we walk free of it, onto dry ground. Thanks to Jesus Christ.

And in the same way the Israelites were told to remember, we celebrate memorial day each year to remember the sacrifice of angels to uphold this dream of a nation that trusts in God. We remember the sacrifice of angels, who rally to offer up their blood, sweat, and tears to give us this dream of life in America. We’re so blessed. So blessed in America. Our lives are so safe here. It’s like a little piece of God’s heavenly order on Earth. It’s not perfect, but compared to the rest of the world, the 3rd world, it’s like a little paradise.

But we must remember how God provided for the colonists when they fought the British.

God encourages us to remember, when in times of fear and doubt, when it seems that sin and chaos reign in America: Remember how impossible it seemed for your fledgling nation during the American revolution. Remember how all the odds seemed to be stacked against you, yet you triumphed. Remember how the Lord has been so faithful in the past, and know He will be faithful again in the future.

And remember how the nation threatened to tear itself apart over the issue of slavery, and how brave men fought in a bloody civil war. And when all seemed lost, and the union seemed that it would collapse, God ensured it would remain together.

And remember how in World War II Hitler and the Nazis threatened the entire world with slavery and death. Remember how the committed genocide by the millions. And remember how America rallied, and drove this evil from Europe by the blood of hundreds of thousands of brave Americans. It’s not too late for America. When all seems lost, when it seems like there’s so little hope left, that’s just when God is at work in mighty ways, to turn the tide. Our part is to believe. Our part is to pray. And our part and good and decent people is to take action. 

Like Gideon, as he was hiding from the midianites, we feel as if we can’t do anything to help our country. We feel helpless, outnumbered, afraid. But the Lord arrives to us, as the angel of the Lord did to Gideon and he sees in us what we can’t see it ourselves. “Hail mighty man of valor!” Said the angel to Gideon. Gideon is disillusioned and he asks why God has allowed this to happen. But the Lord says, “I will be with you.” And you will succeed. In the same way, when we take action to help our country, God blesses that work with victory.

It’s not too late for America. When all seems lost, when it seems like there’s so little hope left, that’s just when God is at work in mighty ways, to turn the tide. Our part is to believe. Our part is to pray. And our part, as good and decent people, is to take action.

On this memorial day weekend, I would like to encourage you to do something for your country, the United States. I’d like to encourage you to Appeal to Heaven for America.

There is a simple formula. We humble ourselves before God. We pray. We seek God’s face. And we repent of our old ways. We appeal to heaven.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Note: Numerous resources, pictures, and facts from this presentation originated from "The Truth Project" by Focus on the Family, hosted by Prof. Del Tackett. 

A Philosophical Transformation Series
8: Government & Law: The Unique American Experiment 
9:  The Future Destiny of Man: The New Heavens & New Earth
10: Everything is about Jesus: Closeness with Christ & Living Missionally

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Great Challenge of Dealing with Conflict: 5 Styles of Conflict Resolution

CC 2.0 via Flickr
Conflict in relationships, conflict in family, and conflict in churches are terribly difficult things to deal with. I myself have struggled a great deal in responding to conflicts and disagreements in a healthy manner.  This is a tough challenge for my generation.  We tend to want to flee, and run for the hills when conflict dares to intrude upon us.  But running is not always the wisest response to difficult conflicts.  Many times, there are better responses and better ways to deal with inevitable conflict.

The first thing we should recognize about conflict is that it is 100% normal.  We tend to file it under "abnormal" but the fact is, in any community conflict is going to be a part of our interactions.  In any relationship we will tend to have to deal with some sort of conflict from time to time.  There isn't anything wrong with that.  It's simply a part of relationship.  But let's not kid ourselves, conflict is quite awful.  It feels terrribly yucky and for me especially, I simply can't stand conflict.  I'd almost rather disappear completely than have to deal with a conflict.

So how can we deal with conflict in a healthy way?  Conflict is normal.  In fact, conflict is healthy.  Conflict is not fun though.  Think about when the boss calls you into the office and says those fateful words "We have to talk."  It's harder for us to run to the hills when it's our job that is on the line.  We have to stay and deal with the consequences then.  

We should have the same attitude in our personal relationships, and in our church community relations.  It can seem much easier and more convenient to simply start over.  That is what I often did in the past.  I would just start over, throw up my hands and say "I'm done."  But that isn't always the wisest thing to do.  

Don't get me wrong, there may be times when it is necessary to leave and start over in a new situation.  But we should strive to limit those to the most extreme circumstances.  

What are some extreme circumstances that would require us to unabashedly depart from a situation?  Well, one example would be if my group of friends are using drugs regularly.  That is something I simply have no interest being around.  It's a dangerous influence to me, and I'm being foolish if I think I can successfully sit in the barber-shop as it were and not get a hair cut.  

Another situation would be if my boss and/or coworkers are asking me to violate my conscience, or violate the law.  If it's coworkers, then I should go to my boss, or my bosses boss first.  If it's my boss, then I'm left with little options.  I would make sure I've exhausted every means of dealing with the issue, and if nothing seemed to work, then I would depart.

Still another example would be if my spouse were habitually abusive.  That is a situation where fleeing is probably quite wise.  

In a church situation, if the church leadership are teaching false doctrine, abusing children, or teaching things not contained in the Bible, I would need to address that situation directly.  I would need to attempt to sit down and discuss the situation with leaders face to face.  If all attempts to remedy the situation failed, only then should I leave.  

But most situations we face are not this extreme.  In most situations, we have options and there are ways to resolve most conflicts.  For the longest time I didn't think so.  In my family of origin, I had relationships where conflict was perpetual.  And attempting to resolve those conflicts was an exercise in futility.  The person I was attempting resolution with would simply use the negotiations to push their own agenda.  But the person would never, ever offer any sort of real compromise.  So I learned as I grew up, to simply give in, because I knew resolving the conflict was impossible, I knew I would just be forced to do whatever they wanted anyway.  This led to me wanting to avoid conflict at all costs.  

There are several common methods that people use when entering into conflict in relationships.  Often these methods come from what they learned from their family of origin.  The style I tend heavily toward is obviously the avoidant style.  I see conflict through the eyes of childhood, that conflict resolution is an exercise in futility, and the best option is to avoid conflict at all costs or cede to all the demands of the conflict instigator to maintain (at least the appearance of) peace. 

What is your conflict style?  Let's look at the various common methods.

1. Avoidant - just like it sounds, avoid conflict at all costs. Hide feelings and emotions to try and keep the peace.  This tends to cause built up stress, which leads to depression, and relational instability. This style often comes from a dysfunctional family of origin where feelings were hidden, or conflicts were never resolved.  Not a wise way to deal with conflict.

2. Argumentative - this style tends to want to fight it out. They are more used to arguing it out.  Their family of origin tended to be louder, and more up front about emotions.  This style can be healthy in that both sides are attempting to get everything out and find a resolution.  This style can also be unhealthy in that often the argumentative type may even enjoy conflict, triggering them for the enjoyment of it.  Not a healthy way to deal with conflict either.

3. Rage - This style attempts to use force to deal with conflict.  They argue, they push for their way, and they tend to resist compromise. This style at it's worst can be physically abusive, though often also emotionally abusive.

4. Manipulative - This style may seem more like the argumentative style in that they look to argue and talk and try to resolve the issue, but there is an agenda behind this.  The manipulative style rejects all forms of compromise and pushes for their own way. If the person resists, they attempt new arguments and broken record style pushing of their view.  They tend to use passive aggressive attacks and shaming.  Not a healthy style.

5. Assertive - The assertive style knows when to walk away from a conflict and when to resolve a conflict. They express their anger in a healthy way, without letting things go too far.  They are able to compromise, but also able to stand by their core convictions when necessary.  This is a healthy style of conflict resolution.

As you consider how you can deal with conflict in healthier ways, remember to always be prayerful in your approach to conflicts.  Conflicts can be very difficult and emotional.  Remember to pray before entering into discussion.  Remember to pray during discussion if you feel yourself getting out of control.  And try to be brave, even though your afraid or upset.  I encourage you to remember that conflicts can be resolved in healthy ways.  It's not always fun or easy, in fact it's often quite difficult.  But the long term rewards of working out conflicts and building long term relationships outweigh the costs of healthy conflict resolution.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Home Sweet Home: Confronting the Fear of Death

Audio Message:

Home sweet home. We all dream of home don’t we? In your life what are some places that always felt like home to you? For me, when I think of home I think of my grandma’s kitchen. I think of the smell of cooking food, and the heat and steam from the stove. I think of Christmas morning at the house I grew up in with my parents. I think of my aunt Colleen’s living room where I spent so many days during the summers. I think of the people, the faces, the smells, the feelings, but perhaps most of all I remember how it made me feel. I felt safe. I felt protected. I felted relaxed and at home.

But the truth is this world is not really our home. There is always something missing. Today I’m far from home, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way. It makes life more difficult. But we can take great comfort in that one day we will be home.

We are human beings. We are born, grow up, and then we become adults. We work, serve, care for others, eventually perhaps have families, children, and even grandchildren. But then we begin to grow old, our health slowly grows worse, and then one day we die.

In fact it is appointed for humanity at this stage in history that we each are born, and then we die, and after we die, the word says we will stand before God and given an account of our lives.

Death is something we don’t like to think about. But it comes to us all. In fact it’s the normal of life, though from God’s perspective death is anything but normal. In fact it’s a result of the fall of man, that our ancestors chose to disobey God. And as a result, all of history was affected, and today in the world we struggle with things like poverty, injustice, starvation, racism, sexual abuse, wars, and so many other evils.

God didn’t do these things. It’s interesting how so many will try to blame God for the evils of the world. God didn’t do those things. People did those things. When a young man or woman decides to become a drug dealer, that’s a choice they made. When that drug dealer gives drugs to a young confused teen, and that teen gets into a car accident and kills a family, one might be tempted to blame God for the death of that family. But God didn’t do that. People made choices that set a course of events in motion that caused suffering.

Some might say, well God could’ve prevented it from happening. Well let’s think about that. If God steps in once to force someone to make a different decision, well, how often should God step in? If God stepped in every time I was about to make a bad decision, and if he did that every person on Earth, well the truth is we’d all be robots. We would have no free will. God has given us the incredible gift of the ability to make free choices. This is the essence of being human, that we can think and reason and make choices. So it’s foolish to blame God for evil. God could prevent evil yes, but it would require turning every human into a robot unable to think or make free choices.

Death comes for all of us. And the truth is many of us fear dying. But we shouldn’t fear dying. Why? Because we have a great assurance ahead of us. We have a future beyond the grave. In this life we have such difficulties. In fact the word says “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” That is a scary thought, that we walk through this low valley, with death shadowed over us like a constant threat to us. But it continues and says “I will fear no evil, for You are with Me.”

God is with us. So we don’t need to be afraid to die. The son of man our Lord Jesus Christ has conquered the grave. He has defeated death and declared victory over death for all humanity across history. He declares that He is Risen and He will cause you to rise as well.

One day we will each behold the face of God. R.C. Sproul a famous theologian said, “When we behold the face of God, all memories of pain and suffering will vanish. Our souls shall be totally healed.”

That is what it means to finally be home. When we talk of going to heaven after we die, of going to paradise, we’re really talking about going home. And home isn’t so much a place as it is a person, our Lord and God is home. And to be with Him is to be home.

In paradise, in the renewed world, made perfect by God, and set right by him there will be no suffering, no pain, and no death.

Revelation 21:4, NKJV. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

We will live forever. Because God was willing to come to Earth on a rescue mission to save us, Jesus our savior came into the world to save us. And Jesus had to offer himself on the cross as a sacrifice for our salvation. Why?

Hebrews 2:14-15 says “14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

Jesus paid our debt of sin on the cross. And though we must all pass through the veil of death, we will rise to life if we believe that Jesus Christ is our God and our savior. And if we believe Jesus personally, for you and me, paid our debt and gave us new life. So believe this. We all face death, you, me, everyone, but after death comes the next life. The truth is, if we trust in Jesus, we’re going Home. We’re going home, finally, home.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What is the Salvation Army? Is the Salvation Army a Church?

William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army

The mission of the Salvation Army is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet needs in His name without discrimination. This mission statement helps us to understand that the Salvation Army is in fact a protestant evangelical church movement. For those interested in learning more about this fact, I highly recommend Who are these Salvationists? by Ret. Gen. Shaw Clifton. Shaw Clifton’s work Who are these Salvationists? (1997) emphasizes and underlines the importance of the Salvation Army as a part of protestant evangelicalism.

The Salvation Army’s ministry is based on the Bible and it’s ministry is motivated by the love of God. The Salvation Army is most certainly a church organization, based on a conservative biblical interpretation of the scriptures, which means the Salvation Army is firmly entrenched in the protestant evangelical movements in the world that emphasize grace through faith alone, glory to God alone, Christ alone for salvation, and the Bible alone as the authority of divine teaching (Shaw, 1997).

The Salvation Army as Church
If one were to ask General William Booth if the Salvation Army were a church, he would probably reply, “The Salvation Army is an army!” (Shaw, 1997, p. 9). It’s most probable that Catherine Booth would’ve also recognized TSA as a distinct movement, not fitting any particular or current mold (Shaw, 1997, p. 9).  Later in the history of the army, General Arnold Brown commissioned Frederick Coutts to produce a document on the Salvation Army and if it ought to be called a church (Shaw, 1997, p. 9).  The document Coutts produced simply indicated what was already quite true, the Salvation Army as a group of Christian believers is a part of the body of Christ (Shaw, 1997, p. 9).  The church is simply another way of saying the body of Christ, which is the body of those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 12:5 New International Version). Sadly in some parts of the world people are quite surprised to learn that the Salvation Army is a church, which Shaw (1997) attributes to a too inward looking attitude and a failure to understand the positive need for a clear articulation of what the army is (Shaw, 1997, p. 10). Never the less, though the international mission statement may be somewhat ambiguous regarding the fact of the Salvation Army being a church, TSA meets all the standards of a legitimate church movement and ought to be considered as such (Shaw, 1997, p. 12-13).

The Salvation Army as Protestant
Protestantism is a collection of movements branching off of the theology of greats like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Jacob Arminius. These movements are extremely diverse and therefore one might more accurately refer to these movements as protestantisms (Shaw, 1997, p. 21).  Protestantism is based deeply on the foundational value of the Bible alone as the authoritative and inerrant word of God (Shaw, 1997, p. 22).  Perhaps just as importantly Protestantism is based on the concept of an individual responsibility to accept or decline the offer of salvation found in Jesus Christ.  Though this should not be confused to mean that protestants have an individualist view of church activities (Shaw, 1997, p. 22).  Grace is prime to Protestantism (Shaw, 1997, p. 23).  In fact according to Shaw (1997) “There is no more important word in the Protestant vocabulary than grace” (p. 23). The Salvation Army certainly affirms this primacy of grace.  In addition, the Salvation Army’s first doctrine unabashedly affirms the authority and value of the holy scriptures (Shaw, 1997, p. 23).  The Salvation Army affirms all the key tenants of Protestantism including the priesthood of all believers, the importance of holiness, and the worship of God (Shaw, 1997, ch. 2).

The Salvation Army as Evangelical
The Salvation Army is historically firmly rooted in the movements described as evangelicalism (Shaw, 1997, p. 35).  Evangelicalism originally came about in the eighteenth century revivals in England (Shaw, 1997, p. 35).  Many countries were affected by the revivals, including the United States. (Shaw, 1997, p. 35). William Booth was originally part of the Methodist denomination, which came out of the revivals of the likes of Charles Wesley and Jonathan Edwards (Shaw, 1997, p. 36).  One could say that William Booth’s Christian Mission and later the Salvation Army are ideological descendants of evangelicalism and therefore part of modern evangelicalism (Shaw, 1997, p. 36). 
Some of the greats of modern and recent evangelicalism include John R.W. Stott, J.I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, and of course Billy Graham (Shaw, 1997, p. 36, 40). In fact is one is looking for a ringing endorsement of a prominent evangelical leader, Billy Graham spoke direct praise for the Salvation Army during his years of ministry calling it "Christianity in action!" (Gariepy, 2009).  
General Shaw (1997) indicates four great principles that are hallmarks of evangelicalism: they include insistence on biblical authority, personal emphasis in regard to conversion, recognition of the need for social service and social action, and a firm focus of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross (p. 45). 
Salvationism is deeply influenced by the works of Dr. Francis Schaeffer, in that the Salvation Army rejects a liberal, or low view of scripture (Shaw, 1997, p. 25).  Instead, the Salvation Army affirms the highest view of scripture as the inerrant word of God.  Indeed, the Salvation Army also rejects the relativism of the modern age, which has made for moral chaos and the loss of truth as a concept (Shaw, 1997, p. 44).  The Salvation Army affirms objective moral values, the fact that Christianity is a comprehensive worldview, and the fact of the necessity for modern believers to be vocal on important social and political issues of the day (Shaw, 1997).

The Salvation Army as a Christian movement focused on a dual mission of preaching the gospel and meeting needs, is in fact a protestant evangelical church movement.  The Salvation Army is a church, given the very nature of the army as a body of officers and soldiers who regularly worship God.  The Salvation Army is protestant in that the basic precepts of protestant theology and worship are met in the activities of the army.  And the Salvation Army is evangelical in that the army holds the highest view of scripture, propagates the need for a personal relationship with Jesus, and firmly emphasizes social service work and social action.  Or as Shaw (1997) said in his book, quoting cardinal archbishop Law of Boston, “The Salvation Army is an authentic expression of classical Christianity” (p. 5).


Clifton, Shaw. Who Are These Salvationists?. 1st ed. Alexandria, VA: Crest Books, 1999. Print.
Gariepy, H. (2009). Christianity in Action (1st ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
NIV Bible. 1st ed. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 2007.             Print.