Vol. 14, No.1, November 2011
Editorial: Three Doctrines Considered
Roger J. Green and Jonathan S. Raymond
The Spirit And the Word
Alan J. Harley
Suffering For And To Christ in William Booth’s Eschatalogical Ecclesiology
Andrew S. Miller III
The Sacramental Life: Towards an Integrated Salvationist Vision
Book Review: The Kingdom Is Always But Coming: A Life of Walter Rauschenbusch by Christopher Evans
Reviewed by Roger J. Green
Book Review: Missing the Mark: Sin and Its Consequences in Biblical Theology by Mark Biddle
Reviewed by Donald E. Burke
Book Review: Souls In Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults by Christian Smith
Reviewed by Rob Rhea
Three Doctrines Considered
Roger J. Green and Jonathan S. Raymond
This issue of Word & Deed is, we think, unique in the
history of the publication of the journal. In the past we have generally
published articles from various Salvation Army conferences, thus
assuring that these papers would have life far beyond the conferences
themselves.We regret that in our history there have been many
significant papers presented and which deserved further attention, but
we did not have the means to capture those papers for posterity. Now,
with this journal, we are able to have this ministry.
However, we are pleased that some of our readers are now submitting
articles for consideration, and we might not have been aware of those
articles were it not for the initiation of those writers to share their
work with us. Of course, because of limited space, it is simply not
possible to publish all articles that are sent to us, and we have the
responsibility of having to turn down some submissions, which we regret.
In this issue of the journal all three articles that we are
publishing have been submitted to us for our consideration, and we are
delighted to forward the cause of Salvation Army theology and ministry
with their publication. And the three articles represent the broader
Salvation Army because one article comes from an American Salvation Army
officer while two of the articles come from Australian Salvation Army
officers. All three articles should be read carefully because they deal
with three issues critical to our doctrinal life together.
The first article entitled “The Spirit and the Word,” written by
Major Dr. Alan Harley, reminds us of our biblical and Wesleyan
understanding of the authority of Scriptures, an understanding embedded
in the history of the Church. Such a discussion of the authority of
Scriptures is always necessary, as Major Harley has so well
demonstrated. But in many churches today any discussions of authority
come down simply and tragically to the authority of the individual
Christian, and sometimes the individual leader. The recent fractures
seen in the Episcopal community here in the United States and elsewhere
over the nature of authority.
And so this article is an important reminder to us of our own
doctrinal commitment to the authority of the Scriptures. This is a
commitment that does not bring constraint, but brings freedom to
interpret the Scriptures because of their trustworthiness.
The second article entitled “Suffering For and To Christ in William
Booth’s Eschatological Ecclesiology” was written by Captain Andrew S.
Miller III. We are indebted to our friends who publish the Wesleyan
Theological Journal for allowing us to republish this article.The
article deals with William Booth’s theology of the Church, and confronts
the question as to whether or not Booth’s doctrine of the Church was
sufficient as the Army moved into the twentieth century. Captain Miller
has done admirable research into this topic, and his article will
contribute significantly to current discussions about Booth’s view of
the Church. While he disagrees with different understandings of Booth’s
ecclesiology, he does so with care and provides scholarly grounding for
his conclusions. And that is always appreciated.
As we move next year toward the hundredth anniversary of William
Booth’s death, Booth being promoted to glory on August 20, 1912, we are
cognizant of the need to refocus on Booth’s theology and how that
theology has laid the groundwork for our Salvation Army today. And an
understanding of Booth’s ecclesiology is critical to that theology.
The third article entitled “A Sacramental Life: Towards An Integrated
Salvationist Vision” written by Major Dr. Dean Smith brings us to the
heart of Salvation Army theology with a careful understanding of our
sacramental life. This article well reminds us that doctrines are not
philosophical statements available only to the scholarly elite, but are
lived experiences. Nothing better demonstrates that than our commitment
to the sacramental life. This article well articulates that commitment
against our own theological background as well as that of the broader
Here, then, are three articles that assist us to continue in our
understanding of three critically important aspects of our doctrinal
heritage. We are indebted to these three writers, and pray that the
submission of these three articles will stimulate other readers to share
their writing and research with us. come.
JSR & RJG
The Spirit and the Word
In 1974 Harold Lindsell, formerly of Fuller Theological Seminary, wrote his book, The Battle for the Bible,
in which he contended that the future of Christianity depended on an
unqualified commitment to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. Four years
later the International Council for Biblical Inerrancy was born, led by
such respected evangelicals as J. W. Wenham, J. I. Packer and R. C.
Sproul. If the Bible is to be trusted for salvation, it was argued, it
must be without error in all it affirms.
If applied to the areas in which Scripture is specifically said to be
authoritative—salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, teaching,
rebuking, correcting, training in righteousness, equipping for ministry
(2 Timothy 3:14-16) the term “inerrant” is appropriate. But if used to
cover every geographical, historical and statistical reference it
For some the inerrancy debate resulted in rather sad attempts to
reconcile different statistics for the same events in Kings and
Chronicles and a simplistic “solution” to the Synoptic Problem. Obvious
difficulties were glossed over. Those who raised them (e.g., was
Abiathar really the high priest in office when David ate the sacred
bread, Mk. 2:26, or was it Ahimalech, 2 Sam. 21:1-6?) were castigated.
Lindsell’s “battle” became a bitter evangelical fight with many
Most within the Wesleyan tradition chose not to engage in that
battle. On the whole they had a nuanced approach to Scripture which
affirmed its authority and trustworthiness without having to embrace a
position which seemed to them to move in the direction of verbal
dictation. Their position does not, however, suggest an impoverished
understanding of the nature and authority of Scripture. The heirs of the
18th century Revival are also lineal descendants of the 16th century
Reformers. Christians in the tradition of Wesley share with those of the
Reformed tradition a high view of Scripture.
The leaders of both movements held that Scripture is the basis for
everything that the church is to believe and teach.They worked on the
assumption that everything taught in the church and believed by its
members must be based on the Scriptures. For Reformed and Wesleyan
believers, “they only constitute the divine rule of Christian faith and
practice.” In particular, those leaders held that there was no other
plan of salvation set forth than that found in the Bible. The Bible was
held in the highest regard.
At the same time, however, Scripture was never divorced by the
Reformers from the presence and work of the Holy Spirit. The two were so
related that it is common to speak of the Reformation doctrine of
Scripture in terms of “Word and Spirit.” This, in particular, was the
point at which the Reformers, as well as those of Wesleyan stock, differ
from contemporary Fundamentalism.
Dr. Alan Harley, a major in The Salvation Army, is Lecturer for
the Spiritual Life Development Team, Australia Eastern Territory,
Visiting Lecturer, Booth College, Sydney, Australia, and a member of the
International Doctrine Council.