Home | Discipleship | The Salvation Army Doctrines: A Gap Plugged by the Soldier’s Covenant

The Salvation Army Doctrines: A Gap Plugged by the Soldier’s Covenant

The Salvation Army Doctrines have a huge gap in them. The Soldier’s Covenant can plug that gap and help us to live like Christ.

the salvation army doctrines

The Gap that got me thinking

It was this devotional from Richard Rohr that got me thinking. Noting that the Apostles’ Creed mentions nothing about Jesus’ life and practice, he suggests the Creed has little usefulness for people’s daily, practical behaviour.

The Gap in The Salvation Army Doctrines

Reflecting on this, I realised that to some extent, The Salvation Army doctrines have the same problem, perhaps even a greater problem. They describe who Jesus is. Like the Apostles’ Creed they explain the work Jesus did by his suffering and death. But unlike the Apostles’ Creed they do not mention his birth or resurrection! And like the Apostles’ Creed, the huge, glaring gap is any mention of his life and ministry before his suffering and death.

It is true that The Salvation Army doctrines, unlike the Apostles’ Creed, do mention Christian praxis, in that they say:

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

The Salvation Army’s 9th Article of Faith

But nowhere in The Salvation Army doctrines is it explained what continued obedient faith in Christ looks like.

The Soldier’s Covenant Plugs the Gap

This is where the Soldier’s Covenant comes in. As I explained in last week’s post, the Soldier’s Covenant is the basis for the Salvationist’s praxis. With its declaratory “THEREFORE” following on from its recitation of The Salvation Army doctrines, it is the Salvationist’s guide for his or her daily, practical behaviour. It says quite clearly, “I believe this about God and his work in the world and in my life, and so this is how I am going to live my life in response. This is the practical difference it will make to me and those who come into contact with me”.

Seeking to Live the Simple, Christlike Life

The Salvation Army doctrines may have a huge gap in describing how Jesus lived out his life and ministry as an example for us. But the Soldier’s Covenant gives every Salvationist a spiritual pathway to follow in living out that example. May the reality of Jesus’ life lead me to live the simple Christlike life he calls me to.

Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

Your Response

If you found this post helpful, would you please do something for me?

Why not check out these posts from around the blog?

  1. Salvation Army Soldier’s Covenant as a Missional Strategy
  2. Self Denial: The Salvationist’s Most Effective Weapon
  3. How to Evaluate Church Leadership
  4. I Want to Live Right | Unclenching Our Fists (Mark 10:17-31)
  5. We Believe | A Voice for the Voiceless (Proverbs 31:1-9)
  6. Salvation Army Fellowship: Are We Losing It?
  • Do something as a result of what you’ve read.
  • Leave a comment below.
  • Repost this link on Twitter, Facebook, or your own blog.

Thank you!

Liked this post? Why not Subscribe & Connect or click the RSS feed in Sidebar on the right and get loads more!

4 thoughts on “The Salvation Army Doctrines: A Gap Plugged by the Soldier’s Covenant”

  1. We are enrolling a lady as a soldier this coming Sunday. I find your comments very helpful as she came to The Salvation Army from the Anglican Church some years ago. Thank you.

  2. No human set of rules or guidelines will ever fill this gap. The gap is ONLY filled by living the example of Christ that we see in the Gospels. So, that gap is not filled by a human created document with a bunch of promises, but in dedicating yourself to living like Christ.

    The ‘continued state of obedience’ is our dedication to living up to the Great Commandment: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.’ In other words: Love God; love others. We show our love for God best in how well we show His love for others.

    Nothing we could ever devise would fully fill the gap.

    1. Hi Eric. I totally agree that nothing that is purely human can fill the gap. But as for the Soldier’s Covenant, I guess it depends on whether we see it as “a bunch of promises” or as something we sign in “dedicating ourselves to living like Christ”. I see it as the latter. And at one level, I think we can summarise both the Great Commandment and the Soldier’s Covenant as “Love God; love others”. It’s certainly better than the way I’m worried we usually summarise the soldier’s covenant – that we’re not allowed to drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. Thanks for engaging.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.