…the rock from which we are cut.
Within the global Protestant community, The Salvation Army is part of the Wesleyan family. Wesleyans are a large group of 80 denominations, with 80 million people, in as many as 130 countries. They express their Christian faith through the doctrinal influence of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.
How did this come about? And what does it mean?
Historically, William and Catherine Booth were ardent Wesleyans, as were most of the early Army leaders. From the beginning, their perspective fashioned us as a movement. That viewpoint is the rock from which we are cut.
Writers of the Army’s Handbook of Doctrine calmly state early on that what follows theologically is “clearly in the Wesleyan tradition.” So, to understand this is important, as it places much of our beliefs and mission in context.
While the Salvationist’s organizational discipline, worldview, and optimistic personality are Methodist in origin, it is the Wesleyan theological ideas that provide our movement’s dynamo.
We resonate with the following:
- All people need to be saved.
- All people can be saved.
- All who are saved can know that the inner witness of the Holy Spirit saves them.
- All who are saved can go on to Christian Perfection (Holiness).
Like Methodism, the Army was born, not in protest or in opposition to any other denomination, but in the spirit of revival and evangelism, notes theologian Alan Harley.*
In this, Wesleyans and Salvationists are one.
* Major Alan Harley, now retired and living in Australia, is a lecturer, holiness teacher, guest speaker, and doctor of theology.
by Colonel Richard Munn