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Mr Cameron

The Salvation Army

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Mr Cameron

I presume we are all familiar with The Salvation Army, a good group of folks who look after the poor and indulge in a form of Wesleyan Evangelical spirituality. 

The Army does not baptise with water, rather, their children are dedicated to Christ in a service and then they attempt to inspire an inner conversion in someone's heart. When they attain this state of conversion, the Army calls it 'getting saved' handsome may become soldiers and some may not.

How valid are these baptisms, then? Is it truly a baptism, or ought we say they're the sensation army rather than The Salvation Army? The Army has helped parts of my family a good bit, so I want to know how truly removed the state of original sin is from their souls, because they are good people. 

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truthfinder

While I cannot speak to whatever actual grace God may be working in their lives and through them, because they do not baptise with water using the Trinitarian formula, the Salvation Army cannot be considered Christian, nor is there a removal of original sin. 

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Mr Cameron

That's what I imagined. Sometimes though, it seems as though they can come upon an emotional conversion - I know many of them who love, love, love the Lord, but through no fault of their own have a bias against true Christianity. I recall a concept called "baptism by desire." Would it be in service here?

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Nihil Obstat
3 hours ago, Mr Cameron said:

That's what I imagined. Sometimes though, it seems as though they can come upon an emotional conversion - I know many of them who love, love, love the Lord, but through no fault of their own have a bias against true Christianity. I recall a concept called "baptism by desire." Would it be in service here?

I do not know if we could say for certain, but it is very shaky territory considering the fact that they not only do not receive baptism, but as a matter of belief specifically reject Trinitarian baptism by water. Difficult to argue that they implicitly desire something they explicitly reject.

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Mr Cameron
16 hours ago, Nihil Obstat said:

I do not know if we could say for certain, but it is very shaky territory considering the fact that they not only do not receive baptism, but as a matter of belief specifically reject Trinitarian baptism by water. Difficult to argue that they implicitly desire something they explicitly reject.

Gotcha. I'm just trying my best to figure it out. I want to give it a good, holy hope, to pray that they seek baptism.

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Nihil Obstat
5 hours ago, Mr Cameron said:

Gotcha. I'm just trying my best to figure it out. I want to give it a good, holy hope, to pray that they seek baptism.

That is the best course of action.

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Benedictus
On 25/07/2017 at 11:43 PM, Mr Cameron said:

I presume we are all familiar with The Salvation Army, a good group of folks who look after the poor and indulge in a form of Wesleyan Evangelical spirituality. 

The Army does not baptise with water, rather, their children are dedicated to Christ in a service and then they attempt to inspire an inner conversion in someone's heart. When they attain this state of conversion, the Army calls it 'getting saved' handsome may become soldiers and some may not.

How valid are these baptisms, then? Is it truly a baptism, or ought we say they're the sensation army rather than The Salvation Army? The Army has helped parts of my family a good bit, so I want to know how truly removed the state of original sin is from their souls, because they are good people. 

It's for God to judge the relationship they have with him. I've no idea and wouldn't dare to allude. I'm not into legalism: I don't think a bit of water and a few words do much on their own. It's much more about what God is working in them - their faith in Jesus Christ and how they live in response to that faith.

Do I support the Salvation Army as a Christian Church model? No. They do lots of good social work but I think they also distort the value of the sacraments as an organisation. It is right that spiritual signs have material correspondences. I understand why, at least historically, they took this way of doing things but I think it was a mistake.

Edited by Benedictus

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Nihil Obstat
18 hours ago, Benedictus said:

I'm not into legalism: I don't think a bit of water and a few words do much on their own.

Interesting. Because Catholics believe that a valid baptism "cleanses us of original sin, makes us Christians, children of God, and heirs of heaven". I am sure that was what you meant to say.

I would venture to say that it is unwise to disrespect a holy sacrament by calling it "a bit of water and a few words".

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Benedictus
5 hours ago, Nihil Obstat said:

Interesting. Because Catholics believe that a valid baptism "cleanses us of original sin, makes us Christians, children of God, and heirs of heaven". I am sure that was what you meant to say.

I would venture to say that it is unwise to disrespect a holy sacrament by calling it "a bit of water and a few words".

Yes, a valid baptism. That requires Gods work, not ours. The 'externals' are a material means of conveying Gods grace. The outward signs don't limit what God can do, wants to do, seeks to do and does. We don't control God (neither does the Church). Do I assume a person is lost because they haven't engaged in some ritual? No. I'd like to think God is more interested in their faith, their love for him and their neighbor. You know them by the fruits of their lives. Unless, somehow, you're going to assert everyone baptised with water is somehow looked on by God with more mercy? Why hasn't the water brought many to an adult faith? What about all those atheists who've been baptised with water? Are you seriously saying they are in a better position than a Christian who has faith and lives it as a Salvationist?

Does that mean we accept the teachings of any group regarding the sacraments? No, obviously. Our task is to align the the spiritual and the material means of grace. But that doesn't come through denying to see what God does in others who don't conform with our expectations. That is what some did in their comments above. Sadly, you didn't correct them.

On 26/07/2017 at 0:59 AM, truthfinder said:

While I cannot speak to whatever actual grace God may be working in their lives and through them, because they do not baptise with water using the Trinitarian formula, the Salvation Army cannot be considered Christian, nor is there a removal of original sin. 

I think you better let the Vatican know. It seems they need correcting. I mean they work with the Salvation Army on ecumenical councils and have made joint agreements on Christian witness. I think you better tell them to pull out of the Wold Council of Churches! There may well be others too:think:

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Nihil Obstat
1 hour ago, Benedictus said:

. Unless, somehow, you're going to assert everyone baptised with water is somehow looked on by God with more mercy? 

Well, what do you think an indelible mark means? What about Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus? These are not meaningless concepts, except perhaps according to your weird version of universalism.

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Benedictus
15 minutes ago, Nihil Obstat said:

Well, what do you think an indelible mark means? What about Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus? These are not meaningless concepts, except perhaps according to your weird version of universalism.

It's odd you're stating obvious things about the sacraments.  The difference here is you think the work of the material is more powerful and relevant than the work of God within the person. Both are ideal and complementary -  they should go together. Assuming doing the externals saves without any interior faith, repentance or love is a grave mistake. So the atheist has an indelible mark if they were baptised.  OK -  that's going to take them places! And you accuse me of weird universalism.

It's ironic what you claim because so many bible verses strike down your type of thinking. This focus on externals, although having importance, is criticised if it comes ahead of interior disposition to God.

In regards the Church,  it depends how you see the confines regarding the boundary of the Church doesn't it. Many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines. Church documents say that. It's not new. 

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truthfinder

I wanted to post from what the CCC says about baptism: "1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments."

I'll also post this link https://www.catholic.com/tract/trinitarian-baptism which again states the necessity of Trinitarian baptism. So yes, God can save whoever He wants - but He also commanded us, as Jesus, to baptise all nations. It's a heck of risk to think we know better then God in what He says fulfills his wishes. The Vatican can work with whoever, but just by working with them does not mean they recognize them as Christians. It should also be noted that the Catholic church is not a member of the World Council of Churches, fwiw. 

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Nihil Obstat
3 hours ago, Benedictus said:

It's odd you're stating obvious things about the sacraments.  The difference here is you think the work of the material is more powerful and relevant than the work of God within the person. Both are ideal and complementary -  they should go together. Assuming doing the externals saves without any interior faith, repentance or love is a grave mistake. So the atheist has an indelible mark if they were baptised.  OK -  that's going to take them places! And you accuse me of weird universalism.

It's ironic what you claim because so many bible verses strike down your type of thinking. This focus on externals, although having importance, is criticised if it comes ahead of interior disposition to God.

In regards the Church,  it depends how you see the confines regarding the boundary of the Church doesn't it. Many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines. Church documents say that. It's not new. 

Ugh, I had hoped you were better than this. Now I remember why I do not post often anymore. I am certainly not going to waste my time with your posts.

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Benedictus
3 hours ago, Nihil Obstat said:

Ugh, I had hoped you were better than this. Now I remember why I do not post often anymore. I am certainly not going to waste my time with your posts.

Yeah,  of course you did. How disappointing for you. I see your style is as acute as it ever was!

Maybe you don't post much because generally the number of people who did used to come here and say anything debate worthy or challenging are long gone. They were berated and pushed out.  Of course, you had nothing to do with that. There's no correlation  :think:You've decided to reduce posting only now the boards are less frequented. OK...:rolleyes:

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Benedictus
5 hours ago, truthfinder said:

I wanted to post from what the CCC says about baptism: "1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments."

I'll also post this link https://www.catholic.com/tract/trinitarian-baptism which again states the necessity of Trinitarian baptism. So yes, God can save whoever He wants - but He also commanded us, as Jesus, to baptise all nations. It's a heck of risk to think we know better then God in what He says fulfills his wishes. The Vatican can work with whoever, but just by working with them does not mean they recognize them as Christians. It should also be noted that the Catholic church is not a member of the World Council of Churches, fwiw. 

Thanks, but I'm sure most know what the CCC says. This is the typical and expected way to do things. The issue isn't about whether Baptism in its fullness is necessary or not. The issue is whether the failure to have the external water sign, the external grace, prevents God working his saving grace within the person who, by their Christian tradition, is precluded from it. I'm open to saying God is bigger and better than demanding the external element, even though it should be the norm. If you want to restrict God in this way that's up to you.

A comparison would be someone who repents of a mortal sin within their heart but dies before they go to the sacrament of confession. A legalistic approach would say they didn't manage to get there and so they are destined for hell. However, that isn't what the Church teaches. The same applies to those undergoing instruction for Baptism. If they are martyred, as an example,  then the failure to have the external sign isn't presumed to be a barrier. The same flexibility to real life applies to virtually all the sacraments! They flow from God, not from us. We really have to be careful not to suggest Gods love is restricted by the blessings he has given for our aid, not our damnation.

 

5 hours ago, truthfinder said:

I'll also post this link https://www.catholic.com/tract/trinitarian-baptism which again states the necessity of Trinitarian baptism. So yes, God can save whoever He wants - but He also commanded us, as Jesus, to baptise all nations. It's a heck of risk to think we know better then God in what He says fulfills his wishes. The Vatican can work with whoever, but just by working with them does not mean they recognize them as Christians. It should also be noted that the Catholic church is not a member of the World Council of Churches, fwiw. 

In terms of the World Council of Churches -  I never said anything about membership. The Vatican doesn't tend to do that -  if anything it operates through its own offices on formal matters. Most ecumenical memberships occur through Bishops Councils and dioceses.  However, the church does have liaison with this group at an internal level through theologians and reps participating in their working groups. To suggest that the Catholic church isn't fully engaged in ecumenical working with other Churches, including the Salvation Army, would be very misleading. They have been doing this for at least thirty or forty years! There has been lots of joint work on justification, and other areas, too. The latest canon law (1983) also allows priests to cooperate and hold joint services of the word (or the holding of separate communions) with other groups, including the Salvation Army, and to work on local issues. 

Some of the push back here just isn't based on current  accepted practice and realities.

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BarbaraTherese

Vespers - Thursday 3rd August 2017

Final Intercession:

  "Have mercy on those who have given us their help.
Father, our trust is in you.'
 
It was the Salvation Army that came fully to my rescue when I found myself in government housing after 6 years of homelessness, ill and no money -  with nothing but gifts of used wringer washing machine, an old fridge, bed and wardrobe.  I had no floor coverings nor window coverings for a start - there was much more I did not have, everything else in fact.  The Salvation Army came fully to my rescue.
 
 

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Mr Cameron
9 hours ago, BarbaraTherese said:

Vespers - Thursday 3rd August 2017

Final Intercession:

  "Have mercy on those who have given us their help.
Father, our trust is in you.'
 
It was the Salvation Army that came fully to my rescue when I found myself in government housing after 6 years of homelessness, ill and no money -  with nothing but gifts of used wringer washing machine, an old fridge, bed and wardrobe.  I had no floor coverings nor window coverings for a start - there was much more I did not have, everything else in fact.  The Salvation Army came fully to my rescue.
 
 

Also from Vespers for today: 

Quote

You did not see him, yet you love him; and still without seeing him, you are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described, because you believe; and you are sure of the end to which your faith looks forward, that is, the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:6-9 (full reading)

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BarbaraTherese

There are many times in the Divine Office that The Church prays for the salvation of all souls.  Also many times in Scripture too, as Mr Cameron points out, which indicate Hope for the salvation of all.  And so we should for Jesus died out of love for all and that Love is not withdrawn at any time whatsoever - nor for any reason whatsoever.  Who will or will not be saved is a mystery in The Mystery of God.  Isn't this one of the things Jesus criticised the Pharisees for - i.e. for arguing with each other over what The Law meant and getting The Law right was the way to Heaven?

There is also that beautiful prayer of Our Lady of Fatima taught to the children: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy Mercy."

I don't think that Our Lady nor The Church would pray for what is impossible.

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Nihil Obstat
39 minutes ago, BarbaraTherese said:

  And so we should for Jesus died out of love for all and that Love is not withdrawn at any time whatsoever - nor for any reason whatsoever.  

But Grace is lost. One loses sanctifying grace when he commits a mortal sin, and we we know through Church teaching that God can choose not to bestow certain graces according to His mysterious will.

As my previous priest used to say frequently, the only grace we are guaranteed, always and at all times and all situations, is the grace to pray. All other graces flow from that one, and all come exclusively and gratuitously from God.

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BarbaraTherese
4 hours ago, Nihil Obstat said:

But Grace is lost. One loses sanctifying grace when he commits a mortal sin, and we we know through Church teaching that God can choose not to bestow certain graces according to His mysterious will.

As my previous priest used to say frequently, the only grace we are guaranteed, always and at all times and all situations, is the grace to pray. All other graces flow from that one, and all come exclusively and gratuitously from God.

The Good God loves even those in mortal sin.  It is not God who rejects them, it is they who reject God.  It is not God withholding Sanctifying Grace, it is they who refuse it through refusing friendship with God.  We have free will and God will not interfere with our free will.

We do not know, but it MIGHT be that at the moment of death a soul is finally offered repentance and friendship with God with the Gift of Sanctifying Grace. We simply do not know one way or the other.

"Who then can be saved?" the apostles ask.  Jesus replies "and Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible" (Matthew Chapter 19).  Therefore, when I present my case from this or that evidence, it might present an impossibility for it to be incorrect/wrong to our finite understanding and the implications obvious,  but ".....with God all things are possible."  We are finite creatures reflecting on the Infinite God.  We might come to something of an understanding of our human nature, but how understand God who is Absolute Mystery?  Even Jesus, in gifting us an understanding of salvation and how to live pleasing to God, this same Jesus tells us "........with God all things are possible". 

 

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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