|Letters to the Editor
More on Flagg, Smedes, Sacraments
This is in response to Major Deborah Flagg’s June 30 article “Sacramental Moments…Sacramental Lives.”
I have long been confused by the explanations circulating in the Army concerning baptism and holy communion. I am thankful for the opportunity provided by Major Flagg’s article of finally putting the issues into a coherent and comprehensible perspective. Although I remain in favor of baptism and communion, I now finally understand the basis for what for a long time has seemed a questionable stand. Thank you for the clarity this article brought to an otherwise cloudy issue.
Major Deborah Flagg’s article on the Army’s historical position on the sacraments is fascinating. It seems right in line with the Army’s current effort to redefine…who we are; what we are; what our mission is; how we celebrate; in general, what our role is as part of the modern Christian Church…
But, I feel the last thing the Army needs is a ritual (“Sacramental moments”) that some seem sometimes to practice in a more or less meaningless fashion. If we are to ponder its institution, maybe we should align it more closely to the original form (“Sacramental lives”) and that of the early church:
* Encourage our corps families to focus some of their meals around the communion theme, supporting them with specific material and devotional plans.
* Institute occasional corps dinners (or luncheons) with the focus of sharing drink and food around the idea of communing over God’s word?
A purposed, thoughtful approach might help alleviate the tendency to formalize a ceremony into the commonplace. If we don’t have time to practice it thoughtfully, maybe we shouldn’t do it at all. It seems that would be better than instituting a ceremony, only to have it “…degenerate into empty show.”
Robert E. Gregg
There’s a simple solution to the Army’s endless discussion on the sacraments. Obedience. Jesus said, “Do it.” What more needs to be said?
Furthermore, when baptism and communion are observed according to biblical principles, the spiritual lives of the participants are deeply enriched.
Granite Bay, Calif.
I want to thank Major Debbie Flagg for writing her excellent articles on (Dr.) Lewis Smedes (May 15) and Christian sacraments (June 30). Both were informative and contributed greatly to my understanding and perspective–as a Christian businessman committed to leading a sacramental life.
It has been my good fortune to be a longtime community member of two Army advisory boards and chair of both. Through my 23 years as a lay volunteer, I have developed an unyielding admiration for the work of The Salvation Army, as a social organization driven by spiritual principle and as a religious organization defined by social intervention.
Our lives are richly blessed by the Army’s unique ministry and I thank the publishers of New Frontier for their timely and always thoughtful journal.
Kenneth R. Harding, President
Job City Systems, Inc.
I read [New Frontier] from cover to cover. It’s one of my favorite publications!
Mrs. Major Neoma Garrington (R)
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The editor reserves the right to print short excerpts from letters.