“The Salvaton Army Handbook of Doctrine”

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Book review

by Edie Jenkins –

This newly issued (2010) publication amalgamates two previous books—Salvation Story and the accompanying study guide—into one volume. Based on the work of the International Doctrine Council, each chapter is presented in two sections. The first contains an exegesis of the formal Salvation Army articles of faith, commonly known as the eleven doctrines.

The second part of each chapter, titled “For further exploration,” contains such material as essentials of the doctrine, historical summary and issues for Salvationists. Together they form a comprehensive and essential study of Salvation Army doctrines—why we believe what we do—and why it’s important to understand these principles.

The introduction states: “For Salvationists, belief and action have always been intertwined. Our faith and practice are rooted in the Bible, personal experience and the Christian heritage. Salvation Army doctrine is part of that heritage, and it too is built upon the foundation of the biblical text as interpreted by the people of God.”

As a Bible teacher at the Torrance (Calif.) Corps, I find the book especially helpful as it presents much detailed information in concise, easy-to-read format. I particularly like the inclusion of historical background and the stress that The Salvation Army doesn’t exist in a theological vacuum but is part of the larger universal body of Christ, with our own specific emphasis on holiness and service.

This volume contains over 300 pages of clear, useful material. Of special interest are several appendices, including a plan for preaching covering the Handbook of Doctrine in a year, people and events from church history and a glossary of theological terms.

The new Handbook of Doctrine is useful for soldiers’ preparation classes, small group study, for corps officers and other officers, Bible teachers and soldiers. In fact, all Salvationists will find this book interesting and profitable.

Every Salvationist should own, read and study this comprehensive development of our doctrines and the special additional features. It will help our understanding of doctrine as it is related to our personal faith. In his preface General Shaw Clifton states that we are “praying earnestly to God for the ongoing usefulness of this latest Handbook in reinforcing our faith and undergirding our creed as Salvationists.” As people read and understand the principles set forth in the Handbook, this prayer will be answered.

The Salvation Army Handbook of Doctrine may be ordered from Resource Connection for $23.75 at www.SAResourceConnection.org. or (800) 937-8896.

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