Sunday, November 27, 2016


"'Sinners are Loved by a God who infallibly bends towards us, even while we perpetually bend away from Him.' –TT."
Tullian and Stacie (Photo Credit: Facebook)
Tullian and New Wife Stacie (Photo Credit: Facebook)
Tullian and Kim (Photo Credit: Facebook)
Tullian and Former Wife Kim (Photo Credit: Facebook)
SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A year after the grandson of evangelist Billy Graham resigned from his role as pastor of a Florida megachurch following his admission to being involved in an inappropriate relationship, and subsequently being counseled to divorce his wife, Tullian Tchividjian has now remarried.
In social media post on Wednesday, Tchividjian repeated his remorse for his affairs in 2014 and 2015, stating, “I wish I could go back in time and do those things differently. I can’t. ”
“I am now, and have been, focused on my relationship with God, my new wife Stacie, my three kids and one daughter-in-law, and my grandson,” he said.
Tchividjian’s new wife also posted a wedding photo to social media on Nov. 8, and last week, shared an audio message that Tchividjian had delivered as a recent guest at Spring Hills Community Church in Santa Rosa, California. 
“What an honor it was to be invited to Spring Hills Community Church and sincerely welcomed by such a loving staff & congregation!” she wrote. “Our time in Santa Rosa was too short, but SO wonderful… Tullian Tchividjian (my amazing hubby!) delivered an authentic, powerful message…”
“Until we see how bad we are, we will never see how good God is,” Tchividjian declared in the sermon. “Grace will become nothing more than white noise to us until we see how desperately we need it.”
He said that the good news of the gospel is not that Jesus is our example, but that Jesus is our substitute.
“Jesus being my example is not good news to me, okay? And it shouldn’t be good news to you. He was perfect!” Tchividjian exclaimed. “Jesus being my example further reminds me of how far I have fallen short of God’s glory.”
“[But] this passage show us that sinners are loved by a God who infallibly bends toward us, even while we perpetually bend away from Him,” he said. “He loves bad and broken people because bad and broken people are all that there are. Make not mistake about it: God loves train wrecks because train wrecks are all that there are. He loves us because He loves us. Not because we are good, not because we are clean. He loves us because we are bad and dirty. All of us.”
As previously reported, Tchividjian, 43, the son of Virginia Graham, took over the pulpit of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in 2009 following the passing of founder D. James Kennedy. However, the selection divided the congregation, as some approved and others disapproved of his leadership. Several months after he accepted the job, Kennedy’s daughter and others began calling for his removal.
When a vote was taken over the matter and it was decided to keep Tchividjian as pastor, some left the church and started their own congregation.
As an author, Tchividjian wrote against what he saw as “spiritual performancism” and legalism in the Church, outlining his beliefs in the hyper-grace book “One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World.”
“The Gospel of Jesus Christ announces that because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose; because Jesus was strong for you, you’re free to be weak; because Jesus was extraordinary, you’re free to be ordinary; because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail,” he wrote.
Tchividjian announced in June last year that he had resigned as senior pastor of Coral Ridge after admitting to leadership that he had inappropriately become close to another woman after he discovered that his wife Kim had been having an affair.
“I resigned from my position at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church today due to ongoing marital issues,” he wrote in a statement. “As many of you know, I returned from a trip a few months back and discovered that my wife was having an affair. Heartbroken and devastated, I informed our church leadership and requested a sabbatical to focus exclusively on my marriage and family.”
“As her affair continued, we separated. Sadly and embarrassingly, I subsequently sought comfort in a friend and developed an inappropriate relationship myself,” Tchividjian continued. “Last week I was approached by our church leaders and they asked me about my own affair. I admitted to it and it was decided that the best course of action would be for me to resign.”
The former megachurch leader was then stripped of his ministerial credentials, and soon filed for divorce from his wife. Paul Tripp, a pastor who counseled Tchividjian following his admission, wrote in a public statement that he had concluded that Tchividjian’s marriage was “irreparably broken,” suggesting that he had recommended the divorce.
“Sadly, there are times in this broken world where things that have been damaged by sin don’t get put together again,” he wrote in part. “It has been with sadness that I, along with others, have come slowly and cautiously to the conclusion that his marriage is irreparably broken.”
Less than two weeks after the filing, Willow Creek Presbyterian Church in Winter Springs announced that it had hired Tchividjian to serve as Director of Ministry Development. Some expressed concern over the timing of such a move.
But in March of this year, the church fired Tchividjian as he confessed to another affair, stating that he had actually been in yet another inappropriate relationship before his wife was unfaithful to him. Willow Creek Presbyterian expressed concern that he had only confessed to one inappropriate relationship and had not provided the whole truth.
“The feeling of the elders was that Tullian had a long period of time to share that with the church and for one reason or another he elected not to,” leader Kevin Labby told the Christian Post. “I can’t really comment on what motivated him to not come out with that, but one thing that led him to come out with the confession was the knowledge that there were rumors swirling in Florida where he was previously ministering.”
Tchividjian told reporters in September that he had contemplated suicide over the guilt he felt about the matters.
“The hurt I had caused felt too much to bear. The level of shame and guilt and regret was so deep, I literally did not want to live any longer,” he told the Religion News Service. “I had betrayed and disappointed and caused suffering to those who depended on me to provide the opposite. The thought of killing myself was relieving to me. I actually found momentary peace in the idea that I would soon be dead.”
On Wednesday, he publicly asked for forgiveness for his behavior.
“From the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry for the pain I’ve caused and the hurt I’ve induced and I humbly ask you to please forgive me,” he wrote. “In conclusion, I wholeheartedly agree with Charles Spurgeon who, when looking back on dark seasons in his own life, said, ‘I bear witness that I owe more to the fire, and the hammer, and the file, than to anything else in my Lord’s workshop.'”
As previously reported, Israel Houghton, former worship leader at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, recently remarried after obtaining a divorce and admitting that he had been unfaithful to his wife several years ago. He stated that he viewed a new marriage as another opportunity to “get it right.”
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Centering Prayer Taught By Mystic 

Phileena Heuertz at Catalyst Dallas

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
"Centering Prayer" exercise,
Catalyst Dallas
Posted by Christine Pack

Writer Jim Fletcher is reporting from the Catalyst Dallas conference that a Centering Prayer exercise was recently led by mystic and contemplative spiritualist Phileena Heuertz at Catalyst conference, which is a Christian conference that moves from city to city. The current Catalyst is being held April 30-May 2, 2014 in Dallas, TX.  Heuertz, who is the author of Pilgrimage of the Soul, was listed as a "lab speaker," which means that her session was probably a breakout session in which not all of the conference attendees were participants. Some of the other Catalyst Dallas speakers includeTullian Tchividjian, Dave Ramsey, Louie Giglio, Mark Batterson, Jen Hatmaker, Craig Groeschel, and Francis Chan.

(HT: Jules LaPierre, Jim Fletcher)

Phileena Heuertz
Some background information on Phileena Heuertz: Heuertz and her husband teach contemplative mysticism at their websitegravity, as well as other mystical/pagan practices:
Breath Prayer 
Centering Prayer
Lectio Divina
On her Centering Prayer page, Heuertz talks about having been taught Centering Prayer by Roman Catholic mystic monk Thomas Keating himself, with whom the practice of mystical centering prayer originated. (Learn more about Thomas Keating here on a show by Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith.According to Heuertz's bio on the Sojourners website, Heuertz is "a member of the New Friar movement," teaches and writes on contemplative spirituality and facilitates contemplative retreats.




republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

WASHINGTON — During a recent speech in Washington for the national lawyer’s convention of the Federalist Society, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito opined that religious freedom might be “in greater danger” than the right to free speech.
“I am reminded of a song by the latest recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature: It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there,” he said.
Alito pointed to a case out of Washington State that was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, in which the owner of a pharmacy was required to stock the morning-after pill despite his religious convictions regarding abortifacients.
As previously reported, in 2006, Ralph’s Thriftway owner, Kevin Stormans, received a call inquiring whether the location sold the morning-after pill. After replying that the pharmacy did not carry it, he began to receive anonymous complaints via phone and email. Ralph’s Thriftway was soon also picketed and complaints were filed with the Washington Board of Pharmacy, which launched an investigation.
The following year, the state passed regulations requiring that pharmacies stock and dispense the morning-after pill, and the legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed suit on behalf of Stormans and two of his pharmacists, Rhonda Mesler and Margo Thelen, who objected to the requirement because of their Christian faith.
The pharmacy had asked for the right to provide referrals rather than provide Plan B and Ella themselves, but while the regulations allowed for referrals for a number of reasons, religious protections were not included.
“It violates their religious beliefs to sell these drugs,” Alito outlined. “Instead of selling them, the pharmacy referred customers to one of more than 30 other pharmacies located within a five-mile radius.”
2012, a federal court ruled in favor of Ralph’s Thriftway, stating that the new regulations “appear to intentionally place a significant burden on the free exercise of religion for those who believe life begins at conception.” But the case was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which unanimously ruled that Ralph’s Thriftway must stock the drugs despite the pharmacy’s religious objections.
The battle consequently went to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the majority of justices declined to take the case, allowing the lower court ruling on the matter to stand. Only Justices, Alito, Thomas and Roberts desired to hear the matter.
“[N]ational and local pharmacist’s associations submitted an amicus brief telling us that this practice of referring customers to other pharmacies is standard, because no pharmacy can possibly stock every single drug that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration,” Alito noted in his speech to the Federalist Society this month.
“In this case, there is strong evidence that the law was enacted to rid the state of those troublesome pharmacists who objected to these drugs on religious grounds,” he told those gathered, “but the Ninth Circuit sustained the law, and the Supreme Court did not even think that case deserved review.”
Alito, a Roman Catholic, lamented that “Washington would rather have no pharmacy than one that doesn’t toe the line on abortifacient emergency contraceptives.”
“This case is an ominous sign. At issue are Washington State regulations that are likely to make a pharmacist unemployable if he or she objects on religious grounds to dispensing certain prescription medications,” Alito wrote in his dissent from the court in June. “[T]here is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the state.”
“Yet the Ninth Circuit held that the regulations do not violate the First Amendment, and this Court does not deem the case worthy of our time,” he bemoaned. “If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.”



SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

Boycott Jewish goods. We have seen this before in Europe.
“Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said they were puzzled as to why France chose this present moment in time to publish the directive, since the EU guidelines have existed for over a year but so far have not been implemented.”
Probably to appease France’s growing Muslim population.
Israel reacted angrily on Thursday after France issued a directive to all importers and retail chains in the country that they must now label products originating in Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
The directive is an application of the guidelines issued last year by the European Commission.
According to the new provision, “The Golan Heights, eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria are occupied territories and are not considered part of Israel. Therefore, in order to avoid misleading consumers, please mark products from those places and make it clear where they came from – and refrain from indicating they were made in Israel.”
Local retail chains and importers are required to clearly indicate that these products were produced in “occupied areas” to avoid confusion with Palestinian Authority-based products.
Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said they were puzzled as to why France chose this present moment in time to publish the directive, since the EU guidelines have existed for over a year but so far have not been implemented.
The Foreign Ministry issued a strong response to the decision, stating, “The Israeli government condemns the French government’s decision to implement the guidelines of the European Commission in relation to marking Israeli products originating beyond the ’67 borders.”
“We regret that France, at a time when there are anti-boycott laws, promotes such measures, which can be interpreted as a boost to radical elements and to the boycott movement against Israel. Moreover, it is puzzling and disturbing that France adopts a double standard in relation to Israel, while ignoring 200 territorial conflicts currently taking place around the world, including those taking place right on its doorstep,” added the Foreign Ministry’s statement….


SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
“so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.”  2 Timothy 3:8
When the imprisoned, soon-to-be-martyred Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy, effectively passing the mantle of ministry to his young protégé, he warned the young disciple about the imminent persecution that would come “in the last days.” The impetus for the coming “times of difficulty” was the increasing depravity of the pagan world.
At the end of the list (2 Timothy 3:2-5) of evidenced evil that Timothy ought to watch for, Paul included the following group in conclusion.
“… those … having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.”   2 Timothy 3:5-8
Well, guess what?
Today we are further along in “the last days” than the young Timothy and, as the Biblically informed will surely recognize, the plethora of those who “have the appearance of godliness” but “are disqualified regarding the faith” is replete across the church world today. As God loosens His restraining mercy, gender-equality in heresy has become – for quite some time, actually – a self-lauding feature in the false teacher business.
The latest example?
The femme fatale of faith, Beth Moore, is aligning with the heresy known as Hillsong, confirming both herself and that “church” as among those “disqualified regarding the faith.”  (2 Timothy 3:8)   Moore is scheduled as a headline “Special Guest” at the Hillsong Conference 2017. Along with fellow heresy hurlers and allies of false teaching, Craig Groeschel, Jentzen Franklin, Lauren Daigle, and John Gray, Moore will be bringing whatever credence her Living Proof Ministries presence can provide.   (If more believers were actually doing what Jesus said in John 8:31, “Living Proof” would rapidly, rightfully, become “Dead Evidence” of false teaching.)
We shouldn’t be surprised at this alliance because Scripture warns us of such things.  As Paul wrote to Timothy, “evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)
Beth Moore is perhaps the prime contemporary example of Paul’s comment.   But it’s no surprise that she’s been exalted to the dais of deception at Hillsong.  Moore has long been a gal-pal of the prosperity gospel pastrix and Hillsong heroine of faux Christianity, Christine Caine (and Joyce Meyer, and Kari Jobe, among many more.)
Like a bad BOGO offer from the “church of deception,” Moore and Caine are tag team partners at the upcoming Passion 2017 Conference where the dais will also feature notables such as the increasingly discernment-free John Piper and Francis Chan.  The Moore and Caine duo have also been featured together at the “let’s fleece women who don’t know Scripture” events known as Propel Women, a heretic-rich environment.
Hillsong is a well-known purveyor of false teaching, most notably the damning prosperity gospel. Believers “abiding in my word” (John 8:31) know, as Paul exhorts, to “avoid them.” (Romans 16:17-19)  As though doubling down on the warnings Paul gave Timothy, given Hillsong’s propensity to parade women “preachers” across their stage, they seem all too eager in their efforts to use women to “sneak into households and capture weak women.”  (2 Timothy 3:6)
What is evident is that for all the defensive postures of the followers of this false teacher, if Beth Moore actually knew, and obeyed, what Scripture teaches, she would avoid this conference and the charlatans it promotes.  Hillsong is, simply, not Christian.
Though she claims to be otherwise, Beth Moore is, for the Berean-inclined believer, the glaring evidence of the words of the apostle John:
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”  1 John 2:19
Beth Moore, long ago, left the ranks of being “of us” … those of us for whom Biblical fidelity is a fundamental feature of faith.  Her alliance with known false teachers, and, now, with her participation with the known works of heresy that is Hillsong, make Moore one those Paul included with his remark, “Avoid such people.”  (2 Timothy 3:5)
For more on Moore, see HERE.   For more on Hillsong, see HERE.


republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

While it was provocatively illustrative of the spiritual and Scriptural abuses of the Roman Catholic church, the melodious jingle attributed to indulgence hawker Johann Tetzel has found its place in church history as, perhaps, the first Reformation-era musical heresy. (Today, of course, this genre is headlined not by Dominican papists, but by the heresy-hurling likes of Hillsong and Bethel.)
“As soon as the coin in the coffer rings,
The soul from purgatory springs.”
The suggestion of selling salvation, even if nobly done for the deceased, infuriated Luther who was still coming to the full understanding of sola fide that would become, once the flames of reformation burned fully from his illuminated grasp of Paul’s letter to the Romans, the material cause of the Reformation.
But Tetzel’s jingle represented to the indulgence buying 16th-century commoner that salvation, that grace, from God could be bought. Salvation had a price and the Dominican Tetzel was its absolving, bartering agent, approved and sent forth under the authority of the Pope.
It’s unlikely that those 16th-century “coffers” resembled the modern Salvation Army’s iconic Christmas-time red kettles, but the association with God’s grace may be only slightly different. Though the modern day coin collectors of the Salvation Army aren’t offering indulgences to the generous donor – except perhaps in the form of the conscience-stroking “I gave” satisfaction that so many in the world, including Christians, think helps tip the “I’m a good person” scales of get-into-heaven justice with a few extra-points – the kettle may represent something many Christians will find not altogether unlike an inverse indulgence. In many cases, those bell-ringing kettle attendants, and those in hierarchical quasi-military authority over them, are working to keep their salvation.41fim3u827l-_sx258_bo1204203200_
Pause a moment and ask yourself, what is the Salvation Army? How much do you know about this organization that is almost ubiquitous during the holiday season? Are they merely a charity seeking to serve the underprivileged? Are they primarily a homeless mission for the down and out? Are they, given their military-like structure, some quasi-religious militia that focuses on alleviating human misery? Is it a simply a parachurch ministry with a unique focus on social justice issues?
Would you be surprised to know that, in fact, The Salvation Army is a church?
The Salvation Army is not only a church, it is a denomination. It has its own creed, its own faith requirements for membership and its own doctrine. The Salvation Army Handbook of Doctrine, a nearly 400 page document, elucidates the 11 core doctrines of the denomination. Originating in the mid- nineteenth century London under its founder William Booth, what became formally named the Salvation Army in 1867 began from Booth’s ordained ministry in the Wesley New Connexion Methodist holiness movement. (Yes, they are continuationists with regards to apostolic gifts.)
“The corps is the Salvation Army’s local congregation. It is a visible expression of the Church. It has its own ways of worshipping, training and serving, based on the teaching of the Bible, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the nature of its mission.” (Handbook, pg. 247)
“The Salvation Army became a church with a mission.” (Handbook, pg 265)
“Today it would be difficult to deny that The Salvation Army is a fully authentic and adequate fellowship within the spectrum of Christian denominations.” (Handbook, pg 266)
While the eleven doctrines of the organization read with an intended Wesleyan Arminian overtone, which in itself represents a substantially flawed understanding of orthodox Biblical truth, there is much in the Army’s Handbook elucidating these doctrines that many Christians will, and ought, to find concerning.
SCRIPTURE … It’s important, But Not Alone; It’s Inspired, But Not Completely
The opening doctrine states: “We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God; and that they constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.”
Intentionally, and noticeably, lacking a fundamental claim to the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, the Handbook still frequently points to the Bible as its source of faith and action. However, there is no sola Scriptura in salvationist lingo. The Army views three “pillars” as paramount: “the teaching of Scripture, the direct illumination of the Holy Spirit, and the consensus of the Christian community.” The obvious dangers of taking either of these extra two additions to their logical extremes may be seen throughout church history.
“Direct illumination of the Holy Spirit” has yielded the continuationist abuses strewn across the landscape of the modern church in such things as the Biblically-illicit charismatic movement and the outright heretical New Apostolic Reformation. An unbalanced emphasis on “direct illumination” has created most of the toxic teachings thrown at even non-charismatic pew sitters today, such as contemplative prayer and spiritual formation disciplines. Focusing on the mystical, experiential, spiritual desires can easily, in our fallen humanity, draw us away from the primacy of Scripture.
Take “the consensus of the Christian community” to its outplayed end and you arrive either back at a papist notion in which church tradition equals Scripture, or to a broader, more liberal and relativistic view of God’s revelation and ecclesiology (think of the current ecumenical unity movement; consensus without adherence to Scripture and sound doctrine, a la Titus 2:1, for example, yields boundless errors which breed yet more errors.) While historic orthodox Christianity has served to confirm the teachings drawn from a pre-eminent view of Scripture, for the Army “the consensus” is drawn not from the broader historic “Christian community” but from the Army’s own historic “Christian community.”  The introduction of an earlier Army Handbook indicates the supremacy of Army doctrine for their organization.
This volume contains an exposition of the principal Doctrines of The Salvation Army as set forth in its Deed Poll of 1878 and confirmed in The Salvation Army Act 1980. It is for the use of all Salvationists. These Doctrines are to be taught in connection with all Salvation Army officers’ training operations, both preparatory and institutional. It is required of officers of all ranks that their teaching, in public and private, shall conform to these eleven Articles of Faith.”
Either augmentation to Scripture is inherently erroneous, spiritually dangerous, and bound to result in false teaching. Thus, by the gracious hand of God, the reformation reawakened to us a singular focus, sola Scriptura.  But through the lens of Army interpretation, their less-than-sufficient view of Scripture results in practical denials of Biblical truths that Christian orthodoxy has held as authoritative, and final, for nearly two millennia.
For example, within Army theology, God is the creator, but Genesis is not an accurate, nor literal, record of that creation. The Army is willing to accept any view of Genesis, and apparently teaches none.
“Our study of Genesis 1 will point up some differences between Christians in approaches, interpretations, and conclusions. … These matters have been debated for many centuries, and still the differences persist. So we must accept as a starting premise that the issues surrounding Genesis 1 are sufficiently cloudy that no one view can be considered the Christian view.” (Emphasis original, Handbook, pg. 41)
While that might seem a gracious view, one complying fully with the spirit of post-modern tolerance prevalent in the world today, the Army intentionally does not teach what inspired Scripture clearly proclaims. While the truths of Scripture are evident within the historic, orthodox church, the Army is confused on this fundamental, foundational Biblical reality and, in so many words, they leave the matter untaught and to the preferential discretion of Army adherents who still must not exhibit their own dogmatism on the matter. “The Bible says it, that settles it” may be privately permitted in the Army, but it is to be avoided publicly when such dogmatic utterances may meet with a “consensus” that isn’t so inclined.
“Those who are comfortable with the straightforward record of Scripture as satisfying all we need to know of God’s creative work will guard against closing their minds to observable facts about creations’ history and mechanisms.” (Handbook, pg. 42)
If you flip with a Salvationist from Genesis all the way back to Revelation, you’ll find them, once again, befuddled at – and denying – the literalness of Scripture. While Genesis may imply theistic evolution to the Army, Revelation implies merely eschatological confusion with symbolism that may, or may not, be accurate.
“…this is not to assume that the symbolic pictures of the end times in the Book of Revelation and elsewhere in Scripture are to be interpreted as literal descriptions of actual events and places.” (Handbook, pg. 239)
So, for the Army, God may have given something generally inspired in Scripture – perhaps only its moral teachings, and certainly its apparent calls for social justice that drive the Army – but not something that is fully, literally inspired. The Army gives no credence to verbal plenary inspiration, an understanding that serves as the crux of Christian orthodoxy wherein inspiration is total, and total inspiration means total inerrancy.
But … The Army Isn’t Really A Church, At Least Not In An Orthodox, New Testament Sense
screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-12-47-43-pmThe Salvation Army is intentionally structured according to a quasi-militaristic ecclesiology. Its officers include a General who is its worldwide leader, Commissioners that oversee geographic territories, Colonels, Majors, Captains, and Lieutenants. Non-commissioned officers include Envoys and Sergeants; Cadets are in training for officership. Candidates are those undergoing assessment for either officership or envoyship.
Each officer in the Army – any Army affiliate may be known as a Salvationist or a “salvo”  – is also an ordained minister of the denomination.  Disregarding apostolic instructions in the New Testament, the Army ordains women as well as men to serve as the equivalent of “pastors” (officers) within the denomination.  (A curious restriction on Army officers is that an officer may only marry another officer.  For the Army, the notion of “unequally yoked” – a term used wrongly by most Christians with regards to marriage – means marrying outside the Army, even if the spouse-to-be is a professing believer.  Sound cult-like to you?) Officers have received specific training to serve and lead in the army. They are trained in one of seven officer training centers located in Australia, Canada, the United States, or the United Kingdom. The structure, then, of this “church” is unlike, in both nomenclature and organization, the ecclesiology established in the New Testament.
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ ” Ephesians 4:11
While the New Testament outlines the offices and qualifications for overseers in the church (1 Timothy 3:1-13Titus 1:5-9), history has seen these offices organized primarily among three styles of church structure: presbyterian, episcopalian, and congregational. Though Paul frequently uses military-type language and metaphors in his writings, Protestant church history – up until the mid 1800’s with the Salvation Army – has not seen a militaristic structure of ecclesiology, nor can it be vigorously defended from Scripture. The Army’s structure is decidedly more papist in flavor than it is New Testament. Where Rome has a pope, the Army has a general.
Aside from the unscriptural ecclesiastical structure of the Army, that alone is not what eliminates it from being rightfully considered as a “church.” A quick look at a bit of Reformation history is helpful for a Biblically-informed, orthodox definition of what constitutes a church.
Melanchton’s Augsburg Confession
In 1530, Philip Melanchthon, protege of Martin Luther, drew up the Augsburg Confession. In that early Protestant confession, Article 7 states that the Church “is the congregation of the saints in which the gospel is rightly taught and the sacraments are rightly administered.”
Move across the continent from Germany to England and, in 1553, the Church of England would find Thomas Cranmer producing the Forty-Two Articles, that church’s confessional guide. Cranmer would reiterate what Melanchthon had noted about the true church. “The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men in which the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments be duly administered.”
One further continental move of the map, this time to Geneva, finds John Calvin in his Institutes of The Christian Religion defining the church proper, sharing common ground with the two reformers Melanchthon and Cranmer. Calvin wrote, “Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to Christ’s institution, there, it is not to be doubted, a church of God exists.”
The church of the red kettle only meets – maybe – one of these two critical, orthodox thresholds for claiming the moniker of authentic, New Testament church. Why?  Because the Salvation Army does not baptize and it does not administer the Lord’s Supper. (To the extent that the Army teaches Scripture, albeit from a severely diminished, insufficient perspective, the first characteristic of a true church – preaching the Word of God – may, or may not, disqualify them as well. They preach a theology with a less than fully sovereign God and a Gospel with a less than fully-atoning Christ.)
In clear disobedience to Christ’s commands to baptize (Matthew 28:19-20) and His instructions to institute the Lord’s Supper, “this do in remembrance of me” – (Luke 22:19), the Salvation Army’s less than fully inspired, selectively interpreted view of Scripture prompts them to exclude these ordinances from their midst. They provide this comment regarding these two fundamental sacraments without which there is no true church.
“Early in our history, The Salvation Army was led of God not to observe specific sacraments, that is baptism and the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion, as prescribed rituals.” (Handbook, pg. 271)
So what Christ Himself dictated to be done by the church in the first century, and as clearly recorded in Scripture, the Salvation Army, “early in our history,” claims to have received a divine, and unique, exemption. Apparently by way of “direct illumination of the Holy Spirit,” God changed these requirements for the Army. In order to respond to the attacks it has taken for this marked disobedience to Scripture, the Army offers a rationalized, spiritualized response as a palliative to salve the wounds of criticism.
“We observe the sacraments, not by limiting them to two or three or seven, but by inviting Christ to suppers, love feasts, birth celebrations, parties, dedications, sick beds, weddings, anniversaries, commissioning, ordinations, retirements and other significant events and, where he is truly received, watching him give a grace beyond our understanding. We can see, smell, hear, touch, and taste it. We joyfully affirm that in our presence is the one, true, original Sacrament – Jesus Christ.” (Handbook, pg. 271)
1Specifically responding in “A Statement on Baptism,” the Army Handbook clarifies their replacement of the Biblically-instructed ordinance with one of their own making. “The swearing-in of a soldier of The Salvation Army beneath the trinitarian sign of the Army’s flag acknowledges this truth,” that “truth” being the public profession of faith. A military-like ceremony, in which the adherent commits not to Scripture, but to the Army doctrines, replaces baptism.
The “swearing-in” ceremony involves a would-be soldier swearing an oath known as “The Soldier’s Covenant“, or the “Articles a00130Of War,” in which allegiance to Army doctrine is proclaimed.  The oath includes such affirmations as “I will be faithful to the purposes for which God raised up The Salvation Army,” “I will be actively involved … in giving as large a proportion of my income as possible to support … the worldwide work of the Army,” “I will be true to the principles and practices of The Salvation Army, loyal to its leaders, and I will show the spirit of salvationism whether in times of popularity or persecution,” and, the closing affirmation that  I “will be a true soldier of The Salvation Army.”
In particular response to the Lord’s Supper, the Handbook states, “No particular outward observance is necessary to inward grace … Christ is the one true Sacrament, and sacramental living … is at the heart of Christian holiness and discipleship.” (Handbook pg. 300) While that certainly sounds quite spiritual and Christ-centered, it yet denies the fact that Christ Himself said, “this do in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
A Few More Dangerous Doctrinal Distinctions of The Army
“The compassion of the Army’s social action depends upon an understanding that God is Father of all without discrimination or partiality.” (Handbook, pg. 49)
While the Army is intentionally, vociferously Arminian in soteriology – it goes to lengths at various places in the Handbook to emphasize synergistic salvation – it does not promote universalism. But the Biblically faulty quote cited above feeds the popular, though false, understanding of salvation the Army purports to promote. No where does Scripture teach that God is the “Father of all.” While Scripture clearly teaches that God is the Creator of all humankind, the Bible is plain in teaching that not all men are His children. (John 1:12-13John 11:52Romans 8:162 Timothy 2:191 John 5:19)
“Salvation requires the personal involvement of the individual in the process of repentance and faith. It involves a free and deliberate choice to re-orientate our life towards God.” (Handbook, pg. 160)
“The Salvation Army has a responsibility to model, preach and teach salvation in ways that make it credible and understandable but cannot make it happen. That is the work of the Spirit in human life, and is dependent upon the response of the individual who chooses to repent and believe.” (Handbook, pg. 160) (Emphasis added)
The Salvation Army’s Handbook features a point by point rebuttal of the five points of Calvinism, affirming its position against all but the first point, that of Total Depravity.
In responding to Unconditional Election, the Army states “election is conditional upon faith in Christ.” The issue of predestination is taught by the Army to be a “corporate rather than an individual issue,” that is, God has predestined a group of people, but not specific individuals that comprise that group. (How this works is unexplained.) “Those who choose salvation are the elect of God.”
Limited Atonement is denied in article 6 of the Army’s doctrines. “We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by his suffering and death made an atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will may be saved.” While this differs from the sovereignty of God evident throughout Scripture, it also directly refutes the clear teaching of Christ who made clear that before any “whosoever” actually “will,” it is God first who actually “wills.” (John 6:37John 6:44John 6:65)
For the Salvationist, the less than sovereign God who is unable, by the attribute of His own omnipotent will, to save apart from the sinner “dead in trespasses and sins” participating, the notion of irresistible grace is denied. “For The Salvation Army, the phrases “whosoever will may be saved’ and ‘repentance toward God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ’ … are necessary to salvation’ (Doctrines 6 and 7), clearly indicate the importance of human decision making and agency in the process of salvation.” (Emphasis Added) (Handbook, pg. 187)
The suggestion about the red kettle serving as a sort of inverse indulgence relates directly to what the Army believes and teaches in their rebuttal to the concluding point of Calvinism. There is no perseverance. There is no “once saved, always saved.” According to Army theology, “continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ”. That “continued obedient faith” is played out most evidently, and is aggressively emphasized, in the social justice mission of the Army.
While saints are to persevere in the faith (Hebrews 10:23), this ability is graciously administered through the Spirit-guided gifting of faith by God, and in His own persevering faithfulness to the believer, that reality of God’s faithfulness, evident in such places in Scripture as the ordo salutis ofRomans 8:28-30, is not taught within Salvationist theology.   Since there is, for the Salvationist, no assurance of salvation affirmed by the faithfulness of a sovereign God, perseverance becomes a man-only endeavor.  Unlike the Roman Catholic position in which faith AND works contribute to salvation, for the Salvationist, the works that don’t save initially are the works that do, in fact, save continually.  According to the Army, where salvation is initially, necessarily, synergistic, the continuation of salvation is distinctly monergistic.  God doesn’t keep you saved.  To remain saved, one must do good works. Bell ringing alongside a red kettle, then, qualifies.
“Holiness stresses the ethical and social consequences of salvation.” (Handbook, pg. 200)
The Army’s pursuit of holiness is dangerously close to that of the prosperity gospel. “The Gospels reveal that Jesus cared about every dimension of human life and how sin has distorted it, and that his ministry demonstrated a healing response to human suffering and disease in all its forms. Again and again, the New Testament as a whole records the healing work of the Holy Spirit. … This means that there is no holiness without wholeness.” (Handbook, pg. 197)
Though the Army is linguistically cautious in the Handbook to issue a caveat that prosperity and health do not necessarily indicate holiness, nor that maladies represent sinfulness, it nevertheless says, “we claim the promise of wholeness in all of life.”
It is out of this ambition for wholeness that the works of social justice seem to be borne within the Army. “As God’s holy people we [The Army] are concerned not only about our own wholeness and health but also that of others. Thereby we who know healing for ourselves become a healing community engaged in a healing mission in anticipation of the final healing to be experienced in the New Jerusalem.” Handbook, pg. 198) “The holy life is expressed through a healing, life-giving and loving ministry.”
For the Army adherent pursuing holiness, its apprehension may be in any number of ways. Among ways which holiness may be experienced is “entire sanctification,” “full salvation,” “infilling of the Holy Spirit,” “Baptism of the Holy Spirit,” the “second blessing,” the “Blessing of a clean heart,” and, finally, by “perfect love.” Each of these experiential interpretations of holiness, explained in the Handbook (pp. 202-205), are common to the vernacular of the Army. Of note, some of them are also common to the vernacular of the known and vital error that is the modern charismatic movement.
The Army does, by the way, teach a continuationist theology, though it is careful to stress internal caution with the use of spiritual “gifts” that may be, depending on the circumstances, disruptive. After providing a list of gifts, including “preaching, teaching, and prophecy … gifts of service, healing, generosity, and hospitality …leadership … prayer, faith and speaking in tongues,” the Handbook gives a blanket statement, “ The Army recognizes all spiritual gifts.”
The Handbook states that “the Army emphasizes those gifts that encourage the clear proclamation of the gospel.” (Pg. 269) Given their theology, this begs the question, what exactly is the “salvation” that the Army teaches and the “gospel” through which it proclaims it?
As has been cited, the Gospel of the Army is the commonly heard “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” message. It offers cheap grace, a less-than-sovereign God, an elevated view of man and his “God-given free will,” and a crucified, atoning Savior whose substitutionary death, showing “God’s love towards all people,” is yet woefully insufficient to insure eternal, permanent salvation.
The Gospel touted – when it is – by Salvationists features the fundamentals of the one given in Scripture, but Army theology, so aggressively and completely Arminian, diminishes God’s influence and authority in salvation and emphasizes man’s free-will to choose and trigger God’s required, saving response. But even if one is “once saved,” the atonement of Christ and the faithfulness of God to the believer are incomplete, tenuous, and man-dependent. Salvation can be lost. Only works will insure remaining in a continued state of salvation. Salvation is imminently a man-chosen, man-maintained endeavor in which God is merely a responsive partner.
“The love of God is such that, with profound sorrow, he allows us to reject him. (Mark 10:17-27) (Handbook, pg. 132)
(It is curious they cite the story of the rich young ruler as a validating Scripture for the synergistic gospel they proclaim. It is from this narrative that Jesus is asked, “Then who can be saved?” His response, “With man it is impossible, but not with God.” The notes from the MacArthur Study Bible forMark 10:27 – the source of Christ’s response – says, “It is impossible for anyone to be saved by his own efforts, since salvation is entirely a gracious, sovereign work of God.”)
Though it lauds itself as a church, and though it points to Scripture, the Salvation Army is not a legitimate church, as it refuses to obey clear Scriptural, Christ-given instructions to administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Though it defines itself with the descriptor “Salvation,” the Army teaches a theology in which Scripture is less than fully inspired, and thus less than fully sufficient, with an intentionally man-centered, synergistic gospel. God in the Army isn’t the fully sovereign God of Scripture, nor of historic Christian orthodoxy.
One curious question, though, to consider. When have you actually encountered a Gospel-proclaiming Salvationist? Do you see them handing out Gospel tracts to each coin-dropping donor to their red kettles? Do you see kettle attendants actively engaged in witnessing, even to their own flawed gospel? Has a Salvationist – who has sworn allegiance to Army doctrine which states “The Salvation Army’s responsibility to communicate the message and meaning of the atoning work of Jesus clearly and in a way that is culturally relevant” (Handbook, pg. 142) – ever knocked on your door to share their gospel?
General Andre Cox & Commissioner Silvia Cox, December 2014

      Though their main website,, is replete with resources regarding fund-raising, their international humanitarian programs, and features a prominent “Donate Here” banner, one thing lacking is an expected “how to be saved” button. You will find links to “Our Vision” and “Our Faith,” and even an indication of the Army’s eagerness towards ecumenism with a link to the recent “Stations of The Cross” London exhibit, but you’ll find very little of a prominent, saving, gospel message.
(The “Stations of the Cross” are, according to, “ a 14-step [Roman] Catholic devotion that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on Earth as a man. At each station, the individual recalls and meditates on a specific event from Christ’s last day. Specific prayers are recited, then the individual moves to the next station until all 14 are complete.” Though pietistic in tone, there is no such devotional observation given in Scripture, but the Army has linked arms with Rome to promote this one.)
But with regards to evangelism, the Army seems far more concerned about fund-raising than soul-saving. With some interesting comments, a thread from discusses an entry entitled “Salvation Army Soup Kitchen Says, ‘No Tracts Here”. The first commenter states, “You can’t just feed people’s bodies and not their souls.”
It is to the mammoth money-making machine that is the Salvation Army, and the social justice ambitions it pursues, that we next turn our attention in Part Two.
And poor Tetzel would today be drooling at the financial effectiveness that red-kettle inverse indulgences represent. In 16th-century bucks, it’s likely the entire continent of Europe could be bought out of purgatory with the annual haul of the Army’s revenue in America alone. Can you say “billions?”
In the likely event that you encounter a red kettle attendant this holiday season, the most helpful thing a Gospel-According-To-Scripture believer could do is not dropping coins in the coffer.  It’s sharing the true Gospel, the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), to the bell-ringing kettle attendant.  It’s very likely that they’ve never heard it, because the Salvation Army certainly doesn’t proclaim it.