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A Salvationist Perspective on the Sacraments

Seven Sacraments Altarpiece
Seven Sacraments Altarpiece by Rogier van der Weyden (c.1445-1450). You can see around the edges the seven sacraments. From left to right, Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation (at rear of centre panel), Holy Orders, Marriage, Last Rites. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone knows that the Salvation Army doesn’t celebrate (perform) the sacraments, right? The fact of the matter is that while yes, the Salvation Army does not celebrate Holy Communion (or whatever term you prefer to use in its place – Mass, Eucharist, The Lord’s Supper), and we don’t perform “water” baptisms, the Salvation Army is indeed a very sacramental church, and celebrates its sacraments on a daily basis. I hope to show to you today that the Salvation Army does indeed embrace the sacraments, and that they are in fact a wonderful thing.

What is a sacrament?

On a very basic level, a sacrament is a means of grace. By that, I mean that a sacrament is an outward sign of the grace of God that resides within us. The best way that I heard that related into everyday language was relating it to the love that I have for my wife. There are various ways that I could show my love for my wife. I could get her flowers, or jewellery, or give her a kiss, or a hug, or even tell her that I love her. None of these things are what love actually consists of, they are just outward signs that show that love. However, if I don’t do at least some of these, my wife would get rather upset – she may not know that I still love her. The sacraments are the same. They aren’t what the grace of God actually consists of. They are just outward signs that we reside in God’s grace. Through doing the sacraments, they are an outward sign that we reside in the grace of God. If we don’t do them, even though we still remain in the grace of God – how would anyone know? Continue reading A Salvationist Perspective on the Sacraments

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Division of Labour

Tonight, I went to an Emmaus gathering where the special guest was Bill Harper, National Lay Director of Chrysalis and Emmaus in Australia. He had lots of interesting things to say, but one that particularly caught my mind was one where he talked about the split within Emmaus, and within the Church at large. Continue reading Division of Labour