Summary: We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God and that they only constitute the divine rule of Christian faith and practice.
God’s Inspiration – Captain Moy Hernandez, Jr.
(The Salvation Army Doctrine 1 - Sermon Series)
What is a Doctrine? According to the dictionary it is defined as a code of beliefs, or tenets, especially about philosophical or theological matters; the body of teachings of a religion, or organization.
In order words it is the set of interpretations - in this case of a Church about what the Bible teaches us as followers of Christ.
According to our mission statement The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church.
This simply means that we indeed are a Christian Church in fact we are recognized as an independent denomination although we share many of our beliefs and doctrines with other independent denominations.
Our theological interpretation is based on Wesleyan Theology from which many other well knows denominations such as the Methodist and the Nazarene Church derive their own statements of beliefs and practices.
But as a Salvationist, whether you are a soldier, an active members or just someone who enjoys worshiping as a part of our Christian family, do you know what our Church stands for? Do you know what we believe?
Well starting today on every second Sunday of the month we will begin a study through the eleven official Doctrines or statements of beliefs of The Salvation Army.
If anyone of you where talking our membership or soldiership classes we would spend more time on each of these topics, but consider these sermons as reviews of the overall meaning of these biblical interpretations.
Let us begin with doctrine number one, the necessary foundation on which all other believes must be based on. Our first Doctrine then reads:
We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God and that they only constitute the divine rule of Christian faith and practice.
It is important to understand that these doctrines are not statements that where merely dreamed up by our founder but they are rooted and indeed based on Biblical principles.
Their interpretations and understanding will be what we will cover in this series.
In fact the direct interpretation for this doctrine is found in our scripture for today, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 where we read: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
But let us break it down to gain a deeper understanding of what it should mean to each of us. We will look at three different aspect of this doctrine.
First we’ll take a look at its historical development of the doctrine not just in The Salvation Army but in the Church and the importance of this doctrine to our Christian faith.
Secondly, we’ll look at the essentials of this doctrine and we’ll finish off with the issues that this belief presents to us as Salvationist and members of this denomination.
Our Old and New testaments were combined to form the “Canon” which is the English equivalent of the Greek word Reed. A reed was sometimes used as a measurement instrument.
The word was used in that sense and it was eventually extended to refer to all kinds of rules or means of measurements, even to rules, standards or models.
Meaning that the scriptures become the ruler by which faith and practice were to be measured.
But how where different books chosen to be a part of the bible?
The Old Testament as we know it had already been around for a while so it was simply accepted as the inspired word of God.
But three criteria where put in place to choose the books in the New Testament.
1. The writing had to conform to the rule of faith and creed handed down in the church;
2. It had to have apostolic origin meaning containing teachings from the apostles;
3. It had to be in general use in the churches.
Many books where indeed rejected as unauthentic from our Christian Bible. Some of these books such as the Gospel of Thomas can be found in other cannon such as the apocrypha which is a bible used by the Catholic practice.
For centuries the Latin version of the Bible was authoritative but since most people did not speak Latin it limited access only to those who spoke it. Usually the priests and scholars.
It was not until the time of the pre-reformers and reformation in the 14th and 15th century that other translations began to appear.
Now a day there are many translations, interpretation and paraphrases available to us all. And all though we are grateful for the many attempts to help each of us to understand the important word of God, we must be watchful and choose translations that seek to maintain the true meaning or the original Hebrew and Greek texts rather than others that simply engage the reader in countless paraphrasing and interpretations.