An important new resource has been produced for students of Salvation Army history, theology, and ministry: Boundless Salvation: The Shorter Writings of William Booth. Edited by Andrew Eason of Booth University College and Roger Green of Gordon College, this book is a very significant publication from an academic perspective. The fact that a publisher like Peter Lang would publish a book of William Booth’s writings indicates that academic study of The Salvation Army has become a significant and legitimate scholarly enterprise.
The book is also the first publication of the newly founded Centre for Salvation Army Studies at Booth University College. Hopefully it is an indication of more good things to come.
Since it is a hardcover book published by an academic press, it is a bit pricey. Hopefully the book will do well and they will issue a softcover edition down the road. If you’re a serious student of William Booth and The Salvation Army, however, this would be a worthwhile investment, even at full price.
Eason and Green have grouped the writings under several categories:
- Origins and Early Days
- Female Ministry
- Missions and Missionaries
- Relationship to the Church
The book begins with a 12 page introduction which offers a brief overview of Booth’s life and ministry. Each section also includes its own introduction, which summarizes Booth’s views and offers some background on the particular writings included.
What the book provides is access to important writings of Booth that were previously found either only in periodicals from the time (such as The Revivalist, The Christian Mission Magazine, etc.), or were previously included in other anthologies or collections without proper documentation or background information provided.
For example, Chapter 1, “Origins and Early Days,” includes the following three pieces:
- “East of London Revival Effort” (originally found in The Revival (August 17, 1865)
- “Our New Name” (originally found in The Salvationist 1 (January 1879)
- “How We Began” (originally found in George Scott Railton’s Twenty One Years Salvation Army (London: The Salvation Army Book Depot, 1886).
Other writings included which I find particularly fascinating are “Salvation for Both Worlds,” a pivotal 1889 document that demonstrates the shift in Booth’s theology of redemption, and “The Millennium; or The Ultimate Triumph of Salvation Army Principles” (1890).
As someone who is currently writing a dissertation which deals with Booth and the early Army, this resource has come at a very opportune time. It is great to have these pieces collected together, and to be able to benefit from the expert scholarship of Eason and Green.
The only thing the book lacks (from my perspective) is a complete table of contents, listing all the writings included. The TOC only lists the main headings, as I’ve identified above. I found it a bit inconvenient to have to search through each section to see what was included. After a few times flipping through the book, I actually typed out my own TOC and stuck it inside the front cover, so I could easily reference the specific writings included. I’ve pasted the expanded list of contents below, in case any of you are like me and you want the complete list.
However, that is a very minor criticism. This is a very important resource for those studying The Salvation Army, and I hope many people will make use of the excellent work done by Eason and Green.
Boundless Salvation: The Shorter Writings of William Booth
Expanded Table of Contents
Acknowledgments – vii
Foreword – ix
Introduction – 1
Chapter 1. Origins and Early Days – 13
East of London Revival Effort (August 17, 1865) – 21
Our New Name (January 1879) – 25
How We Began (1886) – 28
Chapter 2. Salvation – 41
The Conversion of the World (October 1869) – 48
The Model Salvation Soldier (1885) – 49
Salvation for Both Worlds (1899) – 51
The Millennium; or, the Ultimate Triumph of Salvation Army Principles (1890) – 60
Chapter 3. Holiness – 72
Holiness: An Address at the Conference (1877) – 80
Holiness (1881) – 87
A Ladder to Holiness (n.d.) – 101
Chapter 4. Female Ministry – 106
Mrs. Booth as a Woman and a Wife (1910) – 111
On Salvation Women (1901) – 114
More about Women’s Rights (1901) – 118
Woman (1907-8) – 121
Chapter 5. Missions and Missionaries – 128
To the Officers and Soldiers of the Indian Salvation Army (1886) – 134
The Future of Missions and the Mission of the Future (1889) – 139
Chapter 6. Relationship to the Church – 165
Wesleyan Methodist Conference (1880) – 173
What is the Salvation Army? (1882) – 178
The General’s New Year Address to Officers (1883) – 185
Conclusion – 197
Resources for Further Study – 201