Archive for June, 2012

29
Jun
12

Book Review – Boundless Salvation: The Shorter Writings of William Booth

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:

  1. Origins and Early Days
  2. Salvation
  3. Holiness
  4. Female Ministry
  5. Missions and Missionaries
  6. 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

22
Jun
12

Methodist Influence on Isaac Hecker

One of the reasons I chose to study the Paulist Fathers alongside The Salvation Army in my dissertation is because the Paulist Founder, Isaac Hecker, had connections to the Methodist tradition.  Hecker’s Methodist grounding was tenuous, and nothing like William Booth’s ardent devotion to all things Wesleyan.  Booth is famously quoted as describing his early commitment to Methodism in the following terms: “To me there was one God, and John Wesley was his prophet.” (Booth-Tucker, Life of Catherine Booth, I: 52). Hecker had a fairly negative view of all the Protestant denominations, and spoke very negatively of his religious upbringing.  However, some have suggested that Methodism had more of an influence on Hecker than he himself might have wanted to acknowledge.

Issac Hecker was born in New York, the son of German immigrants, in 1819.  His parents married in the Dutch Reformed Church, but his mother Caroline soon joined the Methodist Church, and was a faithful member of Forsythe Street Church for the remainder of her life, even though most of her family members had no association with Methodism.  Of the four Hecker children, only one, Elizabeth, joined her mother’s church.  Caroline Hecker seems to have maintained a remarkably tolerant attitude in matters of religion, and was quite content to let her sons worship in other traditions.

Although not a great deal is known of Isaac Hecker’s involvement with the Methodists, it seems clear that he did have at least some exposure to Methodism as a child, and he had his first job working for a Methodist publishing house.  Vincent Holden, one of his biographers, claims Hecker “became acquainted with fundamental Methodist doctrine and with the Methodist form of worship.”  (The Yankee Paulp. 7)

Indeed, it has been argued that some of the Methodist ethos remained with Hecker in subtle ways throughout his life.  The point is made by John Farina, both in his Introduction to Isaac T. Hecker, The Diary: Romantic Religion in Ante-Bellum America, as well as in chapter 2 of his book, An American Experience of God.

Farina highlights several features of Methodism that would have been formative to Hecker’s early religious instruction, and which remained prominent in his own thinking and experience throughout his life:

  • The ideal of Christian community
  • A doctrine of God’s special providence
  • The doctrine of Christian perfection
  • A focus on personal experience
  • An emphasis on free will and human agency

Anyone picking up Hecker’s own writings, or reading the story of his life, can see how these emphases remained an important part of his spirituality after he became a Catholic.

Hecker was surely exaggerating when he later claimed, “no positive religious instructions were imparted to me in my youth.” (The Paulist Vocation, 49).  By the time he had reached adolescence, however, he seems to have decided that Methodism was not sufficient for the spiritual desires he felt had been placed in his own heart.  He started off on a circuitous spiritual quest that led him through political action and Transcendentalism, before he came back to the Christian Church, and eventually entered the Roman Catholic church.

Hecker was an enthusiastic Catholic, and had some strong criticisms for the Protestant traditions. In a document submitted to his spiritual directors in Rome as part of his petition for permission to found the Paulists (1858), Hecker recalled that he considered the various protestant bodies but “none answered the demands of my reason or proved satisfactory to my conscience.” In The Paulist Vocation, 52.

More specifically, regarding Methodism, Hecker commented in 1887: “…in our time it had no stated intellectual basis.  It was founded totally on emotional “conversion,” with the notorious exclusion of the intellect.” See “Dr. Brownson and Catholicity,” The Catholic World 46 (November 1887): 231.

Farina suggests that his critique of the “intellectual basis” of Methodism (and other protestant traditions) was aimed not at the internal coherence of protestant doctrine, but more fundamental questions about the nature of religious faith, and the correspondence between inner religious experience and the external world (Farina, An American Experience of God, 29).

In spite of his criticisms of the Methodism he had known as a child, I think Farina is correct in suggesting that Methodist influence can be seen in Hecker’s own thought.  I hope that at some point in my future writing I will have a chance to take up this question and provide a thorough scholarly demonstration the Methodist influence on Hecker.

12
Jun
12

Signs that make me laugh: Ha Ha Cemetery

Following up on this post from a couple weeks ago, I’ve found another place that takes “ha ha” as its name.   Strangely enough, I saw both of these signs on the same road trip.  This one was somewhere on route 915, near New Horton, NB.

I take it naming a cemetery “Ha Ha” wasn’t seen as odd in 1800.  According to this page and this historical map, the nearby bay was once called “Haw Haw Bay.”  This page, meanwhile (copied from a plaque on the site I think) says that the name comes from a first nations word for the call of a loon.  Apparently New Horton Lake was also once called “Ha Ha Lake,” but at some point they realized the name needed to change.

07
Jun
12

[re-post] The Salvation Army as an Order? An Early Catholic Comment

I’m on vacation this week, so I thought I’d pull this post out of the archives from April 2010:

I stumbled upon a biography of Henry Cardinal Manning at the Regis College Library yesterday, published in 1892, the year of his death.  The book happened to be on their booksale shelf, for $2.   Many used book collectors are wary of library discards, because of the library marks, stamps, and stickers, as well as general wear and tear.  Personally I find these things endearing.  It adds the character of an old book when you can see the names of previous owners inscribed on the inside cover.

This bears the stamp of two previous libraries.  Obviously it was most recently part of the Regis College library’s collection, but prior to that, it found a home in the library of “J. & E. Stoneham Ltd., 51 Old Broad Street, London, E.C.2.”   Doesn’t that make you wonder how this book got from London to Regis College?

Manning is a towering figure in 19th century England, a high profile Anglo-catholic who converted to Catholicism and became Archbishop of Westminster in 1865.   Those who have read a bit of Salvation Army history will know that Manning was sympathetic to the work of the Army, but also willing to challenge the Booth on some of his presuppositions.  You can read an interesting comment from Manning on his appreciation for Army and his concerns with its teaching and practice in The Contemporary Review 41 (1882): 335-342.   Roger Green quotes from this passage in hisrecent biography of William Booth, specifically noting Manning’s astute on the Army’s claim that it was “not a sect,” in spite of the fact that it had no ties to the larger Church.

“The head of the Salvation Army is resolved that it shall never become a sect. In this he is wise. A sect is soon stereotyped. He seems to wish that it may not be a sect, but a spirit, which, like the four winds, may blow upon all the valley of dry bones—men, women, children, sects, communions, and, as he perhaps would say, Churches, quickening and raising them all to a higher life. So long as the Salvation Army teaches the three creeds in their true sense, and does not assail the Catholic faith or Church, it is so far doing a constructive, if it be only a fragmentary work… Nevertheless, we have a conviction that the Salvation Army will either become a sect, or it will melt away. This world is not the abode of disembodied spirits.” (341-342)

Manning was picking up on an ecclesiological ambiguity in the Army: they claimed that they were not a denomination or “sect,” yet they were a free standing Christian body, whose members were not members of other “churches.”  There is more work to be done on this question, and Salvationists need to reflect on its implications, and the degree to which Manning’s prediction came to fruition.

At the end of the biography of Manning I picked up yesterday, author Arthur Wollaston Hutton is speculating on what may come after Manning has passed the reigns of English Catholicism on to his successor.  Remarking on Manning’s emphasis on ministry to the poor, he writes:

“And indeed, if his spirit should survive in his successsor, there is one field – a very widely extended one – in which the Catholic Church in this country might hereafter reap a rich harvest.  Manning’s sympathy with the philanthropic work of “General” Booth was never disguised, and he was too much of an organizer himself not to look with admiration on the order and discipline of the “Salvation Army.”  The Army has a growing affinity with Catholicism, and its members, accustomed to an autocratic rule, might very well find in some future Archbishop of Westminster the successor who will surely one day be needed, if the organization is to be held together at all.  Of course these soldiers and salvation lasses are far enough from being Catholics at present; but they have accepted fully the fundamental principle of Catholicism – obedience; and in other was they are really nearer the Church than Dean Stanley’s “three men in green, whom your Lordship will find it difficult to put down.”  The ritualists, in spite of Catholic externals, are mostly liberals wearing blinkers, in accordance with the fashion introduced by Newman, and still much affected by polite society.  But the Salvation Army men are not theological liberals, and wear no blinkers, for they do not them any more than Manning did, believing with him that the straight road before them is the way revealed, and so caring to look neither to the right hand nor to the left.  A simple, certain faith is theirs, – belief in God, in sin, a Redeemer, the Bible, judgment, salvation, heaven and hell; and this simple faith is a far more serviceable basis on which to build a permanent structure of Catholicism, than the clever literary quibbles by which men better educated are able to persuade themselves that they hold to the old faith.  There is thus a promising field for an expansion of the Catholic Church – unless Catholics themselves shirk the opportunity – which should be further facilitated by the marked revival of credulity in recent times, and the growing popularity of ritual and outward show.”  – A. W. Hutton, Cardinal Manning. London: Methuen & Co., 1892, pp. 256-258.

Given the ecclesiological gulf that existed between 19th century Catholicism and the early Salvation Army, it is amazing to see a Catholic author publicly speculating about the possibility of a “Catholic Salvation Army.”  It is also interesting to notice those things which he thinks constitute an affinity between the Army and Catholicism: autocratic structures, conservative theology, and a lack of concern for “polite society.”   It seems counter-intuitive, but Hutton feels that these are “a more serviceable basis on which to build a permanent structure of Catholicism” than the sophisticated theological output of Ango-catholics.

This says a lot about the dominant characteristics of both the Army and Catholicism at the time!  We might wonder why Hutton doesn’t raise the ecumenical issues that loom large in the Army’s ecumenical relationships today: sacraments and ministry (in terms of the validity of “ordination”).  The reason is that people of the time (including Salvationists) didn’t look upon the Army as a “church.”  So a Catholic wouldn’t have related to the Army in the same way they would have related to the Church of England, or Lutherans, or Baptists.  They might think of the Army more along the lines of a irregular and unauthorized missionary order or congregation, one which was doing some good work, but was in danger of drifting from the apostolic faith over time, if not grounded in catholic soil.




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