Guidelines for Salvationists

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The Salvation Army in Australia produces supplementary material to provide biblically-based guidance to stimulate thinking and encourage dialogue. As Christians we have a responsibility to discern the appropriate course of action. In the Wesleyan tradition, with which The Salvation Army associates, we identify four sources of wisdom that aid moral discernment:

  1. The Bible (first and foremost) –The Bible is God’s word to the human race. This does not mean, though, that it contains specific solutions to all ethical dilemmas and the contexts in which they arise;

  2. Tradition –Tradition expresses the collective wisdom of the Church gathered over time to further guide decision-making;

  3. Reason –Reason is one of God’s gifts to us for determining how we might act. For instance, “justice” is a heavily used general moral precept in the Bible, but we often need to reason from the principle to a practical course of action;

  4. Experience –Experience covers a broad space. It can be seen as a reference to Christian conscience as being the way in which God makes us aware of what is right, but our conscience can sometimes be misled, coloured by cultural prejudices and limited by a narrow range of experiences. Experience also refers to factual knowledge. Modern science, including medicine, sociology, psychology, and biology, uses observation to objectively understand the situations we face; the facts discovered can be very important to good ethical decision-making.

After a systematic consideration of all these sources, Guidelines are prepared by the National Moral and Social Issues Councils, and are approved by the National leadership of The Salvation Army in Australia.