Saved to Save!
“We are saved FOR the world - rescued
to be rescuers, put right (justification) to be putting-right
people (justice), restored to the beauty of being
image-bearers so that we may be beauty-bringers,
beauty-creators, for the world” (NT Wright, p40-41 Life After
Life After Death in Christian History issue 112).
‘Rescued to be rescuers.’
NT Wright is arguing here that we are rescued from sin
and despair to help rescue others from sin and despair.
I guess we could have gone with Rs on our uniforms way
back in the day.
But instead of ‘rescued to be rescuers’ we landed on ‘saved to
save’ - saved from sin and hell to see others saved from sin
Without knowing the context and
history, the most common complaint is about human agency in
the present tense ‘verb’; after all, the argument proceeds,
only God saves - we can’t save anyone.
To which we reply, sure.
And, yet, for example, here is 1 Corinthians 9:22
“To the weak I became weak, to win the
weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all
possible means I might save some.”
Now, it seems, in light of this verse,
like there are a few options for ‘saved to save’ antagonists:
Option A: Cancel Paul.
We’re in an age of cancel culture.
And surely, here, the logic might reason, Paul has
inexpiably (Inexpiable: “(of an offense or feeling) so bad as
to be impossible to expiate.”
Expiate: “atone for (guilt or sin).”) sinned by
imputing to himself a power belonging solely to God.
(we don’t advocate this option)
Options B: Check the Greek.
This is the ‘Paul didn’t really mean what we say he
the Greek: “sṓzō (from sōs, "safe, rescued") – properly,
deliver out of
danger and into safety;
used principally of God
from the penalty and power of sin –
and into His provisions
How does it get translated into English?
In 108 occurrences in the NASB New Testament, it is
translated 86 times ‘save’ and ‘saved’ (Source:
‘Made… well’ and ‘made
well’ account for half of the remaining 11 translations, and
‘get well’ (2x) is the only other translation used more than
once). (we don’t
advocate this option)
Nearly all the English translations
stick with ‘save’ (Source:
JB Phillips evidently has some qualms with Paul’s
theology and substituted ‘win’ for ‘save’ (and TPT and CEV
have followed his precedent).
I guess we could have gone with Ws - ‘won to win’
(that’s catchy!), but we didn’t.
Option C: Go along with Paul and
recognises that neither Paul nor Booth are saying that ‘we’
forgive and pardon and regenerate but that both are arguing
for human agency in co-laboring alongside the Lord Jesus
Christ as He alone converts, adopts, and saves.
Alright, option C wins.
Now, look, it doesn’t end there, because some
misunderstand the Ss to mean ‘saved to serve’.
We’ve demonstrated elsewhere how this betrays salvo DNA
and mission. But
this isn’t just about good argument.
It’s about historical accuracy.
And that’s what we’ll underline here:
From the official biography of General
"He used to say that we were SAVED TO
SAVE. He could not stand people who said their souls were
saved and who did nothing to save other people" (pp 69)
Begbie, Harold. Life of William Booth: The Founder of the
Salvation Army. Vol. 1, London, Macmillan, 1920.
‘Saved to Save’ is William Booth’s
motto. In 1911,
he scribbled this note:
"Saved to Save! That is the motto I wrote on the photo
I gave to her Majesty Queen Alexandria and now I give it to
you. Does it fit?
William Booth" 9 February 1911" (Here is a photograph of his
scribbled autograph note to this effect:
Not that Booth needs back-up, but
Colonel Allen Satterlee has shared a story from the 1922 THE
"The motto refers to the well known
story of our Founder's visit to Buckingham Palace, London,
when he was asked to write in the Autograph Album of one of
the Princesses. The simple inscription, 'Saved to Save,
William Booth,' produced such an impression that the next day
Queen Alexandra sent her Album with a request that the same
entry might be made in it" (Source:
Here’s the 1960 Year Book of The
Salvation Army, and article (p52) 'What Is The Salvation
"All members of the Organisation
profess to be saved from the guilt and power of sin by the
grace of God. They are made to realise that they are 'SAVED TO
SAVED' (italics in original) - soldiers striving to win others
for Jesus Christ. Hence the Army's aggressive methods - which
include selling The War Cry and other periodicals from door to
door, in public-houses and elsewhere, personal dealing with
the unconverted, visiting and praying with folk in their homes
and wherever they may be found."
Summing up, ‘Saved to save’ goes all
the way back to William Booth’s life and continues through
this official biography, our 1922 reference in THE OFFICER,
his son’s and successor’s recollection (Bramwell Booth.
Unpublished content in 1925 TRAINING STAFF COUNCIL LECTURES;
reproduced in 2012 in A FIELD FOR EXPLOITS: Training leaders
for The Salvation Army, by Eva Burrows and Stephen Court) of
the birth of Salvo DNA (1925), the official Year Book of The
Salvation Army in 1960, and even General Eva Burrows’s 2012
book A FIELD FOR EXPLOITS: Training leaders for The Salvation
So, Salvationists ARE 'saved to save'.
Who are you trying to see saved? How are you trying to see
them saved? Are
you intentionally trying to see anyone get saved?
If not, start. Plan opportunities to
evangelise your friends. Join salvo initiatives that open
doors to witnessing. Take opportunities God provides in divine
appointments. Ask God to work things out for you. Ask Him to
fill you with His Holy Spirit (For help on this one, here’s a
free, one-week Salvo devotional called SPIRIT BINGE:
you need it, get yourself trained up. If you are a
salvationist, you are saved to save.