JAC Online

A Salvationist Quadrilateral
by Major Stephen Court

We’re a tough bunch to categorise.  We’ve got these solid biblical doctrines that justifiably direct people to paint us a ‘conservative’.  We’ve got this record of ‘next of kin’ to the homeless that understandably lead people to describe us as socially liberal.


Salvationists hope to be, inspired by Ephesians 4;


evangelistically aggressive,

missionally optimistic,

socially prophetic, and

Biblically strategic. 


EA – defined in one encyclopedia as ‘ultra-revivalist’, we go for repentance and faith in immediate response to divine revelation.


MO – we’re aiming to win the world for Jesus and we believe that God is good (what He commands He enables).


SP – our social action bolsters our evangelising, representing Jesus to the world by seeing what He’s doing and doing what we’re seeing.


BS – God’s Word is living and active in our lives and warfare – not only do we believe all the Bible to be inspired by God but it informs and directs our warfighting.


… as a discussion starter, anyway. 


The concept of the quadrilateral is ripped off of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral that is a method of theological reflection based on four things: Scripture, tradition, reason, and Christian experience (Wesley didn’t make up the framework but is credited with the development of this specific reflective practice).


So, properly, and appropriately (in that we’re salvos), the Salvationist Quadrilateral is not so much about theological reflection as spiritual action.


The other influencing factor in the creation of the Salvo Quadrilateral is the whole personality type industrial complex.  We’ve had friends enamoured with several of these, including Clifton’s Strength Finder, DISC, Enneagram, Myers’ Briggs’, among many more (and, of course, the related Christian version of this – spiritual gifts test that we prefer to more accurately call ‘spiritual inclination’ tests [not that there is anything wrong with that!]).  One of these (maybe more) likes to tag the top two characteristics – each identified by two letters (as the Salvo Quad!) – so that someone would call themselves HCPS (HardCore Primitive Salvationist – though that is somewhat redundant, admittedly), for example (these are not real personality type test identifiers!).


So, while we shy away from being pigeon-holed AND being boxed in, we might admit that a combination of a couple of these ‘spiritual actions’ in the Salvo Quadrilateral might even more accurately identify salvos in the war… 


So there are a number of possibilities:















(the reason there is EAMO and MOEA is that the first characteristic is meant to be the prominent on


In the personality tests, people answer a bunch of questions to help distill the right answers.  We haven’t created those (yet?).  But, why not ask yourself, which of those combinations most accurately identifies you, today?


Are you…


evangelistically aggressive/missionally optimistic,

evangelistically aggressive/socially prophetic,

evangelistically aggressive/Biblically strategic, 

missionally optimistic/ evangelistically aggressive,

missionally optimistic/socially prophetic,

missionally optimistic/Biblically strategic, 

socially prophetic/evangelistically aggressive,

socially prophetic/missionally optimistic,

socially prophetic/Biblically strategic,

Biblically strategic/evangelistically aggressive,

Biblically strategic/missionally optimistic,

Biblically strategic/socially prophetic.


The bigger question is what combination do you WANT to best describe you a year from now?


And, in light of that, what do you want to change in your life so that it happens?    


On a group level, understanding people’s inclinations and inspirations might help you optimize spiritual impact in the great salvation war?


Meanwhile, we’re even more interested in Paul’s type list in Ephesians 4 of apostles / prophets / evangelists / shepherds\teachers (or, disciplers):


11 So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (NIV)


(and, yes, Holy Spirit distributes as S/He desires – and that likely includes all four to any given person at any given moment – including all four present in your group of disciples, today)


 The Quad formula for each General.


Here goes (discussion starter):


22- Buckingham MOBS

21- Peddle EABS

20- Cox: BSSP

19- Bond: EAMO

18- Clifton: BSEA

17- Larsson: MOBS

16- Gowans: SPEA

15- Rader: EAMO

14- Tillsley: MOBS

13- Burrows: MOEA

12- Wahlstrom: MOBS

11- Brown: BSSP

10- Wiseman: EAMO

9- Wickberg: MOBS

8- Coutts: SPBS

7- Kitching: MOEA

6- Orsborn: MOBS

5- Carpenter: SPBS

4- E Booth: EAMO

3- Higgins: EABS

2- B Booth: BSMO

1- W Booth: EAMO


You might wonder, since we lack questions (still) and because most of the people on that list have been promoted to Glory, how we got to these conclusions.  These were conversation-starting stabs.  For instance, Higgins never preached with an empty mercy seat so we gave him EA.  Bramwell is credited with building the organisation and so he gets BS.  William was the greatest evangelist up to his lifetime in history so he leads with EA, but also believed that we were going to win the world for Jesus in his lifetime, thus MO.  Wiseman is known as the evangelist general so he leads with EA.  Clifton paid great attention to architecture of The Army biblically (Handbook of Doctrine, SBSA, etc.) and invaded countries at an unmatched rated since the Founder, so BSEA.  And so on…


Four generals led with BS.

Ten followed with BS.


Seven led with EA.

Four followed with EA.


Three led with SP.

Two followed with SP.


Eight led with MO.

Six followed with MO.


There were five EAMOs: William Booth, Evangeline Booth, Wiseman, Rader, Bond.


There were six MOBS: Orsborn, Wickberg, Wahlstrom, Tillsley, Larsson, Buckingham.


Two were SPBS: Carpenter and Coutts.


Two were EABS: Higgins and Peddle.


Seven had unique combinations.


The prominence of BS isn’t surprising, given this (google) definition:


strategy (n.)

1810, "art of a general," from French stratégie (18c.) and directly from Greek strategia "office or command of a general," from strategos "general, commander of an army," also the title of various civil officials and magistrates, from stratos "multitude, army, expedition, encamped army," literally "that which is spread out" (from PIE root *stere- "to spread") + agos "leader," from agein "to lead" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move"). In non-military use from 1887.


Now, I’m not interested in suggesting that one coordinate combination is better than another.  But what is interesting is recognising the strengths of one set of coordinates and how to complement them in partnering and supporting roles.  For example, if your CSM is BSMO, it might be helpful to have a CO who is SPEA.  Or if you HLS is MOSP, it could really work well if her aHLS is BSEA.  And so on… (this goes for TCs and cabinets, and generals and staffs).


How would you describe yourself? 

What characteristics do you most value? Most aspire to in your own life?

What might you want to think about doing to nurture them?   


What coordinates in a leader should we be looking for in the next General?


The answer to that question (aside from the revealed will of God) depends on your assessment of the last generation of The Salvation Army.  If things are going great, then you’ll want more of the same.  The last seven scale out as follows: Buckingham: MOBS, Peddle – EABS, Cox: BSSP, Bond: EAMO, Clifton: BSEA, Larsson: MOBS, Gowans: SPEA.  There is such a big mix there (four different lead characteristics and five BSs, two SPs, four EAs, and three MOs) that the only thing you might suggest is a lead SP (since Gowans is the last such).


If you are less positive about the last decades you might want change – but the big mix makes it difficult.


There are so many factors to consider.  For example, maybe you love EAMO because we had such effective generals so characterised.  But you note that we’ve had a recent EAMO.  In that case, though, you have to keep in mind that her term lasted only two years, probably too short to see the positive change that EAMO might predict.  So, rather than an argument against another EAMO, it might actually be one in favour.


All interesting stuff to think about for generals, and for the rest of us, for corps councils and cell groups…












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