A Salvationist Quadrilateral
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
Salvationists hope to be, inspired by
socially prophetic, and
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
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
… 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
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?
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
(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)
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:
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
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
If you are less positive about the last
decades you might want change – but the big mix makes it
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