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From a Christian perspective, spirituality is best understood as our lived experience of God. The spirituality suggested by this doctrine is a biblical spirituality. The Christian Scriptures show us what it is like to live in relationship with God, who is disclosed in the biblical story.

Because His Mercies Are New Every Morning and Great Is His Faithfulness

This is biblical spirituality. With this in mind, I want to suggest there are at least four practices that help to cultivate holiness understood as biblical spirituality: There are many ways to read the Bible, just as there are many ways to read the script of a play. A theater critic will read the script one way, and an actor will read the script another way. Salvationists come to the Bible for the purpose of hearing God address us in the 21st century. Thus we read the Bible with a view of understanding our world through its world.

Convinced that words create worlds, we read the Bible slowly and prayerfully, paying attention to such words as grace, wilderness, atonement, covenant, holiness, hope and salvation. We also pay attention to the story worlds of the Bible. Through these stories we envision what it means for us to meet with God as friend with friend, as did Moses See Ex.

Core Convictions

We imagine a world where Jesus washes our feet with basin and towel, just as he did the feet of his disciples, even over their protests See John These stories, and others, give us a glimpse into the character of God and what it means to relate to God today as disciple and friend. They are, however, not just examples; they are models for us to imitate. For this reason we not only read the Bible personally, we read the Bible in community.

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This first doctrine points to the practice of reading the Bible as Scripture in order to be formed in biblical holiness. Second, we will learn to pray the Scriptures as we practice biblical spirituality.


This is not to say that prayer is limited only to the texts of the Bible, but there are spiritual disciplines that draw on Scripture as we pray. While much of the Bible lends itself to prayer, this is especially true of the Psalms. Praying the Psalms can help us in those moments. They utter lament with images that voice our own losses; they praise with resounding chords that take us out of our superficiality; they question God in ways we are reluctant to address him; they express trust in ways that we find difficult.

As we seek scriptural holiness we will attend to the practice of preaching biblically. The Salvation Army places an emphasis on preaching in its worship, given its roots in the Reformation. But preaching has come upon hard times in our culture. Because the Bible is read publicly in our worship, sermons play an important role. Biblical texts have a future as well as a past, and preaching seeks to fulfill that future by continuing the conversation of the text into the present.

There is a point to the Bible being organized from Genesis to Revelation. The spirituality that the Bible portrays has its twists and turns, but it moves toward a goal, as does our personal spirituality. We will learn much about spirituality from preaching Esther, Ecclesiastes and Ephesians.

But we will also want to preach with the biblical plot in mind. Biblical holiness has a story, and we do well to keep its overall plot in mind as we prepare to preach it. Finally, we will learn to practice holiness as biblical spirituality as we perform the Scriptures. But we also use the word to describe the way cars drive on the highway, or Olympic athletes compete during the Games. These ten core convictions are not innovations. They are timeless truths from Scripture and the rich history of Christian worship. Today, each conviction remains theologically crucial, pastorally significant, and culturally threatened.

The importance of one or all of these convictions risks being obscured by cultural trends outside the church, and disputes about the mechanics and style of worship within the church.

Core convictions - Caring Magazine

This attempt to reiterate and reinforce the importance of these ten core convictions will lead, we pray, to more fruitful if not necessarily easier conversations about the meaning and practice of Christian worship. These ten criteria are applicable not only in specific cultural settings. They have as much to say about corporate worship offered in Kenya or Korea as in Canada or the United States.

They are the kind of questions that apply to contextual ministry in any setting. They are also theological. They emerge not only out of historical study or aesthetic preference, but also out of reflection on the mystery of the gospel that Christians proclaim. Vital worship can issue only from the depth and mystery of the gospel that Christians proclaim. Christian worship is strongest when it is integrally and self-consciously related to the person and work of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Worship cultivates our knowledge and imagination about who God is and what God has done. Worship gives us a profound awareness of the glory, beauty, and holiness of God. Each element of worship can be understood through a Trinitarian framework. Worship renewal is best sustained by attention to the triune God we worship. In vital worship, all worshipers are involved in the actions, words, and meaning of worship. Young men and women alike, old and young together! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.

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Worship should include prominent readings of Scripture, and engage worshipers through intentional reading practices, art, and music. It should follow biblical commands about worship practices, and it should heed scriptural warnings about false and improper worship. In particular, Christian worship should be deeply connected to its ancient roots in psalmody.