En armé utan soldater! : En studie av Frälsningsarméns ecklesiologi i Sverige idag.

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Uppsala universitet/Teologiska institutionen

Sammanfattning: In this essay I present the ecclesiology of the Salvation Army as it appears in Sweden today. One thesis that I examined is that the Salvation Army has changed its self-understanding from seeing itself as an Army from the beginning of the movement, to gradually understanding itself as a Church. The essay confirms this assumption and concludes that it is largely due to the challenges of ecumenical theology that developed with the publication of the BEM document in 1982, adopted by the World Council of Churches' Faith and Order Commission. Further, statistics show that 3 out of 4 new members of the Salvation Army in Sweden are what are Adherents, defined as a type of civilian membership, and not uniformed soldiers. The purpose of the essay has therefore been to explore what the change of membership, from soldiers to adherents, has meant for the ecclesiology of the movement. I have captured both of these assumptions, that the Army understands itself more and more as a church and that most new members are Adherents, when I have formulated the overarching research question: How does a growing proportion of Adherents play into the Salvation Army's gradually changing self-understanding from army to church? In the essay, I have used a qualitative research method which includes a hermeneutic approach where I interpret the changes and observe to understand its consequences for the ecclesiology that appears in the Salvation Army. The essay discusses the "army concept" which implies a “mission-oriented” ecclesiology and the "church concept" which implies a "community-oriented" ecclesiology. My source material consists of both written dogmatic material, observations of enrolling of both soldiers and adherents in Corps and interviews with new members. I note that the ecclesiological themes that appear in my materials are somewhat different. The written material has some army rhetoric, which means that in addition to a community-oriented ecclesiology one can also see a mission-oriented ecclesiology, while the observations and especially the interviews give a clearer picture of a communion-oriented ecclesiology where the congregation also appears as a sacramental communion. The likeness of ecclesiology between the Salvation Army to other free-churches in Sweden is so profound that I propose the idea of “free-church salvationists” in the army in Sweden. In the essay, I state that a probable further ecclesiological development may be that the more Adherents who become members, the more communion-oriented ecclesiology will implicitly appear in the Salvation Army in Sweden and at the same time the army rhetoric will gradually disappear. This means that the Salvation Army in Sweden may in the near future be described as "an army without soldiers".

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