Theology and Narratives
The Salvation Army's approach to conversion was among its most significant doctrinal and practical issues, and it sparked intense controversy among Victorian Christians. The criticisms reflect profound differences among Victorian Protestants about the nature of the church, the sources of religious authority, the ways God works in the world, the nature of sin and atonement, and the relationship between the body and the soul. Salvationists approached conversion with a theology of salvation as well as notions about gender, the body, and spirit that infused their encounters with the Holy Spirit with particular meaning. Indeed, these questions suggest that this article considers “the soul as a category of historical analysis.” Historians, however, have often considered how the religious convictions of a man like John Allen are related to class consciousness, with little attention to the religious problems that are at the heart of Allen's biography.
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