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What is The Salvation Army?

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What is The Salvation Army?


The Salvation Army is a worldwide evangelical Christian church with its own distinctive governance and practice. The Army's doctrine follows the mainstream of Christian belief and its articles of faith emphasise God's saving purposes.

Its religious and charitable objects are ‘the advancement of the Christian religion ... and, pursuant thereto, the advancement of education, the relief of poverty, and other charitable objects beneficial to society or the community of mankind as a whole'.*

The Movement, founded in London, England, in 1865 by William and Catherine Booth, has spread to many parts of the world.

The rapid deployment of the first Salvationists was aided by the adoption of a quasi-military command structure in 1878 when the title ‘The Salvation Army' was brought into use. A similarly practical organisation today enables resources to be equally flexible.

Responding to a recurrent theme in Christianity which sees the Church engaged in spiritual warfare, The Salvation Army has used to advantage certain soldierly features such as uniforms, flags and ranks to identify, inspire and regulate its endeavours.

Evangelistic and social enterprises are maintained, under the authority of the General, by full-time officers and employees, as well as soldiers who give service in their free time. The Army also benefits from the support of many adherents and friends, including those who serve on advisory boards.

Leadership in The Salvation Army is provided by commissioned and ordained officers who are recognised as fully accredited ministers of religion.

Salvationists accept a disciplined and compassionate life of high moral standards which includes abstinence from alcohol and tobacco.

From its earliest days The Salvation Army has accorded women equal opportunities, every rank and service being open to them, and from childhood the young are encouraged to love and serve God.

Raised to evangelise, the Army spontaneously embarked on schemes for the social betterment of the poor. Such concerns developed, wherever the Army operates, in practical, skilled and cost-effective ways. Evolving social services meet endemic needs and specific crises worldwide. Highly trained staff are employed in up-to-date facilities.


The need for modernisation and longer-term development is under continual review. Increasingly the Army's policy and its indigenous membership allow it to cooperate with international relief agencies and governments alike.

The Army's partnership with both private and public philanthropy will continue to bring comfort to the needy, while the proclamation of God's redemptive love revealed in Jesus Christ offers individuals and communities the opportunity to know spiritual fulfilment here on earth and a place in Christ's eternal Kingdom.

*Salvation Army Act 1980

 


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