Army is an integral part of the Christian Church, although distinctive in government and practice. The Army’s doctrine follows the mainstream of Christian belief and its articles of faith emphasise God’s saving purposes.
Its objects are “the advancement of the Christian religion… 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 1865 by William Booth, has spread from
London to most parts of the world.
William Booth preaching at a London
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 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 Army is provided by commissioned officers who are recognised
ministers of religion.
More Than a Church
Although the Salvation Army is primarily a Christian
church we are also the largest provider of social care in the UK,
after the Government. Social provision ranges from childcare, work with the elderly, homelessness projects to addiction rehabilitation. The
Salvation Army is also very active across the world, working with
the poorest in the most disadvantaged countries.