ClassificationOrientationFounderOriginSeparated fromGeographical AreaStatisticsCongregationsMembers
The Salvation Army
Holiness movement
General william Booth
July 2, 1865<1>London, England, U.K.

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The Salvation Army is a Christian church and international charitable company structured in a quasi-military fashion. The organization reports a global membership, known as Salvationists, of over 1 million consists of soldiers, officers, and also adherent members. Its co-founder Catherine and William Booth sought to carry salvation to the poor, destitute, and hungry by conference both their physical and spiritual needs.

The theology the the Salvation military is obtained from that of Methodism although it is distinctive in institution and practice. The Army"s theory is common of evangelical protestant denominations. The Salvation army is modeled after the military, with its very own flag (or colors) and its very own hymns, frequently with words collection to popular and also folkloric tunes.

Today, the Salvation military is current in over 120 countries, to run charity shops, operation shelters for the homeless, and also providing catastrophe relief and also humanitarian aid to emerging countries.



The Salvation army was started in London"s east End in 1865 through one-time Methodist reform Church minister william Booth and his mam Catherine. Originally, Booth named the organization the eastern London Christian Mission. The surname The Salvation Army emerged from an event in which wilhelm Booth was dictating a letter to his secretary George Scott Railton and also said, "We space a volunteer army." Bramwell Booth heard his father and also said, "Volunteer! I"m no volunteer, I"m a regular!" Railton was instructed to cross out the word "volunteer" and substitute words "salvation."<3>

In 1878 Booth reorganized the mission, introducing the military structure which has actually been kept to the present day.<4> He became the "General" and his other ministers were given ideal ranks together "officers". Various other members ended up being "soldiers".<5> Booth and also the other soldiers in "God"s Army" wore the Army"s own uniform, because that meetings and ministry work.

When william Booth ended up being known as the General, Catherine became known together the "Mother of The Salvation Army." William preached to the poor, and also Catherine spoke to the wealthy, obtaining financial assistance for your work. She additionally acted together a religious minister, which was unexplained at the time; the structure Deed of the Christian Mission says that women had actually the same civil liberties to preach together men. Wilhelm Booth described the organization"s approach: "The 3 ‘S"s’ best expressed the way in which the army administered come the "down and outs": first, soup; second, soap; and finally, salvation."<6>

In 1880, the Salvation army started its occupational in three other countries: Australia, Ireland, and also the unified States. It to be not always an main officer who began the Salvation army in a new country; sometimes Salvationists emigrated come countries and started operation as "the Salvation Army" ~ above their very own authority. Once the an initial official policemans arrived in Australia and also the united States, they uncovered groups the Salvationists already waiting because that them and started working in addition to them.


The Salvation Army"s key converts at first were alcoholics, morphine addicts, prostitutes, and also other "undesirables" unwelcome in polite Christian society, which aided prompt the Booths to start their very own church.<7> The Booths go not include the use of sacraments (mainly baptism and also Holy Communion) in the Army"s type of worship, believing that numerous Christians had involved rely top top the outward indicators of spiritual grace quite than on grace itself.<8> Other ideas were that its members should totally refrain from drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, acquisition illegal drugs, and gambling.<5>

As the Salvation army grew quickly in the so late nineteenth century, it generated opposition in England. Opponents, grouped under the name of the Skeleton Army, disrupted Salvation army meetings and gatherings, with techniques such together throwing rocks, bones, rats, and tar, and physical attacks on Salvationists.<9> much of this was led by pub owners who were shedding business because of the Army"s opposition come alcohol and also targeting the the frequenters of saloons and also public houses.

The Salvation Army"s call in the joined States enhanced as a an outcome of its disaster relief efforts following the Galveston Hurricane that 1900 and the 1906 mountain Francisco earthquake. The Salvation military today is one of the world"s largest providers of social aid. In addition to neighborhood centers and also disaster relief, the organization does work-related in refugees camps, especially among displaced world in Africa. The church remains a highly visible and sometimes controversial presence in countless parts that the world.

Structure and also organization


The Salvation army has a global presence in over 120 countries. In 2016, Madagascar became the 128th country in which the Salvation military has a known legal presence.<10>

For bureaucratic purposes, the Salvation army divides itself geographically into territories, which space then sub-divided right into divisions. In bigger areas, regional and area regulates are additionally introduced together sub-divisions the divisions. Each territory has an administrative hub well-known as ar headquarters (THQ). Likewise, each department has a divisional headquarters (DHQ). Every of these territories is led by a territorial commander that receives orders indigenous the Salvation Army"s international Headquarters in London. A territory is generally led by one officer hold the location of colonel (for small territories) or commissioner for larger territories. In part countries, the occupational of The Salvation military may be dubbed a command, led by a command commander. A bigger command is generally led by an officer holding the rank of colonel. Officers are provided Marching Orders come ministries within The Salvation Army. Usually, police officers are given brand-new Marching order every two to 5 years and reassigned to various posts, periodically moving good distances.


Its proclaimed membership contains 26,675 officers, 1,056,722 soldiers, 378,811 junior Soldiers, 108,786 various other employees, and much more than 4.5 million volunteers. The Salvation Army also includes 156,842 "adherents," civilization who do not do the appointment to be a soldier but who formally acknowledge The Salvation military as your church.<11>

The worldwide Congress the The Salvation army is generally held every 10 years as a conference for all Salvationists from around the world to meet. The very first such conference took location in London, UK, from may 28 come June 4, 1886. The seventh global Congress in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, from June 28 to July 2, 2000, was the first held outside of the UK. The latest worldwide Congress was hosted in London, England ~ above July 1–5, 2015, in commemoration that the 150th Anniversary that The Salvation Army"s founding.<12>



The Army"s purposes are "the advance of the Christian religion ...of education, the relief that poverty, and also other charity objects helpful to society or the ar of mankind together a whole."<5>

The beliefs of the Salvation army rest upon this eleven doctrines:<13>

We think that the bibles of the Old and brand-new Testaments were provided by inspiration of God, and also that only they constitute the divine rule of Christian faith and practice.We think that there is just one God, who is infinitely perfect, the Creator, Preserver, and also Governor of every things, and also who is the only suitable object of religious worship.We think that there space three people in the Godhead – the Father, the Son and also the holy Spirit, undivided in essence and also co-equal in power and also glory.We believe that in the human of Jesus Christ the divine and also human natures space united, so that he is truly and properly God and truly and properly man.We think that our very first parents were created in a state the innocence, however by your disobedience they lost their purity and also happiness, and also that in consequence of their fall all men have end up being sinners, completely depraved and also as such space justly exposed to the wrath that God.We believe that the lord Jesus Christ has, by his suffering and death, do an atonement because that the whole people so that whosoever believeth in the surname of the lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah will may be saved.We think that repentance in the direction of God, faith in our mr Jesus Christ, and regeneration by the holy Spirit, are important to salvation.We think that we are justified by elegant through faith in our mr Jesus Christ and that he the believeth on foot the angry in himself.We think that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient belief in Christ.We believe that the is the privilege of every believers come be completely sanctified, and also that their totality spirit and soul and also body may be kept blameless depend the resulting our mr Jesus Christ.We think in the immortality that the soul; in the resurrection the the body; in the basic judgment in ~ the finish of the world; in the eternal joy of the righteous; and also in the endless punishment the the wicked.
The william Booth Memorial cultivate College, Denmark Hill, London: The College because that Officer cultivate of The Salvation army in the UK

The denomination does not celebrate the Christian sacraments that Baptism and also Holy Communion; although its officers conduct marriages, that holds a classic Protestant belief that marriage was not instituted through Christ and therefore is no a sacrament.

The Salvation military opposes euthanasia and also assisted suicide, although that believes strongly that all civilization deserve compassion and also care in your suffering and dying.<14>

It is also against the fatality penalty because Salvationists believe in the sanctity that all person life and also the hope of redemption v Christ for each human being being, but wretched. Nevertheless, the administration acknowledges the the opinions of Salvationists are divided on the moral acceptability of capital punishment and its efficiency as a deterrent.<15>

The Salvation army is protest to abortion:

The Salvation army believes all people are developed in the picture of God and also therefore have unique and intrinsic value. Person life is sacred and all people should it is in treated through dignity and respect. The Salvation military accepts the moment of fertilisation as the start of person life. We think that culture has a responsibility to treatment for others, and also especially come protect and promote the welfare of delicate people, including unborn children.<16>

The Salvation military does make exceptions in instances such together rape and incest:

In addition, rape and incest are brutal action of prominence violating ladies physically and also emotionally. This case represents a special situation for the factor to consider of termination as the violation may be compounded by the extension of the pregnancy.<16>

The Salvation military published a statement on "Inclusion," following controversy over their place on homosexuality:

We oppose any discrimination, marginalisation or persecution of any kind of person. We find no scriptural assistance for demeaning or mistreating everyone for any kind of reason.<17>

The statement listed that the Salvation military condemns homophobia, when accepting that "a diverse variety of views on homosexuality might exist within The Salvation army as among the broader Christian (and non-Christian) community."<17>

The ordination of women is allowed in the Salvation Army, in keeping with the founder"s insistence on gender equality:

"I urge on the equality that women through men,” said our founder wilhelm Booth in 1908. “Every officer and soldier should insist upon the truth that woman is together important, as valuable, as capable and also as crucial to the progress and happiness that the world as man.”<17>


Red Shield

The Salvation army red shield logo, presented on the next of a night shelter in Geneva, Switzerland.

The red shield is the Salvation Army’s very recognizable logo, used across the world: "The shield to represent the ‘fight’ of life ~ above a ‘spiritual battlefield’ and that God is a shield come protect and save us."<18>

The Red Shield has actually its origins in Salvation army work throughout wartime. In ~ the finish of the nineteenth century, Staff-Captain mary Murray was sent out by wilhelm Booth to support British troops serving in the Boer war in south Africa. Then, in 1901, this very same officer was given the job of creating the Naval and also Military League, the forerunner of the Red Shield Services.

Salvation military officers offer in the Red Shield solutions in wartime performed countless functions. The Doughnut girl of human being War i are an early example, serving refreshments come troops in the trenches. They also provided first aid stations, ambulances, chaplaincy, social clubs, Christian worship and other front-line services. This particular day Salvation military Red Shield Clubs continue to offer members of the equipped Forces a range of services, ranging from attractive recreational infrastructure to household counseling.<19>

The Red Shield is widely provided today as a simple, conveniently identifiable symbol in numerous Salvation military settings.


The oldest main emblem the The Salvation army is the crest.

In 1878 Captain W.H. Ebdon suggested a logo, and in 1879 it was to be uncovered on the letterhead that the Salvation military Headquarters. The captain"s suggested design was changed only slightly and also a crown to be added.

The an interpretation of the crest:<20>

The sunlight represents the light and fire the the holy SpiritThe overcome of Jesus stands at the center of the crest and the confidence of church membersThe ‘S’ represents salvation from sinThe swords represent the fight versus sinThe shots (seven white dots) stand for the truths that the gospelThe crown speaks of god’s reward for His faithful people“Blood and also Fire” is the motto the The Salvation military that explains the blood that Jesus melted on the cross to conserve all people and also the fire that the holy Spirit i beg your pardon purifies believers


The Salvation military flag is a price of the Army"s war against sin and also social evils.The red top top the flag symbolizes the blood melted by Jesus Christ, the yellow for the fire that the divine Spirit, and also the blue because that the purity the God the Father.

In 1880, George Scott-Railton wrote: "The usage of flags has actually done an ext than anyone might have imagined to bind all our soldiers together and to encourage and develop the heart of enterprise and also resolution."<18>


Salvation army officers and also soldiers often wear uniforms. The idea the they must do for this reason originated v Elijah Cadman who, in ~ The Salvation Army"s "War Congress" in august 1878 stated "I would like to undertake a fit of clothing that would let everyone recognize I expected war come the teeth and also salvation for the world."<21>

A marine blue serge uniform was introduced for both men and also women. The men"s high neck tunic had actually a stiff collar worn end a scarlet jersey; a cap v a red tape was worn ~ above the head. The women"s version had actually long marine skirts and high neck tunics with white lace-edge collars; Catherine Booth presented their bonnets. The uniform is still worn, although it has changed in format over the years.<18>


Since 1983 there has actually been an official Salvation army tartan. It to be designed by Captain harry Cooper, because that the Perth Citadel Corps centenary commemoration. That is based ~ above the color of the Salvation military flag, with which it shares the very same symbolism. However, the is rarely seen external Scotland.<22>


Music playing

As the popularity of the organization grew and also Salvationists functioned their method through the streets of London attempting to transform individuals, they to be sometimes faced with unruly crowds. A family of musicians (the Frys, native Alderbury, Wiltshire) started working through the army as your "bodyguards" and also played music to odor the crowds.<23>

The heritage of having musicians accessible continued and eventually grew into conventional brass bands. These space still checked out in publicly at army campaigns, as well as at other festivals, parades and also at Christmas. Throughout the world the brass band became an integral component of the Army’s ministry and an immediately recognizable symbol come Salvationists and also non-Salvationists alike. The Salvation Army also has choirs; these are well-known as Songster Brigades, normally making up the traditional soprano, alto, tenor, and also bass singers. The premier Songster Brigade in the Salvation military is the international Staff Songsters (ISS).<24>

The Salvation Army additionally fielded big concertina bands. Native the beginning of the twenty century come the second World War between a 3rd and a fifty percent of every Salvation army officers in Britain played concertina. For an evangelist the concertina"s portability, its capacity to beat both melody and chords, and most especially the fact that the player deserve to sing or speak when playing, were all distinct benefits over brass instruments.<25>

Another far-reaching musical function of the Salvation military is its usage of tambourines. Through colored ribbons representing the color of the Salvation army flag, timbrels beat an integral side of music in the Salvation army. They are largely played by women.

The army tradition in music is to usage the renowned idiom that the day to reach civilization for Jesus. Local corps commonly sing modern-day worship music songs in Sunday worship services, and traditional hymns and also music accompanied by the brass band.

Disaster relief

The Salvation Army, together with many other non-governmental relief firm disaster relief organizations, room members the the national Voluntary Organizations active in disaster (NVOAD).<26> The Salvation army is officially recognized by federal, state, and also local governments across the United states as a sanctioned disaster relief organization. Within the National response Framework, it provides relief solutions to communities impacted by both natural and also man-made disasters.

The Salvation Army"s main goals in catastrophe relief room to offer:

Material comfortPhysical comfort

The Salvation Army"s first major forays in the joined States into disaster relief resulted from the devastation wrought through the Galveston Hurricane the 1900. National Commander Frederick Booth-Tucker mobilized army officers from throughout the nation into the Galveston area to aid clean, feed, and shelter the hundreds of survivors, while additionally providing lot needed spiritual and emotional support. The 1906 san Francisco earthquake marked the an initial time The Salvation army coordinated a major, nationwide fundraising initiative in an answer to a disaster.<28> The Salvation military was the very first relief firm to reach Ground Zero in ~ the people Trade center site adhering to the September 11 attacks in 2001, and also in 2005 was energetic in responding to immediate needs the survivors adhering to Hurricane Katrina.

The Salvation military continues come work closely with regional authorities to help in responding to natural and man-made catastrophes wherever they occur throughout the world. Because that example, a permanent presence in the an ar since the 1890s permitted The Salvation military to it is in on the ground offering immediate catastrophe relief to affected individuals within hours of the 2004 Indian s earthquake and also tsunami.

Thrift Stores and also Charity Shops

The Salvation army is well known for that network the thrift stores or charity shops which raise money because that its rehabilitation program by marketing donated used items such as clothing, housewares, and toys. Clothing accumulated by Salvation army stores that room not marketed on place are often sold wholesale on the an international second hand clothing market.

Red Kettles

In plenty of countries, The Salvation army is most recognized during the Christmas season with its volunteers and also employees who stand exterior of businesses and also play/sing Christmas carols, or ring bells to inspire passers-by to location donations inside red kettles. In the U.S. Alone, end 25,000 volunteers with red kettles are stationed close to retail stores throughout the weeks coming before Christmas for fundraising.<7>

This tradition started in California in 1891, when Salvation army Captain Joseph McFee placed a large, iron kettle in ~ the Oakland Ferry Landing to collect donations come fund totally free Christmas dinners for the poor. The campaign was so effective that this day the Salvation army kettle donations feed numerous million civilization during the vacation season.<29>


Edition that The war Cry, 6 respectable 1887



External links

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