We see the familiar sight of Salvation Army bell-ringers as they stand in public places ringing bells and soliciting donations:
In other times of the year, people drop off clothes, furniture at Salvation Army drop boxes or at the many Salvation Army thrift stores.
Its activities have justly earned the Salvation Army the reputation of being one of the most active charitable and relief organizations in the world.
They’ve also masked something: they’re a religion
They were founded in London in 1865 by a former Methodist minister named William Booth, along with his wife, Catherine.
They do believe in some key points of the Christian faith.
They call themselves the “Salvation Army.” Their organizational structure is not like that of other churches, with bishops, priests, etc. Instead, they model like that of an army, with officers, soldiers, and a general (their equivalent of the pope) at the top.
You would view them as a somewhat eccentric form of Protestantism, except for one thing: they’re not actually Christians. They do not practice baptism. Instead, they “swear in” soldiers.
Yet Scripture records Jesus, commanding us to: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Matthew 28:19
Why shouldn’t that be taken a face value as a command to go baptize throughout the nations?
We certainly see people in the book of Acts practicing water baptism. And we see St. Paul practicing it. And St. Peter even says: “water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.” 1 Peter 3:20-21
So Salvationists have NOT been baptized or have not received the first sacrament of Christian initiation and so have not been initiated as a Christian.
This is unfortunate. But there is another misfortune : they’ve let their charitable activity conceal their message. They aren’t communicating the partial presentation of the Christian faith that is found in Protestant churches.
The fact is, many people don’t even realize that the Salvation Army is a religion. They think of it merely as a charitable organization, like the Red Cross.
The Church is called to help the poor and the suffering. But it must not allow the relief of this-worldly suffering to eclipse its fundamental message, which points beyond this world.
“But can we ever do too much to help the poor?” some might ask. Is there always more we could do to help the poor? It’s called spirituality. The Church’s service of the poor must be paired with a vigorous presentation of the Gospel. In words. Not just deeds.
If you spend all your time serving the poor and not telling them about Jesus, that is not truly serving them, because it only helps them with the material problems and does not give them a clear and direct presentation of the Christian message.
The fact that the Salvation Army is commonly thought of a charity rather than a religion shows just how badly things can go wrong.
WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
The Church exists to reveal the entire truth of God. That is, when the people after the end of the world and history, become the Kingdom of God and live the completeness of love.
JESUS WISHES TO SPEAK TO YOU
People are Hungry for the Spiritual.
“I love you.
I gave a command to all My friends to go into the whole world and preach the Good News to all, baptizing all those who believe in Me.
I want you, My friend, to teach all I have taught you. So few today take up this command of mine.
The Church is like the door to the Kingdom for she teaches you about the Kingdom, baptizes you so you are reborn and brings you back to the Kingdom when you depart from it through sin. Without the Church, it is very difficult to attain to My Kingdom. The Kingdom begins in this world and is perfected in heaven. Continue reading SALVATION ARMY RELIGION