The Church was started in 1865 by William Booth, an ordained Methodist minister, in London, England. He and his wife, Catherine, founded an evangelical group to minister to the poverty stricken population. The group was originally known at The Christian Mission and became The Salvation Army in 1878, when the organization evolved in a military-like pattern. Booth became the “general” while his ministers were given ranks.
The Salvation Army still functions under this structure today and has expanded to 127 countries and 160 languages.
Salvation Army beliefs follow those of the universal Christian church, as derived from the scriptures in the Old and New Testament. The Salvation Army beliefs are based on eleven doctrines, listed below.
The Doctrines of the Salvation Army
- We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that only they constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.
- We believe that there is only one God, who is infinitely perfect, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, and who is the only proper object of religious worship.
- We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, undivided in essence and equal in power and glory.
- We believe that in the person of Jesus Christ the Divine and human natures are united, so that He is truly and properly God and truly and properly man.
- We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocence, but by their disobedience, they lost their purity and happiness, and that in consequence of their fall, all men have become sinners, totally depraved, and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God.
- We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by His suffering and death made an atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will believe may be saved.
- We believe that repentance toward God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and regeneration by the Holy Spirit are necessary to salvation.
- We believe that we are justified by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and that he that believes has the witness in himself.
- We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.
- We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- We believe in the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, in the general judgement at the end of the world, in the eternal happiness of the righteous, and in the endless punishment of the wicked.