Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Did you know? The Salvation Army...


is a non-sacramental Christian denomination.

I had always assumed that the Salvation Army was something done by various Protestants (nonconformists) when they put on the uniform some evenings and at weekends. I had never realized that it was a distinct denomination - and one that rejected baptism and communion.

And yet I have SA members in my own extended family (ex Plymouth Bretheren from Ulster) although clearly I was never interested enough to ask them what it meant.

I got this from AJ Kreielsheimer's Conversion and the chapter on the SA founder General William Booth.

I found it encouraging that the Salvation Army seemed for several generations to preserve a strong and genuine Christian life despite the lack of sacraments; but with a traditional and patriarchal heirarchy.

This seems to expand the realm of possibilities for Christian resiliance and survival.



George Goerlich said...

Are alms really good in our modern state of affairs? I understand helping people to achieve a better state of life, but when people are entirely dependent on the alms for simply sustaining and expanding a very bad lifestyle (e.g. having extra kids solely to receive extra money) it seems the alms may very much do more net harm than healing.

bgc said...

@GG - But that wasn't how the SA operated - they were orientated towards Salvation, not alms for alms sake.

dearieme said...

The "sal dals" are on of the few bits of Christianity that has earned my steady respect. I confess that I didn't know that they are a wee church of their own; I knew only that they really did seem dedicated to helping their fellow man. Bless 'em.

James Higham said...

I had never realized that it was a distinct denomination - and one that rejected baptism and communion.

Now that is hugely disappointing - they have done great work in the past.

bgc said...

@JH - I am surprised, but not disappointed. To me it shows that the Holy Ghost can work in many ways.

Evelyn M. said...

I started contributing to the Salvation Army after seeing one of their centers in the middle of a terrible slum in Nairobi. Recently, I visited a local branch, here in a leafy suburb of New York, where I saw their after-school program for poor children, mainly the children of immigrants from Central and South America. The program was run superbly, but most important to me were the joyous expressions on the children's faces as they ran up to say hello to the woman running it. I found out then that all of the people on the staff were ministers of the Salvation Army church, which was on the premises. Nowadays, even though I don't attend their church, the Salvation Army gets all of funds I am able to contribute to charity.