About the quasi-military Protestant Christian group known as the Salvation Army, its organisation, charity work and famous connection with music.
Last updated 2009-07-30
About the quasi-military Protestant Christian group known as the Salvation Army, its organisation, charity work and famous connection with music.
The Salvation Army is a Protestant denomination of the Christian Church with over 1.6 million members in 109 countries.
In the UK there are over 800 Salvation Army parishes (known as corps), over 1,500 ordained ministers (known as officers) and 54,000 members (including senior soldiers, adherents and junior soldiers).
Salvation Army officers wear a military-style uniform, though some officers may wear a more informal uniform when undertaking certain duties. Members of the church often choose to wear a uniform, but are not required to do so.
Salvation Army halls are registered as places of worship. Salvation Army officers are ordained ministers of religion, and can conduct weddings and funerals.
The Salvation Army is famous for its work with people who have fallen on hard times: it offers help to the elderly, the young, offenders, drug addicts and blind and disabled people; it provides food and shelter for the homeless and operates food distribution centres.
The Salvation Army was founded in 1865, in the East End of London, by William Booth. Booth was an evangelist who wanted to offer practical help to the poor and destitute as well as preaching the Gospel to them. It was originally called the Christian Mission, but changed its name to the Salvation Army in 1878.
"Strawberry Fields Forever" in the Beatles 1966 song by that name, is John Lennon's nostalgic reference to a Salvation Army orphanage called Strawberry Field in Woolton, England. Lennon is said to have played with childhood friends in the trees behind the orphanage when he was a boy.
The phrase 'on the wagon' was coined by men and women receiving the services of The Salvation Army. Former National Commander Evangeline Booth - founder William Booth's daughter - drove a hay wagon through the streets of New York to encourage alcoholics on board for a ride back to The Salvation Army. Hence, alcoholics in recovery were said to be on the wagon.
The Salvation Army was formed in England in 1865 by William Booth, a former Methodist minister.
Booth had his first real religious experiences with the Wesleyan Methodists in his early teens. He was converted to Christianity in 1844, and gave his first sermons at the age of seventeen in Nottingham in 1846. By the 1850s he was working as an evangelist amongst the poor and uneducated.
Booth was something of a maverick and didn't fit easily in the ranks of existing religious institutions. After falling out with several churches he decided to strike out alone and launched the 'Christian Mission to the Heathen of our Own Country' in 1865 from a tent in Whitechapel, a poor district of London.
Booth believed that instead of standing at the door of the church saying "why don't you come in?" Christians must go out and meet the world on its own terms.
Booth felt that the mainstream churches in Britain were too middle-class to be successful in bringing God to the masses.
The Salvation Army was not middle-class. Booth's followers and those who joined him in the work were drawn from the poor.
As a result, most Salvationists understood working-class people and values and could speak to them on their terms. This greatly helped Booth's mission to succeed.
The movement grew rapidly but by 1877 it became clear to Booth that it would only succeed if it was directed by a single strong hand - his own.
He took control of the Army saying, "I am determined that Evangelists in this Mission must hold my views and work on my lines," and he ran the Army as a dictatorship, taking personal authority over everything.
The modern Army is no longer run like this - its leadership is consultative rather than autocratic.
Since Booth saw his movement as engaged in a spiritual battle against the forces of sin it was logical that he should adopt a military metaphor that had a long history in Christianity.
In 1878 the mission adopted the title of 'Salvation Army', seeing itself as:
a Salvation Army to carry the Blood of Christ and the Fire of the Holy Ghost into every corner of the world
It adopted a quasi-military structure the same year and Booth ceased to be the General Superintendent and became simply 'The General'.
Like secular soldiers, the Salvation Army had to go to the most dangerous places to attack the enemy. To save the souls of the poor they carried their battle into the roughest and toughest places of British cities. Their only weapon was the word of God, backed up by music.
They were not always welcome - in 1882 over 600 Salvationists were physically assaulted in the UK, including women and children. The War Cry (the Salvation Army journal) reported one incident like this:
The storm raged, the wind blew, rain and snow came down. Stones were thrown, a brickbat striking the head of Sergeant Fellowes, breaking his head, and causing the loss of a pint of blood. He was taken to the hospital, had his head bandaged, and came back leaping and praising God.
Booth's first aim was to save fallen human beings from sin by converting them to Christianity, but he wanted to do more; to turn them into saints.
They wouldn't be saints because they were morally perfect; they would be saints because they were God's chosen, because Christ was alive in them, and because they would dedicate their lives to building God's kingdom on earth.
Their mission was quite simple - to save other souls for Christ. They had been 'saved to save'.
Despite Booth's early experiences with the poor of Nottingham, the Army was not created to be an instrument of social change. Apart from a few minor projects, the early Army concentrated on pure evangelism - on prayer and preaching - to win converts.
In the middle of the 1880s senior Army officers realised that poverty was a serious obstacle to their mission - people found it hard to think about the state of their souls if they were worrying about where the next meal was coming from.
So the Army began to set up centres where people could find food and shelter. This initiative gave them a new access to people living in extreme poverty, and there were many of those in Victorian England.
The Army did not try to convert people to Christianity by using logic to convince them that Christianity was true. The Army's great engine of conversion was prayer. As Booth put it, "Argument never opened the eyes of the blind. Do not argue, but pray."
An Army catch-phrase is "prayer at the centre of our mission and mission at the centre of our prayer."
"It's not the arguments that convince them, it's the lives."
The Army believes that the behaviour and lifestyle of Salvationists comprise another powerful weapon of conversion. They seek to set an example by living in love and unity in a world of separateness and conflict and loving people who are hard to love.
Music has always been important to the Salvation Army. William Booth famously asked 'Why should the devil have all the best tunes?'
The Salvation Army's first band was "recognised" by William Booth in 1879. It consisted of Charles Fry, a local builder in Salisbury, and his three sons.
Salvation Army preachers in Salisbury were being attacked by local rowdies at their open air meetings. Fry and his sons offered to act as bodyguards and brought their instruments to accompany the singing. The music turned out to reduce tension, as well as drowning any shouts and abuse. Fry is commemorated by a blue plaque in Salt Street, Salisbury.
In 1880 Booth issued a General Order in the War Cry encouraging the development of brass bands. The same year saw the publication of the first book of Salvation Army music; another volume followed in 1883.
One of the secrets of the Army's musical success was its technique of taking well-known music-hall and the popular songs and giving them a Christian text. Although the Army does use many traditional hymn tunes, this use of unchurchy popular melodies gives a unique sound to Salvation Army worship.
The Salvation Army now has approximately 2,500 brass bands worldwide, among other musical styles used in their worship.
A Salvation Army brass band is made up of cornets (Eb and Bb), flugelhorn, alto horn, euphonium, baritone, trombone (tenor and bass), tuba (Eb and Bb) and percussion. Other ensembles are also used.
The Salvation Army has recently (2004) looked at the evangelical techniques needed for the modern age.
It believes that the church should look beyond mere techniques and focus on the fact that "relationships are fundamental to the task of evangelisation".
And while the Army acknowledges that the internet and other media have a part to play it notes that some things never change:
People who are highly literate and technologically aware, as well as those who are traumatised or dispossessed, often hunger for someone to actually talk and listen to them.
Agape (a Greek word pronounced a-ga-pay) is a Christian term meaning spiritual, platonic and selfless love.
'God is love' says the Church, but what does love really mean?
2000 years ago, Jesus' friends faced the same question. They went to great lengths to find a word for God's love that set it apart from soppy love, puppy love, lust, adoration or infatuation and staked a claim to the word 'agape'.
Today, The Salvation Army is making up its own word ALOVE. ALOVE is agape in English.
ALOVE is a Godly, gritty, unconditional, sacrificial and vibrant love.
The ALOVE initiative ("it rhymes with above") was launched in March 2004. It is aimed at getting youths and young adults involved with the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army is a mainstream Protestant church. Its beliefs are based entirely on the Bible.
There is nothing unusual about the doctrines held by members of the Salvation Army - they are much the same as those of other evangelical protestant groups.
What is different is the passion with which Salvationists hold these beliefs, and the way it fills them with a desire to fight the evils of the world and save other people from sin and damnation.
Salvationists hold their beliefs with "infectious joy". They "glorify their Lord by living as rejoicing Christians. The world has gloom and sadness enough of its own. The joy of the Lord is the strength of the Army spirit."
Salvationists don't retire to the quiet of a religious community to keep themselves pure; they plunge joyously into a sinful world to bring freedom to those in chains.
The Army describes itself like this:
The Salvation Army is a fellowship of people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord and whose common aim is to induce others to subject themselves to the lordship of Christ.
The core doctrine of the Salvation Army is set out in its eleven articles of faith:
The Army summarises the practical implications of its beliefs like this:
The Salvation Army, like many other protestant churches believes that all believers have a ministry to "proclaim the glorious gospel with urgency and in whatever way they can through their lives and through their words."
The Army teaches that believers live out their religious vocation through their service to the community.
The Salvation Army sees itself as a "holiness movement". It describes 'holiness' as 'Christlikeness' and says that Salvationists should:
...earnestly strive to become wholly devoted and obedient to God, strong and upright, true, pure, kind, loving and humble - in one word, holy, like Jesus.
The military metaphor of the Army has a long history in Christianity which sees the Church engaged in spiritual warfare. It was used in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible and many Christian writings and hymns use military imagery.
The Army uses military features such as uniforms, flags and ranks to identify, inspire and regulate its activities.
Booth's wife Catherine put it like this:
Soldiers of Christ must be abandoned to the war. They must be thoroughly committed to God's side; there can be no neutrals in this warfare.
When the soldier enlists and takes the Queen's shilling, he ceases to be his own property, becoming the property of his country, going where he is sent, standing at any post to which he is assigned, even if it be at the cannon's mouth. He gives up the ways and comforts of civilians and goes forth with his life in his hand, in obedience to the will of his sovereign.
If I understand it, that is just what Jesus Christ demands of every one of his soldiers, and nothing less.
Unlike other Christian churches the Salvation Army does not recognise any sacraments, such as baptism or communion, as essential.
The Army does not teach that sacraments are wrong, but it believes that they are unnecessary, and may be unhelpful to some.
Early Salvationists were concerned that many Christians had become too attached to rituals as outward signs of spiritual grace. The Salvation Army places the emphasis on personal faith and on a spiritual relationship with God which doesn't depend on anything external.
Modern day Salvationists avoid sacraments for the following reasons:
Because of this, the Salvation Army does not hold communion or any other form of Eucharistic service. However, it does not ban Salvationists from taking communion as a sign of fellowship when they attend another church. Salvationists believe that Jesus is present and can be remembered and celebrated at every meal, not just at a sacramental breaking of bread.
The Army has its own ceremony for becoming a member of the church (a Soldier) - the equivalent of baptism or confirmation - but the army ceremony does not involve water and is not sacramental.
The Army does not ban Salvationists from getting baptised in another church if they wish to do so.
Salvationists treat other Christian churches with respect and pray that God may use them to bring sinners to himself.
William Booth expressed this by saying that Salvationists do not see it as their God-given task to protest against the doctrines or practices of other Christians, but to attest the gospel message about the saving work of Christ.
The Army takes part in activities to promote unity, understanding and practical co-operation between the various Christian bodies.
In many countries the Salvation Army co-exists with non-Christian faiths. It respects the sincerely-held beliefs of devout non-Christians, and does not regard conflict or bitter controversy as suitable means to making known the good news of Jesus.
The Salvation Army name for a parish is a Salvation Army Corps. Corps are led by officers, the Army equivalent of ministers.
Those involved in a corps are divided into:
Only officers and soldiers are counted as full members of the Salvation Army.
Leadership in the Army is provided by commissioned officers who are ordained ministers of religion.
Salvation Army officers were not always regarded as ordained, but in 1978 the Army modified the commissioning ceremony to "emphasise the fact that Salvation Army officers are ordained ministers of Christ and His gospel." This was confirmed in 2002.
The Army does not make a sharp division between sacred and secular - all believers are members of the priesthood - and it believes that all soldiers could theoretically carry out any ministry that an officer could, except where secular law rules otherwise.
However the Army recognises that some individuals are called to particular types of ministry, and acknowledges this by commissioning some soldiers as officers to take on the ministries of preaching, evangelisation or administration, and to exercise authority within the church.
This division has never inhibited Salvationists from giving their all; the Army does not have an active clergy and a passive laity - it operates as a combined and effective spiritual force.
Some distinguished Salvationists were never commissioned as officers, including Booth's wife Catherine, and the early Salvation Army activist, George Railton.
Salvationists accepted to become officers receive two years' residential training. In the UK this is at the William Booth College in Camberwell, South London.
At the end of the training period, cadets sign a covenant with God and The Salvation Army in private. This is followed by a public ceremony in which they are ordained, commissioned and appointed as ministers of the church.
The world is divided into zonal territories, which are themselves divided into smaller, usually national, areas.
Leadership within a territory is delegated by the General to a territorial commander appointed by him.
The administration of Salvation Army work in the UK and Ireland is further devolved to 18 divisional headquarters.
These are purely symbols - Salvationists do not regard them as sacred, but they treat them with great respect.
The motto emphasises key points of Salvation Army belief:
The Salvation Army badge symbolises the important features of the faith.
The flag consists of a blue border surrounding a red background, in the centre of which is a yellow star. The flag bears the Army's motto 'Blood and Fire'.
The mercy seat is found in every Salvation Army meeting hall. It's a bench at the front where people can kneel.
The mercy seat has two main uses.
When a person decides to become a Christian they often make a public commitment by kneeling at the mercy seat during worship. However it is important to realise that the act at the mercy seat is a public statement that God has changed something in the believer's soul; it does not itself make any change in the believer.
People who are already Christians also kneel at the mercy seat, either as a public demonstration that they are re-dedicating themselves to God, or in order to pray in a special way about a particular decision or problem affecting their lives.
People can also kneel at the mercy seat as a simple act of worship.
The mercy seat is a very old idea, found first in the Old Testament, where it was the holy place where God's presence was believed to be and where he communicated with his people.
Salvationists do not believe that the mercy seat is a piece of furniture with special spiritual properties; whenever and wherever a person meets in spirit with God, that is a 'mercy seat'.
Salvation Army uniforms denote rank by different trimmings on the epaulets and/or collars of their uniforms.
A soldier has plain black or blue epaulets. Officers have red felt patches on collar and epaulets and their rank is shown by silver stars and/or crest, e.g. a captain has two silver stars on his epaulets, a major has a silver crest.
Local officers are indicated by the initials on the sleeve of their uniform, eg CT - corps treasurer, YPSM - young people's sergeant-major.
The uniform is not intended to identify Salvationists as in any way better than other people.
The Army believes that wearing the uniform brings many benefits:
The Salvation Army does not have a christening ceremony - children undergo a ceremony of dedication instead.
In this ceremony parents thank God for the gift of their child and promise to provide a Christian upbringing. Salvationist parents also promise to bring up the child in a Salvationist lifestyle and with Salvationist standards.
This ceremony differs from Christening in two main ways:
The dedication takes place during a normal Salvation Army meeting for worship.
Thanks are given to God for the new life.
The officer conducting the ceremony reminds the parents of the promises they are making and they agree to keep them. The promises are to care for the child and protect her or him from harmful things as far as possible.
The officer then takes the child in his or her arms and, praying for the child by its full name, asks God to bless the child and guide the family. People in the congregation are asked to encourage and help the child as he or she grows up.
After the prayer, the child is given back to the parents. A dedication certificate is presented and the dedication register is signed.
Children can become junior soldiers from the age of seven. They sign a simple statement that they love God and have asked to be forgiven for their sins. They promise to try to follow the example of Jesus.
A short course of Christian teaching is given. At a simple ceremony the child receives a badge and certificate of acceptance.
This initiates a person as a full soldier in the Salvation Army. It can take place at any time after the age of fifteen.
The spiritual meaning of this is similar to confirmation or baptism in other churches.
The person must:
The Salvationist wedding ceremony is very similar to any church wedding, but with some unique Salvation Army additions. For example:
One question frequently asked is "who can Salvationists marry?" - and people are often surprised that the answer is "anybody that the law permits".
Salvationists don't have to get married to other Salvationists (but very often they do); they don't even have to marry other Christians (although they almost always do).
In earlier days Salvation Army officers were only allowed to marry other officers if they wanted to continue their work. This is now changing and Salvation Army officers have more freedom in their choice of partner. However this will make little practical difference, as officers often choose to live out their ministry as a husband and wife partnership.
Salvationists believe that when the physical body dies, the soul or spirit continues to exist in another dimension. This new dimension could be Heaven or 'glory' in which God is present, or hell which is the absence of God.
Salvationist believe that those who have accepted God will go to Heaven, and so they use the phrase "Promotion to Glory" to refer to the death of a Christian.
Salvationists may be buried or cremated.
Salvation Army funerals have an atmosphere of joy and hope, since despite the sadness of losing a family member, friend or colleague, there is joy in the belief that the dead person is happy in a new existence with God. So instead of black the Army's funeral colour is white, and the flags which are walked to the graveside are draped with white ribbons.
Soldiers attend funerals in uniform and may wear a white ribbon round the sleeve of their tunic.
Salvation Army funeral traditions include:
Salvationists regard their whole life and being as an act of worship, but, of course, they meet regularly for worship.
Salvation Army meetings are open to anyone - you don't have to be a Salvationist or even a Christian to attend.
Meetings don't have a set order of service. They usually include plenty of hymns and songs, and there may be group or individual music items. Occasionally a dance or drama group may be used to help with the worship. Verses from the Bible are read in every meeting.
Music may be provided by the local Salvation Army band or by the choir (who are called the 'Songsters').
An officer usually leads the meeting and gives the 'address' (sermon), but other people can do both or may be invited to take part by praying, reading out verses of hymns or from the Bible, or by giving 'testimonies' in which they talk about their experience of God.
Prayers are not formal or liturgical, but more often spontaneous and from the heart.
Music has been important to the Army from its early days, when it was a powerful evangelical tool; not just to attract a crowd to hear the preacher, but as a way of helping people to experience faith in a more embracing way than words could on their own.
The Salvation Army is famous for its works to help the poor and needy. Members pride themselves on being "doers of the word and not hearers only" and emphasise rolling up their sleeves and getting on with it.
The Salvation Army helps believers and non-believers equally. Practical care is never offered - or refused - on the basis of belief. The Army hopes that those it helps will become Christians, but it doesn't require them to do so.
The Army's social work is a religious activity. Members of the Army are inspired by their belief in a loving and caring God to show their love for humanity and their practical response to human need. In this they follow the teachings of Jesus.
I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was in prison and you came to see me
The Salvation Army sees no conflict between spiritual and social ministry. It seeks to serve people so as to satisfy both the spiritual and social dimensions of their needs. The Army believes that this approach shows the very essence of the Gospel.
Salvationists affirm the following:
The Salvation Army works to change structures in society that perpetuate economic injustice. For example, the Salvation Army campaigned against government proposals to increase the opportunities for gambling.
William Booth believed that fighting for social change was vital to achieve his vision. When speaking his social work plan, he often used the metaphor of an ambulance at the foot of the precipice of human failure, noting that he also intended to erect a fence at the top.
The Salvation Army has a tradition of not giving up on anyone. Members believe that however low a person has sunk God continues to love them, and that God's grace can redeem anyone.
In the UK alone, the Salvation Army has 50 centres which help people without homes and provide over 3,000 beds. They are full almost every night.
The ultimate aim of the programme is to help homeless people to live independently in homes of their own, and all the centres have case workers and resettlement workers to help their clients achieve this.
The Army doesn't just provide beds: many centres distribute blankets and sleeping bags to those without homes, and offer drop-in centres where people can find warmth, food and friendship - as well as help in finding somewhere to live.
Other services include lunch clubs, washing and bathing facilities, and food parcels.
The Salvation Army also organises soup runs in city areas. In London, the Salvation Army's Eagle Project co-ordinates an extensive soup run provision and many other volunteer-based activities.
The Salvation Army has 60 social programme centres which provide residential accommodation and rehabilitation for people with substance misuse problems. These are part of the National Addiction Service.
The Army has created an integrated, nationwide monitoring scheme providing a unique epidemiological profile of alcohol and drug taking in the UK.
As well as the over 300 Senior and Junior Youth Clubs run by Salvation Army corps around the country there are a number of specialist initiatives:
This is a church based youth project operating in an area where high unemployment leads to high crime, illegal drug use and low morale amongst residents.
The project involves Christian workers moving into the area to live and work alongside local young people as positive role models in the community.
The Army operates a wide range of services for older people:
The Salvation Army Fellowship of Endeavour (SAFE) is open to all children and adults together with their carers, whether they are members of The Salvation Army or not. This fellowship has about 1,000 members and works to works to cultivate a right attitude between the public and people with mental or physical disabilities and their families.
The majority of prisons in the UK receive regular visits from a Salvation Army chaplain. The Salvation Army Care and Support for Prisoners' Families Group offers practical and spiritual support by visiting families of prisoners, assessing needs and trying to help.
The Salvation Army maintains a number of purpose-built emergency mobile units which are equipped with resources which would be needed at a major incident such as a fire, flood, bombing, chemical incident, train or plane crash.
These units carry supplies of food, blankets and first aid and other equipment.
This service was established as long ago as 1885. The aim is to restore (or to sustain) family relationships by locating relatives who for various reasons (a deliberate break or otherwise) have become out of touch.
Around 5,000 enquiries are received each year and approximately 85% end in success. Over 20,000 family members now enjoy restored relationships as a result of enquiries carried out by the Family Tracing Service in the UK.
Salvationists are generally conservative in their ethical thinking. Since the Army devotes much of its energy to working in difficult social and ethical areas it is able to claim that its ethical doctrines are tested in practice every minute of every day.
All Salvationist ethics rely on Jesus for their authority. Their essence is captured in phrases like 'following Jesus' and 'the imitation of Christ'.
Every Salvationist makes the following ethical promises:
I will uphold Christian integrity in every area of my life, allowing nothing in thought, word or deed that is unworthy, unclean, untrue, profane, dishonest or immoral.
I will maintain Christian ideals in all my relationships with others; my family and neighbours, my colleagues and fellow salvationists, those to whom and for whom I am responsible, and the wider community.
I will uphold the sanctity of marriage and of family life. I will be a faithful steward of my time and gifts, my money and possessions, my body, my mind and my spirit, knowing that I am accountable to God.
I will abstain from alcoholic drink, tobacco, the non-medical use of addictive drugs, gambling, pornography, the occult and all else that could enslave the body or spirit."
Salvation Army promises
... to be pure in soul signifies deliverance from all and everything which the Lord shows you to be opposed to His Holy Will.
William Booth, Purity of Heart
The Salvation Army expects its members to live according to the "values of the Kingdom of God and not the values of the world."
Salvationists try to avoid "all impurity, including unclean conversation and the reading of any obscene book or paper" as well as pornographic pictures, films and exhibitions of any kind, or similar television and radio programmes.
The Salvation Army has historically required total abstinence from alcoholic drink from all its soldiers and officers.
Social drinking to please a host or hostess or a business associate should be ruled out. Alcoholic beverages in any form should not be tolerated within Salvation Army circles.
However, Salvationists are not forbidden to mix socially with drinkers, and War Cry is regularly sold in pubs.
Members of the Army also abstain from "tobacco, the non-medical use of addictive drugs, gambling, pornography, the occult, and all else that could enslave the body or spirit."
Such things are seen as endangering and degrading the physical, moral, and spiritual welfare of all those who become involved with them.
The Salvation Army believes in the sanctity of human life and so regards euthanasia as morally wrong.
Assisted suicide is also regarded as morally wrong.
However the Army defines euthanasia strictly, as a deliberate act causing the intentional death of a person in order to relieve that person's suffering.
The Army does not regard either of the following as euthanasia or as morally wrong:
The Army accepts that living wills or advance health care directives can be useful.
The Salvation Army recognizes that the battle between flesh and spirit is never easy, but believes that the sex drive is designed by God to lead to the highest expression of human love only within the holy estate of matrimony, and that when it is expressed outside of that relationship, it will inevitably lead to misery of self and others.
The Salvation Army holds to the Christian ideals of chastity before marriage and fidelity within the marriage relationship.
It believes that believes that sex and its proper use is a gift, created, ordained and blessed by God and intended to find expression only within the context of a loving marriage relationship.
The Army regards marriage as the voluntary and loving union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
Salvationist cannot remain soldiers if they sexually cohabit with a person of the opposite sex to whom they are not married. They must either marry or separate.
Salvationists cannot remain soldiers if they are involved in marital infidelity, deliberate promiscuity, a criminal sexual offence or any misconduct of a sexually deviant kind.
The Salvation Army believes that homosexual Christians must live celibate lives, since the Bible forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex.
The Army does not accept same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage.
The Salvation Army opposes any discrimination against homosexuals, and accepts as members homosexuals who will abide by the principle that sexual intimacy is only acceptable within marriage.
Homosexual practices unrenounced render a person unacceptable as a Salvation Army soldier, in the same way as heterosexual acts of immorality.
The Army recognises that some marriages fail and is willing to help couples facing such a situation. Where remarriage could lead to the healing of emotional wounds, the Army permits its officers to perform a marriage ceremony for a divorced person.
The Salvation Army believes that contraception is morally acceptable.
It encourages the use of birth control methods that are contraceptive (i.e. that prevent conception) versus the use of methods that are abortifacient (i.e. that prevent implantation after fertilisation).
The Salvation Army believes that abortion is morally wrong, and recommends that unwanted pregnancies should be continued to birth.
It is opposed to abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection or for any reason of mere convenience to avoid the responsibility for conception.
It deplores society's ready acceptance of abortion, which it believes reflects insufficient concern for vulnerable persons, including the unborn.
However it accepts that that there may be situations where those involved want to consider abortion; such situations need much prayer and careful thought.
In cases of proven rape or legally defined incest an abortion may be justified because of the extent to which rape and incest violate the whole person. Termination of a pregnancy may also be justified where reliable diagnostic procedures determine that a foetal abnormality is present which is incompatible with life other than brief post-natal survival or where there is total absence of cognitive function.
When an abortion takes place, The Salvation Army continues to show love and compassion and offers its services and fellowship to those involved.
Artificial insemination and in vitro fertilisation are acceptable when the sperm and ova of a husband and wife are used. The Salvation Army strongly advises against the use of donors because of theological, legal, moral, social, psychological, and ethical complications and implications.
The Salvation Army advises against surrogate motherhood.
The Salvation Army has chosen to be neutral in the debate over stem-cell research.
Debt is seen as a great evil. Salvationists should avoid getting into debt and only accept credit transactions (including mortgages) after making sure that they will be able to repay on time. They are expected to resist any temptation to live above their means.
The Salvation Army recognises that all human beings are made in God's image and are equal in intrinsic value.
From the earliest days the Army has given women and men equality of opportunity; every rank and service is open to both sexes.
All Salvation Army worship services are open to everyone and all Salvation Army social welfare services are provided on a non-discriminatory basis.
Salvationists are explicitly instructed to avoid class discrimination:
The Salvation Army must not become so much of a middle-class movement that it forgets 'the rock whence it is hewn'. It is called to proclaim salvation to all classes, but its special glory should be its concern for and its ability to appeal to the lowest and most forgotten, and to be their champion in every respect.