The Salvation Army, of course, is more than a social service organization. It is also a Christian denomination. I never really knew what they believed, until a recent news article described its beliefs in some detail. For a newspaper to do this is remarkable, but I guess this time of year the Salvation Army is newsworthy.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Salvation Army have s a fairly routine set of beliefs. They accept the Trinity, the idea of Original Sin, and Christ’s atonement.
They believe that salvation comes through faith in Christ, and this requires personal repentance for one’s individual sins. If a believer falls back into sin, his salvation is in danger, as he is rejecting Christ.
Immortality of the soul, resurrection of the body, heaven and hell, the Bible inspired by God etc.
They don’t practice baptism, however. Nor do they have a communion service. The SA considers those merely outward signs of an inward conversion. For the SA, the uniform they wear serves that purpose. The officers (who have completed a two year training program) wear a uniform which is trimmed in red. The soldiers wear a similar uniform, but trimmed in blue.
A ban on alcohol and gambling is another practice which sets them apart from some Christian denominations.
And… a key part of their doctrine is their strong social mission. Said one officer: “We don’t want people just sitting in the pews. We believe in saving souls, serving suffering humanity and building saints.”