The Salvation Army

The Doctrines

The Salvation Army Articles of Faith are called the "Doctrines" and follow the main outline of historic Christian teaching as derived from the Scripture. These beliefs have not essentially changed since the earliest days of the Army in England. It is required of officers of all ranks that their teaching, in public and private, shall conform to these eleven Articles of Faith.

  1. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that they only constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.
  2. 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.
  3. We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead-the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, undivided in essence and co-equal in power and glory.
  4. 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.
  5. We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocency, 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.
  6. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by His suffering and death made an atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will may be saved.
  7. We believe that repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit, are necessary to salvation.
  8. We believe that we are justified by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and that he that believeth hath the witness in himself.
  9. We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.
  10. 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.
  11. We believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of the body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; in the eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the endless punishment of the wicked.


In 1890 AD, William Booth, church minister and founder of the Salvation Army, was influenced by Heinroth's 1818 AD book and adopted the view that men who chose to sin can slide down a slippery slope into involuntary insanity. "some men of science [Heinroth] hold that persistence in habits tends to convert a man from a being with freedom of action and will into a mere automaton". Both Booth and Heinroth believed that insanity was a robotic state that was entered by freewill choices to engage in sin and that they should be committed to asylums against their will and taken care of at tax payer expense. Although the salvation Army is a church that actually refuses to baptize or partake of the Lord's Supper, they are really not viewed as a religion by the general public, but a type of public charity helping human suffering. It may come as a surprise to many that Booth's view was to "only help them who help themselves" and throw into an asylum, "those who refuse to help themselves": "when all has been done and every chance has been offered, when you have forgiven your brother not only seven times but seventy times seven, when you have fished him up from the mire and put him on firm ground only to see him relapse and again relapse until you have no strength left to pull him out once more, there will still remain a residuum of men and women who have, whether from heredity or custom, or hopeless demoralisation, become reprobates." Booth viewed the insane as a "lost soul on this side of the grave". He understood that laziness was a huge common factor with the insane and recommends involuntary committal to an asylum anyone who refused to work or care for themselves: "There are men so incorrigibly lazy that no inducement that you can offer will tempt them to work; so eaten up by vice that virtue is abhorrent to them, and so inveterately dishonest that theft is to them a master passion. When a human being has reached that stage, there is only one course that can be rationally pursued. Sorrowfully, but remorselessly, it must be recognised that he has become lunatic, morally demented, incapable of self-government, and that upon him, therefore, must be passed the sentence of permanent seclusion from a world in which he is not fit to be at large." He viewed the insane as, "carrying with them the contagion of moral leprosy, and multiplying a progeny doomed before its birth to inherit the vices and diseased cravings of their unhappy parents." It was on this basis that his charitable efforts must cease: "But when they have reached a certain point [of sinfulness] access to their fellow men should be forbidden." ... "after an [insane] individual had suffered a certain number of convictions for crime, drunkenness, or vagrancy, he should forfeit his freedom to roam abroad and curse his fellows. ... I include vagrancy in this list" Booth viewed the insane as condemned sinners engaging in sinful behaviours that the general public should be protected from coming in contact with. (In Darkest England and the Way Out, William Booth 1890 AD)

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