The Articles Of Faith (The Doctrines of The Salvation Army)
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.
We believe in the immortality of the soul; in 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.
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The Salvation Army crest was designed in 1878. The crest can be found in all Salvation Army periodicals and books and also in most Salvation Army halls.
This symbol has particular importance to Salvationists because it reminds them of important features of faith. The ‘S' in the centre stands for salvation, while the empty cross represents the death and resurrection of Jesus. The swords remind Salvationists that they are engaged in spiritual warfare. The surrounding shape of the sun stands for the fire and light of the Holy Spirit. The crown reminds Salvationists that Heaven is the reward of all those who love and serve God. The motto ‘Blood and Fire' again emphasises important points of Salvation Army belief: ‘Blood' because Christians are saved from sin by the blood of Jesus, and ‘Fire' representing the power of the Holy Spirit which helps Christians live holy lives.
The flag was again designed to symbolize the essential beliefs of The Salvation Army. Today the design is unchanged - no matter which part of the world the Army operates in. (127 Countries)
The blue represents holiness- the holiness of God and the holy lives Christians are called to live. The red represents the blood of Jesus Christ - shed when he was crucified, making it possible for us to be forgiven. The yellow star symbolizes the power of God's Holy Spirit, which enables us to live free from sin. The motto reinforces this symbolism.
Salvationists do not regard the flag as sacred but it is thought of with respect because it represents important spiritual truths pertaining to our Triune God.
The 'Red Shield' is the most publicly recognised logo of The Salvation Army. It consists of a red shield with the words ‘The Salvation Army' printed across it in white.
Traditionally this was the logo for The Salvation Army's social service activities. It is often used for such things as exhibitions, collecting boxes or door-to-door collection envelopes. Because it is now so easily recognised as a symbol of The Salvation Army, the Red Sheild is being used for the Army's church/religious activities as well as its social services activities.
The Red Shield is a pictoral representation of 'the shield of faith' mentioned in Ephesians 6:16.
The Salvation Army uniform indicates that the wearer is a professing Christian and that they are available to give practical or spiritual help (through the Movement, if not personally).
There are personal advantages in uniform-wearing for the Salvationist. It helps the wearer remember to live up to the Christian profession that they have made. Wearing uniform also gives Salvationists a sence of comradary and fellowship when they meet each other. The intention of Salvation Army uniform is not to isolate its wearer from other people but to give a visible sign that he or she is available to serve others.
Salvation Army uniforms have a basic style, but they carry a variety of trimmings, epaulettes and badges. These indicate to fellow Salvationists whether the wearer is an officer or soldier (Pastor or lay-person), which corps (church) the person belongs to and whether or not they carry a position of responsibility within that corps.
In overseas countries the uniform has been adapted to be in keeping with the cultural style of the normal dress worn in those lands.
Our Stance On The Sacraments
The Christian Church is made up of people who have responded in faith and repentance to the call of Jesus Christ. That, and that alone, is the basis of membership. They are born not of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13).
This is the requirement asked by The Salvation Army of those who would be enrolled as soldiers within its ranks. In this we are on firm New Testament ground!
Whilst the Army respects those who find the Sacraments helpful as means of grace, it holds the view that nowhere does Scripture teach that the observance of a particular ritual is essential to salvation or Christian living.
It is to a true inward relationship with God that The Salvation Army seeks to testify.
The Salvation Army is not opposed to the Sacraments, but positively asserts that repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and regeneration by the Holy Spirit are the only essentials of Salvation.
There are significant parallels between The Salvation Army’s understanding of water baptism and our soldier enrollment ceremony -
Only those who confess Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord may be considered for soldiership in The Salvation Army.
Such a confession is confirmed by the gracious presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and includes the call to discipleship.
In accepting the call to discipleship Salvationists promise to continue to be responsive to the Holy Spirit and to seek to grow in grace.
They also express publicly their desire to fulfill membership of Christ’s Church on earth as soldiers of The Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army rejoices in the truth that all who are in Christ are baptised into the one body by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13).
It believes, in accordance with Scripture, that there is one body and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:5,6).
The swearing-in of a soldier of The Salvation Army beneath the trinitarian sign of the Army’s flag acknowledges this truth.
It is a public response and witness to a life-changing encounter with Christ which has already taken place, as is the water baptism practiced by other Christians.
The Salvation Army acknowledges that there are many worthy ways of publicly witnessing to having been baptised into Christ’s body by the Holy Spirit and expressing a desire to be his disciple.
The swearing-in of a soldier should be followed by a lifetime of continued obedient faith in Christ, as should water baptism.
When it comes to The Salvation Army’s understanding and approach to Holy Communion, the following points should be noted:
God’s grace is freely and readily accessible to all people at all times and in all places.
No particular outward observance is necessary to inward grace.
The Salvation Army believes that unity of the Spirit exists within diversity and rejoices in the freedom of the Spirit in expressions of worship.
When Salvationists attend other Christian gatherings in which a form of Holy Communion is included, they may partake if they choose to do so and if the host church allows.
Christ is the one true Sacrament, and sacramental living, Christ living in us and through us is at the heart of Christian holiness and discipleship.
Throughout its history The Salvation Army has kept Christ’s atoning sacrifice at the centre of its corporate worship.
The Salvation Army rejoices in its freedom to celebrate Christ’s real presence at all meals and in all meetings, and in its opportunity to explore in life together the significance of the simple meals shared by Jesus and his friends and by the first Christians.
Salvationists are encouraged to develop creative means of hallowing meals in the home and the corps - in remembrance of the Lord’s sacrificial love.
The Salvation Army encourages the development of resources for fellowship meals, which will vary according to culture, without ritualising particular words or actions.
In accordance with normal Salvation Army practice, such remembrances and celebrations, where observed, will not become established rituals, nor will frequency be prescribed.