Frequently Asked Questions

The short answer is “Yes – Both”. 

This is a really good question because it’s not possible for the Salvation Army to be a church without being charitable. Therefore, it is both a church and a charity.

The Salvation Army thinks of itself in terms of a body with two arms, the spiritual and the social—with one hand we reach out to God and with the other we reach out to the world. I think that’s a beautiful image.

And this ‘two-in-one’ focus is not new for us. From the commencement of The Salvation Army in London in the late 19th century, our founders, William and Catherine Booth, emphasised that we must exist in this fashion—as a church we must live out our Christianity.

It’s crucial that our Christianity is expressed in charitable work. I don’t see a separation between church and charity and, in fact, if there were ever to be a separation between the two, then The Salvation Army would cease to exist as it is known, understood and valued today.

If it were to be ‘just’ a church and failed to be charitable, then it would have no right to preach or speak about justice, compassion, or anything that affects the well-being of others.

But if, on the other hand, it were just a charity, it would fail to respond to the whole person—the body, mind and spirit.

In the 1860s, William Booth, The Salvation Army’s Founder, began reaching out to the masses living in poverty in London. He preached that there was a God who could transform their lives and show them a new way. He fed them, prayed with them and thousands of lives were changed.


Booth, a Methodist minister, tried to introduce these new believers to local Methodist churches, but the wider church at the time had lost much of its vision for what was then considered the underclass and would not accept them.

In 1865, “The Christian Mission” was born and the name was later changed to “The Salvation Army” 

In less than 20 years, while it had not been his initial goal, Booth established The Salvation Army around the world. Today, the Army upholds the cross of Christ and serves suffering humanity worldwide in more than 130 countries.

Yes, The Salvation Army believes in and was founded on Biblical Principals.

What we Believe

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

We believe that repentance toward God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and regeneration by the Holy Spirit are necessary to salvation.

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.

We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.

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.

We believe in the immortality of the soul, 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.

For further information, download The Salvation Army Handbook of Doctrine.

“WE BELIEVE…” is a DVD doctrine series in interview format. Questions probe the significance, practicality and historical background of each doctrine. Click here to download MP3 audio files.

Now Available: Convictions Matter, by Major Ray Harris. The Salvation Army has been shaped by its core convictions, called doctrines. But what difference do they make to the life of Salvationists in the 21st century? This book explores the relevance and contribution of these historic doctrines for the present age. It argues that each doctrine has something vital to contribute to the Army’s understanding and practice of holiness. Convictions Matter is available at store.salvationarmy.caorderdesk@can.salvationarmy.org For the e-book, visit amazon.ca.

Short Answer…”YES”

A soldier is a Salvationist who is at least 14 years of age and has, with the approval of The Salvation Army Pastoral Care Council or Ministry Board in each local Salvation Army corps (Church), been enrolled as a warrior in the Christian denomination called The Salvation Army – after signing the Soldier’s Covenant (Salvation Army Articles of War). The soldier expresses his or her commitment in every area of life, but more specifically through the ministry and work of a local Salvation Army corps.

Salvationist Soldiers are considered by their peers to be covenanted warriors exercising ‘holy passion’ to win the world for Jesus. The covenant, known as the Soldier’s Covenant, is a lifelong commitment to God through The Salvation Army that is fleshed out by a full book of Orders and Regulations called “Chosen to Be a Soldier” published by the International Headquarters of The Salvation Army. There is also a complete book, formerly called the Handbook of Doctrine, reprinted as Salvation Story in 1998, and in 2010 became Handbook of Doctrine that explains the doctrines to which the soldier subscribes.

The text of the covenant reflects the Army’s determination to remain faithful to its standards and principles. All Soldiers (including officers of all ranks) are urged from time to time to re-read the solemn undertakings to which they have set their hand and to reaffirm before God their dedication to Him and to The Salvation Army, so that their lifestyle and service will be in keeping with the Soldier’s Covenant.

Having completed ‘Soldiership classes’, been approved by the Pastoral Care Council and having signed their Articles of War, a soldier is publicly enrolled under The Salvation Army flag usually as part of worship of a Salvation Army corps. The soldier makes a public declaration by reading the articles aloud and will often first wear a Salvation Army uniform on this day. An Officer of The Salvation Army, usually the corps officer (Pastor) of the corps into which the soldier is being enrolled, normally conducts this ceremony.

“Christian spirituality is the lived experience of God.”  God is Holy.  Salvationists are called to live the holiness of God, to make the holiness of God known, to walk in white and to live the truth, to love with a pure love… (Harris, Ray. 1Convictions Matter: The Function of Salvation Army Doctrines. N.p.: Governing Council of the Salvation Army in Canada, 2014. N. pag)

“Salvationists have often prided themselves on being evangelical activists with little time to give to the luxury of the contemplative life. However, with research into our history, Major Christine Faragher has discovered ‘a hidden stream’ of contemplative spirituality in The Salvation Army that we need to reclaim. Our mission, our outward activity and service for God must be fueled and energized by our spiritual life – with God on the inside.” – General Eva Burrows (PTG) (Faragher, Christine. Other Voices: Exploring the Contemplative in Salvationist Spirituality. Melbourne, Vic.: Salvo, 2010.)

For further information, download The Salvation Army Handbook of Doctrine.

“WE BELIEVE…” is a DVD doctrine series in interview format. Questions probe the significance, practicality and historical background of each doctrine. Click here to download MP3 audio files.

The short answer to this question is ‘no.’ The Salvation Army is not a religion, nor is it a mix of denominations. We stand independently as a denomination in the Christian Church alongside other churches, for example, the Anglican, Baptist and United churches.

A good word to describe our church is ‘community.’ The Salvation Army, like other churches, is a community of people that meets together in local neighbourhoods. We worship God together; nurture faith, wholeness and integrity of life in our own lives and in the lives of others; and, in keeping with the ‘DNA’ of The Salvation Army, our faith shows itself in service to people with all kinds of material, emotional, physical and spiritual needs.


The Salvation Army is a great place to belong! Why not come along and find this out for yourself?