The Salvation Army was founded as an evangelical organization dedicated to bringing people into a meaningful relationship with God through Christ. Its doctrinal basis is that of the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition. It is composed of persons who are united by the love of God and man, and who share the common purpose of bringing others to Jesus Christ. The word salvation indicates the overall purpose of the organization—to motivate all people to embrace the salvation provided to them in Christ.
The word army indicates that the organization is a fighting force, constantly at war with the powers of evil. Battles are effectively waged through an integrated ministry that gives attention to both body and spirit. It is a total ministry for the total person. The Army cooperates with churches of all denominations to meet the needs of the community. Those who have drifted away from God and those estranged from their own religious affiliations are often attracted to The Salvation Army.They are first urged to seek Christ for pardon and deliverance from sin. Then they are encouraged to return to active membership in their
Christianity is synonymous with service for the Salvationist. The distinguishing feature in the religious life of The Salvation Army is active participation by its members.
Corps community centers are the focus of the spiritual work and are organized in a military manner, using military terms throughout. The corps building is sometimes known as the “citadel.” The pastor serves as an “officer.” Members are “soldiers.” This sphere of activity is known as the “field.” Instead of joining The Salvation Army, members are “enrolled” after signing the “Articles of War.” When officers and soldiers die, they are “Promoted to Glory.”
Soldiers are disciples of Jesus Christ and are expected to accept responsibility in the work of The Salvation Army. Whenever possible, they participate in Army meetings. Soldiers may teach Sunday-school classes, play musical instruments, join the band, assist the corps officer in visitation among the poor and sick, or aid in general social work. Soldiers abstain from the use of alcoholic beverages, drugs and tobacco.