on why i no longer attend the salvation army

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to think about why it is that I no longer attend the Salvation Army. [For those who have no idea what the Salvation Army is, click here for some background info]. For about 20 years, the Army was all that I knew about church; it was the bubble within which I understood what Christianity to be all about. As I have moved into my 20s, I have grown away from it, to the point where I am in the process of becoming an official non-member and where I can’t imagine a scenario where I would ever go back. And let’s be frank. There are scores of young adults that have made the same decision, not because they have left the Church or Christianity, but because they have become disillusioned with the Army way of approaching both. Some would rightly ask ‘why is that?’ From my point of view, here are a few reasons:

1) Expanded worldview. I firmly believe that worldview is largely inherited, not chosen. The Army was all that I knew growing up, and that’s why I was there in the first place. Long story short: When I was a teenager, we had a youth group of over 50, and no youth pastor. My walk was shaped more by friends than leaders. The Army failed to invest in the youth of my generation. We shepherded ourselves and wandered in different directions. Many of us went to Tyndale [a step that many in the Army discouraged because it was seen as too trendy or not a step towards a succesful career path] and realized that there was way more to the Christian life than the Army’s version of it; our understanding of what the Church was meant to be grew wider, and many of us never looked back.

2) Legalism. The way that the Senior Soldier pledge is set up seriously undermines the clear biblical principle of our freedom to choose, giving the false impression that certain acts are sinful when in fact they are wholly permissible. This creates a system whereby one’s faith is defined more by adherence to man made rules than by strength of character and devotion to the Lord. To wit, if one were to consume an alcoholic beverage, they would have to step out of uniform, they would be banned from participating in various church activities and would not be allowed to serve in any form of leadership. One word: crazy. Not a structure that promotes grace.

3) Sacraments. This goes back to expanded Christian worldview. Straight up, I don’t think I could attend a church that does not do communion. I believe it’s that important. Some would even say that a church that does not perform the sacraments is no church at all. And if you consider the fact that the Army’s position is that the sacraments are avoided because they are too ritualistic, and then juxtapose that with the whole concept of soldiership, the pledge and uniform etc., their reasons for not doing it just don’t make sense. [Edit: I forgot to mention baptism here as well. Salvationists equate soldiership to baptism, but it’s not the same. That is also widely viewed as a fundamental sacrament, one that I lament not yet having partaken of but preparing to do quite soon.]

4) Army Arrogance. I’m talking about hearing it said that the Army will be the means by which the Kingdom of God is fully inaugurated into the world, or slogans that read ‘Doing the Most Good’. That just reeks of an organization that that doesn’t quite get what THE Church is all about. The Army seems to think it can stand on its own as a little island, failing to see that it is just a small piece of the puzzle in terms of the Church in the world. This seriously undermines any sense of Christian unification and community, and there is simply no basis for it. There are those who would even classify this as idolatrous, placing one’s devotion to the Army above the call to be engaged in the Kingdom and the Church as a unified body of believers.

I could go on, but if I had to narrow it down, that would be sufficient. [I did not mention other personal experiences or disagreements with doctrinal positions, and the use of military imagery and language which factor into this as well]. Many would retort by saying ‘well, there are issues in any church’, and they would be quite right. All I’m saying is that this is enough for me to work out my understanding of the Christian life, community and the Kingdom in a different context. I have no qualms with others who remain faithful to the Army; my family still attends and are active members, and that is tremendous for them. As for me, it’s just not a good fit.

I’m sure there are those who would vehemently disagree with some of my views, and that’s fine. I’m not out to sway people, nor do I anticipate having my mind changed on any of these issues. I just wanted to throw this out there for general interest and discussion.

With that off the chest, it’s the start of a new week and I hope that for all, it’s a good one.

Advertisements
    • Sara
    • January 14th, 2008

    Ian.
    You put into words so well so many things that I think but just don’t quite know how to say. I don’t think that I feel quite as strongly as you do on some of the issues but I definitely understand where you’re coming from.
    Also… I wonder if it’s true of other denominations that when people leave they feel like they have to justify their decision to leave… Should it really be such a huge deal to become an official “non-member”? (I wonder if the Army has LEVELS of “non-membership” similar to the levels of member ship… ie. non-local officer, non-soldier, non-junior soldier, non-adherent, non-friend…)
    There’s something about the Army that holds us so tight and that is integrated into the entirety of our lives that the decision to leave can seem like such a huge deal. Bah.

    Also… I kinda chuckled a little when I read the part about the Army being “the means by which the Kingdom of God is fully inaugurated into the world.” I have definitely heard almost that exact phrasing… and sure our lives have overlapped enough that it’s possible we both heard it at the same place or time… but I actually think I’ve heard it a few times… and I think when I was a little younger and a more zealous “salvationist” I may have even believed it. But I didn’t really give it much thought until I just read it here. What a strange thing for the Army to teach.

    Well…
    A sword for the LORD and a sword for The Salvation Army.
    (Just in case you’re not catching the hilarity of that line take a minute to recall Gideon – Judges 8:15-20ish)

    And now it’s back to my studying. Thanks for this much needed study break.

      • Chris
      • March 6th, 2013

      The salvation army are just arminians that are misguided.

    • Jim
    • January 15th, 2008

    Ian,

    I can only agree on a few things that you claim. Firstly I agree that the Army doesn’t do enough for the development of their youth. They do leave many standing in the dust, unless you are from a “certain” family heritage. I can only say that I am truly sorry for the lack of “give a crap” for the teen youth.

    A couple of your comments are not very accurate and I can see the lack of Army leadership in your life. If in fact you are a senior soldier, you have not been instructed very well on the doctrines or the position statements of The Salvation Army.

    Let’s talk about drinking shall we. The reason The Salvation Army takes a dim view on consuming alcoholic beverage is not because they feel that it makes you any less worthy of Gods love but they believe that it is a way to minister to someone that stumbles with addictions. The same goes for smoking. How about co habitation? Now that is a different story. The Salvation Army believes in a God blessed union between a man and a woman. A union that is blessed by God. I have a GREAT woman that attends our Corps. She is a wonderful person with many talents. She can also not teach Sunday School, something that she is good at, because she lives with a man that is not her husband. The bottom line on this one you as a human can make all the decisions that you wish. The Army has rules that they demand their Soldiers to live by. They want the people that believe in the ways that William Booth set forth in the front of the pack. You can still belong to The Salvation Army and drink. That member is called adherent.

    Sacraments- The Salvation Army does do sacraments. They believe in communion every time you pray and every time you eat a meal, do you pray for the bounty every time before you eat? WE believe that we are baptized by the Holy Spirit. If getting water dumped on your head makes you feel better go do it. Please brother, don’t let me stray you though. Getting submersed won’t get you to heaven. Submitting to the love of Jesus will. Sacraments are just an outward sign of an inward emotion. They do dedications, Soldiership, Marriage, and they certainly eat, Have you ever been to one of their events? WOW.

    I agree “Doing the Most Good” like heart to God, Hand to man wasn’t enough? Caution: this is just a banner. It doesn’t say any thing about any member’s dedication to the work they have been called to. It’s advertizing if you will. I think you may reconsider why they do that and how saying that its “Idealistic” or “arrogance”.

    I could also go on but I don’t feel as though I need to defend the ways of the Army. This mission has been going on for longer that either you or I. Please take it for what its intended for. Our Corps is called a Citadel; this is a place to find rest when we are under attack. Any one is welcome here… even if you don’t belong or can align themselves with the ideals of the Army. You are welcome here. I am sorry that you feel left behind. Please don’t get your faith caught up in a humanistic way. It’s because of Jesus Christ that you GET to make these choices. God did give us all free will.

    I love you BROTHER.

      • Matthew
      • November 19th, 2016

      Concerning the ordinances (aka sacraments) of baptism and the Lord’s Table, these are not things that are optional for the church, which I will generalize as any gathering together of believers.

      Communion (aka Lord’s Table) is a command to the church to perform as a memorial meal, and was inaugurated by Christ himself at his last supper, which was also the Passover meal. There is no regulation as to how to observe it (other than it consisting of bread and wine), nor as to how often other than “as often as you do it” (1 Cor. 11:26). The understanding is that it would be done, at least yearly at the Passover meal, however, we see from history (the book of Acts) that communion was done rather often and with a meal, though the meal itself was not the communion. This is obvious through Paul’s teaching of the Lord’s table in 1 Cor. 11, where Paul chastises the church for their behavior while memorializing the Lord’s death.

      Baptism, the other ordinance of the church, is commanded to the church to do to disciples and is a command to disciples have done to them (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:38). Both of these commands are not speaking Spirit baptism, but of ritual (water) baptism. This ritual (water) baptism is abundantly recorded for us in Scripture, particularly in the book of Acts. Notice the following passage:

      Acts 8:35-38 – “and Philip opened his mouth and beginning from this Scripture [Isa. 53:7-8] he preached Jesus to him. and as they went along the road they came to some water: and the eunuch said, ‘Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?’ {And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your hear, you may’ and he answered ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’} And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him.”

      I’m sure you see that this was a ritualistic water-based baptism, one that is commanded of Christ for Christians to perform and of believers have done to them. While Scripture does speak of baptism by and of the Holy Spirit, what is commanded in Matthew 28 and Acts 2 is water baptism, a ritual that symbolizes what has already been done spiritually. I find it amusing that you agree with this, since so much of the ideology of the Uniform, the Pledges and other symbols of the Salvation Army are all outward representations of what should already be inward attitudes – yes, even the militant symbolic representation our war against the spiritual forces of darkness.

      It is in regards to the Ordinances set forth by Christ that I feel the Salvation Army is in error the most. They are commands of Christ, and the SA willfully denies it’s congregants the right to perform these as a ‘church’ (I use the term loosely to define a gathering of believers). I don’t really care what they don’t allow the officers of the ‘church’ to do, it’s a willing concession they make in order to serve others in an official capacity. At least they don’t enforce them onto the congregants in a militaristic (legalistic) way.

      Blessings

  1. is jim in the army? jks.

    i think its ok to question these things that you grew up in. i’ve gone through (and am still going through) the very same experience, mind you, i grew up in the pentecostal assemblies of canada.

    anyways, don’t be surprised when people that are loyal salvationists get rather irritated by what you say. die hard pentecostals get ticked at me often, including my last lead pastor who i worked under!

    keep following Jesus bro.

    peace.

  2. Sara – Thanks for the comment, great to hear from you. You are correct in asserting that it should not be a big deal to become a non-member of the Army. But, like you said, the fact that it is so ingrained into us makes it necessary to justify the decision. Ideally, one should be able to flow freely through different branches of the Church, since we are indeed meant to be one, unified body. Unfortunately, that is not the case. And yeah, I’m sure we both heard some crazy things along the way the now, looking back, seem less than sound. I credit Tyndale for teaching me how to think critically, something that may be lacking in some Army circles. Hope all is well with the studies!

    Jim – I love you too, though I know you not. Or do I? As one who is clearly deep into the Army, I suppose I shouldn’t expect any other response than the one you have offered here, and that’s fine. I have been wondering how I should respond, and I think I will supress the urge pick at certain points you raised. Your thinking has been shaped by the Army, and, like many others that I have had these same conversations with in the past, you will come at things with Army tinted lenses. I appreciate you taking the time to offer the other side of the coin to give more context to the discussion. I will kindly agree to disagree with some of your assertions, understanding that nothing you or I will say will sway the other from our positions. I must say it is liberating for me to be on the other side of the fence, and I don’t lament the fact that many like me have also chosen the same route. There were indeed some tremendous aspects of Army life that helped shape who I am today, specifically working at camp [which, in Canada, is an entirely different gripe that I have]. And there are, of course, many great people in the Army, and I appreciate the passion with which you do indeed defend the Army. That’s admirable.

    Turtle – Questions are good, there is no doubt. It is not healthy to go through life without asking questions and failing to think critically about ideas that we always have thought to be true just because that’s what we were taught growing up. Thanke for the encouragement, and I ditto that to you.

      • Ian Browning
      • May 21st, 2014

      I wonder what your thoughts are on “calling”, Ian?
      I ask, because everything you have mentioned is around the “religious” and “theory/theology” aspects of Church – Jesus spoke much about these things.
      Jesus reminded us that there is a cost in following Him, and usually that cost will mean a great change to the way we want to live and what we would like to believe.
      Are we prepared to be sacrificial in our life as Christians? Are we Disciples or Apostles? Are we only wanting to follow a religion that “suits us” or have we been baptised in the Holy Spirit?
      God calls us to serve Him – and for most people today, this is difficult because it is them who want to be served.
      So, Ian, this several years later than your initial post in 2008, but what about “calling”

  3. Hi Ian

    …really interesting to read your thoughts

    Peace & blessings

    J

  4. I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with what you laid out here. One factor though that I think may have been overlooked is The Salvation Army’s diverseness based on country.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned about The Salvation Army over the past twenty five years it’s that — country to country The Salvation Army is so different that they could easily be different dominations.

    P.S. Canada doesn’t use the tag line “Doing the Most Good”. Instead we rock “Giving Hope Today”. The choice NOT to use DTMG was intentional and well thought out.

    P.S.S. I speak as a unique Salvationist. One who grew up in a Salvation Army church but who in his later years has decided to devote my time to the social services side of things. I currently don’t attend a Salvation Army church or any church for that matter. However I consider myself a part of The Salvation Army and I’m proud to sport the second most recognizable logo of our time.

    Holla.

  5. Jer,

    Fair points. If you go to Peter Lublink’s blog today {linked below] you can get a sense of how the Army conext is different from country to country. I’m coming at it from the Canadian, middle class suburban context that I grew up in. At the same time, the doctrines / positional statements generally remain the same across the board, as does the sense of special calling.

    I appreciate you clarifying the Canadian tag line. Something to be proud of for sure, as “Giving Hope Today” is more appropriate in terms of the Army’s role in the Church as a whole.

    For the record, the work that you are doing on the website and promoting aspects of the social services side of the Army is top notch. It makes you wonder whether the Army should stick to that aspect of their identity and move away from corps work. I’ve heard that idea before, and it does make sense.

    Thanks for taking the time. I appreciate it.

  6. Thanks man.

    “It makes you wonder whether the Army should stick to that aspect of their identity and move away from corps work.”

    Couldn’t agree more.

  7. Great post Ian. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and getting a bit of a perspective. I encourage you to keep seeking and to keep questioning – it is in those times that we are strengthened and grow right?
    All the best in the week ahead!

  8. Ian…thanks for you post. I think that it is a pretty big deal to be open enough with your family and friends to be willing to articulate, in love, some of your hang-ups with the church you and I both grew up in.

    I agree with you, Ian, that I appreciate Jim’s passion and zeal. I challenge anyone (including Jim) who feels this way to really solidify your beliefs by stepping outside of the circle at some point and look back in and see if you can’t see some of the stuff Ian has been talking about here.

    On a personal note, The Salvation Army has been responsible for teaching me untruths, it has demonized certain activities which ought never to have been demonized and it has done it unapologetically. As a result I think it has been irresponsible with the mandate that the Church-universal has to disciple its followers by adhering to the truth of scripture. It has spent a LOT of time on Salvation Army rules and ideologies which are sometimes not even found in scripture at all!

    It spends, in my experience, too much time on peripheral issues of specialized moral conduct which, if neglected or questioned, result in public humiliation and estrangement from the community. And if you don’t believe this is true, talk to any solo cornet player who got caught drinking beer as a teen; or talk to any 19-year old songster who got pregnant out of wedlock…or any number of other people who have worked towards the goal of ‘becoming a Salvationist’ only to have it ripped away from them as they were escorted off the platform for the last time.

    I am concerned about this because for many people, this has been the end of their relationship with God and the church…they identify their faith with Salvationism and outside of it, Christianity means nothing!

    We need to understand this:
    The Salvation Army has TWO agendas. One is the agenda of the church – to win lost souls for the Kingdom and advance the Kingdom in the process. The second is the perpetuation of the organization. Unfortunately I believe that often times the second agenda wins out AND as a result we see the Salvation Army willing to make unwise decisions to retain age-old, sometimes silly positions on very important topics.

    In conclusion, let me say this:
    I pray that the Salvation Army would recognize that it needs to be discipling Christians…not Salvationists.
    I pray that it would take a serious look at some of its ‘core-values’ and re-evaluate them once again so that it can come more into alignment with the global church.
    And finally, I pray that lay people within the denomination would begin to ask more questions and demand real answers for what they see as serious issues so that everyone who is discontent doesn’t have to leave like I did.

    Good night Ian.
    Jay Locke

    • Curtiss
    • January 22nd, 2008

    My first comment to all is to remember that The Salvation Army is NOT a “church” — it is a truly unique organization that does not fit the mold of “denomination” or “social service” or etc.

    Second, it sounds, reading between the lines, that the calls are for TSA to fall into line with the mainstream–to loosen it’s morals/core values. I’m reminded of the scripture that says, “Wide is the road that leads to destruction…”

    Third, though one of the attacks on TSA is its perceived arrogance, there seems to be much arrogance on the part of those who are now on the outside, as though they are somehow superior for their choice not to be a Salvationist. That’s just a perception, not an indictment!

    Thanks though, for the interesting discussion.

    One other thought … it is very much human nature to take for granted what’s familiar, to too easily find the faults of what’s well known. That’s why we see our own personal shortcomings and failures, when others look at us in a much better light. Isn’t that the same with this critique of TSA? I would venture to say that you would find people in any “church” or organization who would critique it just as effectively as done here.

    I’m reminded of the old joke: “If you’re looking for the perfect church, and you think you find it, don’t join, because at once, it will no longer be perfect.”

    God bless.

  9. Curtiss,

    Thanks for the comment. I am not sure where you are from, but up here in Canada the Army for sure sees itself as a church. To talk of it as a ‘truly unique organization’ that is set apart kind of adds to the idea that the Army sees itself as outside of a unified church body, and that is problematic, as has been mentioned previously.

    I don’t feel that anyone is calling for the Army to ‘loosen its morals / core values.’ I commend your attempt to read between the lines, but you’re missing the point entirely. What is being discussed here is authentic discipleship as opposed to what you would call ‘loose morals’ on one hand and judgement and ungrace on the other.

    I apologize if my comments come across as arrogant; that is not my intended tone.

    You present a common argument when you say that there are problems in any church / donomination. The flipside of that would be to ask whether we should not critique at all? I don’t buy that. We should all be able to take a step back and question what is going on around us, not for the sake of critique but in order to move forward in positive and beneficial ways.

    Thanks again for the comment. Funny joke by the way.

    Ian

    • jackie4joy
    • January 22nd, 2008

    Ian,

    I like your post, a friend of mine sent me the link to check out.

    I have not experienced the things you list in the same way that you have, but I have experienced them and also know many others who have.

    I can see why some might be offended by your post because it is definitly hard to hear critism of something that you are a part of and feel passionatly about.

    I myself have questioned long and hard my own involvement with the salvation army. I’ve studied and visited many other churches, but found many of the same problems. Maybe not in the same ways as the army, but problems that are definitly there. So for myself I decided to remain in the army context, simply because despite some of it’s problems it works for me.

    I do enjoy hearing the critism though because it makes me wonder how I can do things better, or, ok I am not the only one who thinks that, then I begin wondering how I can create change in my context.

    I agree with Jay in praying that the army will begin, or in some cases continue to recognize the need to disciple Christians and not Salvationists.

      • Frances
      • July 8th, 2014

      Jackie I became a soldier some time ago. Unfortunately I had sex with my boyfriend, who is not in uniform yet. Should I take off my uniform until I get this sin out off me? How long will I have to be without my uniform. I love The Lord and my walk.
      Concerned soldier

        • Jac
        • July 8th, 2014

        Frances,

        I really wish I could help you, but since I know nothing about you or your journey it puts me in a very awkward position. I would really suggest you talk with your Corps Officer about this.

    • Bill
    • January 27th, 2008

    Ian,

    I have not been here for a while and I see you are doing well.

    The Army is wrestling with a number of things in terms of church. I tollerate a lot of the church stuff because I believe God has called me to serve humanity through the social minisry of The Army. My expirience is that when the church grows out of the social ministry it is effective and valid. Apart from that I question the validity. Here in California we are already seeing the “traditional congregation” of a white congregation with brass band die.

    Part of what you are going through is needed. We must question what we grow up with and jetison what does not work. I did that with the penticostal and fundimentalism I grew up with.

    I will be careful in what I say from here on and will say email me if you want to know my other thoughts.

    God Bless you on your journey.

  10. Hey man,

    Post something about the Army and you get lots of attention eh? ha ha.

    My wife and I recently left the Army and are slowly searching for another church.

    I think a big problem with the Army is how much it differs from one corp to another. While like you mentioned some corps teach that drinking and smoking is a MORTAL SIN, others don’t concentrate on it at all. This can create a rift within divisions between churches and give people who live within 2 hours of each other a distinctly different view of the Army.

    For instance, Jay’s home church was seen in my home church as really stuffy (which might have been true due to his quote stating certain behaviours had ” . . . been demonized and it has done it unapologetically.”) and the arrogance you spoke of was felt from us over other corps in the same division.

    After we had left the Army, we went to my parents church (A very small corps) so I could help out in the band for a senior soldier enrollment, and they read the doctrines out loud.

    After the meeting my wife said to me “I thought I had issues with the Army’s position on certain issues, but the positions I had issue with were not based on the doctrines at all.”

    Our corps had been taken over by a few people who made all the decisions and even the leadership team was a revolving door unit because of the lack of leadership and poor decision making.

    I really feel that individual corps/officers should be held more responsible for the teachings of their church.

    We really loved the people of the church and were pretty sad to move, but we were being distracted rather than focused on God when we attended.

    Great post man, you really got people thinking.

  11. Matt

    Thanks for the comment. This post has been the top viewed on the blog stats for almost three weeks now, so I guess I’ve struck a chord. I agree with you in saying that there are indeed some great people in the Army, but the distraction of the peripheral garbage was a bit much. So well said, Matt. That really sums up my experience as well, and I wish you and your wife well as you look for a new faith community within which to focus on loving God and loving your neighbour.

    All the best.

    • anonymous
    • February 2nd, 2008

    Dear Ian,

    I’m impressed that young people, such as yourself, who have been raised in the Army have the courage to ask questions, and make comments – something my generation was afraid to do.

    I could give you our personal story (grievances) but it would only come off as sour grapes. People who left the “dear old Army” in my generation were always viewed that way, because it was inconceivable that there could be any fault with the Army.

    After years of studying the Bible, seeing the discrepancies between Scripture and what the Army taught, our family still continued to be part of it, rationalizing that no church is perfect. Fellowship is a very strong force that holds Salvationists together, in spite of doubts that may arise, and disappointments.

    However, the thing that finally caused us to leave is the fact that the Army doesn’t value the Sacraments and Baptism – gifts which Christ gave to strengthen the Church. In fact, the Army has developed its own theology explaining why it doesn’t practice them, and has replaced them with other things. If the Army is so unwilling to practice those things which the church does, perhaps it should just stop calling itself a church and concentrate on being a Christian Social Service agency. The Army could then send those who come through its various programs on to other churches to be discipled. As to the question – “Where would the Army then get its officers?” – There is no scarcity of Christians who are looking for opportunities to minister, who would be pleased to work for the Army.

    • Once was a Salvo
    • March 16th, 2008

    Ian, you are so right. I too am disillusioned and have left the army.
    After my own teenage sons battle with drugs, with ZERO help from my own corps, even when I was and still am feeding and caring for homeless kids, something they do NOT do here.
    There is NO soup van, no nothing. Nothing for the youth, no help for the youth or the people like myself to struggle beyond belieft trying to do the job of many.

    Most salvationists here are too aftaid to touch a homeless person and certainly don’t want to be seen with one. They even tried to enforce a rule that ONLY MEMBERS OF THE CORPS could attend the youth group. Yeah, right, that’s really reaching out. NOT

    The most help I got was a phone call from one of the captains, “Oh I hear you’re having financial hardship, I have a packet of out of date biscuits you can have here” — what the? How insulting, how humiliating!
    NEVER do I want her stupid out of date biscuites. I have continued to take in the homeless, to feed the hungry – something that the corps here doesn’t do.

    I have never seen such a bunch of hypocrites in all my life.

    Rigid salvo’s, argue with this one please. What would be your excuse for the lazy and unchristian behaviour of this corps.

  12. Wow Ian! What a great post with some great discussion! I know this is now an old discussion and most people have moved on. But I’d like to put my two cents worth in. I find it intriguing to listen to different people’s experiences when it comes to doctrinal, positional statements, and traditional positions taken over a hundred years ago on the sacraments within the Salvation Army. Thanks for your thought provoking and gut wrenching post.

    What’s interesting is that though I was born and raised within the Army and currently an Officer within the Army here in Canada, these statements, discussions and issues are no different than what I grew up with in the 70’s. Come to think of it, for my Pentecostal, Alliance, Free Methodist and Christian Formed friends, just to name a few, they have their own issues that they wrestle with internally.

    It’s unfortunate that your “world view” of the Army has limited your greater understanding of the Army and its positions. In a conversation with my sister the other day, we were talking about the Army and then I stopped and said, “When I say the “ARMY”, I’m not referring it in the context of large “A” – but rather small “a”. You see, I’m the “A”rmy, I’m the church – Both my wife and I have responded to a very real “Road to Damascus” road calling to be part of this branch of God’s church called “The Salvation Army.” With all its quirkiness, it’s peculiar yet unique military metaphoric language, its controversial positions on the sacraments, this is what I am, and I am the “A” rmy . I am called to impact the world for Jesus Christ where I live – in my neighbourhood and community. The Army is not the administrative level which changes every time a TC changes his or her mind, or when a new General is elected on a personal agenda to shove through before retirement. You mentioned many issues that really are more of the “same old, same old.” The difficulty is that no one has given these issues clarity – to allow one to be comfortable in his or her skin – to help young people like yourself and those who are on a journey of discovery to find where God would have them to worship and service within the body of Christ.

    I’d like to go through your post one paragraph at a time and perhaps share where I am now on these issues and to share perhaps a different perspective.

    EXPANDED WORLD VIEW:
    That’s a good one! When you grow up within a denomination – pick whatever one you like, you grow up in a distinct bubble. Depending on the leadership within a particular worshipping congregation and its pastor (officers) – this bubble either becomes more impregnable or more pervious. For example, I grew up in the most amazing corps in Brampton Ontario (see my blog post – Something special happened in Brampton – August 29/07). It was shaped by a number of officers and godly church members. Some officers had a wider appreciating of the church within the community – and as a church, we mixed more – had opportunities to share in worship and service. A number of corps people became actively involved in the early years of 100 Huntley Street and supported its growth and development over many years. Our church bubble was quite pervious. This was followed by another set of officers who solidified this pervious bubble – the corps grew and more than doubled in sized within a year or two. These officers where followed by another set of officers whose first board mtg (which I was part of at that time as the YPSM) said, “I am the boss – I am in charge.” He proudly declared over and over again from the platform that he has only attended the SA – he has never attended another church – even while on vacation. Wow! That bubble suddenly became impregnable! Talk about a narrow – legalistic sense of whip lash! Yet – and I have to say this with all sincerity, it was the godliness of the corps leaders that provided God’s world view to me and to the many other of the young people of the corps. We clearly saw that God’s kingdom is not limited to our denomination – but included a huge beautiful world in which he created.

    LEGALISM:
    Ah yes, legalism! Being an old fogey (47 yrs. Old) I grew up in a very legalistic age – actually at the tail end of a very legalistic age. The DOES and DON’T’S played a huge role in our lives. As a matter of fact – it was part of the greater culture found within all evangelical churches – of all traditions. However I think you are confusing legalism with personal choice in your argument. The Salvation Army has a unique structure where we give the opportunity for members who choose to be soldiers to acutely identify themselves with – even “to set themselves a part” from the rest of the world. Uniform wearing for instance, is a choice – for many – it becomes the means by which they are encouraged to go forward into “battle” against sin – against the social evils that are often disguised as simple “life style choices” where beer companies tote responsible drinking with feel good commercials, yet do not even take partial responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of marriages that break up over alcohol consumption (alcoholism within the evangelical church is also a serious problem) not to even mention the human cost and the billions of dollars it causes to the social fabric and economic fabric of our society.
    The SA gives it members the choice – if you want to be a soldier – this is the standard you apply to one’s life – you willingly submit yourself to the discipline of soldiership – is that legalistic? I personally don’t think so. It remains by and large an informed choice – it’s your choice to accept it. It’s about choice – it’s not legalism as applied in the OT. (but when I was growing up it certainly was applied in a legalistic and often ruthless – graceless manner). We certainly do not need to debate the wisdom of such a position. Contact the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and ask them about the surprising high level of alcohol and drug abuse found within the evangelical church.
    Now, I do want to say that when I was growing up within the Army, there was a definite undertone to some positions such as drinking. I grew up thinking that one could not be a Christian and drink alcohol! However, the SA clearly teaches and it is reinforced in our membership classes, that refraining from alcohol does not make me a better Christian than one who drinks a glass of wine a few times a year. Some of the strongest Christians I know and respect, do indulge. Yet choosing to apply this position as a soldier in the SA, in support of God’s call upon their lives to take a moral stand against the ravages of alcohol on the family and within individual lives – this is appoint of celebration! In speaking with my friends from other churches, there is nothing but admiration for choosing to take this position. My friend from the Alliance Church and the Christian Reformed Church said this is something to celebrate – not to lament as a vestige of legalism. It’s setting a high bar for one’s life – with God’s grace you seek to live by. My Free Methodist pastor friend said that he does not understand why this is can be seen as a negative thing. He said that it reinforces that internally, we are always much harsher and more judgemental than we are on other Christians. We don’t have much grace for ourselves.
    I do believe that there is a greater understanding of grace today in the Army as never before! You only have to look at North Toronto and my current appointment – to see it vividly lived out. Ian, it’s not such a black and white army that can be broad stroked.

    SACRAMENTS:
    This is such a huge non-issue! The Army’s position has been so misinterpreted over the years. The Army is in no way non-sacramental! It never declared itself to be. The Army is hugely sacramental! The Army never preached against the Lord ’s Supper, or Baptism. It’s about the placement of importance over the years and its continued place of importance in many churches today regarding one’s spiritual position in Christ. The SA position is one of non-observance. It chose early on in its history to not observe the two primary sacraments of the church as people place, and they continue today, to place too much emphasis on the act – rather than the spiritual. Some people even equate the act being saved with the act of Baptism or the partaking of communion. Some churches can be guilty of placing such a huge emphasize upon these two acts that they have given the people that they are saved because of these acts. The Army is not anti-sacraments. I have participated countless times in “communion”. This is something that Army encourages me to do when I gather with other Christians in worship. The Army position is a “unique” calling among the church to remind the church that it’s not about the outward act, rather the inward. The SA, is God’s reminder to the church to keep that in perspective. With that being said, I feel comfortable in my Army skin when it comes this position.
    At Berkshire we observe the “Feast of Remembrance” two or three times a year. It’s not the classical communion experience – with all it’s terminology (it’s similar to a love feast – yet it is not a love feast). Rather it’s wrapped in Albert Orsbern’s song, “My Life Shall Be Christ’s Broken Bread.” It’s a powerful moment in the life of our church. Those who attend our church from other churched backgrounds find it a powerful experience and reminder of Christ’s sacrifice and what he continues to do in their lives.
    When it comes to Baptism, I’ve never baptized although I have been asked a couple of time to baptize. When I’ve been approached on this, I meet with the person and then ask why they want to be baptized. Then we do a Bible study on it saying that if after the study he or she feels the need to be baptized, we will look at it then. Both times, after the study, that also looks at the Army’s historic non-observant position (it’s not a doctrinal position!) the person chose not to be baptized – choosing instead to allow their life to be lived daily in the death and resurrection of Christ (BTW, soldiership was never meant to be equated as a form of baptism! This has been and continues to be in many corners of the world, incorrect teaching.)

    ARMY ARROGANCE:
    The examples you give are quite curious. The slogan you used in your blog has already been addressed by someone else – a slogan that the Army in Canada is phiosphically not in support of – a slogan that is uniquely American.

    The other point you mentioned regarding Army Arrogance is the proclamation that the Army is a means by which God’s Kingdom is operating in the world! I don’t get your point on this one as God’s Kingdom has been and continues to be inaugurated into the world through the Army! Speak to the hundreds of thousands that come to faith and are ushered into the Kingdom of God every year through the Gospel Message through the vehicle of the SA! The same can be said of the other faith presenters of the Gospel via other denominations! You need to be careful about picking up a “slogan” such as that and not fully understanding what it’s really saying. William Booth and early day Salvationists honestly believed that the Army would be the literal means by which Jesus would return to establish His kingdom here on earth. Would it really be arrogant for me to believe that God can use me, or other passionately on-fire Salvationists as the means by which His kingdom is established on earth? That was certainly the belief and teaching of the early church in its first couple hundred years of existence.
    Like you, I have to be careful to let God be God – to not make generalizations that are so sweeping and yet so boxed in. I declared this past on Sunday morning, “Why couldn’t God use us to win the world for God? Is that naive? I hope and pray that God will use me, as a Salvationist that his Kingdom will be inaugurated in the world.

    Ian, thanks again for this most enjoyable post. Remember to let God be God – that despite of our deeply flawed nature, His kingdom will continue to go forward – and the world will be won – through the Salvation Army and His church world wide. It’s about where God wants you to be in His story here on earth. Don’t let the small things blindside you to the greater purpose of His calling on your life.
    God bless you on your journey.

  13. Stephen,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to share some thoughts on this topic. To be honest, it has been a long time since I first wrote this post and I am reluctant to dive back into a conversation about it. I wrote this post as a summary of some of the thoughts I expressed in regards to the Army’s Young Adults Retention Survey, and have since discovered that it’s not really all that important to me anymore. I have recently been baptized and have asked to have my soldiership cancelled [or annulled or whatever the process is], and have, in short, moved on. I was listening to a Rob Bell sermon the other day on the verse Paul basically says that as long as Christ is preached, what does it matter? That’s kind of where I am at right now. Sure, there are many things about the Army that I am not a fan of, and, naturally, many Army people like yourself will stand by the Army. That’s fine. We can agree to disagree on certain issues, but at the end of the day, we can both firmly say that we believe in Christ, and that is more important than anything. Again, I appreciate you taking the time to respond, and I hope that your comments benefit those who continue to follow this thread. As for me, I have participated in the survey and have severed ties with the whole deal. God bless you on your journey as well.

    grace and peace,

    Ian

  14. Hi Ian:

    Thanks for your reply! As part of a discussion thread on Primitive Salvationism we were directed to your post. I posted my response on my blog and your response.

    Sorry for be-labouring this discussion – it was the result of our family discussion.

    Grace,

    Stephen

  15. Stephen – No need to apologize. I suppose I’m overdone in terms of discussing these things. I have found [surprisingly enough] that most Army people will disagree, and that many in my demographic who have similar stories as mine feel the same way. I don’t think it can be overlooked that many like me have up and left the Army altogether for pretty much the reasons I have listed above. I could take the time to keep at it [for instance, to say that the sacraments, commands of Christ, are a ‘non-issue’ is something that I would 100% disagree with], but again, the trend has been that opinions have been made and it doesn’t seem as though anything will change. So, I echo Paul in saying ‘what does it matter, as long as Christ is preached’ and retreat to my position on things intent on trying to not allow these issues to break unity in the body.
    Grace and peace,
    Ian

  16. Hi Ian:

    It unfortunate that these issues identified by you and others in your demographic, (which are no different than the issues faced by many iin my own demographic) could not have been discussed freely – it’s about clarity. The Army in general, does not do a good job with clarity – something I had to address at a certain level within the Army a few months ago. Clarity helps one to understand one’s DNA and to be comfortable within one’s own skin (the sacraments is one area I have already discussed).

    I also feel saddened that some of your generation feel perhaps not listened to – perhaps my own response could have lent to that perception. As I re-ready my grammatically incorrect response to you, my response to the sacraments as “A NON ISSUE” could be seen in that context (of course it’s a non-issue for me as I have already spent much time wrestling through this issue). Others may have been exposed to an Army that was very rigid in its application of perceived truth. I wish we could “re-do” many of these early days and take a different tact in how we approached issues and concerns – that would have given the freedom to you and to those of my own contemporaries to struggle with these issues, not boxed in – that these issues could have been discussed intelligently within the context of scripture. It’s about clarity. Perhaps that would have given you and many others over the years the means to understand that there is a place within the greater body of the church for the Army’s unique God calling – including it’s role as a witness to the body of Christ. Perhaps you would have felt there was a place for you in your calling as a pssionate – hold nothing back – servant of Jesus within the Army.

    Thanks, and have a great day. Don’t stop struggling, seeking, searching and most of all, living out and celebrating God’s calling in your life where you are at this moment in time.

    Stephen

  17. Stephen,

    I just wanted to say a quick word about your last comment there. I certainly feel that there is a place for me within the Army. However, because of some of the things that I have mentioned above, I simply can’t and won’t choose to serve the Lord within that context. Please don’t feel sad about that – leaving the Army has been very liberating and has helped me to come to a more complete understanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ. While I believe that there is certainly a place for the Army within the body, I also believe that the Army takes its ‘unique’ calling far too seriously and distances itself from the rest of the church, and that’s not healthy. Again, I do appreciate your comments. I could work my way through your initial comment and discuss points I disagree with, but there’s no benefit in that. Again, we can agree on the risen Christ, and that’s good enough for me. The Army is not the place for me, and that is more than fine.

    Thanks again for the conversation. If you want to carry on, please email at:

    mclaren.ic@gmail.com

    • WELSHMAN
    • May 2nd, 2008

    As a middle aged (44) yr old ex salvationist I read with interest this discussion. Now a Baptist, I feel I can see both sides of the discussion. What worries me the most is that the Army, a church that has its place in the church, does tend to shoot itself in the foot, not because of its position on issues, but the overly zealous application of them. What makes it worse is, the Army is losing peope not on doctrinal issues (which are not to be changed ) but in the main “disputable matters” ie, issues which will not affect an individuals salvation. Given this, there should be no need for “disciplining” of the degree I saw as a teenager. The result, many lost to the Army (though not necessarily to god)
    Re total abstinence, the same argument could be applied to sex. There are clear guidlines in the bible. We do tend to label everyone who has the odd drink with the drunk. It is not a biblical statement, but the addage “everything in moderation” does hold true. (In the case of sex, I do mean within marriage) I am sorry to say that the army whilst doing soem excellent work among the marginalised on the one hand does seem to miss the youth within its ranks leaving. I am concerned about this fact. This will explain why my two young boys will be brought up in our local baptist church. The discussion does need to be brought into the armys ranks as an open debate.

    • LynnF
    • October 18th, 2008

    Hello,
    Just attempting to connect with ex-Salvationists. Growing up with the Army influence is so odd, especially if all of your family are officers….
    Lynn

    • Jessy Larsen
    • June 9th, 2009

    Jessy- Latin American ex Salvo
    Thank you for being the voice of many, not only in Canada but in the Latin American Territory, sadly the SA is dying there too…the Lord is not in that church anymore…

    • Kathy
    • March 9th, 2011

    Hey Ian,
    I know this conversation is over…and you wrote it a long time ago…I just want to say that I agree with what you wrote…I know the way TSA has neglected its youth, I hear the problems of legalism and unnecessary disciplining, I see the ridiculous statements made in the most recent handbook of doctrine on the sacraments (and I mean RIDICULOUS), and I get the lack of worldview (as I did not originally grow up in TSA and went to Tyndale too)…but just so you know (and maybe you don’t even care anymore) there are some of us who chose to stay despite these things and are continuing to fight those very things…from the inside. We don’t all disagree with you. Here’s hoping that someday change will happen 🙂 Maybe I’ll even use that quote of Booth’s (loosely) and say I’ll fight! 🙂 Hope you are well…and I miss our wonderful camp days when life didn’t seem so crazy and difficult! 🙂

    • Thulani
    • September 5th, 2011

    to the initiator, please be an adherent and do the way you like, but remaim in the Army for the sake of your soul not ‘freedom’ etc… coz there is a way that looks good to the man’s eye yet the end is gnashing of teeth – God loves you, like a prodigan son, please come to your senses the Lords awaits your return.

    • Lorraine Howe
    • October 6th, 2011

    Hi there, I was attending a local Baptist Church but now attend a Salvation Army and I am enjoyimg the Fellowship Friendship, I havent been there very long just before Easter,I am very seriously thinking about becoming a solider later on down the track, I believe you have to become an Adherent first.

    • J Gilbare
    • August 22nd, 2012

    The Salvation Army preach to you that the road to Heaven is paved with gold but the truth is it is paved with disillusioned lost and despairing SA Soldiers. I was born into a strong Salvation Army family. My parents devoted more than fifty years working and giving to the ’cause’. I grew through the ranks. Dedicated as a baby, a junior then a senior soldier.
    I professed my love for God and worked as a uniformed soldier for almost forty years as a salvationist. However as a person I was never accepted shunned because my I didn’t have the ‘right’ surname. The work I did was not recognised and although I taught in the Sunday Schools preached in the open airs and the meetings. worked with the lonely the bereaved the drug addicts and the needy my work was taken for granted but I was of no value. The great satisfaction came from wearing the uniform. It provided a way into areas of the public that you normally could not work in. Prisons hospitals town halls back alleys the uniform was like a open pass.
    When I eventually moved interstate I received a phone call from a known soldier of the corps I had attended who informed me that my name had been removed from The Roll. Although I argued that was not my desire and because I had been christened under the Flag of the Salvation Army I was a soldier for life. She listened to my arguement but repeated that I was no longer a soldier on their books.
    The sky never fell in when I chose to no longer believe in God. It didn’t fall in when I no longer went to a church. It was difficult but I weaned myself off the treadmill of needing religion in my life. I prospered in my life from hard work and business acumen. I began to understand that it was not God who predicted my well being and fortune. My success in working raising a happy healthy loving family was not due to a God.
    It all happened because of my wisdom and my positive out look in every thing I undertook to do.
    The pain that this organisation heaped on me over the years had to be dealt with through counselling but today I can flow in the love of my dear friends. I no longer seek the church’s approval to enjoy my life.
    Yes they will write their comments like ‘keep believing brother sister”
    ‘I love you & so does God” etc it makes them feel good. thats what the Salvos want. They want every one to ‘love’ the the organisation because they no longer care about the lost souls or saving sinners. They’re more intent on collecting the almighty dollar.
    The rest of you can go to hell.
    Nice to know that there is no such place.

    ONCE A SOLDIER 20/08/2012

  18. I am an adherent who is alcoholic and wants to come home to JAX ARC and become a SOLDIER for CHRIST and all others. I want to come home.

    • julie gu
    • April 12th, 2013

    U want 2’come home?’ how well they trained ur brain. This organisation is manipulative and deluded. they use the beauty and innocence of individuals 2 ‘work’ freely 2boost their cause, their numbers and ofcourse their finances. The road 2heaven is paved with the lost souls of beautiful people who the salvos have long forgotten. they don’t want u. find solace in helping orphans. u don’t need a ‘banner’ 2 work under. u won’t find peace in this organisation.

  19. Fine way of describing, and pleasant post to take
    data concerning my presentation subject, which i
    am going to deliver in college.

    • Andrew
    • May 22nd, 2013

    I wasn’t born into the Army but can recognise many of the points made on both sides of the debate. I am just confused mainly by the Articles of War. Having struggled with the Army’s position on many issues for about 5 years and having looked at other denominations, I noticed that in the Articles of War that there is a vast amount of commands/exhortations to be loyal to the Army, faithful to it’s principles and other such terms but hardly anything about being faithful to God.
    I truly enjoy the worship at the Army but find the baggage that comes with soldiership frustrating, almost tedious at times. Also the Christian teaching can be a bit diluted at times. Like anywhere it has it’s good and bad points.
    My own position is that I am a Christian first and Salvationist second, even though I am a Salvationist struggling to remain in the fold so to speak. Great debate though and I agree that the issues need to be discussed in every corps. I do feel that perhaps the social work/corps work need to be separated as there is now so much emphasis on the social work. Church or charity is now a question I ask about the Army and can’t even decide myself.

  20. I feel that is among the most significant info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna statement on few normal issues, The site taste is great, the articles is in reality excellent : D. Good activity, cheers

  21. I just came across this entry recently while looking for groups of FORMER Salvation Army members. I located a group dedicated to former Corps Officers, but not one for former members. If such a group exist, please let me know.

    • Mary
    • April 9th, 2014

    Great post! I just wanted to remind you to thank God for growing up in the Salvation Army because I never had that,my parents didn’t go to church.So I didn’t know about God’s love for me until I made a mess of my life ,than God reached out and saved me.
    Now Im in the Salvation Army,its the only place I feel loved and accepted.No one judges me,no one asks questions,they just do their work,Gods work,building the church and helping the outcasts.Be glad ,you had what many have never had.Now you have moved on,that’s alright,you are at another place,but you are still Christian.They must have done something right if you are still Christian.Remember that scripture: train up a child in the way to go and he shall not depart from it.Thanks for your post.God bless.

    • Lee
    • May 14th, 2014

    As I see it, the salvation army is a great start up. Depending on the corp, it has good programs for various ages. Some people may out grow the Salvation Army. Some people may not. There’s nothing wrong with out growing a church. You are supose to question authority. Jesus himself question authority. Jesus said we are to devote ourselves in the word until his return. it’s good that you reconized man’s rules vs God’s rules. That’s why we are to read the bible and think for ourselves and not just nod our head at the pastor. but the bible also says dont trip up those who are baby christians. I dont know who attended your corp but there are alchoholic at mine.

    The first church I attended was not salvation army but everyone grew up and started other churches. the second church I attended was the salvation army. that’s where we ended up. some are still here, others have moved on because they out grew it. That’s perfectly fine. They got a seed planted in them. Now 90% of the members are new. It’s time to raise them up and kudos if they stay. Kudos if they move on. As long as they are growing in God.

    Ive visited other churches since then. some people learn one way. others learn other ways. You just have to find a church that meets your needs and teaches at your spiritual level. I hope you’ve found a good church since you’ve posted this.

    The thing about being a christian is that you will meet all walks of life and you are to show them God’s love. They may be above you or below you spiritual wise. You dont have to be around them but You have to love on them when they are. A lot of officers past through. A lot of forced smiles. some appoligized for their behavor. Some didn’t. Some of their believes meshed well with mine. Some didn’t. They made me think and grow in my own walk.

    Keep walking. Keep growing. Keep in His Word.

    • An Army of one
    • June 8th, 2014

    My family and I (CSM & HLS) have been shunned for one year by TSA for asking an officer (who was relieved from their appointment), why they lied about my family not helping them during their assignment. I can only guess it was an effort to keep their officer position? For me this is a great honor, and a money saving Disfellowshipping action done to my family.

      • Jim M
      • January 25th, 2016

      Same thing happened to me, drug addict officers destroyed the Corps

    • phoeenbanafrit
    • October 11th, 2014

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    I think this sums all my feelings towards the army and moving on to a new church in one informative post…

    • In God We Trust
    • January 26th, 2015

    I have enjoyed reading the (mostly) thoughtful and inteligent debate in the comments on this post. I know the “argument” is over – but the fact is, many disallusioned young salvationists will find this in the future and I would like to add my story.

    I am 5th generation SA (Although my mum was raised Methodist). I enjoyed growing up in the church, went through all the SAGALA ranks, junior soliders, cops cadets. Band, timbrels, songsters you name it. Then I got to about 17 & my parents seperated. I no longer felt quite so welcomed by my church.

    While it was true that there wasnt great support for the church youth in my corp – we were attending a very small corps in a very regional area at the time (Think 18 hour drive to attend music/band camp every year). While we were in the big city – there was a fabulous focus on youth and I realy missed that when we moved to a more isolated regional area.

    After some time of drifting further away from the church, I soon decided that it was all organised religion. They had it all wrong. My god was a loving god & I was just fine with a personal relationship with him.

    Then into my 20’s I found all the pleasures and pitfalls of youth culture. Drinking, drugs, sex, you name it – I was there. I was happy. I diddnt need the church, it wasnt relevant. It wasnt cool. It was SOOO old fashioned and restrictive.

    Now into my 30’s I’ve found myself recently returning to the army & seriously considering joining as a soldier – a move I thought I would never make.

    The argument of is it a church or a charity is ultimatly what got me back in the door. I firmly beleive that a church that the wider population identify with as a charity has to be doing something right. If you look at what William Booths inital plan was when he started the Army – he said “we are NOT THE CHURCH, we are the soliders of the body of christ fighting in the war for humanity.”
    He beleived in, promoted and expected his soldiers to carry out RADICAL social change through the glory of god.They were literally protesting to save humanity.

    Look, not everyone would join the regular army – most people who sign up just do their minuimum term and move on to other things. Very few commit to making it a career. Army life is tough, they demand certain behaviours, dress code, physical fitness. Ridiculous standards that most people would never acheive without their drill seargent yelling at them. These things are done to create a cohesie unit that is ready at a moments notice to defend their country againt any threat. Sometimes it is for humanitaian outreach – sometimes it is for war.

    The Salvation Army – I have learnt over many years and much questioning of myself, my SA friends, ex soliders, officers, majors, etc is that it realy is much like the military. Its not for everyone. There shouldnt be any judement for admitting you no longer want to carry that flag. However, there should also be no judement for the army to expect such rigid allegance. They are afterall the literal army of god.

    I’m not saying they get everything right all the time – but from what I”ve seen from the many other churches of the christian faith I”ve attended as well as the other religions I”ve considered.. The Salvation Army is always trying to make a real and tangible difference in the world.

    Sometimes I think that is the best and only way to jude any christian organisation – by how much good it is doing in the greater community. Not just by how comfortable it makes its congregation feel.

    • allan greenacre
    • May 10th, 2015

    im 60 and im thinking of joining the sally army, i.ve read all the comments back to 2008,
    the only problam i have is the baptism and the comminion,
    I have been baptist, in a vineyard church, so i fill i dont have to do it again.
    the communion i can do at home,
    I’m a ex outlaw biker here in the uk, i recently disbanded a christian biker club as i was the only member left.
    I prayed to god for a anwser where my life was going. if he did not want me to preach to bikers then what does he want.
    well what can i say every thing i said or where i went the salvation army was there, i recently lived next door to their church,
    inside there was four normal people and 5 army members, they were all older then me, and the service was boring.
    What i want to know is if i join could i liven up the service with some vineyard music, and also make the service longer then a hour, let the spirit of god take over,
    I notice all trought the service the major would look at her watch, and if we was running late she would leave bits out so not to go over time.
    and at the end there was no coffee or tea, everyone wanted to leave the building, within 4 minutes the doors were shut and everyone gone.
    and i would not see them until next sunday.

    • Alice
    • August 14th, 2015

    One good reason to leave is how controlling they are. Can you think of any famous Salvationists who are well known for something that doesn’t have to do with the army?

    • Rubyanne
    • January 25th, 2016

    Wow beautiful I’m leaving the Sallies thank you for ur honesty you have pointed out things that ponder my heart an now I have conformation.
    I’m a born again Christian spirit filled for 38 yrs.
    Turned to Sallies for help.an.yes was.helped.until.a certain time.
    .after that pushed aside. I did my adherent at other Sallies. .an moved to Auckland.Sallies. was told there I had to.sit another.one before I. Get uniform. I’m tired I’m. Leaving bless u dear friend. Aunty Ruby.💖

    • Jim M
    • January 25th, 2016

    I had a drug addict, as a corps officer, who was caught outside his assigned area. That officer was removed and sent to rehabilitation for 6 months, the spouse remained in the Corps, doing a extremely poor job. When that officer left wrote the brief saying the failure of the Corps was due to the soldiers which numbered three soldiers. We lost a place to have brass band practice, and for 6 months we practiced at a home waiting for a new officer. We were told the officer exit brief indicated we were not to be trusted. Those officers kept working for TSA and moved to another corps. When we can across one who wrote we ask, why? That officer ran to the DC telling him we cussed at what was written. That was a flat out lie. Not asking for our side we were told by the Divisional Commander to get out and not attend TSA church for a period of one year. We owned our uniforms 100% the Corps paid zero percent. We owned our own instruments, we had attended for 14 years. We no longer attend any type of church. Religion is the last bastion for scrondrels. Getting kick out by the DC has saved us $5000 dollars per year.

    • Herb Presey
    • March 28th, 2016

    So, if “you’re not out to sway people”, why did you post this diatribe on a public website? I think it outs the integrity of what you say at risk!

    • Karl Bowman
    • June 16th, 2016

    Interested thread of comments. I’m a 60 year life long believer and person of faith. I do have a few bad habits but nothing that keeps me from loving my God or him loving me. My son however has a LOT of bad habits and if not for the Army he would likely be dead. So would I rather have a son that was a heroin user or dead person, or one that willingly submits to the discipline of the Salvation Army? Kind of no brainer here for me. I do enjoy the church though and find it a most friendly and encouraging place of worship and i have enjoyed myself more there than any church since i was a teenager i have attended. I am worldly enough to know and truly believe that there are many paths to righteousness and the army is simply another path for the ones that need it. I do miss the Eucharist though , but as with all churches, i respect their viewpoint on it. I can easily do it myself if i need to. There are always going to people who have a bad experience and if you do you should keep searching for the church that fits you best. I can see myself attending the SA church in my town for many years even if my son wasn’t there….

    • Teabag
    • May 18th, 2017

    I think the Salvation Army do lots of good things for the community. I think you would get more people joining in on this if you didn’t just restrict it to your church establishment attendees. I would also like to say some things about your standings on equal rights of all people. May I say what I feel on this subject. let me put the world straight. I feel some people in society have a chip on their shoulder, i.e. – talking about minority christians as all churches have this in place to include all people. I’d like to say that the Protestant church is one of many affirming churches. I’d like to say that Catholic Churches are actually affirming as well.

  22. I have recently let the Army after close to 30 years of service. I have had my name removed from all the rolls. I will never go back. I appreciated your post. Wishing you a good life.

    • Pat Allester
    • September 3rd, 2017

    I feel truly sad for you. For many people (including myself ) the Army is much more than simply a way of life. It has been my salvation in more than just the spiritual since. But you are so right – you have the RIGHT TO CHOOSE.
    For those who no longer wish to follow the Army’s doctrines and requirements for membership, then leave. You have the right. Those who care for you will try to counsel you through this. They will miss you. I truly hope and pray that you will find the right spiritual home for yourself. After 20 years of being out of uniform through betrayal by my first husband, I am shortly going to be re-enrolled as a UNIFORMED SOLDIER of the Salvation Army and going back into the Songsters – can hardly wait as the Lord has made it very clear to me that this is the right place for me. God bless and keep you safe. Pat

    • Teabag
    • September 21st, 2017

    Firstly, being a Christian is how you apply it in your daily life by how you are to others. Thus showing consideration to the lonesome. Indeed many people go to church – thinking that in itself is enough to show themselves as being a nice person indeed, however they forget to take it outside gods assembly. Indeed, it doesnt wash with me. Firstly, I’d like to say that being a nice person is common sense. I wish to say that it’s sad that as a society faith is on the decline – it would be nice if this value attracted people more because it can be positive. Firstly I can see why it doesn’t get more attendees minority community’s feel not easily accepted – sidelines. Indeed, I’m not against people who act as salvationists may I add however, that you do for intended purpose not to make yourself look
    better increase Christian reputation. Church is for peace – all including. Indeed, I don’t feel regarded as Christian although I see myself that way. Indeed, I find it ashame that some
    of the most beautiful hymns are no longer sang dating back times gone by such as “vow to be a pilgrim”. Times are changing. Not for the better.

  1. May 12th, 2013
  2. October 17th, 2014
    Trackback from : Recovery Software

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: