Informing, Not Enforcing: Some Thoughts about The Salvation Army

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I fully realized that this may be one of my most controversial contributions to A Legacy of Faith. I have no interest in enforcing my practices or the practices of my family on anybody else. I would not presume to do so, even if I thought I had that right. 

A few weeks ago, while I was out doing some visiting, I drove by the local Salvation Army building. I took the time to stop and take a picture (which is reproduced below). I am doing this for one reason – and one reason only. 

I believe that there are many good people who donate to and/or buy from this organization without realizing that they are helping to support a religion. While The Salvation Army “markets itself” as merely an organization devoted to benevolence, the sign below demonstrates that it is, in fact, a religious institution.

While I have no interest in enforcing anything, I believe that, as a preacher and as an elder, I have the responsibility to inform others. It cannot be denied that those who choose to support The Salvation Army are (maybe unintentionally) choosing to support a group of people whose name, organization, worship, and plan of salvation cannot be found in the Bible. 

The following information may be found on The Salvation Army’s website:

The Salvation Army is an integral part of the universal Christian Church, although distinctive in government and practice.

Salvation Army places of worship are sometimes called ‘citadels’ or ‘temples’, but, whatever their name, they are Christian churches open to the community they serve and offering a warm welcome to all.

I will tell you that this is not merely an intellectual exercise for me. I have caught some flak from some of the bell-ringers who know that I am a preacher. They cannot believe that I would pass by those red kettles that seem to be everywhere about this time of the year without making a donation. One lady in particular really “raked me over the coals” for being a preacher and not supporting this “good work.”

It is precisely because I am a preacher of the gospel – and a New Testament Christian – that I cannot support or endorse any church other than the one about which I read in my Bible.

That’s where I am. That’s where I intend to always be. I hope you respect my decision and my right to make that decision. 

Your stand and your decision is up to you.

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And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col. 3:17, ESV).


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