Can Christians Help Support the Salvation Army?

by Danny Pettus

Christians are at liberty to support many things other than the church of our Lord, but false doctrine is not one of those things. You may have had someone come to your door selling this or that for a certain denomination.

You might go to a store and be approached by someone outside its doors, asking you to buy something for a particular religious body. You may go to yard sales, but we have all learned to be careful, and avoid those sponsored by false religions.

This article is not written out of any hatred whatsoever as an attack upon the Salvation Army. My heart's desire is that they be saved. My purpose in this article is to help us, as members of the body of Christ, to become aware of who and what we can support.

There are many organizations a Christian can aid and help. There are many we cannot support. We must always ask ourselves: "Will good be done with the money we give?" We must also ask: "Will we be supporting and aiding the teaching of error or truth" (I Timothy 6:3-5)?

It has been my observation that several in the Lord's church have helped support the Salvation Army, not knowing it is a denomination. Every Christian I know, who has given to this denomination, has stopped helping as soon as they learned what they were supporting.

Why did they stop? Because John said, "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (II John 10-11).

The Salvation Army is a denomination which split off from the Methodist in 1861. They preach their doctrines in 89 countries, and have one and one-half million members. Their denominational headquarters in the United States is in Verona, New Jersey.

Their creed book (I have the l969 edition) says on page 6, the Salvation Army is an integral part of the new Israel, the church. This is the same thing taught by most denominations, that is, each denomination is a part of the one church.

On July 9, 1993 the Birmingham News ran an article titled: "Salvation Army Eyes Change In Militarism." The article mentioned how several of their members are wanting to start calling their officers "pastors," instead of "lieutenants. captains, and majors." These members in this denomination want to make the public aware that the Salvation Army is a church.

Notice carefully some of the many doctrines this church teaches. In doing so, you will be able to easily see why members of the Lord's body cannot support this cause. Yes, they do a lot of good, but yes, they also teach a lot of error to those they help.

This denomination teaches others they are born sinners. Article 5 of their creed book (Handbook of Doctrine) says all men are totally depraved, and have become sinners as a consequence of Adam and Eve's fall. Page 83 states man is a sinner by inheritance. Page 85 teaches man is born a sinner.

The Bible teaches, "They are all gone out of the way" (Romans 3:12). God does not say, "They are born out of the way." Jesus said. "Except ye be converted, arid become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).

The Salvation Army teaches no one can understand the Bible without the direct help of the Holy Spirit (Handbook of Doctrine, pp. 2, 133-134).

Paul said God would have all men "to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy 2:4). In no place does the Bible teach men must receive the direct help of the Holy Spirit in order to understand and know the truth.

Those in Acts 5:27-33 did not have the Holy Spirit. but they understood exactly the truth Peter preached. They did not like it. Not only did they reject the Word, they understood it so clearly they wanted to kill Peter and the apostles.

Peter had preached the same truth of the Gospel in Acts 2. Instead of wanting to kill Peter, three thousand obeyed the truth they had understood that very day (Acts 2:36-41). Their obedience came from what they heard (Acts 2:14, 22, 37, 40, 41).

The Salvation Army teaches those they help that salvation is at the point of faith. Their creed book devotes nine whole pages, trying to prove baptism is not essential to salvation (pp. 180-188).

Page 188 of their creed book teaches baptism and the Lord's supper should not be practiced at all today. Their members are not to speak against those religions, which practice baptism and the Lord's supper, unless those religions teach these are essential.

The Lord's church does teach baptism is essential. Why? Because the Bible says. "Repent, and be baptized ... for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).

We also teach the Lord's supper is essential in the life of a Christian. Why? Because Jesus said do it in remembrance of Me (I Corinthians 11:24-25). We are told to show the Lord's death till He comes (I Corinthians 11:26). The binding example of the church at Troas that upon every Sunday they partook of that communion is still to be done today (Acts 20:7). Therefore, baptism and the Lord's supper should be practiced today. It is not the Bible, but it is this denomination which teaches these things should not be done today.

They also teach a Christian can be sanctified, so as to never sin. Their creed says a sanctified Christian will be tempted, but as Jesus never sinned, so we will never sin. It says the sanctified Christian can be mistaken in judgment, but even that is less likely to happen (pp. 145-165).

Sanctification in the Bible means a Christian is set apart as holy to God. Never does it mean a Christian has reached the point of never sinning (I John 1:8-10), The church at Corinth was sanctified (I Corinthians 1:2). As one reads 1 Corinthians, he will read of several sins committed by these sanctified Christians.

The Salvation Army has left the Bible doctrine concerning giving. This is not taught in their creedbook, but one cannot go shopping around Christmas time without seeing them outside stores wanting a donation for their church. They have also turned to the fund-raising method to finance their denomination. Over the last few years, they have started getting into the thrift store business.

The first century church gave on the first day of the week (I Corinthians 16:1-2). They did not ask the world to support the work of the church. We can have nothing to do with denominational money raising methods.