The Salvation Army and the UN – Being Good Neighbors

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by Bram and Carolyn Bailey

First presented at the Speak Out on-line conference and used here by permission of the authors.

The United Nations signed its charter in 1945. The Salvation Army started its participation with the United Nations in 1947. The length of involvement alone indicates sympathy of purpose. In 2007, to further develop The Salvation Army’s connection with the United Nations and to “prioritize the Army’s involvement in international law, security, economic development, social progress, human rights and the achievement of world peace”—all areas in which the United Nations is active, General Shaw Clifton, the international head of The Salvation Army, opened the International Social Justice Commission (ISJC) in New York. (Caring, p. 8) This makes it very clear that The Salvation Army understands its purposes and the purposes of the United Nations are more than compatible and the relationship between the two groups is healthy and worth cultivating. Sympathetic and compatible, however, do not mean identical. In the next few pages we will examine this relationship, what drives it and how it works. We will explore the various mandates involved—human, Christ’s example, Scriptural, historical and theological. We will also discuss the balance between the spiritual and the social work of The Salvation Army which is always at the center of its own work and its work with other organizations.

Driven by the Human Mandate – Being Good Neighbours

On the morning of December 26, 2004, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful in 40 years, hit under the Indian Ocean causing a tsunami which killed tens of thousands of people in 11 countries and left untold damage in its wake. The Salvation Army was active in several of those countries, including Sri Lanka and India. In India, local Salvation Army officers (ministers) and soldiers (members) went to the areas of greatest damage, although those areas were outside their usual circle of influence. When The Salvation Army first arrived, the people in the community did not immediately embrace them. They were strangers from a different part of the country and from a different faith. But The Salvation Army had come to help its neighbors. In the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, The Salvation Army provided food, clothing and temporary shelter. As time passed, The Salvation Army provided medical care, helped to rebuild homes and help people get back to work through income generating activities. Most importantly, the people from The Salvation Army sat and listened to people’s stories and helped them process their grief. When some other relief groups left, The Salvation Army stayed. Only then did the people trust that The Salvation Army really cared. Then they began to ask, “Tell us about this God of yours.” This is the two-fold mission of The Salvation Army, as indicated in its International Mission Statement: “to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

The complete mission statement says: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.” It is this last part, “meeting human needs…without discrimination,” which most closely connects the purposes of The Salvation Army with the purposes of the United Nations.

The purposes of the United Nations, as expressed in the Preamble to its Charter are: to work for world peace, to support fundamental human rights, to affirm the dignity and worth of the human person, and to work for the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, for justice, for social progress and for better standards of life for everyone. To achieve those ends, members commit “to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours.”

What is the definition of a neighbor? Is it only those who live in close proximity to us? Is it only those with whom we feel an affinity?

This very question was raised in the 10th chapter of Luke when an expert in the law asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” As He often did, Jesus answered with another question, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The man answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.” But the expert wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “But who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered with the story of the Good Samaritan, a man who stopped to help a stranger, a man who might well have been his enemy, without counting the cost, because it needed to be done. When He finished the story, Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law answered, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus said, “Go, and do likewise.”

In other words, we cannot say, “He is not my neighbor so I do not need to be concerned about what happens to him.” Instead, we need to state the truth that, “Every man is my neighbor so what happens to each person, matters.”

Out of this understanding grew the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10, 1948) which says (in part)), “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood (Article 1); everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration without distinction of any kind… (Article 2); everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person (Article 3); no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms (Article 4); everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family (Article 25); and everyone has the right to education (Article 26).

This might be called the human mandate. We are humans together. There is no such thing as being more or less human, partly human, or almost human. A living being is human or it is not human. For that reason alone, because we are part of the same human family, we should care for each other. To continue the metaphor, because we are all neighbors on this planet, we need to look after each other. It is this human mandate which drives the United Nations. The Salvation Army also stands for the dignity of all human beings and works for peace and social justice.

In addition to this human mandate, however, The Salvation Army is driven by the mandate of Jesus Christ’s example, a Scriptural mandate and a theological/historical mandate.

Driven by the Mandate of Christ’s Example

Jesus Christ’s example brings with it a mandate because of who The Salvation Army understands Him to be. The Salvation Army’s fourth doctrine (statement of belief) says: “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.” By coming as a man, Christ gave dignity to the human person and the human experience. As man, Jesus was body and soul, not just the divine in a temporary, unimportant shell. He was fully man, with human needs, and He knew what it was to be without. (See Matthew 8:19-20.) When people came to Him, He treated them as whole persons—body and soul, meeting their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Jesus Christ was the full incarnation of God—God in the flesh, come to show us how to live. John 1:1 and 14 say, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The Message, a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson, puts verse 14 this way, “The Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood.” This makes Jesus the ultimate good neighbor and gives those who seek to follow His example a challenge.

Why did Jesus “move into the neighborhood”? As told in Luke 4:16-21, after Jesus fasted in the desert for 30 days and was tempted by Satan, He went to Nazareth where He had been brought up. In the synagogue there, He opened the scroll to Isaiah 61 and read. This is the Scripture Christ used to declare His mission. Verses 1-3a say: “’The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’… He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” From the very beginning of His earthly ministry, Christ’s heart is for the poor, brokenhearted, and captive.

Driven by A Scriptural Mandate

Christ Himself understood His actions were driven by a scriptural mandate. The Salvation Army is also driven by a scriptural mandate. The first doctrine of The Salvation Army states, “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.” In other words, The Bible is God’s Word and Salvationists are compelled to do what it says. It says: take care of the defenseless and do not oppress the vulnerable. There are three reasons to follow Scripture’s clear directions: to avoid doom and judgment; to satisfy God’s requirements; and to serve God Himself—being in right relationship with Him.

The Old Testament in particular has harsh words, words like doom and judgment, for those who mistreat the vulnerable. For example, Isaiah 10:1-3 (from The Message paraphrase) says, “Doom to you who legislate evil, who make laws that make victims—Laws that make misery for the poor, that rob my destitute people of dignity, exploiting defenseless widows, taking advantage of homeless children. What will you have to say on Judgment Day, when Doomsday arrives out of the blue?” Another Old Testament prophet, Micah, said, “Doom to those who plot evil…They covet fields, and grab them. They find homes and take them. They bully the neighbor and his family, see people only for what they can get out of them…There will be no one to stand up for you, no one to speak for you before God and his jury.” (The Message) From the book of wisdom, Proverbs, we hear, “You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless.” (14:31a, The Message)

The Bible does not only say,” Do not oppress the vulnerable.” It also says, “Defend them. Take care of them.” This is not a suggestion; it is a requirement. Micah 6:8 (NIV) says, “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” In James 1:27 (NIV) it says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” What is required? A heart which loves God moved to compassionate action on behalf of others. Isaiah 58:6-7 (NIV) puts it this way: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (For more examples, see Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 10:18; Isaiah 1:17; Psalm 146:9; Psalm 68:5; Proverbs 25:21; and Isaiah 58:6, 7, 9a, 10.)

Beyond avoiding doom or satisfying God’s requirements, Scripture compels The Salvation Army to serve others as a natural expression of loving God and being in right relationship with Him. Service to others is service to God. This is beautifully described in Matthew 25:31-40 (NIV):

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory…all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another…Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry…thirsty…a stranger…needing clothes…or in prison and care for you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

The Salvation Army also serves in response to a theological and historical mandate.

Driven by a Theological and Historical Mandate

The Salvation Army believes that God made man in His own image, as written in Genesis 1:26 and 27: God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” As such, humans have inherent dignity and value.

God gave man free will, that is, the right to choose. Man chose to disobey God. God loves man so much that He wanted to reconcile man to Himself. God’s plan is explained in John 3:16-17: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Jesus Christ lived to show man how, then died and rose again for everyone.

The Salvation Army’s sixth doctrine states: “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.” There is no distinction, no arbitrary exclusion. Each person has the choice to accept the forgiveness or not. Those who accept God’s forgiveness become part of His Church. The Church works to bring others back into relationship with God. This is as far as William Booth’s early theology went.

William Booth, the founder of The Salvation Army, was a Methodist minister who wanted those who were overlooked, and unfortunately not always welcomed into the church, to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. He did not intend to start a new denomination; he just wanted to be sure his neighbors heard the good news. But the Church as a whole was not ready to receive “the least of these.” So William and Catherine Booth made a place where they were welcome.

The Salvation Army began in 1865 with one mission—to seek and to save the lost. As William Booth put it, “Go for souls and go for the worst.” The Booths lived in Victorian England when one tenth of the population lived in abject poverty, lacking education, employment, and even basic necessities. Booth had a sense that very little could be done about people’s physical circumstances, so he was determined to give them hope of eternal salvation.

Once The Salvation Army had started, the Booths did not have a global vision for the work. Again, they wanted to bring the news of Jesus Christ’s love to the people closest to them who were being overlooked. Yet within 15 years, The Salvation Army had spread to six continents. Today it is in 120 countries.

The Booths did not begin The Salvation Army with a vision for an integrated mission either, working with the entire person, body and soul. As The Salvation Army spread, however, its work became as diverse as the countries in which it became established, meeting the very specific needs of the very specific people in each country. The beginning of The Salvation Army’s organized social work was not in England, but in Australia, in 1883 with the establishment of a half-way home for released prisoners. William Booth began to realize the need for something more than his initial approach. He came to what he felt was a God-given understanding of what is sometimes called The Salvation Army’s second mission. This was really the beginning of The Salvation Army’s understanding of integrated mission.

It was William Booth’s later theology which moved him, and therefore The Salvation Army, into its second mission—caring for man’s physical, emotional and social needs as well as working for social justice. “(William Booth’s) later theology of redemption still included personal salvation from sin for the individual who believes by faith; his later theology of redemption developed in such a way that it included social salvation from the evils that beset people in the world; and just as there was the possibility of universal spiritual redemption (i.e. salvation was not limited to the elect), so there was the possibility of universal social redemption. People were, however, responsible for either accepting or rejecting the offer of salvation.” (Roger Green, Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Gordon College, in Creed and Deed, p. 62)

Out of this development in Booth’s theology grew his book, In Darkest England and the Way Out. It was a detailed scheme to assist what Booth called the “submerged tenth” of England’s population—the poorest and most needy. At the beginning of In Darkest England and the Way Out, William Booth explained the Cab Horse’s Charter—This was the living standard for the horses which pulled hansom cabs in London: “When he is down he is helped up, and while he lives he has food, shelter, and work.” Booth was stunned that animals were treated better than human beings. He added, ”That, although a humble standard, is at present unattainable by millions—literally by millions—of our fellow-men and women in this country.” (Roger Green, Creed and Deed, p. 66-67)

Long before Dr. Abraham Maslow introduced the hierarchy of needs (physiological, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization), William Booth came to understood that you had to meet physical needs before you could expect anyone to care about their spiritual needs. He expressed it this way: “But what is the use of preaching the Gospel to men whose whole attention is concentrated upon a mad, desperate struggle to keep themselves alive?” On another occasion he said, “Nobody gets a blessing if they have cold feet and nobody ever got saved while they had a toothache. “

William Booth also said, “Our social operations are the natural outcome of Salvationism, or, I might say, of Christianity as instituted, described, proclaimed, and exemplified in the life, teaching, and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Social work, in the spirit and practice which it has assumed with us, has harmonized with my own personal idea of true religion from the hour I promised obedience to the commands of God.” Or, as it says in James 2:14-17 (NIV): “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”

The Salvation Army, at its heart and at its best, cares for the marginalized, the overlooked, and the vulnerable through its integrated mission. Every Salvation Army soldier (member) and every Salvation Army officer (minister) around the world to this day has promised to continue this integrated mission by signing “The Articles of War: A Soldier’s Covenant.” This includes the eleven doctrines and their application. The application includes: “I will maintain Christian ideals in all my relationships with others, my family and neighbors, my colleagues and fellow Salvationists, those to whom and for whom I am responsible, and the wider community.” Also, “I will be faithful to the purposes for which God raised up The Salvation Army, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, endeavoring to win others to Him, and in His name caring for the needy and the disadvantaged.”

The United Missions and The Salvation Army’s Second Mission

Taking good care of neighbors and caring for the needy and disadvantaged are two points at which The Salvation Army and the United Nations connect, have connected for the last fifty years, and will continue to connect. These connections are made at the local, national and international levels. The Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission (ISJC), while located in New York City, is actually under the auspices of The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters (IHQ) located in London, England. At IHQ is the International Program Resources Department which supports The Salvation Army’s development work around the world. Working closely with the International Program Resources Department is the office for international development in the United States, SAWSO. SAWSO, or The Salvation Army World Service Office, was established in 1978 and is located at The Salvation Army’s National Headquarters in Alexandria, VA, just outside Washington, D.C. Other countries have their own national offices. At the local levels, the ISJC encourages Salvation Army territories/commands around the world to link with regional UN offices.

It is commonly understood in the development world that faith based organizations are excellent partners because they bring ready-made networks of people, and often facilities, to the table. This is true of The Salvation Army. As of the end of 2010, The Salvation Army has an active presence in 119 countries around the world. In developing countries, The Salvation Army currently has 50,000 indigenous officers (ordained ministers), employees and professional staff working. These people, their communities, and the corps (TSA churches), schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and other facilities in which they work, are natural networks for implementing new programs and services.

The Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission’s (ISJC) fulfills its directive to build on The Salvation Army’s participation in the UN, in part, by sending Salvation Army participants to UN sponsored events on issues in which The Salvation Army is involved; by becoming more involved in the Council of Organizations; and, as has already been said, by encouraging territories/commands around the world to link with regional UN offices. The International Social Justice Commission is The Salvation Army’s principle international advocate and advisor on social, economic and political issues and events which give rise to social justice in the world. Its stated purpose is to be “The Salvation Army’s strategic voice to advocate for human dignity and social justice with the world’s poor and oppressed.” Its goals are “to raise strategic voices to advocate with the world’s poor and oppressed; to be a recognized center of research and critical thinking on issues of global social justice; to collaborate with like-minded organizations to advance the global cause of social justice; to exercise leadership in determining social justice policies and practices of The Salvation Army; and to live the principles of justice and compassion and inspire others to do likewise.”

The International Social Justice Commission also works with The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO). SAWSO’s stated mission is “to support and strengthen The Salvation Army’s efforts to work hand in hand with communities to improve the health, education, living, economic and spiritual conditions of the poor throughout the world.” SAWSO works “to find long term solutions to poverty in less developed countries where The Salvation Army is active.” SAWSO “works to help people help themselves through programs that improve living conditions, raise skill levels, increase productivity, and instill self-confidence.” SAWSO understands that “community participation is critical if solutions are to be effective and enduring. In carrying out its programs, SAWSO’s staff works through The Salvation Army’s international network of facilities and personnel. SAWSO works with Salvation Army personnel and local leaders to identify the root causes of their problems, formulate solutions, and develop the skills necessary to plan and sustain programs in their communities. SAWSO also provides training in program planning and management, leadership and community development.”

A Chinese proverb, often quoted in development discussions, says, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” It is often used to show two ways of meeting human need as though they are mutually exclusive. They are in fact complementary. While it makes sense to teach the man to fish, the first question needs to be: is the man starving or is his stomach full? If his stomach is full, go right ahead and begin the lesson. But if he is starving, give him a fish. Then when he can focus on something other than his immediate survival, teach him how to fish. This “relief to development” approach is the one most often used by The Salvation Army around the world.

Continuing its connection with the United Nations, The Salvation Army is addressing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through its various programs. The Salvation Army is working to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger through *WORTH saving programs in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda; micro-credit programs in India, China, Zambia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka; and food programs in Malawi, Uganda, and India. Achieving universal primary education is being addressed through schools and literacy programs in India, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Indonesia, Korea, China, Malaysia, and Singapore. Home Leagues in every developing country and anti-sexual trafficking programs in China, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, and Eastern Europe promote gender equality and empower women. Community health programs in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Congo DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Ghana, Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh work both to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. A variety of programs in every territory in Africa, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, South Korea, and Eastern Europe combat AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Awareness, training and fair trade programs are being set up to help establish a global partnership for development.

In addition to working towards meeting the MDGs, The Salvation Army participates on the following committees at the United Nations in Vienna, Geneva and New York: The Commission on the Status of Women; the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice; the Committee on Health; the Commission on Narcotic Drugs; the Committee on the Rights of the Child; the Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns; the Committee on the Working Group on Girls/International Network for Girls; the Ecumenical Women of the United Nations; the Ecumenical Working Group at the United Nations; and the Commission on the Status of Women.

The United Missions and The Salvation Army’s First Mission

This discussion of the long term and continuing compatibility of the United Nations with The Salvation Army’s second mission—social redemption, raises the question of the United Nations and The Salvation Army’s first mission—individual redemption, or the salvation of people’s souls. Before looking at The Salvation Army’s relationship with the UN specifically, let’s look at The Salvation Army’s relationships with secular organizations in general.

To accomplish common goals, The Salvation Army often partners with secular organizations, i.e. organizations whose primary motivation is not faith based. Some of these organizations, many of them government based, put conditions on The Salvation Army’s participation. Most often these conditions relate to curtailing what are considered the purely “religious” elements of Salvation Army programs. How can this be acceptable to The Salvation Army? As explained in Hand in Hand: An Approach to the Integration of the Caring Ministries of The Salvation Army, “The opportunity for a comprehensive ministry will be different in contracted programs from that in the usual programs of the corps. The Army engages in government and other contracted programs because it believes that meeting human needs and caring for hurting persons in the name of Jesus is a proper and desirable expression of the Gospel. It holds that such service, provided in a Christian manner, is of great value and is a spiritual ministry in its own right. Having accepted contractual constraints on its religious or denominational ministry, The Salvation Army still attempts to meet the total needs of all who come under the influence of its program.”

It is perhaps ironic that The Salvation Army’s relationship with the United Nations is not one of constraints. Individual governments and governmental organizations are often willing to accept The Salvation Army as effective social organization, but not as church. One might surmise that the United Nations, a gathering of governments, would be exponentially constrictive. It is a case, however, of the whole being more tolerant that its parts. The UN understands, as does The Salvation Army, that to uphold and encourage human dignity and human rights, it must meet human need, without discrimination, in all its facets—political, social, economic, physical, and spiritual. Inherent in the UN Charter and the UDHR is the right to be one’s true self, as individuals and as nations. This includes religious expression. That means within the discussions of the United Nations, there is freedom and respect of religious expression. Lt.-Colonel Geanette Seymour represents The Salvation Army on the Global Women of Faith board. She says, “This is an opportunity for people of different faiths to come around the issue of peace; we all have a similar intent with different ways of accomplishing it.” She continues, “People know that I am a Christian and expect me to be a Christian; they don’t expect me to deny my faith. They treat me with dignity and respect, and ask for the same privilege from me.” (Caring, p. 12)

In whatever context The Salvation Army is working, under whatever constraints, it follows the command given in Colossians 3:17 which says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (See also 1 Corinthians 10:31.) Sometimes we are allowed to speak His name aloud, and sometimes we are not. That does not deter The Salvation Army because it has learned the lesson expressed in Luke 19:37-40. When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the week before His crucifixion, “the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ ‘I tell you,’ he (Jesus) replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’” In other words, God’s power is not limited by our ability to say His name.


The Salvation Army has participated in the United Nations for more than fifty years.

The United Nations and The Salvation Army are both driven by the human mandate to support human dignity and to work for human rights and world peace. The Salvation Army is also driven by the mandate of Jesus Christ’s example, a Scriptural mandate, and an historical and theological mandate, because The Salvation Army’s mission is two-fold. It works, not only for social redemption, but for individual redemption. While it is The Salvation Army’s work for social redemption which draws it to the United Nations, it is The Salvation Army’s heart for the individual which informs

The United Nations and The Salvation Army are both driven by the human mandate to support human dignity and to work for human rights and world peace. The Salvation Army is also driven by the mandate of Jesus Christ’s example, a Scriptural mandate, and an historical and theological mandate, because The Salvation Army’s mission is two-fold. It works, not only for social redemption, but for individual redemption. While it is The Salvation Army’s work for social redemption which draws it to the United Nations, it is its heart for the individual which informs all of its dealing. The Salvation Army has participated in the United Nations for more than fifty years and hopes to continue its involvement for the foreseeable future.

Recent events make it clear that the world continues to need the concerted efforts of the United Nations and those NGOs which join in its mission to meet the needs of their neighbors without discrimination, and to work for peace and social justice. For example, on January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, devastating the island nation which was still recovering from back to back hurricanes in 2008. Six weeks later, on February 27, 2010, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Chile and was felt as far away as Sao Paulo, Brazil. Throughout Africa, HIV/AIDS continues its steady devastation. In far too many places, women and children are being sold and used as sex slaves.

William Booth could have been speaking for the United Nations when he said, “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight. While children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight. While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight. While there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the street,…I’ll fight.” He made it a decidedly Salvation Army statement when he added, “while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight, I’ll fight to the very end.”

Resources used:

  • Caring: The holistic ministries of The Salvation Army. Volume 16, No. 1, Spring 2010. Long Beach, CA: New Frontier Publications, The Salvation Army, USA Western Territory, 2010.
  • Hand in Hand: An Approach to the Integration of the Caring Ministries of The Salvation Army. One of the Nationally Approved Publications
  • NIV/The Message Parallel Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006.
  • Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine. London, England: The Salvation Army International Headquarters, 1998.
  • The Salvation Army Year Book 2009. London, England: The Salvation Army International Headquarters, 2008.
  • Waldron, John D., editor. Creed and Deed: Toward a Christian Theology of Social Services in The Salvation Army. Canada and Bermuda: The Salvation Army, 1986.
WORTH is an innovative women’s empowerment program through which women teach themselves to read and write, become skilled in record keeping, generate personal and group savings, create successful small businesses and become bankers in their own right.


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