Would you hand money to a person who was totally depraved?

December 1, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More

The Salvation Army does an immense amount of good for poor folks and others needing help. For this I applaud them. Members espouse beliefs in the Old and New Testaments, in three persons in one God, and in atonement thanks to Jesus Christ. The Salvation Army is ostensibly militant; it sees itself as a fighting army. For instance:

Corps community centers are the focus of the spiritual work and are organized in a military manner, using military terms throughout. The corps building is sometimes known as the “citadel.” The pastor serves as an “officer.” Members are “soldiers.” This sphere of activity is known as the “field.” Instead of joining The Salvation Army, members are “enrolled” after signing the “Articles of War.” When officers and soldiers die, they are “Promoted to Glory.”

On the other hand, I had never before examined the beliefs of those who belong to the Salvation Army. You can review an official list here.

As you can see, item number 5 indicates the following:

We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocence, but by their disobedience, they lost their purity and happiness, and that in consequence of their fall, all men have become sinners, totally depraved, and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God.

[Emphasis added]. The logical conclusion is that since all men are totally depraved, the friendly man ringing the bell to gather money for needy folks, is “totally depraved.” What happens to people who are not “righteous”? That’s covered in item 11:

We believe in the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, in the general judgment at the end of the world, in the eternal happiness of the righteous, and in the endless punishment of the wicked.

Endless?  That’s harsh!  What else does the Salvation Army believe. Here is a sampling:

We are . . . active in supporting legislation likely to reduce the consumption of alcohol.

All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefits, and to decent working conditions. All people, to the extent they are able, have a corresponding duty to work, a responsibility to provide for the needs of their families, and an obligation to contribute to the broader society.

We believe gambling is wrong, regardless of any perceived benefit of entertainment, charity, or personal gain, even when its destructive influences may not be seen on an individual basis.

Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life.

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Category: Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. brian says:

    "We believe gambling is wrong, regardless of any perceived benefit of entertainment, charity, or personal gain, even when its destructive influences may not be seen on an individual basis."

    So they understand and respect the somewhat analogous new atheist position? That's good to know. I mean, if they didn't they would be hypocrites or fools, and neither could possibly be the case.

  2. Mike M. says:

    How on earth does the Salvation Army get away with this without some sort or public outcry? Their beliefs and doctrine are printed right there on their home webpage for all the world to see with one or two clicks of a mouse. Can you just imagine the backlash and fallout that would result if their doctrine read, "We believe that all Jews are totally depraved and justly exposed to the wrath of God" or "We believe in the endless punishment of the Native Americans"? Outrage would be the immediate response, and rightly so. But since the Salvation Army aims their curse at ALL of humanity, somehow that escapes scrutiny, and is OK?

    It's time to expose the wolves lurking beneath the sheep's clothes.

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