Since I was a child, I went to the Gospel Christian Church, but as I was going there, many times I would leave without looking to understand something. I looked for another church until I found one called “The Salvation Army”. Here, the leaders are very good and there is much love around them. The problem is that they are not baptized, but they become “soldiers” instead. I want to ask if it is possible to be saved without being baptized. I doubt it and therefore I am determined that if I am baptized, I will continue to attend the Gospel Christian Church. And I would like to add something: here at the Salvation Army, they have the the Lord’s Supper but instead of bread they serve something else and still preach the same Bible. I will wait for your advice. Lord bless you and help you in the ministry you are doing.
Baptism is the commandment of our Savior
When He gave the apostles the Great Commission, Lord Jesus said to them:
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16)(NASB)
The verse says clearly that he who has believed and had been baptized will be saved. But someone may argue and say, “Well, the second part of the verse says that “he who has disbelieved will be condemned” and it says nothing about baptism, i.e. it does not say that he who has not been baptized will be condemned. Do you know why? Because the decision and the request to be baptized is the first evidence that someone has believed and has entered into a covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, how can anyone claim that he chose to live in full obedience to Jesus and refuse to fulfill His first command – to be baptized? If someone does not want to be baptized, it means that he did not take a firm decision to become a disciple of Jesus and let him not deceive himself. If baptism was not important, Jesus would not have said it and the first disciples would not have asked those who had believed to be baptized. So, if you believed wholeheartedly in the Lord Jesus and you entered a covenant with Him, you must go to the pastor or to the priest and ask to be baptized.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is a worldwide mission founded in 1865 by William Booth in London. In 1878 they adopted the title “The Salvation Army” and quasi-military management system. On the official page of The Salvation Army is presented the following quote from Salvation Army Act in 1980:
The Salvation Army is an integral part of the Christian Church, although distinctive in government and practice. The Army’s doctrine follows the mainstream of Christian belief and its articles of faith emphasize God’s saving purposes. Its objects are ‘the advancement of the Christian religion… of education, the relief of poverty, and other charitable objects beneficial to society or the community of mankind as a whole.
The above definition makes clear that the Salvation Army is not a church, but an integral part of the Church and therefore, the Salvation Army does not have the role to perform acts of worship. In my understanding, they recruit people from churches who share the same vision and want to commit themselves to the same cause of preaching the Gospel in places that others reach harder.
I invite the soldiers of The Salvation Army to contribute with their comments to the addressed question.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru
Read this article in Romanian.