Our Ethics

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Salvation Army ethics

Salvationists are generally conservative in their ethical thinking. Since the Army devotes much of its energy to working in difficult social and ethical areas it is able to claim that its ethical doctrines are tested in practice every minute of every day.

All Salvationist ethics rely on Jesus for their authority. Their essence is captured in phrases like 'following Jesus' and 'the imitation of Christ'.


Every Salvationist makes the following ethical promises:

  •  I will uphold Christian integrity in every area of my life, allowing nothing in thought, word or deed that is unworthy, unclean, untrue, profane, dishonest or immoral.  
  • I will maintain Christian ideals in all my relationships with others; my family and neighbours, my colleagues and fellow salvationists, those to whom and for whom I am responsible, and the wider community.
  • I will uphold the sanctity of marriage and of family life. I will be a faithful steward of my time and gifts, my money and possessions, my body, my mind and my spirit, knowing that I am accountable to God.
  • I will abstain from alcoholic drink, tobacco, the non-medical use of addictive drugs, gambling, pornography, the occult and all else that could enslave the body or spirit."  


"... to be pure in soul signifies deliverance from all and everything which the Lord shows you to be opposed to His Holy Will."  William Booth, Purity of Heart

The Salvation Army expects its members to live according to the "values of the Kingdom of God and not the values of the world."

Salvationists try to avoid "all impurity, including unclean conversation and the reading of any obscene book or paper" as well as pornographic pictures, films and exhibitions of any kind, or similar television and radio programmes.

Bodily ethics

The Salvation Army has historically required total abstinence from alcoholic drink from all its soldiers and officers.

"Social drinking to please a host or hostess or a business associate should be ruled out. Alcoholic beverages in any form should not be tolerated within Salvation Army circles."

However, Salvationists are not forbidden to mix socially with drinkers, and War Cry is regularly sold in pubs.

Members of the Army also abstain from "tobacco, the non-medical use of addictive drugs, gambling, pornography, the occult, and all else that could enslave the body or spirit."

Such things are seen as endangering and degrading the physical, moral, and spiritual welfare of all those who become involved with them.

Positional Statements

A body of Salvationists meet regularly to discuss and pray about modern societal issues and, with the blessing and approval of the International and Territorial leaders, Positional Statements are issued to guide Salvationists in their beliefs and ideas.

Below is a short list of some of those Positional Statements on issues such as: 

  • Euthanasia
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Homosexuality
  • Contraception
  • Abortion
  • Stem Cell research
  • Debt
  • Discrimination                                                                                                                                                                Full list of Positional Statements