Like a Mighty Army?: The Salvation Army, the Church, and the Churches
In 1937, prior to the 1948 inauguration of the World Council of Churches, Karl Barth challenged the churches to engage in Òreal strict sober genuine theologyÓ in order that the unity of the church might be visibly realized. At that time The Salvation Army didnÕt aspire to become formally known as a church, even though it was a founding member of the WCC. Today it is globally known as a social welfare organization, concerned especially to serve the needs of those who find themselves at the margins of society. Less well known is that seventy years after BarthÕs challenge it has made its peace with the view that it is a church denomination. Accepting BarthÕs challenge to the churches, and in dialogue with his own ecumenical ecclesiology, the concept of the church as an Army is interrogated, in service to The Salvation ArmyÕs developing understanding of its identity, and to the visible unity of GodÕs church.
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