Echoes of Methodism in the Salvation Army's Commitment to World Mission

RailtonThis paper by Paul du Plessis was prepared at the request of the editors of a Salvation Army publication: Word and Deed. Its mission is to stimulate and disseminate the thinking of Salvationists and other Christian colleagues on matters broadly related to the theology and ministry of The Salvation Army.

The paper was one of a Festschrift dedicated to Colonels Earl and Benita Robinson, an idea conceived by Commissioner Phil Needham who had had close association with the Robinsons through The Salvation Army’s International Doctrine Council.
Writing in ‘Theology in Context’, the editorial in the November 2004 issue of the journal in which ‘Echoes of Methodism’ was published, Roger Green and Jonathan Raymond observed:
‘ ...(the paper) develops an understanding of the world mission of the Army that arose out of a Methodist context and makes critical comparisons and contrasts to Methodism’s initial missionary zeal and that of the Army...’

The paper presents aspects of the evolution of Methodist and Salvation Army commitment to world mission.
In both denominations a person other than the founder caught the vision of world mission and persuaded the founder, at times with considerable difficulty, to embrace it. In Methodism this was Thomas Coke; in The Salvation Army it was George Scott Railton.
Both denominations emphasise that every member has a global commitment. Both have resisted establishing a missionary society, The Salvation Army absolutely, so that it may be regarded as a model of the international ‘connexion’ Wesley hoped for.

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