The Salvation Army is a Christian denomination and international charitable non-profit/religious organization and is structured in a quasi-military fashion. The organization reports worldwide membership of over 1.5 million, consisting of soldiers, officers and adherents known as Salvationists. Its founders William & Catherine Booth, the original founders of the Salvationist movement, sought to bring salvation to the poor, destitute and hungry by meeting both their “physical and spiritual needs”. It has a presence in 126 countries, running charity shops, operating shelters for the homeless, and providing disaster relief and humanitarian to developing countries.
The theology of the Salvation Army is mainstream Methodist, although it is distinctive in government and practice. The Army’s doctrine follow mainstream Christian beliefs, and its articles of faith emphasis 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 Army was founded in 1865 in London by one-time Methodist minister William Booth. Originally known as the North London Christian Mission, in 1878 Booth reorganized the mission, becoming its first General and introducing the military structure which has been retained to the present day.