A soldier is a Salvationist who is at least 14 years of age and has, with the approval of The Salvation Army Pastoral Care Council in each local Salvation Army corp (formerly called the Census Board), been enrolled as a warrior in the Christian denomination - The Salvation Army - after signing the Salvation Army Articles of War. The soldier expresses his commitment in every area of life, but more specifically through the ministry and work of a local Salvation Army corps.
Salvationist Soldiers are considered by their peers to be covenanted warriors exercising 'holy passion' to win the world for Jesus. The covenant, known as the Articles of War, is a life-long commitment to God through The Salvation Army that is fleshed out by a full book of Orders and Regulations called Chosen to Be a Soldier published by the International Headquarters of The Salvation Army. There is also a complete book, called The Salvation Army Handbook of Doctrine], that explains the doctrines to which the soldier subscribes.
The text of the covenant, which is quoted below, reflects the Army's determination to remain faithful to its standards and principles. All Soldiers (including officers of all ranks) are urged from time to time to re-read the solemn undertakings to which they have set their hand and to reaffirm before God their dedication to Him and to The Salvation Army, so that their lifestyle and service will be in keeping with the Soldier's Covenant.
Swearing In of SoldiersEdit
Having completed 'recruits classes', been approved by the Pastoral Care Council and having signed their Articles of War, a soldier is publicly enrolled under The Salvation Army flag usually as part of worship of a Salvation Army corps. The soldier makes a public declaration by reading the articles aloud and will often first wear a Salvation Army uniform on this day. An Officer of The Salvation Army, usually the corps officer of the corps into which the soldier is being enrolled, normally conducts this ceremony.
Soldiers are encouraged to wear the uniform as a sign of covenant community. The uniform is a visible profession of faith in Jesus Christ and identifies the wearer with the Christian faith. The uniform also identifies the wearer as being a person who can be called upon to discover more about the Christian faith.
The uniform differs according to rank, nationality, and activity engaged in.
The Salvation Army takes seriously the capacity of children to have an authentic Christian experience. A Junior Soldier is a boy or girl who, having professed conversion, having signed the junior soldier’s promise, and being between the age of 7 and 16, becomes a Salvationist.
In some places Junior Soldiers also wear a form of uniform which differs according to the locality. A Junior Soldier uniform for a boy would be a white collar shirt, navy blue dress pants, black shoes, navy socks, Junior Soldier pins and tie. A Junior Soldier uniform for a girl would be a white collar shirt, navy blue skirt/skort, navy tights, black shoes, Junior Soldier pins. Often a uniform is not worn, but a Junior Soldier wears a badge (pin) with rings to indicate which level of activity or projects each Junior Soldier has attained (similar to a bar on a military medal).
The 'Junior Soldier promise' reads this:
"Having asked God for forgiveness, I will be his loving and obedient child. Because Jesus is my Saviour from sin, I will trust him to keep me good, and will try to help others to follow him. I promise to pray, to read my Bible and, by his help, to lead a life that is clean in thought, word and deed. I will not smoke, take harmful drugs or drink alcoholic drinks."
According to The Salvation Army Year Book 2008 as of 1 January 2007 there are 360,222 junior soldiers and 1,082,166 senior soldiers in The Salvation Army.
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