Dear Salvation Army, Are Position Statements Set In Stone?

Recently IHQ in London released an updated Position Statement on Alcohol:

“The Salvation Army encourages an alcohol-free lifestyle as a way of enhancing the well-being and health of all people. As a witness to this, Salvation Army soldiers choose to live an alcohol-free life.

The Salvation Army recognizes the harm alcohol causes in individuals, families and communities. It advocates for reducing the consumption of alcohol, and it offers its services to support and restore people negatively impacted by alcohol use.”


Even though it still does not endorse the use of alcohol and encourages its members to remain “alcohol-free”, the last paragraph seems to allot for it in some lifestyles.  Is this just me reading into this revised position statement?  Is the first paragraph for members and the last paragraph for those we serve and help?  Is this, in someway, a means to make everyone happy?  Can both ACTUALLY exist within the same position statement or is it contradictory?  Being alcohol-free is of course not the same thing as “reducing the consumption of alcohol.

Other questions come to my mind.
Culturally speaking there are some places in our world where drinking alcohol at various ages is perfectly acceptable and does not, in general, lead to alcoholism.  Is this position statement clarification meant to include these previously mentioned cultures and countries?   Another thought comes to my mind – is this a cultural shift in the Army?  Does this mean that little by little these Position Statements will change or are they set in stone (so to speak)?  What happens in another generation?  Will these position statements still be intact as they are now?

I am certainly not criticizing the Army today, I am just wondering what this means.
Could this indicate a larger shift in the Position Statements in the future?
Something more for the Army world to ponder today.


3 thoughts on “Dear Salvation Army, Are Position Statements Set In Stone?

Add yours

  1. Many of the early Army’s converts were alcoholics, hence the need for a statement
    of total abstinence from drinking. Today’s Soldiers and Officers should continue to abstain. All others may imbibe.

  2. I do think it sets us apart from others and gives us power in some of our discussions but it doesn’t mean members worshippers can’t drink. It’s the choice for membership.

  3. Growing up and continuing in the Salvation Army into me 50’s (almost…i am only 47), i feel like some how there is more emphasis on becoming a soldier than acceptance on being an adherent. Maybe it is just me but it is as if being an adherent comes across as not being as committed to Christ as someone else who has become a soldier, when really it is just a matter of personal conviction more than anything to do with their full commitment to Christ.

    I remain committed to Christ far above my commitment to The Salvation Army and its policies, positions and politics.

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