Ask @SendTheFiredotca:

Why doesn't the SA do baptisms and communion?

Great Q! Many others prob wonder too. Some background info...
Baptism & Communion(the Lord's Supper) are referred to in the Christian church as sacraments. These sacraments are rituals or ceremonies that are regularly practiced as part of the life of the Christian community and serve as outward signs of the inward grace (because of Christ's death & resurrection) acting in our souls.
Read the official Salvation Army response in the Handbook of Doctrine (pg 269) here -
Our summary:
- the sacraments are an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace.
- Jesus is the one true sacrament (the only way we come to God and how the grace of God comes to us)
- as Christians, we're a sacramental community meaning all the aspects of how we live our lives (school, work, fun stuff…) centre on Jesus and we can participate with God and show grace to others via our words and how we live.
- early in Army history, God led them to not observe baptism and Communion as rituals cuz the danger is that people can trust in the ritual instead of Christ's death and resurrection (though there's also a danger that not participating can lead one to ignore or minimize the grace God offers us through Christ).
- because of this stance, the Army believes God has called us to be distinctive people in the Church communicating that 'no particular outward observance is necessary to inward grace.'
- the Army observes the sacraments by inviting Christ to all life's significant events and ceremonies (dinners, birth celebration, weddings, anniversaries…)
- the Army confesses one sacramental meal, not administered ritually, but presided over by Christ himself at any table where his is received and honoured.
So… perhaps the bottom line is that The Salvation Army would say that practicing the sacraments isn't wrong but that it's not necessary to experience God's grace and could actually be unhelpful to some.
Make sense? Hopefully this answers your question!
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My friend is going to try coming to my corps with me. But one of his questions was, what makes the Salvation Army different from other Christian churches. Do you have any suggestions on how I could answer that question???

Great Q! Your answer can vary depending on what community/province you live in, what your local expression is like when it gathers, what your friend means by the question (how is the service diff't OR how is the body diff't), what 'other churches' they are referring to (Catholic, Baptist) and what their faith background or understanding is.
Assuming they're asking about the 'Sunday gathering' then you might talk about having a brass band (depending on your community) and members wearing uniforms.
Assuming they're talking about the body, one thing that is pretty different from many others is that we have a particular purpose by God for the marginalized of society (heart to God, hand to man; soup, soap, salvation) and we don't practice communion and baptism as part of our gatherings.
There's much more that could be said but again, it depends on your context. Hope this helps?! If not, post another question being more specific or fire us a private message!

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