Home Christian News Ed Stetzer: ‘Cancel’ the Salvation Army? I Think Not.

Ed Stetzer: ‘Cancel’ the Salvation Army? I Think Not.

They have now released a public statement related to their engagement on the issue of race:

In this case, the guide “Let’s Talk About Racism,” was issued as a voluntary resource, but it has since become a focus of controversy. We have done our best to provide accurate information, but unfortunately, some have chosen to ignore those efforts. At the same time, International Headquarters realized that certain aspects of the guide may need to be clarified.

Consequently, for both reasons, the International Social Justice Commission has now withdrawn the guide for appropriate review.

Discounting more the more than 150 years of faithful service due to wording of one document seems like more than an overreaction–unless cancel culture is your goal.

To then imply that organization leaders have traded the gospel for cultural or financial gains is dishonest and corrosive to the Church and our society.

Time to Rise Above

We are better than this.

We don’t need the anti-woke crusade to seize on a moment like this, when the poor need the help of the Salvation Army. Yet, we know how it works. Forget the poor, ignore the history of faithful ministry, and make your point—even if it hurts the least of these.

That’s not the way of Jesus and Christians should know (and do) better.

Jesus called his followers to make disciples of all peoples (Matthew 28:19-20). The Salvation Army, from founder William Booth to today, has continued seeking to do this. They had to face disparagement from the left. Now, they must face disparagement from the right.

The challenge for us is to not let the left or right wing demonize the folks who are caring for the poor.

Let the Church Be the Church

Here’s the thing: some folks just can’t let a church be a church.

The Salvation Army—to the surprise of many— is actually a church, as is clear in its mission statement:

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

We shouldn’t be shocked that an organization that identifies as a church, rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ, whose name (by the way) is the SALVATION Army, is grounded in the good news of the Bible.

The same Bible that teaches us to care for the poor (e.g., Zechariah 7:10, Proverbs 28:27) and is sufficient to speak to issues of race and justice (e.g., Amos 5:24, Galatians 3:28).

I’m with the folks caring for the poor and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus, not the ones scoring cheap political points at the expense of the hurting.

Editor’s Note: The Salvation Army responded to Xu’s WSJ article here.

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the editor-in-chief of Outreach Magazine, and leads the Stetzer ChurchLeaders podcast. Ed is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the Founding Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible story. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves as interim teaching pastor of Calvary Church in New York City and serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church.