Famous In This Field:
William Booth (1829 – 1912) founded the Salvation Army – a religious organisation dedicated to offering humanitarian aid and tackling the material and spiritual poverty of the Victorian age. The Salvation Army spread to become a global humanitarian charity seeking to provide material aid and spiritual salvation.
When Booth was about 15 he heard about Methodism and the message of salvation. He became a convert and embraced the religion wholeheartedly. He read widely and was inspired to become a speaker and missionary seeking to save souls. Booth believed that those who rejected Jesus Christ as their saviour were doomed to eternal hell. He saw his life mission to save as many people as possible.
In 1865, Booth and his wife founded The Christian Revival Society, however they struggled to raise sufficient funds to keep the mission going, but they never gave up and remain committed to serving the poor in the heart of the poorest areas in London.
In 1878, they changed the name of the Christian Revival Society to the Salvation Army. Booth’s motivation was that he didn’t see himself as a volunteer, but a regular soldier serving God. The organisation was based on military principles. Booth was the ‘General’; they had their own flag, their own uniform, and ‘military’ songs based on Christian hymns. Other members were referred to as officers. The Salvation Army was soon present across Europe, the US and part of the British Empire.
Booth was a tireless worker, travelling to over 58 countries and becoming one of the best-known evangelists and charity workers of the age.