While reading a book on Reformed theology (The Shorter Westminster Catechism, by G. I. Williamson), I came across a brief criticism of the Salvation Army's views on the sacraments:
A very different view is held by such groups as the Salvation Army. They do not administer the sacraments at all. They hold regular worship service, but do not observe baptism or the Lord's Supper. (284)
I had previously thought of the Salvation Army as simply a parachurch organization, but to me such groups would not "hold regular worship service." And Williamson's view seems to be confirmed by Wikipedia, which refers to the organization as a "Christian church" and a "denomination."
Strangely, the tradition that the SA grew out of, Methodism, does administer these sacraments. So my question is: why does the Salvation Army not administer baptism and the Lord's Supper? I have a couple guesses:
- The SA sees itself as a church but does not accept the typical biblical arguments (e.g., Matthew 28:19, 1 Corinthians 11:23–26) for the ongoing nature of these sacraments
- The SA sees itself as a parachurch organization and recommends that its members also join a church that administers the sacraments
Are either of these accurate? Or a combination, or something else entirely? Whatever the answer, I'd especially like to see evidence from official documents or the published views of its leaders through its history.