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Boundless Salvation

The Shorter Writings of William Booth

Edited By Andrew M Eason and Roger J. Green

William Booth (1829–1912) is remembered for the major role he played in founding the Salvation Army, an evangelical organization now operating in more than 120 countries. Few people, however, are aware of the fact that Booth was also a prolific author. During his long lifetime he wrote countless articles and speeches on a variety of topics, ranging from Christian doctrine to female ministry and missionary work. The most important of these shorter writings are presented in one volume for the first time here, along with perceptive commentary by two leading scholars of the Salvation Army. Boundless Salvation: The Shorter Writings of William Booth convincingly demonstrates that Booth’s enormous accomplishments arose from deeply held religious convictions. It argues persuasively that his life and ministry must be understood in relation to the Methodist theology and transatlantic revivalism that inspired and guided him. By showcasing and analyzing these religious contexts, this edited collection sheds considerable light on a towering figure of the Victorian period. In the process, it offers valuable insight into the origins and development of the Salvation Army, one of the most remarkable organizations to arise during the nineteenth century. Boundless Salvation: The Shorter Writings of William Booth will appeal to a broad readership, especially to those with an interest in religion and history.
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Chapter 4. Female Ministry

Extract

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CHAPTER FOUR



Female Ministry

Countless women, including many in their late teens and early twenties, played a significant part in the early success of the Salvation Army. Through their public efforts, especially as preachers and leaders of corps (centers of worship), the organization soon witnessed rapid expansion at home and abroad. The placement of female Salvationists in positions of authority owed a great deal to Catherine Booth, the Army’s founding mother, but it is worth remembering that William Booth also endorsed a prominent role for women in ministry. Whether or not the Army’s founding father ever uttered the words “my best men are women,”1 there can be little doubt that he came to share the sentiment. Among his voluminous writings were various orders and regulations granting women the possibility of unprecedented opportunities—namely, the right to any office in the organization. Although Booth’s progressive views on female ministry were sometimes hard to reconcile with his continued adherence to more conservative theological and cultural beliefs, the readings contained in this chapter demonstrate the sincerity of his efforts to elevate the status of women in the church and society.2

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