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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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William Booth, the founding father of the Salvation Army, was a tireless organizer, much like John Wesley, the leading force behind Methodism.1 Booth’s organizational prowess came to the fore in the summer of 1865, when he established a mission in London’s East End, an area known for its poverty and degradation. Enlivened by a desire to save souls, his original intent was to funnel converts into existing churches and chapels. But as Booth came to realize, the poor saved under his ministry were not welcome in respectable ecclesiastical settings. Consequently, his mission took on a permanent character, gradually evolving into the Salvation Army in 1878. For all intents and purposes, Booth now had a denomination on his hands, soon controlled by a sizeable international headquarters in London. From this central location General Booth supervised the work of Salvationists in various countries, ensuring that the Army remained “one body with the same head, the same government, the same laws, and substantially the same usages and methods.”2 By the end of his life, Booth had raised roughly 16,000 officers directing the work of countless soldiers (lay Salvationists) in 58 countries and colonies around the globe.3

Is it any wonder that the Christian community and, indeed, much of the world, came to admire William Booth? He was a towering figure of his age, ← 1 | 2 → known not only for building an impressive organization but for aiding the poor spiritually and socially. However, what is rarely known about...

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