On this day in 1912, William Booth “laid down his sword”

On this day 100 years ago, Salvationists around the world were informed that their faithful leader and servant, General William Booth – Founder of The Salvation Army – had “laid down his sword”
and passed away in his home of Hadley Wood, London surrounded by his family.

In the 47 years from when he started The Salvation Army, Booth’s dedication to providing “soup, soap and salvation” to those in need helped establish the Army’s services to the poor and marginalized in 58 countries.

“Soup” meant meeting the material needs of the poor: shelters, soup kitchens, job training and work programs.

The second step, “soap”, acknowledged one’s need for good clothing and cleanliness, the essentials for good self-esteem, confidence and dignity.

The vital last step is salvation. Booth famously said, “No one gets a blessing if they have cold feet and nobody ever got saved while they had toothache!”.

Booth’s passing stirred a rush of tributes from around the globe. President Howard Taft wrote that the Founder’s “long life and great talents were dedicated to the noble work of helping the poor and weak and giving them another chance to attain success and happiness”.

The Salvation Army uses the expression “Promoted to Glory” when referring to the death of a Salvationist, a phrase originally coined by William Booth’s son, Herbert Booth, that epitomizes the church’s optimistic view of death.

The term came from the hymn of the same name:

Summoned home, the call has sounded,
Bidding a soldier his warfare cease;
And the song of angels resounded,
Welcomes a warrior to eternal peace.
Praise the Lord! from earthly struggles
A comrade has found release.

Kevin Sims, of the Communications Section at International Headquarters said it perfectly: “This centenary of the General’s ‘promotion to Glory’ should be treated as just that – a ‘promotion’; a moving on, a stepping forward. We do not reflect morbidly on what has been lost but instead we celebrate the legacy and influence of a great man who, 100 years ago, went to meet his maker and claim his eternal reward.”

A century later, The Salvation Army serves the poor and oppressed in 125 countries and growing, a testament of Booth’s legacy and God’s provision for nations in need through the work of one extraordinary man.

Approximately 40,000 people attended William Booth's graveside service.

Many thanks to The Salvation Army Southern Spirit Online for some of the information above.

13 Comments on “On this day in 1912, William Booth “laid down his sword”

  1. You make us know Christ,without him l do not think many people have been saved. May his soul Rest in perfect peace.

  2. When God’s purposes are manifested through our choices – then nothing is impossible. William Booth answered the calling purpose of his life and God’s Love continues to pour forth touching lives to bridge over to new life in Christ.

  3. I attended the Centenary of theDeath of William Booth at St george’s Cathedral last Sunday evening. This was the Anglican Evensong Service. This service was supported by the Perth Fortress Band and Songsters. Major Dennis Rowe gave the Address. This indeed was a memorable event and i am so glad that I attended.

  4. This is a wonderful foundation story of an organization that is surely one of God’s graces among this earth. I only served briefly, but it was a heaven sent honor to do so. I hope that in the future, I will be able to serve again. May God Bless the Salvation Army!

  5. I wonder if he would be saddened the way the army chooses people now. I believe he wanted everyone to have the opportunity to serve. We were turned down due to “multiple divorces” while someone who had 5 kids out of wedlock was allowed in…just saying

    I am very sorry that happened to you. I can assure you we DON’T look at living situations, unless of course they are homeless. And in that situation depending where the family is located, sometimes, we can’t keep them together. Meaning there is no co-ed homeless shelter in that particular area. I would strongly recommend that you stop in or call us again and let us try again.
    Again, I am very sorry for how you must be feeling, but know this: “What God led you in; He (God) will lead you out!” That is His promise; “I will NEVER forsake you!”

    God doesn’t lie….we do, satan does, but God does NOT.

    I will pray that God will show you who He really is, and that He gives you peace, mercy and His Grace.

    Be Blessed unknown!


  7. to whom it may concern:
    My name is Irma, I have been on disability for a year, and now my checks has stopped, I apply for social security disability, but they said it would take between 3 to 6 months for a response. I’m epileptic, have seizures,, and became so stressed out when I lost my job due to downsizing at the Los Angeles Times.. I became so depressed, and had more seizures, I was having seizures at work, but i pushed myself to continue working. I was always afraid of loosing my job. I was saving money to buy living room furniture thats very old, and some dressers for my daughters,but things didnt go my way..Now my neurologists at kaiser has requested i have brain surgery because of the results that came back from my mri, and ct scan. I need help paying my rent and furniture for my apartment. I’m so embarassed to have to come to this..That is why I worked for over 11yrs,, I would have seizures at work and would push myself to go to work the next day with a throbbbing headache against doctors orders..sometimes i have a seizure at home and pushed myself to go to work not feeling well. I’m just asking if you can please help me in my time of need.
    thank you

  8. I am a 5th generation Salvationist. My mother was an Salvation Army officer before she married. Because of this, it has given me insight to the nonpublic side of The Salvation Army. The “multiple divorces” who wanted to be Officers could have given us intense insight to marriages that are so problematic and ended in divorce could of had a awesome ministry of preparing engaged couples in how important it is to keep God our Father as the Head of a marriage. I know that some single women officers that have had their children without the benefit of marriage. And I know that this has happened before they have received God’s salvation. But growing up and knowing of the nitty-gritty behind the scenes and the way the Salvation Army is today, I find myself in sorrow because truely I do not believe that we are following Booth’s belief of “soup, soap and salvation” for man when Booth began his outreach these 147 years ago. I love the Savation Army, I strongly believe in our doctrines, I believe that the Army is the true church of God. So it makes me question, are we truely following William Booth’s dream or are we following leaders who are more concerned about public relations than their soldiers? I have always been a woman who has been outspoken and I truely believe in my heart in our Lord God but I worry about the Salvation Army’s future and sometimes I wonder if God is pleased with us. If we [Salvation Army] do not keep the foundation of the church strong how do you [future] expect to contiue stanging up and serving God?

  9. you did your own part,helped in a way that surely pleased God and man may the ones that follow your feet do as well may your soul rest in peace

  10. To unknown: try and not be bitter about not being able to go to Training College. I know each case is looked at before a decision will be given, there are extenuating circumstances in many cases. I was divorced 2 times when I applied to The General to approve my acceptance into The Training College. We were accepted, but when the time came, my Husband, who had been a Pastor, married to me with 4 kids and I found out he’d been doing unthinkable things to my Children. He couldn’t live with anyone in control of his life as being an Officer or even a Cadet. Although I was devastated and hurt for my kids. He was on the run and was finally found and put in Prison. We had been married 15 years. When things calmed down, I didn’t even consider applying again. I can still serve in the Army in other capacities. I don’t have to be an officer. You can’t compare your case with anyone else’s case. Each one has it’s own background and facts. You don’t know how God wants to do with you, because “all things work together for Good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” things may change in time, but you must be able to get beyond this, in order to be able to fully serve God.

  11. I have been employed by the Salvation Army for a little over a month. During this time I have just learned the full scope of what the Army does in the community. These people are of high character. It is a privilege to work and volunteer with them.They are touching a lot of lives.What a man, William Booth!!

  12. Let’s follow the footstep of Christ like the general- williams Booth.

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