William and Catherine Booth founded the Salvation Army in the slums of East London. Whatever the Booths and their soldiers were, they were not content with a genteel and respectable Christianity that fit snugly into the cultural milieu of the day. William Booth once said, “The great curse of the church is respectability. Throw reputation and so-called respectability overboard.”  Despite using common and popular forms – such as the military metaphor and changing words of popular songs (“Why should the devil have all the best tunes?” Salvationists often asked) – the Army subverted expectations of what Christians should be and took much criticism.

How might today’s Salvation Army recover some of the militancy of its early days? And what can others learn from its history