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A widely accepted definition of Corruption, which is provided by Amnesty International and recognised by the UN, reads as follows: “Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”.

Corruption also refers to the abuse of, or complicity in the abuse of, private or public power, office or resources for personal gain . This can include not only financial gain but also non-financial advantages such as the furtherance of political or professional ambitions. Corruption can take many forms that vary in degree from minor use of influence to institutionalised bribery. Corruption takes place in the public and private sectors, as well as within civil society. It has a debilitating effect on democratic values, and impacts the socio-economic rights and dignity of all people. Those who suffer the most because of corruption are the poor, vulnerable and marginalised. Corruption diverts resources, increases the cost of goods and services, and perpetuates the root causes of poverty.

Statement of position

The Salvation Army deplores corruption in any form. The Salvation Army realises that there is often a lack of understanding, acknowledgement and identification of corruption because it is so entrenched in society. However, corruption is not an acceptable behaviour in any culture or society. The Salvation Army seeks to uphold Biblical values such as justice, integrity, honesty, impartiality, transparency and authenticity.

Biblical Principles

Commendation of integrity:
Psalm 15 :– God desires blamelessness, integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, the keeping of promises and refusal of bribes.
Proverbs 16:8 – “Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice”.
Isaiah 33:15, 16 – God will supply the needs of the person who refuses to take or offer bribes.

Condemnation of corruption:
Exodus 23:8 and Isaiah 5:23 – Bribery and corruption have far reaching devastating consequences for a nation.
Exodus 23:3 – God requires all people to be treated with fairness and equity.
I Samuel 8:3, Acts 24:25, 26- People who love money and practice corruption do not make trusted leaders.
Acts 8:20– Godly anointing and power cannot be bought with money.

Practical responses

The Salvation Army is committed to transparency and good governance in its own administration and business practices, acknowledging, “A corrupt church has no message for a corrupt nation” . Furthermore, The Salvation Army strives to take utmost care in the administration of, and accounting for, donor, government and internal assets and funds, which may be entrusted into its care. The Salvation Army is committed to the establishment and implementation of anti-corruption mechanisms in its administration. The Salvation Army promotes integrity, accountability and proper management in society by:

  • Setting an example of ethical business practices, and by displaying the “fundamental principles that ensure the weak and powerless are treated with the dignity that is rightfully theirs as people made in God’s image “. The Salvation Army holds a “zero tolerance” position on corruption within its ranks.
  • Encouraging all Salvationists to act according to the highest moral standards, to refrain from corruption, and to expose and challenge corruption in the workplace.
  • Being an advocate for good governance and fair practice in the private and public sector, wherever possible.


1. UN Global Compact. (2011, April 30). Global Compact Principle 10
2. Stückelberger, C. (2003, 02 01). Continue Fighting Corruption: Experiences and Tasks of Churches and Development Agencies.Bread for All
3. Stüeckelberger, C. (2010, 09 27). Corruption-Free Churches are Possible: Experiences, Values, Solutions. Focus No. 2
4. Micah Challenge International (2010, 09 14). Open for Service – A Case for Good Governance

Further reading:

Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution. (2011, 05 19). Corruption: Towards a Comprehensive Societal Response
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. (1999). Combating Corruption—Guidelines. Bern: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, CDC.
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. (1999). Combating Corruption—Guidelines. Bern: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, CDC.Unashamedly Ethical
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2004, 09 01). United Nations Convention Against Corruption.