FOUNDations: Catherine Booth


“If you haven’t got tears in your eyes, let them hear tears in your voice.”
Brief bio: Catherine Booth, wife of Salvation Army founder William Booth, was known as the “Army Mother.” In her world, women had few rights, no place in the professions and a minimal presence in church leadership.
Nonetheless, in her marriage to William Booth, she became an evangelist, preacher and theologian, and co-founder of The Salvation Army.

As a child, Catherine Booth was bright and tenacious despite long illnesses. By age 12, she had thoroughly studied the Bible from cover to cover–eight times. During her life, she became one of the most popular preachers of her era.

A prolific writer, Catherine Booth explored universal questions and provided forthright answers. She believed Christians must be passionate about their faith, that if we are indifferent we can lose the capacity for love and service. She wrote: “He doesn’t ask you to go to chapel or join the church and pray…but to get down and give up your heart to Him, to choose whom you will serve, and do it at once, and everything else will follow.”
–© 2006 The Salvation Army


  1. ok, so women can be Preachers but not Pastors?

  2. I think she was one of the exceptions. Women can indeed be pastors—over other women (see 1 Timothy 2:11-15)

  3. My bible says that women cannot have authority over men. And that they will be saved through childbearing? What does that mean?

  4. The first part is obvious and clear (I think). The second question about childbearing not so. It has at least 3 possible meanings according to my NIV Study Bible: 1)It speaks of the godly woman finding fulfillment in her role as wife and mother in the home; 2) it refers to women being saved spiritually through the most significant birth of all, the inc arnation of Christ; 3) it refers to women being kept physically safe in childbirth.

    I don’t care for any of these interpretations frankly, so if any of you good readers can clarify…

  5. So where do you draw the line as far as leadership and roles go for women in the church? I have seen many women Pastors before…..both head Pastors and Youth Pastors….

  6. A safe (and Biblical) approach is to have all men be the leaders over the church, and women can lead other women and children. The church should model what the family should be.

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