In England, in the heydays of the Industrial Revolution, the preacher William Booth founded an activity of social and spiritual nature : the Christian mission which became the Salvation Army in 1878.
William Booth aimed at waging war against poverty. That is why he set up an army with its officers, enlisted recruits and appointed Joint Chiefs of Staff, considering himself as the highest-ranking general. The battlefield to conquer is the world. To reach the masses, W. Booth innovated off the beaten track : marches in the street, brass bands, out-door gatherings and in-door coffee shops. Initially he met with strong opposition.
Settling in France
In 1881, the Salvation Army established itself in France with Catherine Booth, the General’s twenty-two year old daughter. With two lady friends of her age, she settled in the middle of the Belleville-Menilmontant popular neighbourhood. The beginnings were hard : guffaws, gibes and general rowdiness. The Parisians nicknamed her the “the Marshal’s wife”.
Extensive social work went along with this evangelization : popular hostels, homes for young girls in danger.
Many outposts of the Salvation Army were opened up all over France.
For French Protestants, the nineteenth century represented the period of “reintegration” or “rebirth”. After more than a century-long ban, everything or nearly everything had to be rebuilt. The Concordat rule gave them the means to restructure and consolidate what already existed. But the new religious pluralism, although of a limited range, prompted to go further. Such was the ambition of the Protestant Evangelists : turn the Concordat rule, not into a cocoon but into a springboard to put the Reformation once more on the way in France.
At the end of the 19th century, some pastors, shocked by the poverty-stricken situation of the working-class, initiated a reflection on social justice.
The history nineteenth century education is known for the profound changes in its government organization ; and these changes affected the influence it had. Fundamental laws went into effect and new teaching methods were implemented, many of which had been thought over in the eighteenth century. Protestants were involved in those changes as they had their own specific requirements with regards to education.
The missionary movement
The missionary fervour of the Protestant Church arose in the nineteenth century. The first mission was in a country under the British rule and later on in countries that were both under British and French rule. At the end of the nineteenth century, Protestant missionaries were active in seven different areas, in Africa and the Pacific.
The faculties of theology in the 19th century
In 19th century France, Lutheran and Reformed pastors under the Concordat rule were trained in two State-recognized faculties of theology.