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TO THE ARMY
FROM THE OFFICE OF
THE GENERAL TO SALVATIONISTS
ACROSS THE WORLD
This is the
eighteenth in a series of Pastoral Letters from the General to every
Salvationist across the world.The Pastoral Letters
are intended to be distributed unchanged and entire to all
Salvationists and may be shared also with others interested in the
sacred purposes for which God raised up The Salvation Army.
Greetings in the Name of
This comes to all
Salvationists with my strong, ongoing affection in Christ for you,
and with my prayers for your effectiveness in the sacred calling that
God, in his supreme wisdom, has placed upon the peoples known as
It has been laid upon my
heart that I am to take a step of obedience under God by reaching out
to you all through Pastoral Letters written from time to time. I
write therefore in order to obey the One who has created us all, and
with a longing that what is written will affirm, encourage and
The themes for these
occasional Pastoral Letters continue to be the themes God reveals.
His holy will is made known in many ways. I pledge myself to be
mindful that his will is often revealed through interaction with
members of the Body and not only or always in the seclusion of the
place of prayer.
It is my deep hope that
each Pastoral Letter will be read wherever Salvationists are to be
found, whether in private or in public settings. The chosen themes
may prompt discussion, prayer and – as appropriate – action.
All Scripture quotations
are from the New International Version, unless otherwise stated.
PASTORAL LETTER EIGHTEEN
This eighteenth Letter
comes to you with warmest greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ. You are
constantly in my prayers. Prayer unites us before the Throne of
Grace. We are bonded in prayer. Please continue to pray for me –
for wisdom and for constant guidance from Almighty God.
My wife and I, ably
supported by my Private Secretary, Major Richard Gaudion, have
recently made visits to the Congo (Brazzaville) Territory and to the
USA National Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. What contrasting
locations! Yet we met in each place the same spirit of Salvationism
and the same ardour for the Gospel that marks the Army in every
corner of the globe. These two visits reinforced our awareness of the
unity of God’s Army.
In Brazzaville I was
blessed to enrol 190 new Junior Soldiers, and the next day 185 Senior
Soldiers – every child and adult in full uniform. The children and
the adults made the same sacred promises and entered into the same
holy covenants that are such a strong and unifying factor for
Salvationists everywhere. The Territorial Commander, Commissioner
Mfon Akpan, invited me to sign personally every single Promise Card
and Soldier’s Covenant. What a marvellous privilege to see the
names appended to these God-blessed commitments. Many thousands
attended the meetings to encourage the new Junior and Senior
Endless miles away, just
a few weeks later, we encountered the same spirit of Salvationism as
we met the officers and employees of National Headquarters in the
USA. What a contrast from Brazzaville in terms of affluence, as once
more we visited the richest nation on earth. Yet the Army spirit is
the same. The goals are the same – the souls and needs of others!
The commitment is the same – to serve in the Name of Jesus
regardless of self!
How moving it has been,
how inspirational, to witness our unity in the Army’s global
response to the Haiti earthquake and shortly thereafter to the quake
in Chile. The instant, godly response has been wonderful, resulting
in personnel, money, and equipment from across the globe in answer to
the plight of the victims. Again, God is blessing and deepening our
unity in Christ and in our callings to be Salvationists in a hurting
Unity pleases God. The
Scriptures make this clear. In John 17 we read our Lord’s
passionate prayer that his committed followers would not allow
discord to divide them. In Romans 12:5 Paul reminds us that ‘in
Christ we who are many form one body.’ So let us each work for
unity, especially in our local corps. A united corps is a growing
corps. A united corps is an attractive, and attracting, corps.
Our English language Song
Book has words that express our unity in Christ. Song 660 speaks of
our hearts being bonded ‘in Christian love’, of the sharing of
‘mutual burdens’, and of our being ‘joined in heart’. Song
573 offers an eloquent reminder of the role and place of the Mercy
Seat in symbolising our oneness. It mentions (verse 3) our being
gathered ‘around one common Mercy Seat’. We are equal, we are
one, we are united in our need of grace as we kneel at the feet of
Therefore I am praying
for strong unity in the Army. I am asking God to deepen still further
the bonds that unite us. I am praying that there will be no spirit of
strife among us. I am pleading in prayer for unity in every part, and
in every place where the Trinitarian flag of God’s Army - the
yellow, red and blue - flutters in the breeze, whether it be Africa
or America, whether it be north or south, east or west.
Thank you for your
faithfulness. I thank God for you.
Here today in London, as
I write, the sky is overcast, but there glows within our souls the
bright sunshine of God’s love! May you know and feel that same love
today, moment by moment.
I commend you to the
grace of Christ.
Sincerely in Him,
Shaw Clifton General
Hear General Cliftonread his Pastoral Letter
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