Cliftons welcomed and dedicated; VISION FOR THE ARMY REVEALED
LONDON – April 8, 2006 – Before a capacity crowd at Kensington Town Hall, Commissioner Israel Gaither, soon to be USA National Commander, greeted the audience with the words: “Tomorrow has arrived. The next chapter of our collective history of mission begins to be written.” The event was the formal welcome and dedication of General Shaw Clifton and Commissioner Helen Clifton as international leaders and Commissioner Robin Dunster as Chief of the Staff.
In his first public message, Clifton stated: “I have a vision of the whole Army kneeling together at the feet of Christ … all asking for the same thing.”
He went on to reveal to the congregation that when he was formally asked if he was willing to accept the Generalship of the Army, he replied: “Under God, I am willing.”
The words “under God” are crucial, he said. “The Army has been raised up by God. We are sustained as an Army by God. The Army belongs to God. Your new General is under God. There is no other place to be.”
Continuing, Clifton stated: “I want every person listening, especially every Salvationist, to know that the new General knows his place. That place is ‘under God’. I am a servant of God. I am also your servant. I am subservient … surrendered, and yielded, fully given up to God for the salvation of the world.
“We are to be under Christ’s feet. You cannot be under Christ’s feet and still be proud—full of self—disobedient to God. You cannot be under Christ’s feet and go on sinning. You cannot be under Christ’s feet and be relying on your own puny, human strength.
“I have a vision of the whole Army kneeling at the feet of Christ, asking, pleading with God for forgiveness for all we have done wrong and for all we have omitted to do—pleading for more faith, more wisdom, more holy courage, a closer walk with him, more of his Holy Spirit— more power.”
In dedicating the new leaders, Gaither thanked God for his “gift” of the Cliftons and prayed that God would do a perfect thing in them and in the Army through them.
In response, Dunster—described earlier by Clifton as gifted, with wide experience, independent judgment, poise and gravitas”—spoke warmly of commitment and obedience to Jesus.
Commissioner Helen Clifton, world president of women’s ministries, spoke of how her “long walk” with God had all been part of his plan for her life. She said she believed he had prepared her for this moment.
Following his remarks, General Clifton challenged those in attendance with the question: “Are we all under Christ’s feet—in everything—with nothing held back—everything surrendered?”
Then as he extended the invitation, scores came to pray—at Christ’s feet.
—from an international news release