Skip to comments.Can Evangelical Chaplains Serve God and Country?—The Crisis Arrives
Posted on 09/17/2013 11:44:24 AM PDT by darrellmaurina
Can chaplains committed to historic biblical Christianity serve in the United States military? That question, though inconceivable to our nations founders, is now front and center. And the answer to that question will answer another, even more important question: Can religious liberty survive under Americas new moral order?
The repeal of the militarys Dont Ask, Dont Tell policy, coupled with the Supreme Courts ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, set the stage for this crisis. The full normalization of same-sex relationships within the U.S. military is part of the unprecedented moral revolution that is now reshaping American culture at virtually every level.
The crisis in the chaplaincy arrived with these developments. The presenting issue is clear: Can a chaplain committed to historic biblical Christianity remain in military service? Does the normalization of homosexuality require that all members of the military, including chaplains, join the moral revolution, even if doing so requires them to abandon their biblical convictions?
The answer, at least from the advocates of the moral revolution, is that evangelical Christian chaplains must goand Southern Baptist chaplains must go first. In recent weeks, the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, the endorsing agency for SBC chaplains, formulated a set of policies on these issues. These policies are required of all SBC-endorsed chaplains, and the guidelines are clear. SBC chaplains are to minister in line with the biblical convictions of the SBC and its churches as made clear in our denominations confession of faith, The Baptist Faith & Message. Chaplains are to offer respect to all, respect for the religious liberty of all, and respect for the religious diversity represented within the armed forces. But evangelical chaplains cannot deny or compromise the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the document states: Responsible pastoral care will seek to offer repentance and forgiveness, help and healing, and restoration through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christs sacrificial gift of love on the cross.
At the same time, SBC endorsed chaplainsthe largest single group of non-Catholic chaplainscannot violate their own convictions by conducting or attending a same-sex marriage ceremony, and they certainly cannot bless such a union. They cannot minister in any context that would give the appearance of accepting the homosexual lifestyle or sexual wrongdoing.
In accordance with established U.S. military policy and law, all chaplains are free to minister in accordance with the teachings and beliefs of their own churches, even as they minister to all and respect the religious liberty of others. And yet, the great moral revolution of our times now threatens the continued service of chaplains committed to the moral teachings of historic Christianity.
That point was made abundantly clear in an article published on Monday, September 16, by Associated Baptist Press. The author of the article is Tom Carpenter, identified as co-chair of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy and an elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Carpenter wastes no time in declaring his argument that Southern Baptist chaplains must immediately resign from military service. Given the guidelines set down by the Southern Baptist Conventions endorsing agency, the only honorable course is to resign from the military chaplaincy and return to civilian ministry.
The North American Mission Board has turned the Army motto on its head. They have forced their endorsed chaplains into the untenable position of either serving God or country. Given that choice, as men (NAMB forbids women to serve as ordained chaplains) of God the only honorable course of action for most will be to resign their commissions and return to civilian ministry.
Carpenter then asserts:
If these Southern Baptist chaplains were civilian pastors, there would be no problem. As civilians, they undisputedly have an absolute First Amendment right to believe, preach and counsel in accordance with their denominational tenets. But they are not civilians, and have a duty to not only God, but also country. It is instructive that they are not salaried by the NAMB but by the American taxpayer.
Yes, and they do not surrender their constitutional guarantee of religious liberty when they accept a commission as a military chaplain. Carpenters group was on the forefront of advocating for homosexual rights within the military, calling for Dont Ask, Dont Tell to be revoked and for the Defense of Marriage Act to be struck down. At the same time, his group assured the nation that this moral revolution would not lead to any major exodus of chaplains from the Armed Services. In fact, they accused evangelicals of crying wolf in warning of such a crisis. Now, Carpenter is openly calling for Southern Baptist chaplains to join the moral revolution or get out of the military.
Make no mistake, the moral revolution driven by those who demand the total normalization of homosexuality and same-sex relationships will not stop with the crisis over military chaplains. But at this moment, the chaplains are on the front lines of the great cultural and moral conflict of our times. This is a moment of crisis for the chaplains; but it is also a moment of crisis for the entire nation. If religious liberty is denied to evangelical Christian chaplains in the military, if they must surrender their convictions or their commissions, then religious liberty is lost in America, and the chaplains will be but the first casualties of this loss. Southern Baptist chaplains have been singled out in this call for mass resignation, but they will not be alone. Thousands of Roman Catholic chaplains are committed by their church to the same moral convictions. Chaplains representing other evangelical churches and denominations will find themselves facing the same moment of decision. Muslim and Jewish chaplains who cannot endorse homosexuality and same-sex marriage will face the same challenge.
In reality, it is the entire nation that now faces this crisis. Is America ready to demand that military chaplains choose between serving God and serving their country? We will soon know the answer to that question. We will also know the answer to another, even more urgent question: Where will every Christian church stand on this matter? The great theological divide between those churches and denominations committed to biblical Christianity and those who are given over to the spirit of the age has never been more clear. Indeed, the divide grows clearer day by day.
Also clear is this: Southern Baptist chaplains cannot surrender their commitment to Christ in order to maintain their commitment to ministry within the Armed Services. Furthermore, Southern Baptists will take their instruction from their own churches, not from those churches and denominations who are wearing out their knees bowing to Baal.
I keep emailing to get on the GRPL list. So far it has been to no avail.
Be assured that the end-game is demonic control over everyone, particularly those who are called by Christ. We are now only getting hints about this, but our children will be taken from us in name of protecting them from the "mental illness" of "homophobia" of the parents. Not joking here. At least one NJ legislator expressed this goal clearly within the last month when Christie signed the bill to ban therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction.
Request that this be pinged to your own military, Christian, or culture war lists. This effort to force chaplains opposed to homosexual marriage out of the military must be fought.
We’re no longer dealing with issues of tolerating homosexuals or “don’t ask, don’t tell” questions. We’re dealing with a threat to force evangelical Protestants and traditional Roman Catholics — at least those who believe what their church teaches — out of the military chaplaincy.
Many of us on the conservative side of the fence knew this was coming sooner or later, but I hope the leftists have overplayed their hand by calling for action before they have enough control to win this fight.
Jim, I know you’re hugely busy, but I think this warrants attention far beyond the “social conservative” segment of Free Republic. Please consider pinging this to whoever you think will read it and use it.
You know better than I do how best to use Free Republic to get the word out to military personnel and their civilian supporters so this attack on chaplains can get stopped.
3 posted on 9/17/2013 1:49:21 PM by .45 Long Colt: “I keep emailing to get on the GRPL list. So far it has been to no avail.”
Colt, I have no idea what is happening. The keeper of the Great Reformed Ping List is nobdysfool, at this profile page:
Gamecock is probably the most active member of the GRPL.
I’m pinging both Gamecock and Nobdysfool. Do either of you know what is happening with Colt’s request?
Thank you, Jim!
I hope I didn’t sound irritated. I’m not upset at anyone about it. Just would like to be included.
Mohler, as usual, is terminally naive about the plausibility of attaining even this goal. You cannot "respect" sodomy in any shape, form or fashion, only forcefully repudiate it. What sodomite is going to let such a biblical chaplain get away with this?
The military chaplaincy has always been a lowest-common-demonimator exercise in sickening ecumenism anyway, with the various faiths represented in a unit requiring that chaplains deliver a mish-mashed, watered down pablum of all "Christian" beliefs combined into a non-judgmental, collect-all theology. Are they really going to tell atheist service members on their way to a battle front the truth about their eternal destiny if they do not believe on the Only Way?
It was once accepted that there were differences of belief within Christianity, and that was workable as long as everyone was considered a Christian, or at least had a proper, cultural respect for it. That era is now gone, and these pastors and their defenders are naive to think that they can still fight for what used to be in the new milieu of cultural depravity and foundationless values.
The only solution is to get out. Get out so that you don't soil yourself with the feces that are now neck deep.
Another effort to force God out of our military and society to rush in the immoral behaviors of the godless Left.
I tend to agree with you, fwdude. I respect Dr. Mohler and have learned from him, but all too often he (and his sidekick and fellow Manhattan Declaration signee, Dr. Russell Moore) attempt to walk a politically correct tightrope that should never be walked by God’s people. The Scriptures don’t stutter when they call for separation from unfruitful works of darkness. What else need be said?
The military needs as many true American patriots as possible. Imagine the military staffed solely with demented marxists who place Obama on a divine pedestal. I get how hard it is to be a true defender of American liberties in the military today but this is a situation where we have to consider what the alternatives are. I just don’t see how now is the time to say noone should join the military because doing so is not patriotic anymore.
I respect Mohler as well. But he operates as if he is in a different era - a lot of us do. The same rules do not apply, we are not in a Christianity-friendly environment any longer. And the godless Left will have none of us.
“Can a chaplain committed to historic biblical Christianity remain in military service?”
Its not a question of IF a chaplian can honestly serve in the military - its fast becoming a questions if even a CHRISTIAN can serve.
As long as the Rat party is in charge this ‘transformation’ will continue. The goal is to remake the armed forces a place where straight socially conservative traditional males will not want to be. The goal is a ,military full of pc opportunists, feminazi females and lots of angry morally bent men. The black part of the Army (the service I saw most of) are certainly heavily influenced by Rev. Wright type officers and ‘racial identity’ attitudes. The homos who will be attracted will be the same sort who form wolf packs in prisons to terrorize others and enjoy sodomy unchallenged. This will be a military from hell that is full of people itching to attack normal middle class Americans, especially normal white middle class Americans. The left does want us disarmed, immobilized and terrorized.
And to a greater or lesser extent they are succeeding. Several years ago our family spoke with the vocations director with the military archdiocese. My oldest son, who has discerned a vocation to the priesthood, wanted to work in military chaplaincy. He even checked out the Air Force program in which the candidate would attend the Air Force academy then go on to seminary and then serve as a chaplain with the Air Force.
Unfortunately, early on in the Obama admin, it was becoming crystal clear that orthodox Christians, be they Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox, would not be permitted to preach and defend their Faith openly under this administration.
So my son is pursuing his vocation elsewhere.
(I no longer maintain a Catholic ping list. Hopefully narses will ping this out.)
Of course, military chaplains should be maintaining a Biblical position on all issues, even and especially if it results in dismissal, arrest, etc.
If it does, they will be jailed or persecuted for being true to the Gospel, which, of course, is a blessing.
2 Corinthians 6
“1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.
13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.