No Chaplain for You!

March 09, 2006

Here is a story about how a couple of seminaries are considering no longer sending chaplains to the military: Marine Corps Times. The schools are Bob Jones University Seminary and Temple Baptist Seminary. They are upset that chaplains are supposedly unable to say the name of Jesus in prayers.

The Reverend Billy Baugham, executive director for the International Conference of Evangelical Christian Endorsers, argued, "Why should the seminaries provide more chaplains when their graduates will be harmed for representing the faith of their churches as vows require."

There seems to be two easy answers as to why the seminaries should continue to provide chaplains. First, and most importantly, the chaplains are still needed to provide spiritual advice and a wholesome example. To cut and run not only might result in some never seeing a good Christian witness, but it also sends a negative message to those in the miltary—that the words of a prayer are more imporant than their souls.

Second, this seems to be an odd line to draw in the sand. Christians today seem to be spending a lot of time and energy fighting over what can be said in prayers. However, Jesus taught us not to be concerned about such public airs in Matthew 6:5-8:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Instead of fighting for words to say in public prayers we should work harder to communicate the love of Jesus with everyone—especially those in the military.