An Idol Exposed
September 20, 2013 1 Comment
Dr. Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, recently addressed the question, “Can evangelical chaplains serve God and country?”
Recent developments have placed at odds the moral standards of the U.S. military with the principles clearly outlined is Scripture. Chaplains who desire to stand on the Word of God are finding themselves in conflict with their chains of command. At issue is the normalization of same-sex marriages within the military and the requirement of chaplains to perform same-sex weddings.
The North American Mission Board, the endorsing agency for Southern Baptist chaplains, issued a set of policies on behalf of SBC chaplains in hopes of giving them cover. That is commendable. Nevertheless, Southern Baptist Chaplains are still caught in between two diametrically opposed authorities — their God and their country.
Ironically, the motto of the Chaplain Corps is, Pro Deo Et Patria — translated, “For God and Country.”
Tom Carpenter, co-chair of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy, wrote an article about the controversy and addressed Southern Baptists in particular.
“The North American Mission Board has turned the Army motto on its head,” he wrote. “They have forced their endorsed chaplains into the untenable position of either serving God or country.”
Of course, Carpenter is a supporter of the new “morality” in the military and goes on to call for Southern Baptist Chaplains to do the only honorable thing and resign their commissions. He did, however, get one thing exactly right — their choice is between God and country. But it was not the North American Mission Board that drew the hard distinction between the two. Rather, it was the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, when he said…
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” — Matthew 6:24
Granted, there was a time when the United States and the Kingdom of God were not as overtly in conflict as they are now. That is probably a contributing factor in so many American Christians falling prey to the idolatry that masquerades as “patriotism.” As long as secular American society shared a common moral standard with biblical Christianity, there existed the illusion that the two were of equal worth. This was never the case. God’s Kingdom has always stood above every earthly Kingdom — including the United States of America — as the only righteous Kingdom in existence. It is the only Kingdom worthy of a Christian’s devotion and undivided loyalty.
The culture and government of the United States are no friends of Christ and His Kingdom. Many may regard the developments in the U.S. military as a bad thing. I don’t. The mask is coming off of this worldly kingdom. It is being revealed for what it truly is. And, if God grants an ever-increasing number of believers the ability to recognize this idol for what it is as a result of these recent developments, then this is a good thing, indeed.
I pray believers in increasing numbers will see the truth in Christ’s words about two masters — ultimately the time will come when it will be necessary to choose one over the other. Both demand to be utmost in your affections, but only one has the right to make such a demand.
I pray God will grant that believers in increasing numbers will stand with Joshua when he said…
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” — Joshua 24:14-15