At Fort Bragg, the event was planned in coordination with local conservative churches with military precision. An e-mail circulated by the Graham Association sought pastors to help with spiritual counseling, behind-the-scenes work and tabling informational booths. Some chaplains continue to step outside the bounds of their authority and, instead of simply facilitating worship for a variety of believers, are proselytizing for their particular faith. The problem is not new.
Americans United reported on tensions between mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic chaplains and an aggressive flock of evangelicals during the first Gulf War. Five years ago, Americans United investigated reports of religious bias and favoritism toward evangelicals at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
The situation at the Academy remains problematic. In August, Lt. Michael Gould, head of the Academy, refused to release full results of an annual survey of cadets and staff. Instead, Gould purported to summarize the results for the media and said he was pleased with the progress the Academy is making. Inevitably, the survey results were leaked. They showed a less rosy picture. About 40 percent of the 4, cadets at the Academy responded, and reported being subjected to unwanted religious proselytism — with a higher figure for non-Christian cadets.
Today, the group receives a steady stream of e-mail, phone calls and letters from active and retired military personnel outlining inappropriate forms of proselytizing or government promotion of conservative forms of Christianity — sometimes more than per week.
The cadet talked about being the informal leader of a group of about others at the institution who pretend to be conservative Christians so that aggressive proselytizers will leave them alone. And if you are suspect, then you are in trouble That should be obvious. But many do. They are usually led by a Salvation Army officer, although a lay member may also lead and give the sermon. Music and singing always play a large part, along with prayers and perhaps a Christian testimony. Salvation Army Church officers are ordained, licensed ministers and perform weddings, funerals, and baby dedications, in addition to providing counseling and administering social service programs.
Share Flipboard Email. Jack Zavada is a writer who covers the Bible, theology, and other Christianity topics. Baptism - Salvationists do not baptize; however, they do perform baby dedications. They believe one's life should be lived as a sacrament to God. Bible - The Bible is the inspired Word of God, the only divine rule for Christian faith and practice.
Communion - Communion, or the Lord's Supper, is not practiced by the Salvation Army church in their meetings. Salvation Army beliefs hold that a saved person's life should be a sacrament.
Entire Sanctification - Salvationists believe in the Wesleyan doctrine of entire sanctification , "that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. No discrimination is made as to race or national origin.
What pictures would you use? Well, you might use the picture of a nurse or a doctor. Who takes better care of you, or took better care of you when you were sick than your mother? What about a picture of a chef or a cook, who does better cooking than a mother? Sometimes mothers function like referees, a defense, or a prosecuting attorney.
Sometimes moms are like psychologists, who listens better than a mother? Who can better understand their children, and sort out some of the feelings and emotions of a child better than a mother? What a servant a mother is! Some people approach the church in a very simplistic sort of way. Just like a busy act of a mother who is constantly multi-tasking, wearing many hats, the church of Jesus Christ has a multiplicity of functions and tasks.
One hardly knows where to begin when one thinks of the church and all that it does, but, thankfully, the Bible gives us pictures of the church. The Bible is like a photo album, full of pictures of the church. Why so many pictures? We need to appreciate the whole mosaic, not just one picture, but the photo album as a whole.
We simply cannot take one picture, not even two or three, and say that is all that the church is. No, we have to preach the broad range, the bewildering array of metaphors, to understand the church. We have considered three pictures thus far, three dominant pictures of the church. We started with that metaphor of marriage; the church is likened to a bride, a wife, the bride of Christ.
What does that tell us about the church? Well, it tells us how special the church is, how loved the church is by Jesus Himself. The church is not likened to a broken vase, or to a worn-out rocking chair, no the church is this special, this near and dear, to The Lord Jesus Christ. We also saw from the Bible that the church is likened to the body of Jesus. Again, something unique, something wonderfully different and special. It tells us the church is diverse as your body, with its many members, is diverse. You have hands, you have feet, you have ears and eyes, they all work together, each member contributing in a unique but important way.
The third image, or dominant metaphor that we considered was the church as the flock of God. Acts chapter 20, 1 Peter 5, and several other Old Testament passages speak of this.
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It also reminds us that the church is put under the oversight of under shepherds. The church is a place of protection, the sheep are protected by the under shepherds. Paul warns of wolves, of dangers from without and dangers from within. Sheep are very vulnerable creatures, dependant creatures, and they need to be protected. It, also, reminds us that image that sheep need to be fed. Pastors, shepherds, are responsible to feeding the sheep. The church has a place of preeminence in the heart and mind of God, and it should, also, in our own hearts and minds.
The Church as the Army of God | Biblical Expositions
Every one of those images reminds us of how important the church is to Christian life, to Christian growth, and to Christian service. Now, I want us to consider one more graphic image, this might be the most controversial image. It might have some people look at us, perhaps, a little bit perplexed, and think that we might be looking at the church rather negatively.
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The church of Jesus Christ is likened to an army, a military metaphor that needs to be appreciated. We know about the fight, we know about the struggle. You can understand why some people might be taken back a little bit, perplexed, maybe even shocked that we would think of the church of Jesus Christ under a military figure.
Jesus did say He came not to bring peace, but a sword. Jesus knew that we were going to be engaged in conflict and tension because of the Gospel, because of the truth. We are told that Christians should meet opposing worldviews with friendly conversation, and not conflict. Think of the Old Testament; think of how much of the historical narrative is punctuated with war, or the very concept of war. Now, this might surprise some people too, but God places Himself under the war image. Now, true, Jesus rarely employs military imagery, and there might be a very simple reason for that.
Remember how militaristic the Jews were?
They were expecting a political Messiah, a military Messiah, a Messiah who would come with a sword. They wanted a Messiah who would wipe out the Romans and set up a political kingdom like David. They wanted a man of war. Remember they even tried on one occasion to take Jesus by force to make Him king, but Jesus wanted nothing to do with that war. He never shed one drop of blood, except His own, but Jesus did engage in war.
He was constantly engaged in controversy with the Pharisees and the scribes over a number of different issues. We could say that Jesus was constantly fighting over the truth, and, really, what Jesus was fighting over, more than anything else, was the gospel. They had a false religion that was based upon a massive system of work-righteousness. He exposed their self-righteousness, their hypocrisy, and their false doctrine. Jesus proclaimed the gospel that offered forgiveness and instant justification to everyone who believed on Him, and the Pharisees hated that! They called Him all sorts of names.
He exposed sins. So, yes, there is a war to be waged, there are enemies. The church. Now, how are we to understand what is pictured here? I would say up to maybe five years ago, I always understood this in a different way. The church is on the offense, the church is aggressively attacking!