The Chaplain's Responsibility to the Church

Loyalty to the state and loyalty to the church.

M. V. CAMPBELL, Vice-President, General Conference

The Seventh-day Ad­ventist military chaplain is first of all a Seventh-day Adventist minister. The denominational manual for ministers is his manual. Military di­rectives protect the chap­lain from any act that would violate his con­science or the practice of his church.

It is clear that the chaplain's religious authority is only that which is given him by his church. He has no right to perform any religious function not authorized by his church or any which would be out of har­mony with his church. An Adventist chap­lain is in the chaplaincy only as an Advent­ist minister.

All Seventh-day Adventist ministers are connected as denominational workers to some branch of the organization. Military chaplains have this connection through the National Service Organization, which is a part of the Young People's Missionary Vol­unteer Department. The General Con­ference Committee gives ecclesiastical en­dorsement to chaplains on recommenda­tion of the National Service Organization Committee. Biennially this committee re­views the experience and recommendations concerning all chaplains and votes on rec­ommendations for continued ecclesiastical endorsement.

The chaplain should have good relations not only with the men of the NSO but also with the officers of the conference or mis­sion organizations, both local and union, in which he is stationed. He should inform them of his presence as soon as he arrives at a new station. He should, at the local presi­dent's convenience, pay him a visit. He should attend the local camp meeting.

Probably the chaplain will receive an in­vitation to attend the conference workers' meetings, and if so, should attend them whenever possible. Such meetings bring him in contact with his fellow ministers within the conference borders, and keep him abreast of their thinking and familiar with their problems. Association with con­ference ministers also prevents the chap­lain from feeling alone and apart from other workers. The contact may be of equal benefit to the civilian ministers who should know more regarding our men in uniform. The chaplain should invite the conference officials and nearby pastors for a special visit to the installation. On their arrival he should introduce them to the commander and to key personnel and give them a briefing on the religious program of the station.

In all relationships with civilian pastors the chaplain should exercise courtesy and cordiality. If there is a Seventh-day Advent­ist church near his installation, he should invite the pastor to join him frequently in his services with and for the Adventist per­sonnel. This pastor should be made fa­miliar with procedures so that he can care for the interests of the Adventist personnel in the absence of the chaplain.

Chaplaincy in any of the three branches of military service is an opportunity to serve God in a unique way. It brings a man of God in contact with Adventist youth when they feel far from other denomina­tional influence. He can encourage, sta­bilize and spiritually nourish these men and their families He can win souls in a field largely closed to other Adventist min­isters. In this sphere of labor, which may easily become one of considerable personal danger, the chaplain has the endorsement of his denomination, its prayers, and its esteem.

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M. V. CAMPBELL, Vice-President, General Conference

August 1965

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