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February 2020 New Horizons

A Chaplain in the Lord’s Service

 

Contents

A Chaplain in the Lord’s Service

Supporting Orthodox Presbyterian Chaplains

Hospital Chaplaincy

Ministering as a Police Chaplain

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A Chaplain in the Lord’s Service

One important reason that we send OP ministers into the military to serve as chaplains is because members of the OPC and other Reformed churches who serve in our nation’s armed forces need and benefit from God’s ordinary means of grace as administered by OP chaplains. This year marks the thirty-first anniversary of my meeting OP ruling elder Michael C. (Mike) Cloy and his family while I was serving as chaplain. We have now enjoyed three decades of mutual military active duty and military retirement. A Church Membership Interview in Germany In 1989, Mike was a US Army captain, and I was a military chaplain in the same rank. We had been deployed separately to Friedberg, Germany, and met for the first time at the US Army’s Ray Barracks Chapel. I preached a sermon titled “Not Ashamed of the Gospel” from Romans 1:16–32 at the chapel’s Protestant service. Mike later told me that, as he listened to the sermon, he nudged his wife, Debbie, and whispered, “This chaplain is preaching the text! ... Read more

Supporting Orthodox Presbyterian Chaplains

Imagine that you are not certain of a loved one’s spiritual condition. When they come to mind, you pray that, more than anything else, they would come to know Christ—or rather, to be known by him and experience the strength and sweetness of his life and love. Now imagine that your loved one’s vocation regularly exposes them to real danger. When they go to work, they are likely running toward life-threatening events, so that others may survive and live. Whether a firefighter, a law enforcement officer, a paramedic, a soldier, a sailor, an airman, or a marine, service personnel see things, hear things, and do things (and fail to do things!) that weigh heavy on their hearts, minds, and spirits. Wouldn’t you be thankful to God for a gospel minister who is trained and equipped to come alongside your loved one with a listening ear, an understanding heart, and the healing balm of God’s covenant love and faithfulness? Wouldn’t it be an answer to your prayers for your unsaved loved one to come ... Read more

Hospital Chaplaincy

After thirty-two years serving as an OP pastor in San Francisco, I took on a new career: hospital chaplaincy. I must have chaplaincy in my blood, if such a thing is possible. My father, who pastored several local congregations for years, also served as a chaplain. He was in the army during World War II and his experiences always intrigued me. When I left the pastorate, I immediately applied for training and certification with Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association, an evangelical organization my father had also joined when he retired from the pastorate. I joined, studied, and was certified. That was fourteen years ago, and I haven’t looked back since. Finally, here was a world where the best of both desires could be exercised: medicine and the ministry of the Word. The Role of the Hospital Chaplain Historically, hospitals have Christian roots. What other calling of God suits the work of the hospital better than the pastorate—a minister of the Word in the institution of life and death? I love ... Read more

Ministering as a Police Chaplain

On one of my first days as a police chaplain, I walked into the police department and a detective asked me, “Chaplain, do you believe in hell?”  That loaded question was the beginning of a two-year, once-a-month lunch session with this man, an avowed agnostic. We discussed why Christians believe the Bible is the Word of God and Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth to die for human beings. For two years, I answered question after question. After a while, he began to ask the same questions over again, so I told him, “The issue here isn’t that you haven’t had your questions answered. It’s that you don’t really want to accept the answers. I’m going to pray that the Lord will bring something into your life that will break your hard heart and show you your need for Jesus.” (Later, he told me that he wanted to pull out his gun and have me meet my Maker right then.) Several months later, on Good Friday, I received a phone call from him. He said that nothing was going right for ... Read more

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