Chaplain suspended for sharing the Gospel

The Washington Nationals suspended a volunteer chaplain and distributed an apology from outfielder Ryan Church yesterday, two days after Church was quoted in a front-page Post article as suggesting that Jews are headed for eternal damnation.

Note the first paragraph, “suggesting that Jews are headed for eternal damnation.” And the problamatic issue as reported in the same article:

An article in Sunday’s paper about Baseball Chapel quoted Church as saying that he had turned to Moeller for advice about his former girlfriend, who was Jewish. “I said, like, Jewish people, they don’t believe in Jesus. Does that mean they’re doomed? Jon nodded, like, that’s what it meant. My ex-girlfriend! I was like, man, if they only knew. Other religions don’t know any better. It’s up to us to spread the word,” Church said.

It doesn’t look like he was suggesting that soley Jews were headed for eternal damnation. “Other religions” is the key term not just the Jewish religion. As to the reason? It’s because “they don’t believe in Jesus,” but I guess we need to sell newspapers and misrepresent Christianity at the expense of being accurate.

I am glad, Jon Moeller, the Chaplain in question didn’t waiver. It’s nice to see for a change. He probably could have apologized publicly and been reinstated or something along those lines. It’s also nice to read,

But some evangelical Christian leaders defended Moeller, saying he had simply reiterated the traditional Christian doctrine that Jesus is the only way to salvation.

“Just how many ways can you interpret the words of Jesus in John 14:5-6, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me,’ ” said the Rev. Richard Land, head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “The worst this chaplain could be convicted of is ascribing to orthodox Christian historic faith, which is what I would think you would want from a Christian chaplain.”

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld who complained about the remarks claimed that this was preaching hatred. It’s the same ole, same ole. One person is allowed to have their views and live them while another is not. Moeller shares his religious convictions as a chaplain and is accussed of preaching hatred. While this Rabbi accuses someone of preaching hatred and so should be accused of being loving? What Herzfeld doesn’t understand that Christian don’t evangelize out of hate, but out of love.

Team President, Tony Tavares, said,

“I don’t dispute his right to teach his Christian beliefs. It’s just the way this was done, turning this into some public pulpit . . . that’s what troubles me.”

What? The way it was done? The man is a Christian who was voted on by the team to be in that position. He was giving a player of that team advice. What is the Chaplain supposed to do? Do these folks not think?

I know I shouldn’t be suprised and on one hand I’m not. It just seems that simply reasoning skills would let one see the unfairness in this situation. I wonder if the team manager is going to get upset if one of his pitchers says he going to strike out a certain player at their next game.


tagged as , in Culture,Evangelism,relativism

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Colorado Quixote November 6, 2005 at 5:45 pm

What I’m not sure you understand is the function of a chaplain. A chaplain isn’t a preacher or a minister. Chaplains support individuals or groups emotionally and spiritually, walking with them and helping them connect with their faith journeys. Chaplains should not evangelize or, for that matter, share much of their own beliefs. It is about the other person, not the chaplain. If asked whether Jews or any other religion is consigned to hell the proper response is “what do you think?” (I have served as a chaplain in hospital and hospice settings.) A coach shouldn’t get in trouble for offering an opinion on an upcoming play because that is what they are hired to do. Chaplains aren’t hired to evangelize, but to support.


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