The Biblical Basis for Chaplaincy


Our Work of the Chaplain passage for this episode is Proverbs 21:13 which says, “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.”

Our Work of the Chaplain quote for this episode is from Robert Murray McCheyne. He said, “The Christian is a person who makes it easy for others to believe in God.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine book: “The Work of the Chaplain” by Naomi K. Paget and Janet R. McCormack.

Our topic today is “The Biblical Basis for Chaplaincy.”

Although the bulk of this volume is intended for and relevant to chaplains of all faith traditions, the perspective and tradition of both authors is Christian. Therefore, we felt it imperative to include this chapter — for ourselves and for our fellow Christians — to establish the theological rationale that Christian chaplains in particular have for providing ministry in such a unique ways. What biblical examples address the mission and methods of chaplain ministry? From the teachings and examples of Jesus and Paul, Christian chaplains may extrapolate some basic models for implementing ministry outside the walls of the church.

— Minister to “the Least of These”

Matthew 25 commends chaplaincy as a legitimate form of ministry. This biblical text concerns Jesus’ teaching about the value of all persons — not just those who shared his ethnicity, culture, and religion. Jesus taught people that if people wanted to be considered “righteous” and “inherit the kingdom” of God they were to minister to all persons, particularly those considered the “least of these.”

Many of the people who were considered the “least of these” are still with us. They are the homeless, the disabled, the uneducated, and the terminally ill. They sleep on streets, wander without awareness, are ignorant of social services, and die of AIDS. Chaplains are called to minister to the disenfranchised of society — the “least of these.” Ministry to the “down and out” is sometimes easier than ministry to the “rich and famous.” Chaplains face the challenges of providing loving care to all they encounter — even those whose social or economic status doesn’t seem to warrant help or those whose notoriety already commands attention or assistance. Other times the challenge is providing and demonstrating the love of God to those who don’t seem to deserve care — the perpetrator of heinous crimes or the one who threatens the Christian faith.

He was young — too young to be in jail. He should have been playing football or going to the prom. His biggest worry should have been whether or not his latest crush would say yes to a movie and pizza. He should have been arguing with his parents about cleaning his room or doing his homework. He should have been a teenager with all the implications of the label. But he was in jail — a criminal. He had participated in the rape and murder of three young women. He was persona non grata — the vilest of villains. Even his friends would not come. But the chaplain came, before she was called. The chaplain came without judgment to the “least of these.”

The Matthew text speaks to the chaplain of the innate worth of all persons, not just those who agree with their religion, share their culture, or look like them. Because we are all “created in the image of God”, we are all entitled to, and worthy of, compassionate ministry and respect. No one is outside the love or concern of God. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” We follow God’s example by loving and caring for each person.

If the Lord tarries his coming and we live, we will continue this topic in our next podcast.

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— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.

Questions