Dear Church Family,
Today marks three weeks week since I arrived at Fort Knox, KY. As I may have mentioned, my responsibilities include being a chaplain for about 650 ROTC cadets while they are here for their “cadet summer training” between their junior and senior years of college. I am also responsible to supervise and mentor a chaplain candidate who is training and preparing to become a chaplain.
With these responsibilities, I do not have as many opportunities to preach or lead worship as the intent is for the chaplain candidate to get as much experience as possible (I will be preaching and leading worship in the garrison chapel on Wednesday, June 30th, for several of the different regiments of cadets that are here). Yet, even though I don’t have many formal preaching opportunities, I have had lots of small group and one-on-one conversations and opportunities to share the gospel with cadets and cadre, alike.
Examples of Chaplain Ministry
Just a couple of examples. A cadet, who said that she was Buddhist, came to me to inquire about confessing her sins to someone. I asked her if that was actually part of the Buddhist tradition. She answered in the negative, so I said, “Well, actually, as a Protestant Christian who holds to what the Bible teaches, that’s not what I believe either. The Bible teaches us that there is one God and one mediator between God and man – God’s Son, Jesus Christ. And, He promises us that if we repent of our sins, confess them to Him, and place our faith and trust in Him, He will forgive our sins as only God can.”
Some other cadets come and ask how they, as a Christian, can best navigate the culture of the Army (which can be thoroughly sinful and worldly at times). In these conversations, I can share my own experiences as well as instructions in God’s Word that apply to all believers about living as becomes the followers of Christ, holding forth the gospel as a light in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Philippians 2:14-16).
One final example. One of the cadre, a non-commissioned officer (NCO) whose present assignment in the Army is as an ROTC instructor on a college campus, approached me and asked a very generic and open-ended question: “Chaplain, what are we to do in our current context in the Army?” Well, after I asked a few probing questions, I thought I figured out what he was concerned about, so I took at shot: “You’re asking about the acceptance and even celebration of homosexuality and transgenderism, aren’t you?” I could tell that he was both surprised, but also relieved that I had figured out what he was trying to ask (I think many people feel nervous about openly discussing these sinful behaviors and ideologies today).
Well, I learned that this NCO is a fellow believer and we had a very honest and frank discussion about what the Bible teaches about such matters. We also talked about how, as Christians, we ought to continue to sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts, while always being ready to make a defense of the hope that we have in Christ – to speak honestly and even pleadingly with others – yet, with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15-16).
Movie: “In His Image”
At the conclusion of our conversation, I recommended that he watch a recently released Christian movie called “In His Image.” This movie is available to watch free online here: https://inhisimage.movie.
I just learned of this movie and watched it about two weeks ago. Here is a description from the “about” page:
In His Image is a critical and urgent message designed to equip the church to answer culturally controversial questions about gender and sexuality from a biblical perspective. Every church in America is filled with hurting people asking these tough questions: Can you be gay and be a Christian? What if someone genuinely feels trapped in the wrong body? Did God make me this way? Is change even possible? This feature-length documentary presents much-needed truth with compassion and clarity through powerful personal testimonies, careful Bible teaching, and scientific evidence.
It’s an excellent movie that provides biblical teaching, biological evidence, and personal testimony regarding God’s intention for human sexuality and gender. One warning: the movie discusses mature themes very directly, so parents ought to use their own discretion as to whether or not their children are mature enough to discuss such matters.
For me, one of the main “take-aways” from the movie was how we, as Christians, ought to have compassion for those who have embraced the lies of the world in denying the “given-ness” (the God given-ness) of human sexuality and gender.
We are living in a sinful and rapidly changing time. I encourage you to watch this movie in order to better understand our present context, to better understand the truths of God’s Word, and how we as believers may lovingly speak with others about such issues.
The Lord be with you!
– Pastor Peter M. Dietsch