The Door-Step Evangel

Baptist Preachers and Military Chaplaincy
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

I was reading recently a well read article by William Cathcart, DD who wrote on "The Baptists and the American Revolution." I was amazed at the Baptist pastors who during the American Revolution served as chaplains in the revolutionary armies. Many of these preachers were and still are well-known to any student of Baptist history in early America. Why did they then believe in serving as chaplains so zealously but now it seems to be a spiritual character flaw to so believe the same doctrine "and practice?" Perhaps many who serve today are career officers rather than chaplains by duty to the Lord.

As Dr. Cathcart wrote "Baptists felt the greatest interest in soldiers of the Revolution, and having unbounded confidence in the power of prayer they were anxious to have holy men of God with our armed heroes in camps, hospitals, and battlefields, that they might not only point them to the divine Saviour...but that they might pray to the Lord of Hosts for success in every deadly conflict."

In another place he writes "Baptists were eager to go to the army as chaplains. Leading pastors from the East, from the Middle States, and from the South were with their armed brethren in all the toils, privations and perils of the Revolutionary War."

These and many other glowing comments come from "Sprague's Annals of the American Baptist Pulpit," "Headley's Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution," "Virginia Historical Collection," "Semple's History of Virginia Baptists," "Howe's Virginia Historical Collections," "Bede's Ecclesiastical History II," "Historical Collections of New Jersey," and others.

I wonder if today some pressure to compromise exists. Has it not been since creation? Does the army turn a man bad, or does it simply offer straight forward sin for his immediate choice? Solid saints stand, while weak or false "saints" do not. It is not the military service that causes one to fall. With our Bible being a military book and our service to Christ a military service (soldiers of the Lord) why is it evil to have military training? Just thought I'd ask.
The Door-Step Evangel is published in the interests of Evangelism and information as a Church paper, sincerely devoted to the cause of Jesus Christ. We are in favor of everything that is right and opposed to everything that is wrong.

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