Laurence Vance writes:
U.S. Military Destroys Soldier's Bibles - "Breaking news: 'Bibles in Afghan languages sent to a U.S. soldier at a base in Afghanistan were confiscated and destroyed to ensure that troops did not breach regulations which forbid proselytizing, a military spokeswoman said.'
And who collected the Bibles and destroyed them? The chaplains.And here is another reason for Christians to not join or to get out of the military: "U.S. Central Command's General Order Number 1 forbids troops on active duty--including all those based in Iraq and Afghanistan--from trying to convert people to another religion." Since the Bible commands Christians to try to convert people, this means the U.S. military is anti-biblical. Christian soldiers, you should obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). If you can't obeyGod in the military then get out.
And then there is the matter of the unjust war in Iraq. But that is something I have written about many times before."
I forwarded this comment to a three pastors that I know. One of them responded by saying,
"I do not presently have access to CENTCOM standing General Orders. If I, who have an inside track, do not have access, then how does Mr. Laurence Vance have such access.
Now, it may be the case that such a General Order exists. This may have been a condition stipulated by the Afghani Government. Afghanistan is a sovereign state, and it is a predominately Muslim country. If Afghani troops are brought to US military bases I would be concerned that neither the US Government nor the Afghani government subsidize the 'missionary endeavors' of such Muslims that may land on our shores.As the article states, bibles were sent to a soldier. (One presumes a US soldier and not an officer). A US soldier has sworn an oath to obey orders. If the United States Government chooses to not act as a Christian missionary while engaged in combat in Muslim territory, why would anyone be surprised?
Mr. Vance seems to take the position that the US Government should act as a Christian Missionary (and one would have to ask, under the direction of which church?).What we have here is most likely some well intentioned para church or otherwise unsupervised entity encouraging a US soldier who is a Christian to disobey a lawful order. Soldier are NOT at liberty to do whatever they will. When deployed in a combat zone soldiers are agents of the US government. They are not in the position to act as Christian Missionaries.
The cold harsh reality is that Mr. Vance is expecting the civil government to replace the proper role of the Church. Mr. Vance, I suspect in a very unexamined way, is a Statist, or at least a Theocrat. He is the Christian version of the Tailiban. He may not be a terrorist, but the logical and theological end of his argument is identical to the position of the Taliban. He posits that theIf your calling (by the Holy Spirit) is to be a Missionary in foreign lands, and you join the military to do this, then you are in rebellion against God. If the church is not doing the job of sending missionaries, then the state is not the substitute standard for the church. However, if your calling is to be a soldier, then a soldier you should be.
state should be the agency of spreading the gospel, and since it is not, then Christian ought to flee from service in the US military.
Mr. Vance's position that Christians should flee from military service would result, taken to the ultimate end, in a military bereft of Christian influence. So, the Muslims, the Wiccans, and whatever else would, within a generation, emerge as the leadership of the Military. And, the military is often the incubator of Political leadership. Look how many Presidents and other elected leaders served in the military.Mr. Vance is advocating Christian surrender on the field of spiritual warfare. He needs to be taken to the wood shed.
Bibles should not have been shipped to a US Soldier for distribution. They should have been shipped to an Afghani Christian (or some other appropriate missionary). Vance is advocating lawlessness as a good Christian witness.As far as the Chaplains getting involved! What is the alternative? The commander probably requested the Chaplains take action to avoid the Court Martial and imprisonment of the Soldier in question.
I do not know exactly what transpired here. But, I do know enough about the Military to know that Mr. Vance is having an immature and ill-informed reaction to whatever the incident was.At any rate, I can not advocate the state taking on the responsibility of the church. By the way, where is the church in all of this?? And, to what church is Mr. Vance responsible? For whom does he speak. I suspect he speaks for himself." - Rodney Longmire