I find it very sad that most mainline seminaries, such as Princeton and Union Theological, have become peddlers of postmodernist drivel. In the show ER, they apparently show one patient completely frustrated with the lack of answers such a worldview provides.
Now, some people think that asserting that there is objective truth is judgmental and mean spirited. In fact, they are so against it, they will shout you down for it.
As Muslim philosopher Ibn Khaldun observed in his superb work, The Muqaddimah:
[T]he intellect should not be used to weigh such matters as the oneness of God, the other world [heaven], the truth of prophecy, the real character of the divine attributes, or anything else that lies beyond the level of the intellect [of man]. That would mean to desire the impossible.
One might compare it [human intellect] with a man who sees a scale in which gold is being weighed, and wants to weigh mountains in it. The (fact that this is impossible) does not prove that the indications of the scale are not true (when it is used for its proper purpose). However, there is a limit at which the intellect must stop. It cannot go beyond its own level (Chapter 6 “Methods of Instruction,” Section 14; parenthesis are translator’s interpretations, brackets are our own).
The human mind senses there is something bigger, but has invented thousands of philosophies and religions. It is apparent there is something out there, “He has also set eternity in their heart” (Ecc 3:11). “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom 1:21).
We do not need futile explanations. We need answers.
I am one of the answer-less Chaplains you dislike (yes, a graduate of a mainline seminary), but allow me to ask a question: Are you aware that Chaplains are not Preachers, and that any Chaplain worth the title is a professional who assists people of all faiths and no faiths who are in crisis? It’s not about “answers.” I sympathize with the Chaplain in the video, and though I would perhaps have handled this differently (for instance, perhaps saying “I don’t know, that’s a good question”), she was at least in the room to try. He obviously needed an answer-giver to life’s profound questions. Maybe she should have simply sent for a preacher or bible teacher. Maybe you?
I don’t really dislike anyone, I just find that what the man asked was a simple question…how can I get right with God when I have sinned? A Chaplain should be able to answer, “There is forgiveness of sins by faith in Jesus Christ, he paid the full penalty for our transgressions and by faith in Him we are in union with Him, so God accounts His righteousness as your righteousness. In Christ, you have peace with God the Father.”
If all they can respond is some post-modernist drivel, then they should call themselves a Chaplain of some other religion, not Christianity. There is no salvation in anything else other than Jesus Christ.
I’m sorry, but you missed my whole point, and the point of professional (not preaching) Chaplaincy. Hospitals (prisons, streets, etc) are not mission fields, except for missionaries. That’s fine, if you’re a missionary. But not for any Chaplain worth their salt.
It does not matter what you are. If you are Christian, you are to preach the Gospel where you can, when you can. Clearly a chaplain is looked to in these situations to provide answers. You’re not there to clean the bed pan, but to attend to the spiritual needs of the suffering. The suffering need the Gospel as much as the rest of us.
1: This is a scripted TV show. I don’t think it was ever the writer’s intention to show what a chaplain should or shouldn’t do in this situation, and it was definitely not set up to be a springboard for a gospel proclamation, though it is a good jumping-off point for a CPE discussion (what would you do and why?)
2: I think it does show the dilemma many chaplains and counselors face when patients ask such a question. We can either answer it for them or help them find the answer themselves. Or we can help look for the question behind the question.
3: Unfortunately I couldn’t hear the clip (didn’t have sound on my pc – boo!) but I think in a situation where someone is asking for clear instruction on a particular topic it may, dependent on context, be appropriate for the chaplain to answer in a manner you propose. But there have to be a lot of other factors in play. Are you imposing your viewpoint or offering it as an option? What is your relationship with this person and what will it be after you leave? Are you really the best person to answer them, and if not who is?
I don’t care if I’m the dude cleaning the bed pan. I would preach the Gospel to the man who asks “how can I stand before God, I am a sinner.” A Chaplain who doesn’t do this shouldn’t receive a penny from any church.
Ok, now having watched/heard the video,
1: The chaplain wasn’t very good, for many reasons that I won’t go in to. But not necessarily because she didn’t lead this guy down the Romans Road. Because…
2: does this guy really sound like someone who doesn’t know the answer to his own question?? Her first statement about being easier to be guilty than to be forgiven is right on. But she didn’t listen to him. And saying “I understand” is never helpful.
3: And if you feel so strongly about it I suggest you go clean some bedpans. Really. They need that. I can say that because I did that for a year in seminary. It’s one thing to say “If I were that person” and quite another to be that person.
“2: does this guy really sound like someone who doesn’t know the answer to his own question?? ”
I don’t mind doing it if given the opportunity, but God has given me my vocation and I wait on Him to open up other opportunities to serve Him. People who are vocationally hospital chaplains, and don’t preach the Gospel, bring dishonor to the cross. The commit depraved indifference like fire fighters who take time to take a selfie while a building is ablaze.
“I don’t mind doing it if given the opportunity”
“A Chaplain who doesn’t do this shouldn’t receive a penny from any church.”
2: I don’t. I’ve been a hospice chaplain for 12 years and no church funds me.
Anyway I really encourage you to continue to grow in your faith. You have a great deal of earnestness and obviously a strong desire to share the gospel with others. I hope you have the opportunity to do so.
Thanks. Concerning volunteering we shall see.