Four Chaplains: Three Christians
4 Feb., 2015
Mayor Riley has used his bully pulpit well on many occasions, cheering us on as a city, as a community. And he has done well in urging us to good citizenship, inspiring us through his Wilmington News Journal columns to be thankful by pointing us to the many excellent features and opportunities we have in the fine city of Wilmington. But his exhortations to unity and peace are sometimes offered at the expense of Truth.
His most recent essay (3 Feb.) recounts the sacrifices of four chaplains as they sank together with the torpedoed Dorchester in 1943. The chaplains had given up their life jackets for others. They were alleged by one survivor to have quoted together Psalm 23 as they went down. [See http://www.wnewsj.com/news/opinion_columns/151624524/Greater-love-hath-no-man-than-this ]
Indeed! And may the One true God have mercy on the souls of these chaplains – including the Jew!
It was a wonderful report and quite biblically orthodox until the Mayor diverged: “four different churches, three different religions . . . Four chaplains, men of God, faced death together; united in faith in one God.”
It is perhaps a zealous quest for Peace and Love on the one hand that drives men to overlook Truth on the other. (“Ah, Peace and Love. Can’t we just agree to . . . agree? . . . and leave Truth to the side?) The answer, of course, is yes, if we can leave Jesus – The Truth – aside.
Such values are ever at the forefront of our concerns. They vie as opponents of one another; we pursue one and then we lose the other. We want both, so we strive for “balance.” And we go on as if by plying through the mire of some “yin” and “yang” process we can find both Peace/Love and Truth.
But back to our sailors. Undifferentiated warm sentiments over that war fellowship fostered among fellow soldiers does no service to the memory of those who have contended for and died in testimony to the Faith (the Truth) down through time. Indeed, plenty of such have striven valiantly in the likes of either a victim Joan of Arc or a victor Oliver Cromwell. But let us not sacrifice Truth in the effort to honor the fellowship of soldiers in war.
In Truth, Allah is not to be confused with the Triune God. Neither is the god of Jews, who have denied the Messiah Jesus and the deity of the Son, to be likewise confused with the True God. When it comes to the Confessions, to the Faith, to the Truth-claims of historic Christianity, the contradicting non-Trinitarian religions – Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Liberalism, etc. – are not “united in faith in one God” with Christians. To assert so is to deny the Faith; therefore, this Mayoral assertion must be denied.
To be sure, those Christian chaplains represented historic Trinitarian denominations: a Roman Catholic, a Presbyterian, and a Methodist. They are not different “religions”; they are, historically, Trinitarian. Only God knows, in this age of apostasy when all the major denominations have suffered the attacks of doctrine- and creed-denying “modernism” (a.k.a. Truth-rejecting “liberalism” per J. Gresham Machen’s treatise – Christianity and Liberalism ), what members of those denominations actually believe today. Indeed, all major denominations suffered divisions by the middle of the 20th century with the anarchic “liberal” factions abandoning the authority of the Scriptures and embracing such blatant Lawlessness as sodomy and abortion. Modern Sodom and Holocaust supporters they are indeed! In our pursuit of Peace and neighborliness in Wilmington, let us not sacrifice Truth.