US Military and Proselytism

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Sapper Woody, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. Sapper Woody

    Sapper Woody
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    I am starting this thread so as not to de-rail another thread. I will start off with a quote:
    At best, this is a very ignorant statement. Firstly, let me explain the difference between "seeking to convert" and "converting". It is very ok if I convert someone to Christ. It is not ok for me to "seek to convert" them. If they come to me and ask, that's fine. This has happened about 3 times during my career. When guys see that I don't drink, smoke, cuss, etc, they normally ask why. Then when they get into a tough spot in life, they seek me out.

    Second, you are asking that people commit a crime in "disregard[ing] the military directive". This is an order given by a General officer. The punishment for disobeying any "directive" (order) is severe. Loss of pay, rank, and restrictions set upon the individual, possibly even a bar to re-enlistment or time in a military jail in severe cases.

    Thirdly, punishment notwithstanding, seeking to convert people over in these countries would hinder the cause of Christ in the long haul. If we offend these people while we're over here, then these nations will be closed to missionary work even longer.

    Fourthly, where do we draw the line? You say it's our command to seek to convert whether at work or leisure. Anyone in any secular occupation will lose his job if caught proselytizing on the clock. Christ commanded us to go into the world and preach the gospel, yes. But how are we to complete this task if we can't even fund our life? It's very easy for those in ministry (which I am assuming you are, based on the statement) to lose empathy with those in the secular world.
     
  2. freeatlast

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    The difference here is who you have decided to serve. Those who seek to serve God go and seek to convert at their own cost if necessary. They don’t wait for the world to come to them. You choose not to follow the command of the Lord, but the commands of men. That is your choice. By the away it is not about doing it on the clock. It can be done at lunch or break time, the same in the military. You are trying to justify your rejection of the command and there is none. However if someone was near and even if we are on the clock and the opportunity is available to speak about the Lord I would do it. God’s commands supersedes every command of man. If others can talk about sin then I can talk about God and salvation. If that brings a court marshal then praise God!
    "seeking to convert people over in these countries would hinder the cause of Christ in the long haul" :laugh: I will give you one guess who put that in the heads of men, and it wasn't God.
     
    #2 freeatlast, Aug 22, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2011
  3. Salty

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    I would like to add just a bit to this term "seeking to convert". I think there might be somewhat of a middle ground. I realize that when on the job - you are to be doing your assigned work. However, we all talk about the weather, local news ect.

    I don't see it as a problem to bring up the Lord in a matter-of-fact way. Now, if the other person objects - than you would need to leave it alone.

    As far as the military - especially when on a FTX, technically you are on duty 24 hours. So if you are just sitting around, waiting for the next mission, I see no problem bringing spiritual issues up. But again - if there is opposition - just let it ride - and pray for them.

    When I was in Germany, we were sent to Baumholder (Camp Allenback ?) for about 3 weeks. I met someone in my company who was a Christian (& Baptist) I got talking about the Weeknight Bible Study I had started. John told me it was hard for him to come on Tues nights. Well, that was the foundation of starting Fellowship Baptist Church, Wildflecken. Within a few months we were running about 50! - If I remember correctly, we had an American population of about 5,000. By the Way, John and Selena are now an missionaries to Papua, New Guinea!

    Fellowship Baptist is now only a memory. The church disbanded after the US Army closed down the Wildflecken Tng Area.

    But because I spoke up during "duty hours" I was able to make a connection, that made a big difference at the " 'Chicken" !
     
  4. Don

    Don
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    Think you misunderstood what Sapper was saying. He did mention that he talks about it just like you mentioned in your post.

    As for me, while in the Middle East, God provided opportunities to discuss with Iraqis and Afghans what the Bible says, and what we each mean when we talk about God.

    Look at what's happening to the Christian military members now that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been repealed: Several have already been forced to make the decision to get out of the military. Some have been classified as having personality disorders, and are being denied re-enlistment.

    At one time in my career, I had considered leaving the military, and asked for counseling from a pastor friend. He prayed and gave it some thought, and asked, "if all the Christians leave the military, who's left?"

    So what we do is, we tell people that we're Christians; we do exactly as Sapper, Free, and Salty have said, and when people talk to us, we take the God-given opportunity; and, paraphrasing what the apostle Paul said, we become all things to all men, in order that Christ may be preached, and souls may be saved.
     
  5. Salty

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    :thumbsup: :jesus: :praying: :saint:
     
  6. Sapper Woody

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    This is basically what I was saying. While at COB Speicher, Iraq, one of my duties was to escort the 'terps (interperators) to chow and back. They weren't allowed in on their own, as they were Iraqi born citizens. While with them, I was free to discuss all the differences we had culturally, and naturally religion came up. I was free to discuss and share the gospel in a compare/contrast light, as long as it did not appear that my goal was to convert them.

    My goal in my post was to try and explain that you didn't need to disobey any directives in order to spread the Gospel, that opportunities come to you. I was angry at the statement at the time, and so did not express my intended thought as clearly as I meant to.

    I believe it is God's will for my life for me to be in the military. If I think that I am in God's will, why would I jeapordize God's will for me by disobeying an order? And being in God's will, I also believe (and have clearly seen) that God will bless my obedience to these commands and give me opportunities to witness without stepping outside the boundaries placed upon me.
     
  7. mandym

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    Where in scripture does it say wait until they seek you out? I do know it says "Go Ye into all the world".

    Jas 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
    Jas 1:3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
    Jas 1:4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

    2Co 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one--I am talking like a madman--with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.
    2Co 11:24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.
    2Co 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;
    2Co 11:26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;
    2Co 11:27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.



    An assumption without foundation and with no consideration for the work of the Holy Spirit.


    Mat_6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
     
  8. Salty

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    I would say Woody has gone into all the world - courtsey of the US Army! :thumbsup:
     
  9. Sapper Woody

    Sapper Woody
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    This applies when trials are thrust upon you by the world. We aren't to go out and seek to be martyrs. There is absolutely no reason to challenge the laws of man when we are capable of fulfilling the great commission within the parameters set upon us.

    Not an assumption. A fact. The religious group is vying for control over there. It's what the entire insurgency is about. We are trying to win the hearts and minds of the people here so that they will accept us. If we do anything (not just witness) to offend them, it hinders both our cause as a nation, and further closes the doors for future missionary work.

    Misused text. Part of seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness is having a good testimony. If a person gets fired from their job, there goes their testimony. Especially in the case of military. If a servicemember is caught Proselytizing, they will be reprimanded. If they continue, it leads to an eventual court-martial. Forever on their record and on any background check is likely a dishonorable discharge, or an other than honorable at best. How's that for a testimony?
     
  10. mandym

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    This statement is at best an attempt to misrepresent me and I am both offended and surprised. No one has said go seek to be a martyr. It was not implied either. I do hope you can discuss this with more reason in the future.




    And no one suggests we should. But your example of just waiting for people to come to you is contrary to clear scripture.


    Do not think you are an expert, above what God has said, on future mission work. How much mission work have you been engaged in. Serving in military action does not provide the expertise you are seemingly trying to display. When ever anyone has spread the gospel in a hostile environment there is a risk of a great many things. Jesus took this risk, Paul took this risk, many missionaries today are taking this risk. Your logic absent reason does not add up.


    Only if you have an agenda

    Paul was thrown into prison and killed as has been many witnesses. And they were done that way not because they waited for people to come to them. They were beaten and killed because they were so bold even after the authorities had told them not to. Your personal and unscriptural agenda would have pigeonhold Jesus and everyone else.
     
  11. mandym

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    Not sure how this is relevant
     
  12. Don

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    In a previous post, you wrote: Where in scripture does it say wait until they seek you out? I do know it says "Go Ye into all the world".

    Thus, Salty's response.
     
  13. Sapper Woody

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    "Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them", so firstly, thanks for telling on yourself. Second, you were talking about being a martyr when there is a clear way to avoid it, thus it was implied that you'd be seeking it out.

    So, the original quote saying that we should ignore directives wasn't suggesting that I challenge the laws of man? And you act as if I am just sitting at home, waiting for people to come to me. No, I am among them everyday (literally) being a good example, and a good testimony. And when the opportunity presents itself to present the Gospel (without challenging the laws of man) I do.

    As for the expertise, no serving in military action doesn't grant me expertise. But being a militarily trained expert in counter insurgency operations and also being trained as an expert in military intelligence relating to the views and the opinions of the populace does.

    Jesus took a risk. Paul took a risk. An many missionaries today take a risk. Because there's no other alternative. But there is for me. I can reach people without the risk. People who wouldn't be reached otherwise.

    So you used it for yours.

    Again, there was no other way back then. I have an alternative. Even Jesus prayed "If it be thy will, let this cup pass from me".
     
  14. mandym

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    No it was not implied. You are reading into my words what you want to justify your position. There are other options to reasonable people.


    Now you are taking only half the quote to justify your position. I said no one was suggesting you should to:

    "There is absolutely no reason to challenge the laws of man when we are capable of fulfilling the great commission within the parameters set upon us. "

    I did not reply only the unbolded part but to the entire statement. The second half places the first half in context.



    Home has nothing to do with it. Home has not been mentioned by me.


    And applying sharing the gospel brings the whole thing into and entirely different area.

    Because that is the command

    Not likely the gospel is the Word of God not your habits.

    You can provide no evidence to support this.


    Not at all. The gospel is the Word of God Romans 10:17
     
  15. Sapper Woody

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    I am just calling it as i see it.

    Oh, but they WERE suggesting this. In fact it was downright stated. I was the one who added that there was an alternative.

    Getting nit-picky now, huh? The place isn't the issue. The issue is that the picture you're trying to paint is that I am not active in any way.

    Not when we're talking about whether or not the country will even be open to mission work.

    That goes without saying. There wouldn't have been a risk if there was no command. But they took the risk by obeying the command, because there was no way to not take a risk and obey the comman back then.

    Not likely? How about the fact that it's happened three times? And many more times men have come to me for advice, or to ask what the Bible says on a topic? Seems to be working to me.

    None that you'd except, other than the fact that 2 of the guys didn't want to go to church, and didn't feel comfortable talking with the Chaplain because he was too aggressive in his attempts at conversion. Sounds like my obedience to God in being in the right place at the right time with the right attitude enabled me to win these guys. Who else could have done that if not in my position?

    They ARE hearing. When i present the Gospel to them in a compare/constrast way, instead of actively engaging them.
     
  16. mandym

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    Waiting on them to come to you is not active, it is passive.
     
  17. corndogggy

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    What some of you fail to realize is that Muslims often talk about the Crusades as if it happened yesterday. They are VERY sensitive to it. When you go around in uniform with a Bible in one hand and an M4 in the other trying to convert people, they don't always take it well, it can appear as if yes we are on yet another Crusade. If they think they have proof of this, they will rally around it and we'll have much more of a fight on our hands instead of just fighting insurgents. Such an action would have a large and direct impact on innocent people on both sides. This is why we scrubbed the verses off of Trijicon scopes.
     
  18. freeatlast

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    That is a bunch of hogwash. While an extremist may hold to the crusades as an excuse to carry out his murderous ways the average Muslim never brings it up.
    That is just another excuse for our godless leaders to strip away our rights and freedom denying us our personal rights within our Christian beliefs.
     
  19. Salty

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    So I assume that was your experiences when you served in Afghanistan / Iraq when you were in the military?
     
  20. Don

    Don
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    There is an old Afghan saying: "If someone does you wrong, and you wait 100 years to exact revenge, you've still acted too hastily."
     

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