February 16, 2007

Appointment of Adolescent Chaplain is Foolhardy

I read in the Pastor's Weekly Briefing from last week that the Church of God has commissioned its youngest chaplain ever.

This past November, Brian completed his chaplaincy training which consisted of 27 hours of instruction receiving a certificate of completion. If Brian is approved to work in his community he will be the youngest youth chaplain in the nation.

I truly hope for Brian's sake, that he is NOT approved. You see Brian is only 14 years old. And when you look at all the Scriptures pertaining to overseers, shepherds and elders--the words are used interchangeably--Brian simply doesn't meet the Biblical qualifications to do the work of a chaplain if you agree that a chaplain is essentially an elder/pastor.

Of even greater concern is that as a chaplain, this boy--and he is a boy--will become a special target of the enemy which is why the church is urged not to lay hands too quickly on anyone for a position in leadership.

Now none of this means he can't use his gifts for the Lord; nothing would be better but I construe by the use of the word chaplain, what I know about chaplains and again, there isn't a 14 year old born meant to shoulder this kind of responsibility.

It is a disservice to this young man, no matter how gifted he may be, to put one so young out there in the line of fire. In might give you a headline for your denominational letter and Brian may be as sincere as anything, but his church needs to heed its obligation to protect this young boy.

There have been other "childhood evangelists" to have come out of a similar church background and as far as I know they all made ship wreck of their faith. There is a lot to be said for longevity, experience and maturity and someone who has only been around for a bit more than a decade has none. Wisdom in gained in knowing the Scriptures to be sure, but wisdom is the Word of God applied to your life. At 14, you just haven't had the time to put your faith to the test. Hopefully, his elders will see Biblical reason and take this boy out of harm's way.


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