Sign of the Times – Court martials could face Christian soldiers if they „proselytize”

via MissionNetworkNews.org (Photo via www.sodahead.com)

USA (MNN) – The Pentagon confirms that it may court martial soldiers who share their Christian faith. This, after meeting with an atheist who accused Christians of „sedition” and „treason.” The meeting on April 23 didn’t yield any immediate changes, although the Pentagon released a statement indicating that proselytization is not permitted. Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, „What’s at stake is the ability of the U.S. military members to practice their Christian faith. That includes not only the rank and file military members: that actually include even the chaplains.” The ministries we contacted with military outreach declined to be interviewed for this story. Their concern wa s the same: staying under the radar for now. Does this qualify as real persecution? „When we see a military chaplain who is court martialed for preaching the Gospel, for saying ‘Jesus is the only way to Heaven,’ I think then we’ll be able to say, ‘Absolutely. That’s persecution. Then we’ll have crossed the line.”

Nettleton states, „What’s at stake is the ability of the U.S. military members to practice their Christian faith. That includes not only the rank and file military members: that actually includes even the chaplains.”

The concern is that the definition of proselytism is unclear. Nettleton asks, „If you share your faith, if you share the plan of salvation, is that proselytism or does it become proselytism if there’s some sort of coercion?” He is quick to note that while this is an alarming shift, it’s not technically „persecution.” But, „When we see a military chaplain who is court-martialed for preaching the Gospel, for saying ‘Jesus is the only way to Heaven,’ I think then we’ll be able to say, ‘Absolutely! That’s persecution. Then we’ll have crossed the line.'”

Weinstein accused members of the military who share the Gospel of Jesus Christ of „sedition” and „treason.” He also described Christians who shared their faith in the military as „enemies of the Constitution.” Yet, Nettleton says as strong as the language is, it’s not really a surprise. „Christ said, ‘You will take up your cross.’ The cross was an instrument of torture, an instrument of death. So He wasn’t saying, ‘It’s always going to be easy to follow Me.’ He was saying, ‘Take up your cross. You may have to pay a price.'”

Regardless of what happens with the policy or how it is enforced, Nettleton says American believers can take a page from the book of the Global Church. „It is coming in our culture where we may have to pay a price for living out our faith in Christ, as well. Again, I point to the example of our persecuted brothers and sisters because we have so much to learn from them: they face this every single day and yet they faithfully follow the call of Christ on their lives.”

Read the story in full at http://www.mnnonline.org.

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