A group of 22 military chaplains are calling for a senior Army chaplain to be disciplined after he shared an evangelical book with them using his military email.
In a letter sent Wednesday to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, a nonprofit organization, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, requested that Col. Moon H. Kim be punished for the "absolutely egregious and deplorable act" of sharing a digital copy of the book with 35 subordinate chaplains.
What are the details?
The book in question, "Coronavirus and Christ," was written by popular evangelical author John Piper, the founder and senior teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem Bible College and Seminary.
According to Michael Weinstein, founder and president of the MRFF, a number of Christian chaplains reached out to his organization after receiving the email. They sought the MRFF's representation due to fear that they would be subjected to "reprisal, retribution, revenge, and retaliation" if they had reached out without anonymity.
"Obviously, his sending of this book was clearly meant as a full-fledged endorsement and validation of what the book espouses and proclaims," states the letter, written by Weinstein. "Thus, in CLEAR effect, especially to the recipients of his shocking e-mail, Chaplain (Colonel) Kim is likewise endorsing and validating the very same dictates as established by the author of this book."
"The book, pushing the belief that the Coronavirus is God's judgment, is written by fundamentalist Christian preacher and author John Piper, and singles out, among other things, 'the sin of homosexual intercourse' as deserving 'due penalty,'" Weinstein adds.
In the book, Piper uses homosexuality as an example of occasions where God sends specific judgments on specific sins, but he never links homosexuality with the coronavirus, as Weinstein suggests. Rather he quotes Romans 1:27 to show "that 'due penalty' is the painful effect 'in themselves' of their sin."
The letter also takes issue with the book's assertion, in general, that the coronavirus is being used by God to warn sinners of the coming judgment.
"Calamities are God's previews of what sin deserves and will one day receive in judgment a thousand times worse," Piper wrote. "They are warnings. They are wake-up calls to see the moral horror and spiritual ugliness of sin against God."
In the letter, Weinstein argues that the views expressed in Piper's book do not reflect the views of many mainline protestant denominations nor the regulatory policy of the Department of Defense and U.S. Army.
As such, Weinstein asked that Kim be "officially, swiftly, aggressively, and visibly investigated and disciplined." Weinstein did not mention a specific punishment in the letter, but the Christian Post notes in its coverage of the news that Kim could be court-martialed.
A copy of Kim's email obtained by the Christian Post shows that the senior chaplain shared the book in an effort to encourage others.
"This book has helped me refocus my sacred calling to my savior Jesus Christ to finish strong," Kim wrote. "Hopefully this small booklet would help you and your Soldiers, their Families and others who you serve."
(H/T: The Washington Examiner)