As the calendar turned 1963 the number of citizens clad in uniforms of the United States’ military establishment totaled 2,667,545. Of these, the Army claimed 952,571; the Navy, 662,522; the Air Force, 863,287; and the Marines, 189,165.
This means that a population virtually that of the state of Iowa or of the nation of Ireland has in the main been uprooted from normal community associations and maintains its spiritual ties at the least under great stress. This issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY concentrates on the spiritual predicament of American servicemen, reflects the vital faith of some who gladly bear their testimony to the grace of God in Jesus Christ, and suggests some avenues for reaching service personnel with the Gospel.
A military chaplain usually has 850–900 men under his care. Since these men are more strenuously preoccupied and more mobile than most churchgoers, the responsibility for the religious program at the various military bases rests actually with the commanding officer, and not with the chaplain. The chaplain, of course, is accountable to the commanding officer, and formulates and implements the spiritual activities. In round numbers, there are 3,300 chaplains in the Armed Forces: 1,300 in the Army, 900 in the Navy, and 1,100 in the Air Force.
CHRIST GIVES NEW LIFE
As for all people, the greatest need of persons in military service is salvation from sin through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of men. Apart from reliance on him there is no true joy or peace of mind—only ultimate futility, in this world, and God’s judgment of the sinner to follow. My own experience is that faith in Christ results in an entirely new inner life, one of joy and peace of mind, and complete assurance of an eternity as ...1
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