Master of Theology (ThM)
David A Wheeler
Primary Subject Area
chaplaincy, military, ministry, presence, servanthood, service
Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
For centuries, the military chaplaincy has been guided by an applied ministry paradigm known succinctly as the ministry of presence. Although this model has served the chaplaincy well in many ways, it is not without its ideological, theological, biblical, and practical weaknesses. This work purposes to illuminate some of these weaknesses, while at the same time affirming the various strengths of presence ministry. In the end, however, this thesis will propose an alternate ministerial model for the military chaplaincy, namely, the ministry of service. Unlike its presence-ministry counterpart, the ministry of service will be shown to harmonize better with biblical revelation, conservative theological commitments, and commonsensical faith practice. Although it is not without its own weaknesses, the ministry of service will be shown as a superior alternative to its forebear.