Internet Explorer 7, 8, and 9 are no longer supported. Please use a newer browser.
Concourse works best with JavaScript enabled.
Liberty University logo

Online · School of Divinity · Christian Leadership & Church Ministries

Military Chaplaincy
CHPL-680

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/31/2020

Course Description

This course examines the theological, historical, constitutional, and cultural basis for professional military chaplains, and addresses the chaplain's opportunity to provide spiritual leadership, pastoral care, and advise commanders in order to best care for the warrior's soul. Attention is given to scriptural and military mandates for chaplains to provide spiritual warrior care, spiritual leadership, and spiritual counsel to military leaders. Further, the skills, strategies, and character traits necessary for effective chaplain ministry within military pluralistic culture will be explored. This course is taught as an intensive, in residence, and online.

Requisites

Prerequisites

CHPL 500 and 598

Rationale

Military chaplains need to be prepared to minister religiously and effectively in secular and pluralistic military environments without compromising their theology and spiritual convictions. They need to understand the chaplain’s biblical authority and military authority and how they function together. Further, they must be able to accurately assess complex religious environments, ministry opportunities, and challenges to provide solid spiritual leadership and soul-care to military members and their families.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Analyze the unique ministerial role of the military chaplain as set in the historical context of the United States Constitution.
  2. Assess the biblical basis for the military chaplain and explain, in light of Scripture, the spiritual, moral, and ethical principles of chaplaincy ministry.
  3. Compare and contrast pluralism in the New Testament world as it relates to the military chaplain working within the pluralistic setting of today.
  4. Evaluate the unique opportunities and challenges of the military chaplain while serving in secular and pluralistic settings, both in peacetime and deployed setting.
  5. Describe the challenges of building an evangelical ministry while serving on a denominationally diverse chaplain staff.
  6. Develop a biblically based, culturally informed, ministry plan within the military context of the Army, Navy, or Air Force.

Course Resources

Required Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Benimoff, Roger, and Eve Conant. Faith Under Fire: An Army Chaplain's Memoir. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2010.

Bergen, Doris. Sword of the Lord: Military Chaplains from the First to the Twenty-First Century. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004.

Cash, Carey H. A Table in the Presence. New York: Ballantine Books, 2004.

Gorham, General J. R. Sharecropper's Wisdom: Growing Today's Leaders the Old Fashioned Way. Lael Publishing, 2016.

Kurzman, Dan. No Greater Glory: The Four Immortal Chaplains and the Sinking of the Dorchester in World War II. New York: Random House, 2005.

Lang, John D. In Jesus Name: Evangelicals and Military Chaplaincy. Searcy: Resource Publications, 2010.

Whittington, Michael, and Charlie Davidson. Matters of Conscience: A Practical Theology for the Evangelical Chaplain. Lynchburg: Liberty University Press, 2014.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Word
    5. School of Divinity Writing Guide: https://www.liberty.edu/divinity/index.cfm?PID=28160

Course Assignments

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 350–400 words, contain at least 2 scholarly citations in current Turabian format, and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 200 words and contain at least 1 scholarly citation in current Turabian format. (MLO: A, B, C, D).

Practical Book Review

The student will complete a practical book review on 1 of 4 provided texts. The book review must be 800 words, focusing on the author’s approach in describing and defining Christian leadership and the task of a Christian leader. The paper will focus on the application of the book to the student’s future ministry. Citations must be in current Turabian format (MLO: D).

The Authority of the Call Paper

The student will write a 5–7-page paper on The Authority of the Call. The student will pay close attention to his/her call to chaplaincy/ministry, explaining how his/her call is fleshed out in the Army Motto “For God and Country,” the Navy’s Motto “Vocati Ad Servitium” (Called to Serve), or the Air Force Motto “Glorifying God, Serving Airmen, Pursuing Excellence,” as well as how Ordination and Endorsement plays a role in his/her being a military chaplain. This paper must use at least 5 current sources.

Funeral Director or County (State or City) Coroner or Medical Examiner

The student will either interview a funeral home director or County, City, or State Coroner or Medical Examiner on dealing with the dead. The student will focus on how the dead are treated. Is dignity a part of their treatment? How is the family dealt with? What is done to prepare the body for a funeral? What if the body is not intact? How do religious concerns affect the way the work is done? This must be a 3–5-page paper with a minimum of 3 sources. (MLO: A, B, C, D)

Biblical Rationale

The student will use scripture to explain a biblical rationale for military chaplaincy ministry. This assignment will explore what aspects of Scripture should guide and steer the ministry of the chaplain. Included in this will be an analysis of how to minister in pluralistic settings while maintaining a commitment to scripture. This paper must be 4–5 pages. If any suggestions are needed the student should contact the professor for help in advance. This paper could be written as a sermon that could be preached on chaplaincy. (MLO: B, C)

Military Chaplaincy Ministry Plan

In 10–12 pages the student will create a ministry plan for ministry in his/her unique military chaplaincy subfield (Army, Navy, and Air Force). Specific aspects required in this paper will be provided in this course. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E, and F)


Course Grading

  1. Points
  2. Course Requirements Checklist

    10

    Interview with Funeral Director

    150

    Discussion Board Forums (4 at 75 points each)

    300

    Practical Book Review

    100

    Biblical Rationale

    150

    Authority of the Call Paper

    150

    Military Chaplaincy Ministry Plan

    150

    Total

    1010

Policies

Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit https://www.liberty.edu/online/online-disability-accommodation-support/. Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=19155.

Schedule

CHPL 680

Textbooks: Benimoff & Conant, Faith Under Fire (2010).

Bergen, Sword of the Lord (2004).

Cash, A Table in the Presence (2004).

Gorham, Sharecropper's Wisdom (2016).

Kurzman, No Greater Glory (2005).

Lang, In Jesus Name (2010).

Whittington & Davidson, Matters of Conscience (2014).

Module/Week

Reading & Study

Assignments

Points

1

Lang: chs. 1–5

4 presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1

10

0

75

2

Cash or Benimoff & Conant: entire book

1 presentation

DB Forum 2

Practical Book Review

75

100

3

Lang: chs. 6–8

2 presentations

DB Forum 3

75

4

Whittington & Davidson: entire book

1 presentation

Authority of the Call Paper

150

5

Kurzman: entire book

1 presentation

Interview with Funeral Director

150

6

Gorham: entire book

1 presentation

DB Forum 4

75

7

Bergen: chs. 1–3

1 presentation

Military Chaplaincy Ministry Plan

150

8

Bergen: chs. 4–6

1 presentation

Biblical Rationale

150

Total

1010

DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.