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OPINION

Chaplain mentioned in AP story is leaving SBC

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- The Air Force chaplain who attended a same-sex civil union that took place in June has notified chaplaincy leaders at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) that he is leaving the Southern Baptist Convention.
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"Southern Baptists love and pray for our chaplains. That being said, we only want to endorse chaplains who can support Baptist doctrine and belief without reservation," said Kevin Ezell, NAMB's president. "When it comes to what our chaplains believe and practice, we do ask and we do expect them to tell."

NAMB chaplaincy leaders contacted Air Force Chaplain (Col.) Timothy Wagoner after an Associated Press article appeared in early July describing him as "watching supportively" during the civil union. At the time, Wagoner indicated to NAMB he did not support the ceremony. He also gave assurances of his support for the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and for the biblical definition of one man, one woman marriage.

"If an SBC chaplain concludes he cannot conduct his ministry in harmony with SBC beliefs and doctrine, then it is best to part ways," Ezell said.

Wagoner notified NAMB of his decision July 19.

As part of its endorsement process, NAMB assesses chaplain candidates based on their doctrine, beliefs, ministry experience and their history as Southern Baptists. Each applicant is required to indicate agreement with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, the Southern Baptist doctrinal belief statement.

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The United States military requires that all of its chaplains have the endorsement of an established faith group. NAMB is the endorsing entity for chaplains on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention. There are 1,450 Southern Baptist chaplains serving the United States Armed Services.

Compiled by communications staff of the North American Mission Board.

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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