LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Maj. Gen. Douglas Carver, the U.S. Army’s chief of chaplains and a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, challenged students to passionately serve God and to pray for the military during a chapel service at the Louisville, Ky., campus.
If God matters, it should show through a person’s passionate prayer, praise and service, Carver said.
“Does God matter to you? If He matters to us we need to always recommit ourselves to be passionate for Him in the good times and bad,” Carver said. “All of the seasons of our life are in His hands. We must praise Him with a pure and holy heart. We must love Him intently, with our mind, body, spirit, soul and strength. And may we never forget to pray for others.
“Let’s continue to pray for our brave men and women in uniform,” Carver said. “They faithfully protect and defend the freedom of our great nation, standing watch 24/7.”
Carver was appointed the Army’s 22nd chief of chaplains last July. The Georgia native earned a master of divinity from Southern Seminary, a bachelor of arts in religious studies from the University of Tennessee and a master of science in strategic studies from the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.
Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. welcomed Carver to the campus for his March 25 visit and thanked him for his faithful ministry of the Gospel.
Mohler said Carver “represents thousands of military chaplains serving around the world. With so much on our minds and hearts, with so many hundreds of thousands of United States military personnel serving all over the world, with millions of men and women in uniform … what a debt we owe Gen. Carver [and those he represents] who serve on that mission field.”
In 1973, Carver was recognized as a distinguished military graduate and appointed as a regular Army officer in the field artillery branch of the Army. After serving on active duty for six years, he resigned his commission to enter the ministry. He subsequently was commissioned as an Army chaplain in 1984. An ordained Southern Baptist minister, Carver has pastored churches in Kentucky, Colorado and Virginia.
Carver’s military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and Ranger Tab. He received the Clyde T. Francisco Preaching Award in 1982 from Southern. In 1995, he received the Witherspoon Chaplain’s Award from the Layman’s National Bible Association for outstanding service rendered by a military chaplain in the promotion of Bible reading and study among military families.
Carver noted that he was in the Middle East five years ago at the beginning of the war in Iraq. The United States recently lost its 4,000th service member in the war, and Carver said he is often asked about the morale of troops serving in the conflict overseas.
“Having made frequent trips to Afghanistan and Iraq, I can honestly make this simple statement: God matters to our service members,” Carver said. “God matters so much to soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coastguardsmen. They are not shy about their faith. They are not afraid or prevented from praying in Jesus’ name or the name of their particular choice. They are not bashful about their faith.”
Mohler prayed for chaplains, military servicemen and servicewomen and the families of military personnel, and he said each of the 4,000 service members who have died in the war willingly sacrificed their lives.
“[March 23] marked the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq and the 4,000th casualty was recently reported,” Mohler said. “I was very frustrated that on the television news programs all day Sunday, [the war] was instantly turned into a political question, and I wondered when someone was going to stop and say, ‘Those are 4,000 human beings made in the image of God who gave their lives willingly.’
“It seems incomprehensible that something like this could happen without a nation saying, ‘Thank you,’ especially to the families and loved ones of those who have fallen in battle,” Mohler said. “One of my humble reflections this morning is that I have never been in a bunker. And I realized this morning how many thousands of our fellow citizens — brothers and sisters and fathers and cousins — are facing something we never have to face. I’m sure no words can fully express [what they are going through].”
Carver said when believers pray to God and praise Him in every situation it changes their hearts.
“It is kind of sad and pathetic that we wait until those ‘concrete bunker moments’ to cry out to God,” he said. “The Lord would want us to have that same sort of passion all the time.”
Garrett E. Wishall is a writer for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.