Monday, December 22, 2008

Gordon Klingenschmitt's Self-Conceit In Action

Faithful readers of the "shamefulchaplain" family of blogs will love this first-hand account by an Army chaplain concerning Gordon Klingenschmitt and his famous self-conceit in action. It appears that the fruit of Gordon Klingenschmitt's ministry at his last ecclesiastical endorser's conference was confusion, strife, and pain. The following eye witness comment was made on our flagship blog:
abnchap said...

"Self-important" is an apt description of Gordon Klingenschmitt. I knew him before he entered the Navy Chaplaincy. He had personal problems then and refused wise counsel. I encountered him again in FEB 2007 when he successfully convinced my former Chaplain Endorser that he was a great American victim who was getting a raw deal from the Navy but was otherwise a righteous man. Since my former Endorser already had lawsuits filed against the Navy for some alleged promotion inequalities among charismatic chaplains, I'm sure Gordon saw his opportunity to secure a new endorsement since the Evangelical Episcopal Church had revoked his Endorsement to serve on Active Duty as a Chaplain. Gordon was given the Endorsement by Jim Ammerman and I suppose remains affiliated with the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches in some capacity even though he was thrown out of the Navy and is no longer a military chaplain.
I too am appalled that this man gets away with this game he is playing. It will eventually catch up to him. Galatians 6:7
"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." What sickens me is that I still hear and see his pitiful rantings going out as the Gospel over Christian radio and the Internet.
As an Army Chaplain serving on Active Duty, I am disturbed and embarrassed that this man continues to use his former credentials as a Navy Chaplain as some form of credibility. And it is shameful how he is dragging in the dirt honest, evangelical chaplains who are trying to do the right thing and serve the Lord and their Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines with honor and integrity.
I remember well the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches Conference of FEB 2007 in Dallas when my wife and I had lunch with Gordon. I had heard a little about his ordeal, but hadn't really dug very deeply into the whole mess. So I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and hear from him personally on the matter.
Of course, we had barely ordered when he had to politely excuse himself in order to conduct a radio interview. It was during this time that the newly named Endorser of CFGC warned me about Gordon. He apparently knew much more about him than did I. I assured him that I simply wanted to give him a fair hearing. After lunch, I still had some questions but he had sufficiently snowed me because I participated in an ordination service at the Conference in which the President and Founder of CFGC, Chaplain (Colonel) (ret.) Jim Ammerman was in effect accepting Gordon into our fold. The next day Chaplain Ammerman gave Gordon the floor. He wasn't far into his propaganda before I began seeing through this megalomaniac. First of all, he represented himself as a Navy Chaplain and yet he was no longer a chaplain. He had been stripped of his standing as a chaplain and was now an undesignated line officer because he had lost his endorsement due to his poor performance as an officer. He was very self-serving in his presentation and sounded much more like a politician or a traveling salesman than a preacher or a professional military chaplain who was proud of his service to God and Country as such. He carried so much disdain and animosity for the Navy and for authority in general.
What caused me a great deal of consternation was when the current Endorser stormed out of the room as Gordon took the podium and began to speak. I wondered what was going on but wanted to hear him out. He had promised to go into more detail in his presentation so I stayed around.
When he had finished his pitch, two Navy Chaplains asked to offer some balance to what Gordon had said. They were very gracious in their remarks but came out pretty strongly against Gordon and for the very Navy commanders he had railed against. Their story of service in the Navy was much different. They enjoyed a great deal of religious freedom and did not agree with Gordon's assessment of the lack of religious liberty or fairness within the Navy.
After the rebuttal, I went to find out why our new Endorser had stormed out at the beginning of Gordon's speech.
I was shocked to learn that Chaplain Ammerman had done an end-run around the man he had named to succeed him by secretly asking Gordon to speak against the new Endorser's better judgment. Apparently they had sparred over the issue of Gordon's Endorsement and podium time prior to the Conference. The successor voiced his disapproval. Chaplain Ammerman assurred him that this would not take place. When confronted after the endorsement and presentation, Chaplain Ammerman simply said, "I knew you wouldn't approve, so I didn't tell you ahead of time."
This was yet another instance of Chaplain Ammerman not allowing a successor to succeed. The current Endorser saw he was not going to have the ability to lead the organization in the direction he thought it should go, so he left the Conference and his new position before ever really getting a chance to succeed.
Because I could see the handwriting on the wall, I followed him to another Endorsing Agency as quickly as I could.
I agree with the owner of this blog site that most military chaplains are honorable men and women of God who serve their troops and commanders with integrity and with a great deal of freedom, I might add.
It is important to use discretion when praying publicly in settings where troops are ordered to be present such as formations at a change of command. But there are many ways to pray after the manner of our Lord that are not offensive even in those settings. And certainly in worship settings a chaplain has the liberty to exercise his or her faith in accordance with the tenets of their faith and in keeping with the style of worship they are conducting (ie, Collective Protestant, Gospel, Liturgical, Gen-X, Charismatic, etc.)
As for Gordon K., I mean no ill will toward this Brother (and I would refer to him as such). He is misguided and no doubt needs to seek professional and pastoral counseling to address some serious personality issues. I pray the Lord is gracious to him and pulls him away from the public eye quickly so that he cannot continue to discredit himself and inadvertently bring discredit to the military chaplaincy and the greater Christian community.
A word about Chaplain Ammerman and I'm out. He is an incredibly anointed man of God with amazing gifts, leadership abilities and vision. He had a tremendously successful career as an Army Chaplain and then went on to found an organization that provides Ecclesiastical Endorsements to nondenominational charismatic chaplains through the Armed Forces Chaplain Board. He has numerous chaplains in all branches and components of service as well as many chaplains endorsed to serve in civilian institutions. The Lord has given him two illustrious careers in which he has served nobly. However, it is time for him to step down and allow one of his successors to succeed and take the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches to the next level.

Very Respectfully,