Did USAFA Chaplains Participate in Historical or Halloween Event?

usafachaplainsby Sonny Hernandez

On October 29, 2016, US Air Force Academy chaplains participated in a self-described ecumenical event to “explore the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.” A USAFA release described the event as analogous to the service “led by Pope Francis and Bishop Munib Younan in Lund Sweden, on October 31,” where Catholics and Lutherans were “urged to take decisive steps toward unity.

A Christian observer would not see this type of event as ecumenical, but evil. The Protestant Reformation was not a celebration between Catholics and Lutherans. It was a time of protest and schism because of the Roman Catholic corruption.

Christian scholars who have been impacted by the spiritual landscape of Luther, Knox, Calvin, Beza, Wycliffe, Zwingli, or Tyndale, may wonder why the Air Force Academy chaplains would participate in an event that looks more like Halloween than history. Why would any professing Lutheran reformer take part in an event that unifies two diametrically opposed worldviews? One of the participants pictured above, the Rev. Lowell Almen, is a former secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  The ELCA ordains homosexuals, which might explain why, as they are not reformed according to the Word of God, which means they have no moral accountability.

Martin Luther was a reformer. When the Roman Papacy was guilty of nepotism, absenteeism, simony, adulterous affairs, holding multiple offices, and selling indulgences to absolves sins, Luther challenged the Roman Catholic corruption by writing a disputatious letter (95 theses), which is considered to be the catalyst of the Protestant Reformation. Luther wrote 95 theses to assail the godless traditions and corruption that existed in the Papacy, and he nailed it to the Wittenberg door.

Luther believed that no merit or works on the part of man, nor any act performed by saints, could add to the completed saving work of Christ, because salvation is by grace alone (Sola Gratia), through faith alone (Sola Fide), in Christ alone (Solus Christus), according to Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura). The Solas of the Protestant Reformation are indisputable doctrines that summarize basic theological dogma which was antithetical to the Roman Catholic Church.

Despite being repeatedly asked to recant his faith by the papacy, Luther declared that his conscience was bound to the Scriptures and that he would not recant, knowing that he could be burned alive as John Huss had been (precursor to the Protestant Reformation). Christians will die for their faith (Mark 8:34-38), and will never agree to anything that augments or nullifies Scripture (Proverbs 30:5-6).

If only the Air Force Academy chaplains had more seminary training on the Protestant Reformation, perhaps they would have participated in an event that looked more like history than Halloween, because fellowship that God abhors is not ecumenical, but evil:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Photo caption: Left to Right: The Rev. Lowell Almen (ELCA); Chaplain (Capt) Dariusz “Darek” Barna (Roman Catholic Priest, Poland); Chaplain (Capt) Lawrence Mulinda (Roman Catholic Priest, Uganda); The Most Rev. Michael Sheridan (Bishop of the Diocese of Colorado Springs); Chaplain (Col) Col Paul Sutter (Lutheran).

Chaplain (Capt) Sonny Hernandez is a US Air Force Reserve Chaplain assigned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In April 2015, he was selected as the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Individual Mobilization Augmentee Company Grade Officer of the Year, and in May 2016, he was selected as 445th Airlift Wing CGO of the Quarter, first quarter. Hernandez earned a Doctorate from Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The opinions expressed here are solely his and do not necessarily represent the views of any government, military, or religious organization. Sonny Hernandez wrote this article as a civilian on his own time on an issue of public interest.



  • Thank you Sonny. Much has changed in nearly 500 years! Which is worse our ignorance or lack of conviction and courage?

  • Amen brother. My friend, let’s pray that our Master would draw hearts to Himself, and away from darkness.

  • Anonymous Patriot

    I must disagree.

    Homosexuals or not, there is moral merit in trying to build bridges between Protestants and Catholics. 500 years is too long a time to continue fighting when we have more immediate, and more powerful, threats to deal with like rising atheism and rising radical Islam.

    If I have to draw swords against militant atheists or radical Jihadists, I (a Presbyterian) would rather have a Catholic covering my flanks, than a catholic with a sword pointed at my back.

    • It is notable that Catholics and Protestants have been actively — and successfully — working together on religious liberty issues for the past few years (ie, ObamaCare, DOMA, etc). A rising tide lifts all boats.