PODCAST: “Minefields” for the Chaplain, Part 2 (Ordained Chaplains: The Work of the Chaplain #78 with Daniel Whyte III)

Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society University, and this is “The Work of the Chaplain” Lesson 78. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help those who are interested in serving others through chaplaincy, pastoring, coaching, and counseling to learn the basics of this profession.

Our Work of the Chaplain Passage for this episode is Proverbs 11:13 which says, “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.”

Our Work of the Chaplain quote for this episode is from Billy Graham. He said, “Confidentiality is the essence of being trusted.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine book: “The Work of the Chaplain” by Naomi K. Paget and Janet R. McCormack.

Our topic today is: Chapter 11 – “Minefields” for the Chaplain (Part 2)


Confidentiality pertains to professional ethics whereby the chaplain assures the client of nondisclosure to the fullest extent allowed by state law. Clients must be able to assume that their conversations will be kept confidential to ensure a spiritually and emotionally healing relationship with the chaplain. Some professionals, such as medical professionals, counselors, and attorneys, are legally required to maintain strict confidentiality. The law does not necessarily require a chaplain to maintain strict confidentiality, but in most cases, it does provide the opportunity for the chaplain to protect a client’s confidential communication if the communication was conveyed to the chaplain acting in a professional capacity as a spiritual advisor (as opposed to talking to the chaplain as a golf partner, relative, or committee member). Generally, conversations in the presence of a third person are not considered confidential. (An exception would be an inmate who cannot speak to a chaplain without the presence of a guard.) Ultimately, the responsibility of keeping such a confidence belongs to the individual chaplain; therefore, the consequence for disclosure or nondisclosure also belongs to the chaplain.

During a profession mentoring session, a colleague expressed some concern over an issue of confidentiality and mandated reporting. “Chaplain, you realize that in Colorado clergy are mandated reporters? You could be criminally charged for withholding such information.” “Yes, but the information I received was entrusted to me during a pastoral counseling session with the child. I am aware of the personal consequences legally, but it’s a difficult position for me. I must choose between obeying the law or obeying my conscience to honor a child’s hardwon trust in my confidentiality.”

Confidentiality is also a moral concept supported in many faith traditions. The moral obligation of the chaplain is not absolute, however; thus, professional ethics determine when the confidentiality of the helping relationship might be broken. The chaplain may predetermine that a moral standard requires disclosure if the client is a threat to self or others. Or the chaplain may predetermine that in a medical emergency, personal information may need to be revealed to ensure the client’s welfare or safety. Essentially, the chaplain must make a choice about breaking a promise or violating a covenant.

Chaplains should assure their clients that their conversations are confidential, only if in fact they are. Some people are fearful that no conversations are confidential, so such assurances are necessary to build trust and confidence in clients to approach their chaplain for spiritual counseling. That is why, ethically, chaplains must inform the client when conversations are not absolutely confidential.




Now, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.

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