Look me in the eye

My friend Charlie Wingard posted a YouTube video today that really struck me between the eyes. He prefaced the clip with this:

“I have never seen the TV show “ER,” and don’t know the context of this video clip. However, it very powerfully portrays the predicament of a theologically liberal chaplain with no gospel for a dying man who says, “I need someone to look me in the eye and tell me how to find forgiveness.”

Now watch this:

This really floored me. No answers from the chaplain. No, no help from the doctor either. And a patient begging for someone to give him answers to the questions that really matter.

This is precisely why Jim is working with medical professionals in Ukraine — to teach them the importance of sharing the eternal truth with their patients.

Pray for us as Ukraine Medical Outreach continues to reach out to medical professionals…



  1. Wow.

    I wonder if there was some kind of denouement to this scene — where the chaplain has a crisis of faith or something.

    I also wonder who wrote this episode. it is not like Holly wood to question liberal “the answer is in you” type theology.

  2. Like Doug said, wow!

    I am not one to get emotional at TV, but that was powerful. By the end of the clip I shed some tears. My greatest frustration comes in recognizing the worship of the false god of medicine. As this man has realized, that god is simply a Baal and a facade. Ultimately, that god will disappoint everyone of us.

    May all of us not hesitate to offer the “prescription” that offers true healing, not just a cure.

  3. Amazing, I agree with Wayne! That was very powerful. I still can’t believe that was on TV.

    You are both in my prayers.


  4. Let me preface this by saying firstly that I can’t watch the video clip as I don’t have high speed internet.

    2nd….remember, this is a clip from TV, not real life. Prime time television is NOT going to be a place where anyone, including a character based on a hospital chaplain is going to share the gospel.

    3rd, if this DID happen in real life, I would actually question whether the “theologically liberal” chaplain was really a Christian if he could not share the gospel.

  5. Yes this is television, and not real life, but it does indeed present a real-life problem. A dying man is tortured by the possibility that God gave him an opportunity to save a life and he passed. Now that young man’s death haunts him as he dies of cancer. Can he be forgiven? He asks the hospital chaplain if atonement is even possible.

    Though circumstances differ, every human soul must stand before God and give an account. We know that truth and we suppress it, until the Holy Spirit intervenes. This clip shows a man at the end of himself; he can no longer suppress the truth and longs for someone to bring him good news.

    So instead of questioning the viability of the medium or the faith of the chaplain, we should ask ourselves:
    Are we bringing good news to dying men? Our paths may not cross many people dying of cancer. But we ALL meet MANY people whose hearts are dead from the cancer of sin; and we are ALL ambassadors of the great physician who lives to intercede for us.

    And that IS real life.

  6. Since it is TV, I can take the chaplain’s lack of faith (or inability to express it) with a grain of salt. I have faith that most hospital chaplains would be praying hard and laying out the gospel rather than “umming” their way out of the room. They would then go home rejoicing that they had the opportunity to truly layout out the basis of their faith. And hopefully knowing one more soul is on it’s way to heaven. I suspect most chaplains are more frustrated because people don’t want to hear the truth as this man does.

  7. Many hospital chaplains, like military chaplains, are well-grounded in truth. However, a chaplain is not by definition an evangelical Christian or even any other varieties of Christian. Often I see chaplains encouraging and supporting others in their pursuit of their “faith” and not always leading people to the one true faith.

    I was more impacted by the patient and his words as he was seeking forgiveness and an absolute not relative truth. The chaplain was a caricature, but a good one of our culture’s concept of “god” that ~95% of people claim belief in his/her/its existence.

  8. Praise God….let people demand answers and not be pacified or fobbed off…..I hope this program encouraged others to seriously question…..life and what comes next.

  9. To each of you: Thank you for your thoughtful comments on this post. And as Lynne asked,

    “Are we bringing good news to dying men? Our paths may not cross many people dying of cancer. But we ALL meet MANY people whose hearts are dead from the cancer of sin; and we are ALL ambassadors of the great physician who lives to intercede for us.”

    Our work has been prepared in advance for us to do…so let’s get busy!

  10. My daily prayer: “Lord, make me faithful to those divine appointments you have for me today.”
    I have to admit, when I encounter them I sometimes wish I hadn’t prayed that prayer. At the end of the day they are the most satisfying and memorable moments.
    I had another one today. Thank you, Lord!

  11. Wayne: At the hospital? Ah, if we’d all recognize those divine appointments… Praying for you — for boldness, words, clarity of thought…

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