Friday, August 19, 2005

But I Don't Like Licorice

Chapter One of Spiritual Junkfood-The Dumbing Down of Christian Youth

The first chapter of this shocking and eye-opening book started off with enough information regarding the current state of Christian youth groups to startle most parents out of their figurative slumber. I have never been a big fan of the games that youth groups play in the name of Christian education, and we have been blessed that God has seen fit to protect our daughter thus far from the trivialization of God and His Word.

This first chapter details a small sampling of these games and explains both their origins and errors. Most of these games and exercises have their origin in humanistic ideas and have been used in public schools and colleges for some time. According to the authors, "to attempt to teach the sacred with the use of humanistic mind games while embracing trends and fads that the world has been using for the past thirty years or more, is to dethrone our God and insult His Holy Being." (32) Sound a bit harsh? Stayed tuned a bit longer.

One of the publishers youth group curricula, Gospel Light, claims they "believe it's a sin to bore a young person with the gospel." (24) Thus, the creation of role-playing passages of the gospels, such as the Mary and Joseph story in Matthew 1, soap-opera style! I believe that God is insulted by such. The authors correctly state that "dumbing down Scripture to suit what Group describes as an entertainment-learning culture serves to not only minimize the seriousness of sin and the Biblical account of the forgiveness by a holy God, but misses the mark entirely." (31)

One trend that has swept through the majority of churches today is that Sunday school teachers are no longer seen as instructors but as discussion moderators or facilitators. In such a setting, designed to encourage discussion, teachers typically refrain from correcting error, even errors as serious as outright heresy, in order to make the students feel more secure. What students really learn then is that there is no truth but their own truth. This type of environment is promoted by Youth Specialties (Zondervan). "Youth Specialities is running the danger of making skeptics out of our teens by telling them that 'each of them should be questioning their belief in God independently of their parents' faith.'" (23) These groups place experience on par with the Word of God when it comes to their version of correct doctrine.

This first chapter is packed full of many other examples of games and experiences going on in today's Christian youth groups that are designed to reshape their values, thinking, and faith. I won't detail them here, because you need to read the book. :) It is time for us to wake up and regain our position as keeper of the gates.

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