A critique of youth ministry

Why does so much youth ministry do so little to keep young people in the Christian faith?  Because the emphasis is on law, not gospel.  So says some evangelical analysts:

Ministry leaders are seeing a major problem among youth groups – an emphasis on behavior modification over the Gospel.

In a series featured on The Gospel Coalition website, several ministers discussed their concerns with how youths were being taught in the church, namely with messages aimed more at keeping them out of trouble.

“Many youth pastors preach moralism over the gospel in order to protect students from self-destruction,” said Cameron Cole, director of youth ministries at Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Ala. “Unfortunately, law-driven ministry often yields the opposite of its intention; law and pressure often inflame rebellion.”

Cole doesn’t see a lack of Gospel teaching in youth ministries when it comes to salvation and justification. He believes youth pastors may even be “more faithful” than senior pastors in “helping their flock understand Christianity as saving relationship rather than cultural religion.”

But when it comes to sanctification, or the process of being set apart for holy use, youth ministries are getting it wrong, Cole believes.

“Youth ministry often focuses on emotional exhortation and moral performance,” he observed. “A legalistic tone frequently characterizes the theology of sanctification in youth ministry.”

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According to Brian H. Cosby, associate pastor of youth and families at Carriage Lane Presbyterian Church in Peachtree City, Ga., such teaching has led to widespread belief in “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” where “we are supposed to be ‘good people’” and where God is more like a “cosmic therapist” or “divine butler.”

But Cole understands why youth ministry tends to focus on legalism and behavior.

Simply put, “youth pastors want to see changed lives,” he noted.

“Wanting validation for their tireless labor, youth ministers occasionally focus on behavior modification as a means of providing tangible proof of the efficacy of their ministry. A kid carrying his or her Bible to school, signing a chastity pledge, or sporting a WWJD bracelet may appear like signs of spiritual progress – the fruit of ministry labor for a youth pastor.”

Cole cautioned, however, that “if these actions come out of a student misunderstanding Christianity as a code of behavior rather than heart transformation through the Holy Spirit, then they do not necessarily reflect lasting life change.”

via Youth Ministries Teaching Behavior Modification, Not Gospel?.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.quietedwaters.com Josh

    My wife and I worked in youth ministry for more than three years before we went back for more school. I would add another impetus for the phenomenon: parents’ wishes. Many well-meaning Christian parents fear their teenagers’ rebellion and beg the youth minister to work magic in their lives, by which they mean behavior modification. Many parents of teenagers exhibit a significant amount of short-term thinking, hoping their child’s high school years will look more godly, rather than focusing on what their child’s soul will look like for a lifetime.

  • http://www.quietedwaters.com Josh

    My wife and I worked in youth ministry for more than three years before we went back for more school. I would add another impetus for the phenomenon: parents’ wishes. Many well-meaning Christian parents fear their teenagers’ rebellion and beg the youth minister to work magic in their lives, by which they mean behavior modification. Many parents of teenagers exhibit a significant amount of short-term thinking, hoping their child’s high school years will look more godly, rather than focusing on what their child’s soul will look like for a lifetime.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    The youth ministry at the Nazarene church I was attending (until last Sunday to be exact) sounds a lot like this. There was a lot of social gospel-esque ministry (spend the night out in a parking lot to identify with homeless people, go do community service, etc) as well as a youth “worship” service that had a techno-beat that sounded more like a dance club and was so loud that it beat against our Sunday School wall.

    See, this is the problem, not just with youth ministries, but with evangelical churches in general. The gospel is given, yes, but it’s given just long enough for somebody to “run down and aisle and make a decision for Christ” and then it’s put on the back burner. Same with doctrine: it’s saved for a membership class, then rarely (or sometimes never) discussed again. This heavy emphasis on works is thrown at people, sometimes to the point of guilt-tripping if you’re not involved in every celebrated church ministry. Doctrine-and I don’t mean doctrine mentioned in passing, but sermons focusing on sound doctrine, and the gospel in particular-are sorely missing. At best there are passing references to doctrine without explanation.

    One of the things I learned about Christianity while teaching my Sunday School class on church history was this: when you teach sound doctrine, and teach the gospel, the good works follow in genuine joy and gratefulness. But when you teach good works, you 1.) lose the distinctiveness of Christianity, and 2.) stoop people under heavy, legalistic burdens, and sometimes 3.) drive people from the faith, or 4.) give people a false assurance via self-righteousness (I’m a good Christian because I’m involved in “ministry X”).

    I will emphasize to my family in our search for a church that I want to hear doctrinal preaching, not moralizing. And I hope to hear the gospel repeated regularly as well.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    The youth ministry at the Nazarene church I was attending (until last Sunday to be exact) sounds a lot like this. There was a lot of social gospel-esque ministry (spend the night out in a parking lot to identify with homeless people, go do community service, etc) as well as a youth “worship” service that had a techno-beat that sounded more like a dance club and was so loud that it beat against our Sunday School wall.

    See, this is the problem, not just with youth ministries, but with evangelical churches in general. The gospel is given, yes, but it’s given just long enough for somebody to “run down and aisle and make a decision for Christ” and then it’s put on the back burner. Same with doctrine: it’s saved for a membership class, then rarely (or sometimes never) discussed again. This heavy emphasis on works is thrown at people, sometimes to the point of guilt-tripping if you’re not involved in every celebrated church ministry. Doctrine-and I don’t mean doctrine mentioned in passing, but sermons focusing on sound doctrine, and the gospel in particular-are sorely missing. At best there are passing references to doctrine without explanation.

    One of the things I learned about Christianity while teaching my Sunday School class on church history was this: when you teach sound doctrine, and teach the gospel, the good works follow in genuine joy and gratefulness. But when you teach good works, you 1.) lose the distinctiveness of Christianity, and 2.) stoop people under heavy, legalistic burdens, and sometimes 3.) drive people from the faith, or 4.) give people a false assurance via self-righteousness (I’m a good Christian because I’m involved in “ministry X”).

    I will emphasize to my family in our search for a church that I want to hear doctrinal preaching, not moralizing. And I hope to hear the gospel repeated regularly as well.

  • Dan Kempin

    I don’t agree much with the analysis here, though I am not very conversant in what is happening in “evangelical” youth ministry. The problem they describe here sounds like the same problem they have with their adult ministry: faulty theology that mingles law and gospel.

    In the broad sense, though, I wonder if a great deal of the youth ministry concept is faulty. (I get this from conversation with my partner and the director of the youth program at my church.) It seems that while youth programs have striven to lavish attention on the youth, they have failed to cultivate maturity. We are making them “good youth” rather than leading (and perhaps pushing) them to become adults.

    For example, how well to the active youth in your (or any) program transition into the adult life of the church?

  • Dan Kempin

    I don’t agree much with the analysis here, though I am not very conversant in what is happening in “evangelical” youth ministry. The problem they describe here sounds like the same problem they have with their adult ministry: faulty theology that mingles law and gospel.

    In the broad sense, though, I wonder if a great deal of the youth ministry concept is faulty. (I get this from conversation with my partner and the director of the youth program at my church.) It seems that while youth programs have striven to lavish attention on the youth, they have failed to cultivate maturity. We are making them “good youth” rather than leading (and perhaps pushing) them to become adults.

    For example, how well to the active youth in your (or any) program transition into the adult life of the church?

  • Michael B.

    Youth ministers are often in an unfair position. Much of Christianity loves a good conversion story (see yesterday’s post on the Nixon aid involved in Watergate, for example). And letting people know how bad your life was before your conversion is almost a form of currency in Christian credibility, and this has led to the occasional scandal, such as Ergun Caner. But there’s a problem: How exactly is a youth minister who is leading a bunch of teenagers raised in a middle-class, American, Christian homes supposed to get one of these great conversion stories? It’s not like one of these middle-class white teenagers is going to have been a gangster before coming into the church. Meanwhile, the church fawns over many inner-city missionaries, while the normal youth-ministers do the normal day-to-day work. One wonders if youth ministers feel unappreciated.

  • Michael B.

    Youth ministers are often in an unfair position. Much of Christianity loves a good conversion story (see yesterday’s post on the Nixon aid involved in Watergate, for example). And letting people know how bad your life was before your conversion is almost a form of currency in Christian credibility, and this has led to the occasional scandal, such as Ergun Caner. But there’s a problem: How exactly is a youth minister who is leading a bunch of teenagers raised in a middle-class, American, Christian homes supposed to get one of these great conversion stories? It’s not like one of these middle-class white teenagers is going to have been a gangster before coming into the church. Meanwhile, the church fawns over many inner-city missionaries, while the normal youth-ministers do the normal day-to-day work. One wonders if youth ministers feel unappreciated.

  • SKPeterson

    Michael B. @ 4 – I can give you a personal example of how this plays out to some extent. This past weekend my wife and daughter attended our church’s Confirmation camp. Generally, in Confirmation the students follow a two-year course – the first year deals with Bible basics, OT v. NT and the arc of the Biblical story telling of Jesus Christ. The second year focuses on the Small Catechism and Lutheran doctrine. All done quite well, by the way.

    The camp weekend is when sanctification gets brought out, specifically sex. This is generally held in the manner of a Church v. World dialectic, which begins to examine the messages the culture sends about personal behavior, boundaries, and morality v. the Christian response and answer to these cultural expectations and norms.

    Anyhow, I was reading my daughter’s notebook for the weekend when they talk about sex. Anyhow, they were apparently having a conversation about deviant practices, and apparently they were asked if the words “homosexuality” “bestiality” or “sado-masochism” were brought up in family discussions. My daughter responded (apparently to the director) “Well, I guess we’re a fairly typical Christian family where those things aren’t discussed in general conversation. Do you talk about these things in your family? ” The next quote was priceless: “Exactly.”

    But, even for all our apparent discomfort in discussing issues of sex and morality, I am grateful that we as a congregation are discussing these things with our youth. Not so much with a mind toward behavior modification, but toward giving them more than just a peek at how the World is much different in judging and approving the thoughts, words and deeds of individuals from that of the Church.

  • SKPeterson

    Michael B. @ 4 – I can give you a personal example of how this plays out to some extent. This past weekend my wife and daughter attended our church’s Confirmation camp. Generally, in Confirmation the students follow a two-year course – the first year deals with Bible basics, OT v. NT and the arc of the Biblical story telling of Jesus Christ. The second year focuses on the Small Catechism and Lutheran doctrine. All done quite well, by the way.

    The camp weekend is when sanctification gets brought out, specifically sex. This is generally held in the manner of a Church v. World dialectic, which begins to examine the messages the culture sends about personal behavior, boundaries, and morality v. the Christian response and answer to these cultural expectations and norms.

    Anyhow, I was reading my daughter’s notebook for the weekend when they talk about sex. Anyhow, they were apparently having a conversation about deviant practices, and apparently they were asked if the words “homosexuality” “bestiality” or “sado-masochism” were brought up in family discussions. My daughter responded (apparently to the director) “Well, I guess we’re a fairly typical Christian family where those things aren’t discussed in general conversation. Do you talk about these things in your family? ” The next quote was priceless: “Exactly.”

    But, even for all our apparent discomfort in discussing issues of sex and morality, I am grateful that we as a congregation are discussing these things with our youth. Not so much with a mind toward behavior modification, but toward giving them more than just a peek at how the World is much different in judging and approving the thoughts, words and deeds of individuals from that of the Church.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    My attempts at “youth ministry” at our church (at which I am the pastor) have happily degenerated into something much better. For the first few years here, I implemented all the standard youth-group activities: lock-ins, Bible studies, float trips, game nights. And although I wouldn’t say that these efforts were useless, I did realize that I was presenting the youth with a picture of a bifurcated church. Simply put: there was Sunday morning, and then there was Friday evening. There were youth, and then there were adults, and in spite of my explicit teaching to the contrary, this is what they were learning.

    But as we entered a demographic lull of high schoolers, I let it die. We took the youth and incorporated them as best we could into adult Bible study and included them in the other activities of the congregation. We’ve moved away from the youth/adults split and moved towards thinking of the youth as just younger Christians. I think the buzzword for this is “intergenerational,” but around here, we just call it normal.

    This isn’t to entirely disparage the idea of doing float trips and lock-ins and other activities geared towards the youth demographic. But I fear that the age-based segregationism in the Church has had unintended and unfortunate consequences. After all, what does our theology of the Divine Service teach us? Here on Sunday morning, the WHOLE body of Christ is gathered together to bow the knee of repentance, to be absolved, to plead the Kyrie, to hear the Lord speak, to pray, to eat and drink the very Body which makes them the Body. The gifts given on Sunday morning are not for any particular demographic; they are for all and they are for you.

    Perhaps my longing for empirical success has long blinded me to the unity that I cannot create. It’s back to the altar for me…

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    My attempts at “youth ministry” at our church (at which I am the pastor) have happily degenerated into something much better. For the first few years here, I implemented all the standard youth-group activities: lock-ins, Bible studies, float trips, game nights. And although I wouldn’t say that these efforts were useless, I did realize that I was presenting the youth with a picture of a bifurcated church. Simply put: there was Sunday morning, and then there was Friday evening. There were youth, and then there were adults, and in spite of my explicit teaching to the contrary, this is what they were learning.

    But as we entered a demographic lull of high schoolers, I let it die. We took the youth and incorporated them as best we could into adult Bible study and included them in the other activities of the congregation. We’ve moved away from the youth/adults split and moved towards thinking of the youth as just younger Christians. I think the buzzword for this is “intergenerational,” but around here, we just call it normal.

    This isn’t to entirely disparage the idea of doing float trips and lock-ins and other activities geared towards the youth demographic. But I fear that the age-based segregationism in the Church has had unintended and unfortunate consequences. After all, what does our theology of the Divine Service teach us? Here on Sunday morning, the WHOLE body of Christ is gathered together to bow the knee of repentance, to be absolved, to plead the Kyrie, to hear the Lord speak, to pray, to eat and drink the very Body which makes them the Body. The gifts given on Sunday morning are not for any particular demographic; they are for all and they are for you.

    Perhaps my longing for empirical success has long blinded me to the unity that I cannot create. It’s back to the altar for me…

  • T. Venditti

    From the analysis and the thoughtful comments above it seems clear that something needs to shift in youth ministry. As the mother of 3 teens, I see a lot of emphasis of looking “like the world” but not being “of the world.” I see this as a way to get the youth in the door. A sort of “see we have fun here too…” Unfortunately, after in the door and shown the gospel, they need a combination of real foundation and tools to step onto the battlefield. They need to understand that God has your back and legalism says, “God has your back, if you…” legalism just backfires. And while meant in love, it give the impression that they are not YET good enough — the complete opposite of what was done at the cross.

  • T. Venditti

    From the analysis and the thoughtful comments above it seems clear that something needs to shift in youth ministry. As the mother of 3 teens, I see a lot of emphasis of looking “like the world” but not being “of the world.” I see this as a way to get the youth in the door. A sort of “see we have fun here too…” Unfortunately, after in the door and shown the gospel, they need a combination of real foundation and tools to step onto the battlefield. They need to understand that God has your back and legalism says, “God has your back, if you…” legalism just backfires. And while meant in love, it give the impression that they are not YET good enough — the complete opposite of what was done at the cross.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    In talking about sex, it seems best to start talking about family not plumbing. For example, ever since my son was little, I would say things to him like, “When you have a little boy, you will ….” As he got older he started to talk more and more about what he wants to do with his children and how they could play games together etc. Then he realized that, gee he would also have to have a household complete with a manager (wife) and of course he would have to pick a good one that he liked and that is a Christian, chaste, etc. And someone like that is going to want an upright Christian man. Well understanding isn’t necessarily action, so, I will have to wait to see how it turns out. Still, expectations and paradigms do matter. If guys look at women as potential wives instead of just for fun for now and see their Christian life as primarily in the home not the community, they are running counter to our culture that oddly pushes youngsters to community service which is really more the realm of adults. Youth ministry seems aimed at good works in the community rather than love and support in the home, which makes sense as a youth minister is working with kids in his faith community not his own children in his own home.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    In talking about sex, it seems best to start talking about family not plumbing. For example, ever since my son was little, I would say things to him like, “When you have a little boy, you will ….” As he got older he started to talk more and more about what he wants to do with his children and how they could play games together etc. Then he realized that, gee he would also have to have a household complete with a manager (wife) and of course he would have to pick a good one that he liked and that is a Christian, chaste, etc. And someone like that is going to want an upright Christian man. Well understanding isn’t necessarily action, so, I will have to wait to see how it turns out. Still, expectations and paradigms do matter. If guys look at women as potential wives instead of just for fun for now and see their Christian life as primarily in the home not the community, they are running counter to our culture that oddly pushes youngsters to community service which is really more the realm of adults. Youth ministry seems aimed at good works in the community rather than love and support in the home, which makes sense as a youth minister is working with kids in his faith community not his own children in his own home.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    But I fear that the age-based segregationism in the Church has had unintended and unfortunate consequences.

    How will youth know how to participate in a church when they get to college when all they have ever known is youth group with people they know well? It is not like they are going to want to sit in a Bible class with a bunch of older adults that they don’t even know in a new city after we have trained them for 18 years that they can only attend age segregated programs designed for them. Probably better to have family activities that are less age segregated and where more parents attend and participate. The social distance that we establish between ourselves and our youth retards their development and sends the message that we don’t want them around us. We want them to grow up, and move out. Creepy really to have such an attitude that really rejects the youth as a group of “them” instead of the up and coming growth of the group of “us”.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    But I fear that the age-based segregationism in the Church has had unintended and unfortunate consequences.

    How will youth know how to participate in a church when they get to college when all they have ever known is youth group with people they know well? It is not like they are going to want to sit in a Bible class with a bunch of older adults that they don’t even know in a new city after we have trained them for 18 years that they can only attend age segregated programs designed for them. Probably better to have family activities that are less age segregated and where more parents attend and participate. The social distance that we establish between ourselves and our youth retards their development and sends the message that we don’t want them around us. We want them to grow up, and move out. Creepy really to have such an attitude that really rejects the youth as a group of “them” instead of the up and coming growth of the group of “us”.

  • Thomas Carter

    And perhaps it is because so much of it is done by youth who don’t really have a depth of understanding or know or believe what they are talking about. Or, perhaps it is because youth still need the control applied from outside as they have not entirely achieved self-control. Thank God for His grace.

    David delighted in the Law of God because he understood that it defined civilization and allowed people to live together in a harmony that otherwise would not be. And ultimately he understood that the Law demonstrated God’s love for His creation and gave the steps for establishing a new relationship with God based on love. The mistake folks make is truly a miss-take! The erroneously think that by trying to “keep the Law” THEY can establish the desired relationship. Just the opposite. The Law demonstrates to the observer of the same that it can’t be done and that drives the individual to seek out the Giver of the Law, not Moses, but God Himself and it is in this manner that God uses His Laws for Man to draw Mankind to Him. Once a right relationship is established BY God, we begin to keep His law as part of our new being and new life in Him. We don’t really even have to think about it. It is our response to His Love.

  • Thomas Carter

    And perhaps it is because so much of it is done by youth who don’t really have a depth of understanding or know or believe what they are talking about. Or, perhaps it is because youth still need the control applied from outside as they have not entirely achieved self-control. Thank God for His grace.

    David delighted in the Law of God because he understood that it defined civilization and allowed people to live together in a harmony that otherwise would not be. And ultimately he understood that the Law demonstrated God’s love for His creation and gave the steps for establishing a new relationship with God based on love. The mistake folks make is truly a miss-take! The erroneously think that by trying to “keep the Law” THEY can establish the desired relationship. Just the opposite. The Law demonstrates to the observer of the same that it can’t be done and that drives the individual to seek out the Giver of the Law, not Moses, but God Himself and it is in this manner that God uses His Laws for Man to draw Mankind to Him. Once a right relationship is established BY God, we begin to keep His law as part of our new being and new life in Him. We don’t really even have to think about it. It is our response to His Love.

  • Tom Hering

    Seems there’s a movement in Evangelicalism that rejects the very idea of youth ministry. Divided: The Movie.

  • Tom Hering

    Seems there’s a movement in Evangelicalism that rejects the very idea of youth ministry. Divided: The Movie.

  • Tom Hering

    Looks like that link doesn’t work. Google: youtube official divided the movie

  • Tom Hering

    Looks like that link doesn’t work. Google: youtube official divided the movie

  • larry

    Dan and Josh and some others are correct here. It is due to, in evangelicalism (I was involved in it in the SB & saw it in the PCA), this constant confusing of Law and Gospel. But I would not rule out many LCMS for the same reason, where in the pulpit the L/G is done great but the SS class for the youth, often run by a lay person, returns. I recall almost jerking my kids out of our SS class when my over heard some of the lingo going on in their SS. We talked to the pastor first, but I can “smell baptist” a mile away.

    Part of the problem in heterodoxy is the heterodoxy itself which eventually does confuse L/G in sanctification, formerly the confessions get one there. The other part, the reason one might see it in orthodoxy, is that it is the natural gravity of any simul person, so the gravity of the people pulls against the otherwise orthodoxy. Orthodoxy takes constant diligence, heterodoxy formalizes the individual’s old man’s gravity.

    Josh is right, most parents see it as the “now moral lesson time” to “keep them out of trouble”. So they get pressured from the parents, at least most of them. It shows the parents growing ignorance with confusing L/G. To put it in Lutheran terms as I’ve told my wife, “You know teaching and memorizing the catechism is NOT just for our children but us to. And…its not just something you do to “get in the door” or be “confirmed”, its life long.

    So take the natural gravity of the old man in any person, pluse the natural mental sloth and you have a natural pull against the Gospel just in and of itself. Then under heterodoxy, add to it the formalization of the errors that promote this same fallen old adam religion through the “back door”, and you see what you see in those situations as well.

  • larry

    Dan and Josh and some others are correct here. It is due to, in evangelicalism (I was involved in it in the SB & saw it in the PCA), this constant confusing of Law and Gospel. But I would not rule out many LCMS for the same reason, where in the pulpit the L/G is done great but the SS class for the youth, often run by a lay person, returns. I recall almost jerking my kids out of our SS class when my over heard some of the lingo going on in their SS. We talked to the pastor first, but I can “smell baptist” a mile away.

    Part of the problem in heterodoxy is the heterodoxy itself which eventually does confuse L/G in sanctification, formerly the confessions get one there. The other part, the reason one might see it in orthodoxy, is that it is the natural gravity of any simul person, so the gravity of the people pulls against the otherwise orthodoxy. Orthodoxy takes constant diligence, heterodoxy formalizes the individual’s old man’s gravity.

    Josh is right, most parents see it as the “now moral lesson time” to “keep them out of trouble”. So they get pressured from the parents, at least most of them. It shows the parents growing ignorance with confusing L/G. To put it in Lutheran terms as I’ve told my wife, “You know teaching and memorizing the catechism is NOT just for our children but us to. And…its not just something you do to “get in the door” or be “confirmed”, its life long.

    So take the natural gravity of the old man in any person, pluse the natural mental sloth and you have a natural pull against the Gospel just in and of itself. Then under heterodoxy, add to it the formalization of the errors that promote this same fallen old adam religion through the “back door”, and you see what you see in those situations as well.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I have to admit if I go to one more youth conference where the focus is on not having sex or not doing drugs, etc. I am going to do something extreme. It is no wonder why people assume that Christianity is just about behaving right. Most people never make it past their youth group days and this is what they get.

    Others have picked up on this but it is two pronged. One is the faulty theology that pretty much teaches that the Gospel is only for the purpose of conversion. So, their sermons, kids programs, etc all are law based. Listen to the vast majority of “Christian” music. What is called Christian is law based. There is very little gospel based music being produced. This is what youth in the youth ministry are encouraged to listen to. I buck the trend. I refuse to promote CCM stations or groups, in spite of parental pressure.

    This brings me to the second part. Parents for the most part are looking for a program that keeps their little darlings out of trouble. They want us to teach them about all the things they are uncomfortable teaching, but with out you know using such dirty words like sex.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I have to admit if I go to one more youth conference where the focus is on not having sex or not doing drugs, etc. I am going to do something extreme. It is no wonder why people assume that Christianity is just about behaving right. Most people never make it past their youth group days and this is what they get.

    Others have picked up on this but it is two pronged. One is the faulty theology that pretty much teaches that the Gospel is only for the purpose of conversion. So, their sermons, kids programs, etc all are law based. Listen to the vast majority of “Christian” music. What is called Christian is law based. There is very little gospel based music being produced. This is what youth in the youth ministry are encouraged to listen to. I buck the trend. I refuse to promote CCM stations or groups, in spite of parental pressure.

    This brings me to the second part. Parents for the most part are looking for a program that keeps their little darlings out of trouble. They want us to teach them about all the things they are uncomfortable teaching, but with out you know using such dirty words like sex.

  • Tom Hering

    Most people never make it past their youth group days …

    Doc 21 @ 14, most people never make it through their youth group days, if the statistics presented in the documentary I linked to are accurate. According to the film, only about 10% of Christian youth who are lost to the faith are lost during their college years. The rest are lost while still at home, still in high school, still involved in youth ministries.

  • Tom Hering

    Most people never make it past their youth group days …

    Doc 21 @ 14, most people never make it through their youth group days, if the statistics presented in the documentary I linked to are accurate. According to the film, only about 10% of Christian youth who are lost to the faith are lost during their college years. The rest are lost while still at home, still in high school, still involved in youth ministries.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I have to admit if I go to one more youth conference where the focus is on not having sex or not doing drugs, etc.”

    I guess I am the lucky one. My baptist youth group did not focus on these things. They were occasionally mentioned in the context of sins but only as some among many failings like lying, swearing or cheating etc. The focus was the Gospel and studying the Bible and Christian fellowship and support.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I have to admit if I go to one more youth conference where the focus is on not having sex or not doing drugs, etc.”

    I guess I am the lucky one. My baptist youth group did not focus on these things. They were occasionally mentioned in the context of sins but only as some among many failings like lying, swearing or cheating etc. The focus was the Gospel and studying the Bible and Christian fellowship and support.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @15
    If it is based on the “research” from Already Gone It may not be all that accurate or at least not worth the baggage to use. The questions were set up to get the answers they wanted. That isn’t to say there isn’t a measure of truth, I just wouldn’t call it reliable.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @15
    If it is based on the “research” from Already Gone It may not be all that accurate or at least not worth the baggage to use. The questions were set up to get the answers they wanted. That isn’t to say there isn’t a measure of truth, I just wouldn’t call it reliable.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @sg Note I said conference not youth group. Granted I am in charge of our youth ministry so while they come up they aren’t a big focus, but I am tired of taking my kids to a youth conference and getting the sex, drugs, and rock and roll routine. Sadly, these conferences put on by Lutheran ministries.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @sg Note I said conference not youth group. Granted I am in charge of our youth ministry so while they come up they aren’t a big focus, but I am tired of taking my kids to a youth conference and getting the sex, drugs, and rock and roll routine. Sadly, these conferences put on by Lutheran ministries.

  • Patrick Kyle

    Something rarely touched upon is that much ‘youth ministry’ centers on camps and conferences that do all this fun and exciting stuff to get the kids pumped up, then the kids get to go back to their ‘boring’ churches that can never compete with the big ‘events.’ Some groups like Higher Things, endeavor to avoid this by using worship services from the hymnal in their large gatherings.

  • Patrick Kyle

    Something rarely touched upon is that much ‘youth ministry’ centers on camps and conferences that do all this fun and exciting stuff to get the kids pumped up, then the kids get to go back to their ‘boring’ churches that can never compete with the big ‘events.’ Some groups like Higher Things, endeavor to avoid this by using worship services from the hymnal in their large gatherings.

  • Tom Hering

    Doc 21 @ 18, thanks for that tip on a possible source for the film’s statistics. Despite the problematic Evangelical theology in the film, I think their conclusion is correct that age-separated worship and catchesis are bad ideas. As is youth ministry taking over the head of a household’s role (whether the head of a household dumps his or her responsibilities in the youth ministry’s lap or not).

  • Tom Hering

    Doc 21 @ 18, thanks for that tip on a possible source for the film’s statistics. Despite the problematic Evangelical theology in the film, I think their conclusion is correct that age-separated worship and catchesis are bad ideas. As is youth ministry taking over the head of a household’s role (whether the head of a household dumps his or her responsibilities in the youth ministry’s lap or not).

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “As is youth ministry taking over the head of a household’s role (whether the head of a household dumps his or her responsibilities in the youth ministry’s lap or not).”

    Would it be helpful for parents to have pastors present resources for use at home? doing so would reiterate the responsibility that parents have while giving them some good tools to do it as well.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “As is youth ministry taking over the head of a household’s role (whether the head of a household dumps his or her responsibilities in the youth ministry’s lap or not).”

    Would it be helpful for parents to have pastors present resources for use at home? doing so would reiterate the responsibility that parents have while giving them some good tools to do it as well.

  • Tom Hering

    sg @ 22, you mean like the Small Catechism? :-D Luther’s introduction to each section goes something like “a simple way for the head of a house to present this to the household.”

  • Tom Hering

    sg @ 22, you mean like the Small Catechism? :-D Luther’s introduction to each section goes something like “a simple way for the head of a house to present this to the household.”

  • DonS

    As has been stated above, I believe that Sunday School and youth ministry are, generally speaking, a terrible idea for families. God designed a system where older people mentor younger people, and youth ministry tends to degenerate into peer culture, with resultant shallow values and aspirations similar to those youth also find in school (which also is wrongly peer-segregated, but that’s a subject for another day). Because the “cool kids” become the de facto leaders of the group, despite the best efforts of the youth leader, the goal becomes to do cool things to keep the youth coming. The Gospel is lost in the blur of activities.

    I was proud of our son and his wife when they rejected attending the youthful-oriented cool local church in favor of one with a mix of ages and some wiser older people, because they knew they needed to be mentored.

  • DonS

    As has been stated above, I believe that Sunday School and youth ministry are, generally speaking, a terrible idea for families. God designed a system where older people mentor younger people, and youth ministry tends to degenerate into peer culture, with resultant shallow values and aspirations similar to those youth also find in school (which also is wrongly peer-segregated, but that’s a subject for another day). Because the “cool kids” become the de facto leaders of the group, despite the best efforts of the youth leader, the goal becomes to do cool things to keep the youth coming. The Gospel is lost in the blur of activities.

    I was proud of our son and his wife when they rejected attending the youthful-oriented cool local church in favor of one with a mix of ages and some wiser older people, because they knew they needed to be mentored.

  • Tom Hering

    … but that’s a subject for another day …

    As is education compelled by the state. Don’t get me started. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    … but that’s a subject for another day …

    As is education compelled by the state. Don’t get me started. :-D

  • DonS

    Tom @ 25: Peer-segregated education isn’t compelled, is it?

  • DonS

    Tom @ 25: Peer-segregated education isn’t compelled, is it?

  • Tom Hering

    I said don’t get me started.

  • Tom Hering

    I said don’t get me started.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @SG and Tom, One of the core things we are doing with our youth ministry (ours goes from birth to graduation) is we have a series of seminars designed to help parents have Christ centered homes and fulfill their vocations as Christian parents. We teach them how to start and do devotions, while introducing them to some good resources. We also walk them through some of the more awkward conversations.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @SG and Tom, One of the core things we are doing with our youth ministry (ours goes from birth to graduation) is we have a series of seminars designed to help parents have Christ centered homes and fulfill their vocations as Christian parents. We teach them how to start and do devotions, while introducing them to some good resources. We also walk them through some of the more awkward conversations.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    sg @ 22, you mean like the Small Catechism? Luther’s introduction to each section goes something like “a simple way for the head of a house to present this to the household.”

    Actually I do mean that. I also think that the pastor can be a cheerleader for using it. Also, there is good stuff based on the catechism for younger kids that parents might like to use but don’t know about like this item I found while looking for something else:

    http://www.cph.org/p-1737-my-first-catechism.aspx

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    sg @ 22, you mean like the Small Catechism? Luther’s introduction to each section goes something like “a simple way for the head of a house to present this to the household.”

    Actually I do mean that. I also think that the pastor can be a cheerleader for using it. Also, there is good stuff based on the catechism for younger kids that parents might like to use but don’t know about like this item I found while looking for something else:

    http://www.cph.org/p-1737-my-first-catechism.aspx

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @28

    How often do y’all do the parent seminars and who leads/designs them? Pastor, DCE, lay?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @28

    How often do y’all do the parent seminars and who leads/designs them? Pastor, DCE, lay?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Some of the youth groups around here aren’t gospel oriented at all, or even law oriented very much. What they are, is pizza and video games oriented. In other words, just a social club for teens that just happens to meet in a church building.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Some of the youth groups around here aren’t gospel oriented at all, or even law oriented very much. What they are, is pizza and video games oriented. In other words, just a social club for teens that just happens to meet in a church building.

  • Joe

    Mike — I think that sounds great!. I would rather send my kid to a social gathering in a church basement than to what passes for a youth group these days. I am very thankful that my kids have good friends at church but between the divine service, Sunday school, home devotions, confirmation class, etc. I don’t think they need a special “ministry” to ruin all of the fun stuff they like to do with their friends in their free time.

  • Joe

    Mike — I think that sounds great!. I would rather send my kid to a social gathering in a church basement than to what passes for a youth group these days. I am very thankful that my kids have good friends at church but between the divine service, Sunday school, home devotions, confirmation class, etc. I don’t think they need a special “ministry” to ruin all of the fun stuff they like to do with their friends in their free time.

  • Joe

    This clip seems relevant:

    It is long but the ending is worth it.

  • Joe

    This clip seems relevant:

    It is long but the ending is worth it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I am very thankful that my kids have good friends at church but between the divine service, Sunday school, home devotions, confirmation class, etc. I don’t think they need a special “ministry” to ruin all of the fun stuff they like to do with their friends in their free time.”

    There is some truth here.

    My son likes to have serious Bible class separate from fellowship fun stuff. I think the problem is that so many kids don’t come to Bible class, so they want to add something “spiritual” to a fellowship event that really isn’t. Really it is the parents’ job to get kids to Bible class, not the leaders’ job to work it into a fellowship event.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I am very thankful that my kids have good friends at church but between the divine service, Sunday school, home devotions, confirmation class, etc. I don’t think they need a special “ministry” to ruin all of the fun stuff they like to do with their friends in their free time.”

    There is some truth here.

    My son likes to have serious Bible class separate from fellowship fun stuff. I think the problem is that so many kids don’t come to Bible class, so they want to add something “spiritual” to a fellowship event that really isn’t. Really it is the parents’ job to get kids to Bible class, not the leaders’ job to work it into a fellowship event.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    These are very good points, and well worth pondering.

    I have noticed however an unfortunate reaction to this trend, and it can be summarized like this:

    Because too much time is spent in youth ministry engaged in teaching about good works and “behavior modification” we will go out of our way to avoid speaking about the shape of the new life in Christ.

    In other words, the solution to bad teaching about behavior and morals is not no teaching about it.

    N.T. Wright put it well:

    “The church is not supposed to be a society of perfect people doing great work. It’s a society of forgiven sinners repaying their unpayable debt of love by working for Jesus’s kingdom in every way they can, knowing themselves to be unworthy of the task.”

    And Luther said this:

    That is what my Antinomians, too, are doing today, who are preaching beautifully and (as I cannot but think) with real sincerity about Christ’s grace, about the forgiveness of sin and whatever else can be said about the doctrine of redemption. But they flee as if it were the very devil the consequence that they should tell the people about the third article, of sanctification, that is, of new life in Christ. They think one should not frighten or trouble the people, but rather always preach comfortingly about grace and the forgiveness of sins in Christ, and under no circumstance use these or similar words, “Listen! You want to be a Christian and at the same time remain an adulterer, a whoremonger, a drunken swine, arrogant, covetous, a usurer, envious, vindictive, malicious, etc.!” Instead they say, “Listen! Though you are an adultery, a wordmonger, a miser, or other kind of sinner, if you but believe, you are saved, and you need not fear the law. Christ has fulfilled it all! . . . They may be fine Easter preachers, but they are very poor Pentecost preachers, for they do not preach… “about the sanctification by the Holy Spirit,” but solely about the redemption of Jesus Christ, although Christ (whom they extol so highly, and rightly so) is Christ, that is, He has purchased redemption from sin and death so that the Holy Spirit might transform us out of the old Adam into new men . . . Christ did not earn only gratia, grace, for us, but also donum, “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” so that we might have not only forgiveness of, but also cessation of, sin. Now he who does not abstain fro sin, but persists in his evil life, must have a different Christ, that of the Antinomians; the real Christ is not there, even if all the angels would cry, “Christ! Christ!” He must be damned with this, his new Christ.

    (Martin Luther, On the Council and the Church, Luther’s Works, 41:113-114).

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    These are very good points, and well worth pondering.

    I have noticed however an unfortunate reaction to this trend, and it can be summarized like this:

    Because too much time is spent in youth ministry engaged in teaching about good works and “behavior modification” we will go out of our way to avoid speaking about the shape of the new life in Christ.

    In other words, the solution to bad teaching about behavior and morals is not no teaching about it.

    N.T. Wright put it well:

    “The church is not supposed to be a society of perfect people doing great work. It’s a society of forgiven sinners repaying their unpayable debt of love by working for Jesus’s kingdom in every way they can, knowing themselves to be unworthy of the task.”

    And Luther said this:

    That is what my Antinomians, too, are doing today, who are preaching beautifully and (as I cannot but think) with real sincerity about Christ’s grace, about the forgiveness of sin and whatever else can be said about the doctrine of redemption. But they flee as if it were the very devil the consequence that they should tell the people about the third article, of sanctification, that is, of new life in Christ. They think one should not frighten or trouble the people, but rather always preach comfortingly about grace and the forgiveness of sins in Christ, and under no circumstance use these or similar words, “Listen! You want to be a Christian and at the same time remain an adulterer, a whoremonger, a drunken swine, arrogant, covetous, a usurer, envious, vindictive, malicious, etc.!” Instead they say, “Listen! Though you are an adultery, a wordmonger, a miser, or other kind of sinner, if you but believe, you are saved, and you need not fear the law. Christ has fulfilled it all! . . . They may be fine Easter preachers, but they are very poor Pentecost preachers, for they do not preach… “about the sanctification by the Holy Spirit,” but solely about the redemption of Jesus Christ, although Christ (whom they extol so highly, and rightly so) is Christ, that is, He has purchased redemption from sin and death so that the Holy Spirit might transform us out of the old Adam into new men . . . Christ did not earn only gratia, grace, for us, but also donum, “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” so that we might have not only forgiveness of, but also cessation of, sin. Now he who does not abstain fro sin, but persists in his evil life, must have a different Christ, that of the Antinomians; the real Christ is not there, even if all the angels would cry, “Christ! Christ!” He must be damned with this, his new Christ.

    (Martin Luther, On the Council and the Church, Luther’s Works, 41:113-114).

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @sg all the above lead
    We base ours largely on the Faith Legacy series from kidskount publishing. We do supplement with additional material, but not much as it deals largely with practicalities.

    http://www.kidskountpublishing.com/Childrens_and_Family_Ministry/Family/Family_Ministry/FaithLegacy_Overview.php

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @sg all the above lead
    We base ours largely on the Faith Legacy series from kidskount publishing. We do supplement with additional material, but not much as it deals largely with practicalities.

    http://www.kidskountpublishing.com/Childrens_and_Family_Ministry/Family/Family_Ministry/FaithLegacy_Overview.php

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Paul McCain said (@35):

    N.T. Wright put it well: “The church is not supposed to be a society of perfect people doing great work. It’s a society of forgiven sinners repaying their unpayable debt of love by working for Jesus’s kingdom in every way they can, knowing themselves to be unworthy of the task.”

    Really? We want to teach our youth to do good things in order to “repay” God? That does not appear to be put very well.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Paul McCain said (@35):

    N.T. Wright put it well: “The church is not supposed to be a society of perfect people doing great work. It’s a society of forgiven sinners repaying their unpayable debt of love by working for Jesus’s kingdom in every way they can, knowing themselves to be unworthy of the task.”

    Really? We want to teach our youth to do good things in order to “repay” God? That does not appear to be put very well.

  • Grace

    Knowing my life was empty without Christ, understanding Christ’s love for me, dying on the Cross for my sins, was and is, the turning point, and foundation that has directed my life. It always brings me to my knees, when I have sinned.

    Talking about the don’ts and do’s (law) is heavy baggage, that weigh down, and finally break the back of anyone, either the youth or their adult parents.

    The answer is the Cross, Christ crucified, for my sins, and not only mine, but anyone who believes and has faith only in HIM. That is the conscience that is imputed within the heart of the Believer in HIM. Without HIM indwelt in my heart, or that of anyone, any age will accomplish nothing.

    Christ never competed with the world, nor did HIS followers. Too often, (no matter the denomination) church leaders, try, in what they believe is a Christian way, to emulate the world for the youth in their church, believing this will corral them into a youth fellowship, but instead it’s counterfeit. The word “counterfeit” is used often, to define those who are counterfeits of Christians, but it is all TOO OFTEN the opposite, the leaders which are “counterfeiting” the world.

    The Gospel of Christ is the only answer, Christ crucified is the center, everything else will fall away. When one terminates self to Christ, the law automatically is seen through the eyes of the Believer.

  • Grace

    Knowing my life was empty without Christ, understanding Christ’s love for me, dying on the Cross for my sins, was and is, the turning point, and foundation that has directed my life. It always brings me to my knees, when I have sinned.

    Talking about the don’ts and do’s (law) is heavy baggage, that weigh down, and finally break the back of anyone, either the youth or their adult parents.

    The answer is the Cross, Christ crucified, for my sins, and not only mine, but anyone who believes and has faith only in HIM. That is the conscience that is imputed within the heart of the Believer in HIM. Without HIM indwelt in my heart, or that of anyone, any age will accomplish nothing.

    Christ never competed with the world, nor did HIS followers. Too often, (no matter the denomination) church leaders, try, in what they believe is a Christian way, to emulate the world for the youth in their church, believing this will corral them into a youth fellowship, but instead it’s counterfeit. The word “counterfeit” is used often, to define those who are counterfeits of Christians, but it is all TOO OFTEN the opposite, the leaders which are “counterfeiting” the world.

    The Gospel of Christ is the only answer, Christ crucified is the center, everything else will fall away. When one terminates self to Christ, the law automatically is seen through the eyes of the Believer.

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith,

    This is one of the best blogs you’ve posted. It is troubling, thought provoking, and most of all sad.

    Our young people for the most part are adrift, the only lights most of them see or follow are the world.

    God help us. This should never be, it’s heartbreaking, no matter what denomination or church.

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith,

    This is one of the best blogs you’ve posted. It is troubling, thought provoking, and most of all sad.

    Our young people for the most part are adrift, the only lights most of them see or follow are the world.

    God help us. This should never be, it’s heartbreaking, no matter what denomination or church.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Rev. McCain,
    I don’t think anybody is proposing that works/santification NEVER be talked about. Certainly I do not. But like the liturgy, sanctification must always be in light of justification.

    Regarding N.T. Wright’s quote: I would hesitate to word it as “repaying” Christ. Our good works are done from gratitude and transformation, not debt to God. While I’m sure that you, Rev. McCain, would certainly not subscribe to a path of works-righteousness, N.T. Wright’s befuddling doctrine on justification taints my understanding of any of his words regarding works.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Rev. McCain,
    I don’t think anybody is proposing that works/santification NEVER be talked about. Certainly I do not. But like the liturgy, sanctification must always be in light of justification.

    Regarding N.T. Wright’s quote: I would hesitate to word it as “repaying” Christ. Our good works are done from gratitude and transformation, not debt to God. While I’m sure that you, Rev. McCain, would certainly not subscribe to a path of works-righteousness, N.T. Wright’s befuddling doctrine on justification taints my understanding of any of his words regarding works.

  • Tom Hering

    Our good works are done from gratitude and transformation …

    I dunno. As a new creation, I do good works happily, and say no to sin happily, and it always surprise the heck out of me. (Who was that masked man?) Insofar as I’m still Old Adam, I resist good works, and surrender to temptation, preferring to please myself. The Law is good, in that it accuses my Old Adam, and kills him a little more. The Gospel is very good, in that it revives the joy of my salvation, and my joy overflows to others.

  • Tom Hering

    Our good works are done from gratitude and transformation …

    I dunno. As a new creation, I do good works happily, and say no to sin happily, and it always surprise the heck out of me. (Who was that masked man?) Insofar as I’m still Old Adam, I resist good works, and surrender to temptation, preferring to please myself. The Law is good, in that it accuses my Old Adam, and kills him a little more. The Gospel is very good, in that it revives the joy of my salvation, and my joy overflows to others.

  • larry

    Mixing and matching doctrinal paradigms as if they are the same is always dangerous.

    The problem today with teaching the so called “Christ formed life” (which is where this article pin points) is that for the most part this arises in denominations that do not really have the Gospel, i.e. the sacraments are either disconnected or don’t exist. So assurance is at best not really there. And one has to have been or be under and believe that paradigm and not just be some theoretician theologian that looks out from one’s Ivory Tower and thinks they understand what it means to be under that paradigm and all the wonderful despair that goes along with actually believing it. I.e. there’s a difference in having been in and believed such a system and just kind of analyzing from a Lutheran perch. Because if you actually believe such a system, which is why one is in it, when the moral teaching comes under the guise of a “Christ formed life” one cannot just go grab one’s Lutheran retort “I am baptized” to avoid the despairing crash and burn that must necessarily ensue simply because it does not exist.

    Now one finds themselves in a youth ministry in which “I am baptized” is at best Roman Catholic and you are told time and time and ad nausem ad infinitum time again, explicitly and implicitly that “here’s how you know you are saved/elect/truly regenerate/truly born again/truly regenerate. THEN comes the wonderful moral teaching under the name “Christ formed/filled life”. See now its different, one can’t say “I am baptized” nor “Isn’t the sacrament wonderful” nor “absolution is such a wonderful food for my soul”. Rather the moral teaching under the “Christ formed/filled life” cloak is ubiquitous and entirely undifferentiated with all those fruit inspections one is implicitly/explicitly taught that are signs of conversion/salvation/election/rebirth/regeneration, etc…

    This is what produces as Dr. Veith posted some time back by that very honest Baptist fellow over on the late and beloved Michael Spencer’s web site basically outlining very honestly the kind of spiritual schizophrenic teenager later in life such teachings and its roots in youth groups that ensues.

    Real example, first hand many times over: Youth in evangelicalism is taught about producing the “fruits of the spirit”, conforming to Christ, forming to be like Christ and such, and when they do good they are awarded for it. But then they are not baptized.

  • larry

    Mixing and matching doctrinal paradigms as if they are the same is always dangerous.

    The problem today with teaching the so called “Christ formed life” (which is where this article pin points) is that for the most part this arises in denominations that do not really have the Gospel, i.e. the sacraments are either disconnected or don’t exist. So assurance is at best not really there. And one has to have been or be under and believe that paradigm and not just be some theoretician theologian that looks out from one’s Ivory Tower and thinks they understand what it means to be under that paradigm and all the wonderful despair that goes along with actually believing it. I.e. there’s a difference in having been in and believed such a system and just kind of analyzing from a Lutheran perch. Because if you actually believe such a system, which is why one is in it, when the moral teaching comes under the guise of a “Christ formed life” one cannot just go grab one’s Lutheran retort “I am baptized” to avoid the despairing crash and burn that must necessarily ensue simply because it does not exist.

    Now one finds themselves in a youth ministry in which “I am baptized” is at best Roman Catholic and you are told time and time and ad nausem ad infinitum time again, explicitly and implicitly that “here’s how you know you are saved/elect/truly regenerate/truly born again/truly regenerate. THEN comes the wonderful moral teaching under the name “Christ formed/filled life”. See now its different, one can’t say “I am baptized” nor “Isn’t the sacrament wonderful” nor “absolution is such a wonderful food for my soul”. Rather the moral teaching under the “Christ formed/filled life” cloak is ubiquitous and entirely undifferentiated with all those fruit inspections one is implicitly/explicitly taught that are signs of conversion/salvation/election/rebirth/regeneration, etc…

    This is what produces as Dr. Veith posted some time back by that very honest Baptist fellow over on the late and beloved Michael Spencer’s web site basically outlining very honestly the kind of spiritual schizophrenic teenager later in life such teachings and its roots in youth groups that ensues.

    Real example, first hand many times over: Youth in evangelicalism is taught about producing the “fruits of the spirit”, conforming to Christ, forming to be like Christ and such, and when they do good they are awarded for it. But then they are not baptized.

  • Grace

    larry @ 42

    larry – “But then they are not baptized.”

    Who told you that? I haven’t met, to my knowledge any Evangelicals who are NOT Baptized.

  • Grace

    larry @ 42

    larry – “But then they are not baptized.”

    Who told you that? I haven’t met, to my knowledge any Evangelicals who are NOT Baptized.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @43 all I can figure is that he means some of the youth may not yet have been baptised.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @43 all I can figure is that he means some of the youth may not yet have been baptised.

  • Tom Hering

    Larry was speaking of youth who are taught sanctification but haven’t yet been baptized. Because there’s no infant baptism and they’re not yet adult or near-adult believers.

  • Tom Hering

    Larry was speaking of youth who are taught sanctification but haven’t yet been baptized. Because there’s no infant baptism and they’re not yet adult or near-adult believers.

  • Grace

    Tom and sg.

    It’s true that Evangelicals often times never Baptize their infants, HOWEVER, when a young person of any age understands Salvation, and has trusted Christ, “saved by grace through faith” is Baptized.

    It’s wrong to ASSUME that young people are not Baptized.

  • Grace

    Tom and sg.

    It’s true that Evangelicals often times never Baptize their infants, HOWEVER, when a young person of any age understands Salvation, and has trusted Christ, “saved by grace through faith” is Baptized.

    It’s wrong to ASSUME that young people are not Baptized.

  • Tom Hering

    But Larry isn’t assuming. He’s been there, in the Baptist/Evangelical/non-denominational world himself. As have I.

  • Tom Hering

    But Larry isn’t assuming. He’s been there, in the Baptist/Evangelical/non-denominational world himself. As have I.

  • Grace

    Tom,

    You and Larry might have, for whatever length of time been in a Baptist Church, or and Evangelical Church of which, often times, are not the same doctrinally, nor are they to be thrown into a drawer under the same title, it’s not correct.

    The comment: “He’s been there, in the Baptist/Evangelical/non-denominational world himself. As have I.”

    Your experience doesn’t trump all truth regarding Baptism, or the age at which young people decide to be Baptized.

    SO, in essence there is no other truth, but yours and larrys. That’s an old excuse, used to ALWAYS BE RIGHT, no matter how WRONG you are.

  • Grace

    Tom,

    You and Larry might have, for whatever length of time been in a Baptist Church, or and Evangelical Church of which, often times, are not the same doctrinally, nor are they to be thrown into a drawer under the same title, it’s not correct.

    The comment: “He’s been there, in the Baptist/Evangelical/non-denominational world himself. As have I.”

    Your experience doesn’t trump all truth regarding Baptism, or the age at which young people decide to be Baptized.

    SO, in essence there is no other truth, but yours and larrys. That’s an old excuse, used to ALWAYS BE RIGHT, no matter how WRONG you are.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, I think you’re the one who’s trying really hard to look like you’re in the right, by starting an argument that will derail this conversation – just so you can avoid admitting you made a boo-boo in the way you read larry’s comment @ 42. How long are you going to keep it up this time?

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, I think you’re the one who’s trying really hard to look like you’re in the right, by starting an argument that will derail this conversation – just so you can avoid admitting you made a boo-boo in the way you read larry’s comment @ 42. How long are you going to keep it up this time?

  • Grace

    Tom,

    No, Tom, we disagree.

    If you want to “derail” the conversation, continue to keep it going.

  • Grace

    Tom,

    No, Tom, we disagree.

    If you want to “derail” the conversation, continue to keep it going.

  • Tom Hering

    Yes, we disagree. For my part, it’s because you’re wrong. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Yes, we disagree. For my part, it’s because you’re wrong. :-D

  • Grace

    Tom, your big GRINNY FACE tells me differently! :razz:

  • Grace

    Tom, your big GRINNY FACE tells me differently! :razz:

  • Tom Hering

    Does not.

  • Tom Hering

    Does not.

  • Michael B.

    Grace,

    This is offtopic, and don’t let it go to your head, but I’ve ranked all the Cranach members , and you’ve topped the list as the least likely to burn in hell.

  • Michael B.

    Grace,

    This is offtopic, and don’t let it go to your head, but I’ve ranked all the Cranach members , and you’ve topped the list as the least likely to burn in hell.

  • SKPeterson

    Michael @ 54 – I think we’ve all earned a place there by our works and reliance upon them, haven’t we?

  • SKPeterson

    Michael @ 54 – I think we’ve all earned a place there by our works and reliance upon them, haven’t we?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Ah yes, Pastor Fisk on Already Gone and youth and church attendance connection to literal Bible interpretation:

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Ah yes, Pastor Fisk on Already Gone and youth and church attendance connection to literal Bible interpretation:

  • larry

    Tom’s right. And just for the record I was not in ‘just some evangelical churches’ but the “primo” of the SB/baptist world in which the like of MacArthur, Piper and Mohler were held in high regard. And that’s kind of the point in the baptist world regarding Believers Baptism, its all over the map.

    The point was that no infant is baptized in the baptist church and the age of when is up to the whims of the local church, pastor and/or elders. And the main point being is that no baptist, due to the (false) teaching on baptism can call upon “I am baptized” to help them in the indiscernable baptist sanctification/proof fruit of actually saved/reborn/etc…time. That’s why SS and youth ministries have to be viewed and understood differently than similar errors one might find say in a Lutheran church which can go back to the confessions where “I am baptized” trumps this otherwise complete confusion of law and gospel.

    The imperative “if/then” glory religions are very different than the proclaimative “because/therefore” cross faith.

    Good link SG!

  • larry

    Tom’s right. And just for the record I was not in ‘just some evangelical churches’ but the “primo” of the SB/baptist world in which the like of MacArthur, Piper and Mohler were held in high regard. And that’s kind of the point in the baptist world regarding Believers Baptism, its all over the map.

    The point was that no infant is baptized in the baptist church and the age of when is up to the whims of the local church, pastor and/or elders. And the main point being is that no baptist, due to the (false) teaching on baptism can call upon “I am baptized” to help them in the indiscernable baptist sanctification/proof fruit of actually saved/reborn/etc…time. That’s why SS and youth ministries have to be viewed and understood differently than similar errors one might find say in a Lutheran church which can go back to the confessions where “I am baptized” trumps this otherwise complete confusion of law and gospel.

    The imperative “if/then” glory religions are very different than the proclaimative “because/therefore” cross faith.

    Good link SG!

  • larry

    Of course one could play Grace’s baptist doctrine/theology against itself and entertain the question “are you really baptized?” How do you know, according to believer’s baptism? How do you know you’ve ever even seen a real baptism, being its based not in the Word alone?

  • larry

    Of course one could play Grace’s baptist doctrine/theology against itself and entertain the question “are you really baptized?” How do you know, according to believer’s baptism? How do you know you’ve ever even seen a real baptism, being its based not in the Word alone?

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    @Grace, #46. For the record, I grew up in many evangelical churches, and my personal experience was one of understanding substitutionary salvation at a young age (four or five) and believing, but I was not allowed to be baptized until I was older (12, if I recall correctly). This was quite normal. The pastors generally wanted to “make sure” that conversion was real before baptizing.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    @Grace, #46. For the record, I grew up in many evangelical churches, and my personal experience was one of understanding substitutionary salvation at a young age (four or five) and believing, but I was not allowed to be baptized until I was older (12, if I recall correctly). This was quite normal. The pastors generally wanted to “make sure” that conversion was real before baptizing.

  • Grace

    John @ 59

    I don’t doubt your experience, but it doesn’t cover each church.

  • Grace

    John @ 59

    I don’t doubt your experience, but it doesn’t cover each church.

  • Jacob

    larry,
    For a few years I went to a Baptist-run high school and I think I was one of two or three Lutherans there. Anyway, about the question of “are you really baptized”, I remember on several occasions hearing about a young student or member of that church professing faith and getting baptized. Then later doubting that they had sufficient faith during their first profession, making another profession, and getting baptized again. I remember the fear that one’s faith was not “good enough” and one somehow had to through strength of willpower produce more faith but no one really knew how much was enough.

    One thing that bothered me when I thought about it years later was how they would say something to the effect that things having to do with salvation were for “spiritual babies.” Once you got saved, you should get beyond the “baby” stuff and get into the “deeper things of God.” I remember these “deeper” things had mostly to do with either moral exhortations or end-times dispensational speculations.

    Now there were some good things, like emphasizing memorizing scripture and encouraging everyone to read the King James Bible (but some went too far even here by saying this translation was perfect).

  • Jacob

    larry,
    For a few years I went to a Baptist-run high school and I think I was one of two or three Lutherans there. Anyway, about the question of “are you really baptized”, I remember on several occasions hearing about a young student or member of that church professing faith and getting baptized. Then later doubting that they had sufficient faith during their first profession, making another profession, and getting baptized again. I remember the fear that one’s faith was not “good enough” and one somehow had to through strength of willpower produce more faith but no one really knew how much was enough.

    One thing that bothered me when I thought about it years later was how they would say something to the effect that things having to do with salvation were for “spiritual babies.” Once you got saved, you should get beyond the “baby” stuff and get into the “deeper things of God.” I remember these “deeper” things had mostly to do with either moral exhortations or end-times dispensational speculations.

    Now there were some good things, like emphasizing memorizing scripture and encouraging everyone to read the King James Bible (but some went too far even here by saying this translation was perfect).

  • Grace

    Jacob,

    I have heard of people getting Baptized more than once, but, if I’m not mistaken it was because they were Baptized as infants, and wanted to be Baptized again as Believers.

    Unfortunetly, some churches don’t do a good job of teaching young people or those who come to church, hungry for the Word of God, in fact it can be counted as poor.

    Lot’s of people, no matter what denomination they belong to, or that they were raised in church have little knowledge of the Word of God. It cannot all be blamed on the church. If one seeks to understand the Bible, they can search the Scriptures – many have done just that.

    The LORD opens the mind of those who seek HIM. Praying before one studies is a good way to begin.

  • Grace

    Jacob,

    I have heard of people getting Baptized more than once, but, if I’m not mistaken it was because they were Baptized as infants, and wanted to be Baptized again as Believers.

    Unfortunetly, some churches don’t do a good job of teaching young people or those who come to church, hungry for the Word of God, in fact it can be counted as poor.

    Lot’s of people, no matter what denomination they belong to, or that they were raised in church have little knowledge of the Word of God. It cannot all be blamed on the church. If one seeks to understand the Bible, they can search the Scriptures – many have done just that.

    The LORD opens the mind of those who seek HIM. Praying before one studies is a good way to begin.

  • larry

    Jacob,

    I assure your experience is part and parcel with the baptist religion. I know many baptist and baptist churches, have family members in the ministry and have been around southern seminary and the churches in this area all my life – I well know the baptist religion and that is precisely how it works. It is not true at all what Grace says that most ‘were baptized as infants’. My wife alone was baptized no less than four times once as a teen the rest as an adult. Her sibling twice, her mother 3 times (all adult), her father 3 times (all adult). I witnessed so called “re” baptism several times at various baptist churches I attended from your run of the mill “First Baptist Church” to thoroughly MaCarthurite/Piperitte reformed/calvinish SB churches directly influenced by none other than Al Mohler.

    That’s why you never get an answer of how, in particular, a baptist knows “he/she” without a shadow of doubting, 100% was saved both as to assurance or that their baptism was timed correctly. You get a lot squishy answers like Grace, hers are pretty common Baptist punts but no firm ground. And it simply proves the point by the data that Luther observed concerning the Pope on one hand and the sacramentarians on the other, both wish to operate when all is said and done and engage God without the Word (though both would quote it to death). Rather they operate as to revelation, and concerning their assurance themselves, by revelation either coming through the ecclesiastical hierarchy (rome/pope), or through the individual (Baptist, reformed, etc…). All the same original sin and enthusiasm (godwithinness). Note how your experience with the baptist speaks of ‘looking inward’.

    The proof is always in the pudding as they say. If I saw it once, and experienced it once, I saw it a thousand times. The adults would delude themselves with the kind of fluffy language you hear here about “how they know”. But children, teens and young adults are not so deluded but rather honest about all their questions concerning the faith they are in. They ask the real questions, “how do you know” for themselves, or at least “if you cannot tell me how I can know for myself, please tell me, how do YOU know for yourself so that I may at least attempt to find out for me myself” (that’s the psychological and spiritual terror behind that line of questioning). I’ve heard it multiple times, still do because my closest friends are still baptist and in the ministry.

    It reveals itself most keenly around the teen years or approaching teen years to early college when they wonder when I can get baptized. Make NO mistake this is even more dominant in the BEST of the baptist churches that take doctrine deadly serious. Their teachers are the likes of MacArthur, Piper, Spurgeon, Fuller, various puritan writers and Calvin as much as they can adopt from him without infant baptism and the word “sacrament”, they are lovers and worshippers of the TULIP with Baptist corrections. So time comes after years of this teaching and preaching of “can I be baptized” (ages 12, 16, 18 and up). The kids have heard for years the doctrine, they understand it, they know it and so they ask, “Can I be baptized” and by this they always mean rightly (actually converted and truly regenerate – a thoroughly Baptist doctrine). So they must find out if they have the right “fruit” or evidence of conversion or of faith. Because you don’t want to get the timing wrong because if you didn’t that means you were no less NOT baptized than those infants over in the PCA, RC or Lutheran churches. Kids are not nearly deluded and stupid as the Baptist adults are who foolishly pretend this elephant is not in the room. I’ve seen this issue torment teens, eventually some have left the faith forever knowing they cannot live up to it. Dear children of dear friends whose kids I watched grow up and are now the fullest of atheist and unbaptized. I saw it first hand affect them, the doctrine, not secular societies influence but this very doctrine. I saw more than one pre-teen/teen seek out baptism only to be thwarted by the elder examination for the “signs” that they could be baptized (although the same would not say they are calling them ‘signs’ and say they cannot read a heart – but they lie as that’s exactly what they are doing).

    I can give you first hand and immediate second hand close friend example after example without names to protect the innocent. E.g. 1 a 16 year old sought to become a Christian of the church and be baptized. Raised and taught in it diligently all their life. The elder (Sanhedrin) meets with her and asks, “do you still desire to sin”. Her very, very, very honest answer (that any Christian must confess lest they are not and God a liar) was “yes”. His reply, “You are not ready to be baptized yet”. 6 years later she left the church into rank atheism and lost completely and it was due to this moment as she finally lamented after her meeting with that elder that she could not find it in herself to accomplish a point where she did not desire to sin. And it was not a brash desire but a despairing confession! E.g. 2 Another at 14, same exact scenario and outcome. E.g. 3 Another you person terrified to death that they were not elect, how would they know. E.g. 4 a very young child, given awards in their Christian class (this would be a solid RC Sproul/John Piper/MacArthur loving teaching, preaching and confessing church – very serious about doctrine, very diligent, no Warren or Ostean slop trough at all), given awards in their Christian class for “fruits of the spirit”, unbaptized to this very date. This person asked their parent after a session in SS on election, “Mommy am I elect?” The answer, “I don’t know”. Let’s be honest and cease the façade, could it be anymore pagan than that? As Luther said, “…then God wasted His time sending His Son…”. E.g. 5 an adult later in life, in their mid 30s, all their life in a Reformed Baptist church, again very serious about their doctrine -side Note: if a baptist church is willing to openly and explicitly take on the name “reformed” in front of “Baptist” in their church name, you can bet with assurance they take doctrine deadly serious, wrong doctrine, but sloth or non-seriousness is not their problem- never was baptized in their church as they could never attain to know if they really were elected, truly reborn, regenerate, etc…had finally confessed to the shock of her husband (upon hearing some real Gospel), broke down in tears over it, that she had just about given up that God was merciful at all.

    And these real true accounts could easily be multiplied, and others here and elsewhere have given the same accounts. These are not hypothetical scenarios of unnamed theoretical human beings in a category group of humans conjured up to create logical strawmen to knock down a false doctrine. These and many others are real, true, earthy, real specific people birthed, clothed and fed, breath air with specific identifying personal names.

    So this “how do you know” is not only an issue but THE central issue without which there is absolutely no Gospel whatsoever no matter how much they narrate accurately the crucifixion of Christ. Without that “for me/you” one has never received the Gospel and it has been withheld and robbed from you, point blank. In the doctrine of believers baptism one can narrate the historic Gospel with absolute precision and due that doctrine the Gospel is withheld entirely. This doctrine causes more despair in people (especially when played along with Calvin) than Rome ever dreamt of doing. Rome and arminianism puts one on the endless religious treadmill, but believers baptism and sign “sacraments” along with election/limited atonement/double predestination by passes that altogether and puts one’s neck in the same noose that Judas did.

  • larry

    Jacob,

    I assure your experience is part and parcel with the baptist religion. I know many baptist and baptist churches, have family members in the ministry and have been around southern seminary and the churches in this area all my life – I well know the baptist religion and that is precisely how it works. It is not true at all what Grace says that most ‘were baptized as infants’. My wife alone was baptized no less than four times once as a teen the rest as an adult. Her sibling twice, her mother 3 times (all adult), her father 3 times (all adult). I witnessed so called “re” baptism several times at various baptist churches I attended from your run of the mill “First Baptist Church” to thoroughly MaCarthurite/Piperitte reformed/calvinish SB churches directly influenced by none other than Al Mohler.

    That’s why you never get an answer of how, in particular, a baptist knows “he/she” without a shadow of doubting, 100% was saved both as to assurance or that their baptism was timed correctly. You get a lot squishy answers like Grace, hers are pretty common Baptist punts but no firm ground. And it simply proves the point by the data that Luther observed concerning the Pope on one hand and the sacramentarians on the other, both wish to operate when all is said and done and engage God without the Word (though both would quote it to death). Rather they operate as to revelation, and concerning their assurance themselves, by revelation either coming through the ecclesiastical hierarchy (rome/pope), or through the individual (Baptist, reformed, etc…). All the same original sin and enthusiasm (godwithinness). Note how your experience with the baptist speaks of ‘looking inward’.

    The proof is always in the pudding as they say. If I saw it once, and experienced it once, I saw it a thousand times. The adults would delude themselves with the kind of fluffy language you hear here about “how they know”. But children, teens and young adults are not so deluded but rather honest about all their questions concerning the faith they are in. They ask the real questions, “how do you know” for themselves, or at least “if you cannot tell me how I can know for myself, please tell me, how do YOU know for yourself so that I may at least attempt to find out for me myself” (that’s the psychological and spiritual terror behind that line of questioning). I’ve heard it multiple times, still do because my closest friends are still baptist and in the ministry.

    It reveals itself most keenly around the teen years or approaching teen years to early college when they wonder when I can get baptized. Make NO mistake this is even more dominant in the BEST of the baptist churches that take doctrine deadly serious. Their teachers are the likes of MacArthur, Piper, Spurgeon, Fuller, various puritan writers and Calvin as much as they can adopt from him without infant baptism and the word “sacrament”, they are lovers and worshippers of the TULIP with Baptist corrections. So time comes after years of this teaching and preaching of “can I be baptized” (ages 12, 16, 18 and up). The kids have heard for years the doctrine, they understand it, they know it and so they ask, “Can I be baptized” and by this they always mean rightly (actually converted and truly regenerate – a thoroughly Baptist doctrine). So they must find out if they have the right “fruit” or evidence of conversion or of faith. Because you don’t want to get the timing wrong because if you didn’t that means you were no less NOT baptized than those infants over in the PCA, RC or Lutheran churches. Kids are not nearly deluded and stupid as the Baptist adults are who foolishly pretend this elephant is not in the room. I’ve seen this issue torment teens, eventually some have left the faith forever knowing they cannot live up to it. Dear children of dear friends whose kids I watched grow up and are now the fullest of atheist and unbaptized. I saw it first hand affect them, the doctrine, not secular societies influence but this very doctrine. I saw more than one pre-teen/teen seek out baptism only to be thwarted by the elder examination for the “signs” that they could be baptized (although the same would not say they are calling them ‘signs’ and say they cannot read a heart – but they lie as that’s exactly what they are doing).

    I can give you first hand and immediate second hand close friend example after example without names to protect the innocent. E.g. 1 a 16 year old sought to become a Christian of the church and be baptized. Raised and taught in it diligently all their life. The elder (Sanhedrin) meets with her and asks, “do you still desire to sin”. Her very, very, very honest answer (that any Christian must confess lest they are not and God a liar) was “yes”. His reply, “You are not ready to be baptized yet”. 6 years later she left the church into rank atheism and lost completely and it was due to this moment as she finally lamented after her meeting with that elder that she could not find it in herself to accomplish a point where she did not desire to sin. And it was not a brash desire but a despairing confession! E.g. 2 Another at 14, same exact scenario and outcome. E.g. 3 Another you person terrified to death that they were not elect, how would they know. E.g. 4 a very young child, given awards in their Christian class (this would be a solid RC Sproul/John Piper/MacArthur loving teaching, preaching and confessing church – very serious about doctrine, very diligent, no Warren or Ostean slop trough at all), given awards in their Christian class for “fruits of the spirit”, unbaptized to this very date. This person asked their parent after a session in SS on election, “Mommy am I elect?” The answer, “I don’t know”. Let’s be honest and cease the façade, could it be anymore pagan than that? As Luther said, “…then God wasted His time sending His Son…”. E.g. 5 an adult later in life, in their mid 30s, all their life in a Reformed Baptist church, again very serious about their doctrine -side Note: if a baptist church is willing to openly and explicitly take on the name “reformed” in front of “Baptist” in their church name, you can bet with assurance they take doctrine deadly serious, wrong doctrine, but sloth or non-seriousness is not their problem- never was baptized in their church as they could never attain to know if they really were elected, truly reborn, regenerate, etc…had finally confessed to the shock of her husband (upon hearing some real Gospel), broke down in tears over it, that she had just about given up that God was merciful at all.

    And these real true accounts could easily be multiplied, and others here and elsewhere have given the same accounts. These are not hypothetical scenarios of unnamed theoretical human beings in a category group of humans conjured up to create logical strawmen to knock down a false doctrine. These and many others are real, true, earthy, real specific people birthed, clothed and fed, breath air with specific identifying personal names.

    So this “how do you know” is not only an issue but THE central issue without which there is absolutely no Gospel whatsoever no matter how much they narrate accurately the crucifixion of Christ. Without that “for me/you” one has never received the Gospel and it has been withheld and robbed from you, point blank. In the doctrine of believers baptism one can narrate the historic Gospel with absolute precision and due that doctrine the Gospel is withheld entirely. This doctrine causes more despair in people (especially when played along with Calvin) than Rome ever dreamt of doing. Rome and arminianism puts one on the endless religious treadmill, but believers baptism and sign “sacraments” along with election/limited atonement/double predestination by passes that altogether and puts one’s neck in the same noose that Judas did.

  • Grace

    larry @63

    Read what I posted again, (@62) here it is: I have heard of people getting Baptized more than once, but, if I’m not mistaken it was because they were Baptized as infants, and wanted to be Baptized again as Believers.

    NOTE: I didn’t suggest they were Baptist. You’ve chosen to believe that everyone who doesn’t attend your church is Baptist, OR is Southern Baptist. Not true larry.

    YOU WROTE: It is not true at all what Grace says that most ‘were baptized as infants’. My wife alone was baptized no less than four times once as a teen the rest as an adult. Her sibling twice, her mother 3 times (all adult), her father 3 times (all adult). I witnessed so called “re” baptism several times at various baptist churches I attended from your run of the mill “First Baptist Church” to thoroughly MaCarthurite/Piperitte reformed/calvinish SB churches directly influenced by none other than Al Mohler.”

    I have NEVER observed what you state above at ANY church, Baptist, or otherwise. Your experience is not mine.

  • Grace

    larry @63

    Read what I posted again, (@62) here it is: I have heard of people getting Baptized more than once, but, if I’m not mistaken it was because they were Baptized as infants, and wanted to be Baptized again as Believers.

    NOTE: I didn’t suggest they were Baptist. You’ve chosen to believe that everyone who doesn’t attend your church is Baptist, OR is Southern Baptist. Not true larry.

    YOU WROTE: It is not true at all what Grace says that most ‘were baptized as infants’. My wife alone was baptized no less than four times once as a teen the rest as an adult. Her sibling twice, her mother 3 times (all adult), her father 3 times (all adult). I witnessed so called “re” baptism several times at various baptist churches I attended from your run of the mill “First Baptist Church” to thoroughly MaCarthurite/Piperitte reformed/calvinish SB churches directly influenced by none other than Al Mohler.”

    I have NEVER observed what you state above at ANY church, Baptist, or otherwise. Your experience is not mine.

  • Grace

    larry,

    “My wife alone was baptized no less than four times once as a teen the rest as an adult. Her sibling twice, her mother 3 times (all adult), her father 3 times (all adult).”

    If your wife was baptized 4 times, a sibling 2, a mother 3 and a father 3 times as ADULTS. I would question why they had not studied the Word of God as adults. I’m not Baptist, but I know many, and some Baptist pastors, that’s VERY UNUSUAL to say the least.

    I would question any pastor who would re-Baptise an adult, UNLESS they had been baptized as an infant.

  • Grace

    larry,

    “My wife alone was baptized no less than four times once as a teen the rest as an adult. Her sibling twice, her mother 3 times (all adult), her father 3 times (all adult).”

    If your wife was baptized 4 times, a sibling 2, a mother 3 and a father 3 times as ADULTS. I would question why they had not studied the Word of God as adults. I’m not Baptist, but I know many, and some Baptist pastors, that’s VERY UNUSUAL to say the least.

    I would question any pastor who would re-Baptise an adult, UNLESS they had been baptized as an infant.

  • Tom Hering

    Christians aren’t donuts.

  • Tom Hering

    Christians aren’t donuts.

  • larry

    And Grace proves the point. Just cause she didn’t observe it, it doesn’t happen. Yet it happens everywhere due to the doctrine. Inspite of the fact that it happens a lot and “my experience” is not the only one.

    She punts with a generic “they were not really taught or did not study of God as adults”. But they did/do and with great vigor reading all the best the baptist have to offer, Piper, MacArthur, Spurgeon, Mohler (some attended Southern), Bunyun, etc…Studied through the Scriptures and continually, etc…

    Yet the Baptist doctrine still stands, what is applied to infants must be applied to the adult. The order of baptism for it to be baptism must have faith first or it was not a baptism. They cannot even speak legitimately concerning the term “infant baptism”, as one reformed writer once observed, “did a baptism occurr?”

    This is the theological baptist punt by which the despairing among them at length despair even more of asking because they get these spiritualized answers, “You didn’t X enough”. And the vain baptist pastor walks away with a smile on his face thinking he has answered something. For what reason is an infant baptized “rebaptized” or in baptist lingo “really baptized the first time”? Well none other than the lack of faith or perception of it. But this must necessarily extend to the young adult/adult, how do you know. Faith must be first and then immersion. This is condundrum they live under. The deluded think they’ve got something, the despairing despair. The later eventually despair to the point of many of the above, but the deluded rather than dare question their false doctrine say of the despairing, “you’ve not done X enough and I’d question your understanding of it”.

    No small wonder to the despairing that Luther comes as a breath of fresh air! How do they know themselves, the deluded, that they themselves were baptized correctly, right timing, for what applies to infants as a doctrine on baptism of necessity must apply to an adult, studied or unstudied! Due to the doctrine no baptist can ever say with absolute certainty that they have seen specifically, name a name, not even their own, a baptism. They can only merely hope that statistically they’ve likely seen them just on the sheer volume of the numbers surely someone got it right, the order. Because baptism is not baptism if faith didn’t preceed first, the reason the infant is “re” baptized and so the doctrine applies to adults.

    If an adult well taught is baptized at 35, then says, “I don’t think I really truly believed and doubt I think I need rebaptized (or “really baptized” this time – just like the infant), then he can and will get rebaptized.

    In fact the entire history of the Baptist religion/church is against Grace in this for many of the forefathers of this religion where rebaptized themselves and this is simply a fact.

    The question is not even the number or frequency of rebaptisms, or even to whom do they occur infants or adults, but WHY they occur AT ALL.

  • larry

    And Grace proves the point. Just cause she didn’t observe it, it doesn’t happen. Yet it happens everywhere due to the doctrine. Inspite of the fact that it happens a lot and “my experience” is not the only one.

    She punts with a generic “they were not really taught or did not study of God as adults”. But they did/do and with great vigor reading all the best the baptist have to offer, Piper, MacArthur, Spurgeon, Mohler (some attended Southern), Bunyun, etc…Studied through the Scriptures and continually, etc…

    Yet the Baptist doctrine still stands, what is applied to infants must be applied to the adult. The order of baptism for it to be baptism must have faith first or it was not a baptism. They cannot even speak legitimately concerning the term “infant baptism”, as one reformed writer once observed, “did a baptism occurr?”

    This is the theological baptist punt by which the despairing among them at length despair even more of asking because they get these spiritualized answers, “You didn’t X enough”. And the vain baptist pastor walks away with a smile on his face thinking he has answered something. For what reason is an infant baptized “rebaptized” or in baptist lingo “really baptized the first time”? Well none other than the lack of faith or perception of it. But this must necessarily extend to the young adult/adult, how do you know. Faith must be first and then immersion. This is condundrum they live under. The deluded think they’ve got something, the despairing despair. The later eventually despair to the point of many of the above, but the deluded rather than dare question their false doctrine say of the despairing, “you’ve not done X enough and I’d question your understanding of it”.

    No small wonder to the despairing that Luther comes as a breath of fresh air! How do they know themselves, the deluded, that they themselves were baptized correctly, right timing, for what applies to infants as a doctrine on baptism of necessity must apply to an adult, studied or unstudied! Due to the doctrine no baptist can ever say with absolute certainty that they have seen specifically, name a name, not even their own, a baptism. They can only merely hope that statistically they’ve likely seen them just on the sheer volume of the numbers surely someone got it right, the order. Because baptism is not baptism if faith didn’t preceed first, the reason the infant is “re” baptized and so the doctrine applies to adults.

    If an adult well taught is baptized at 35, then says, “I don’t think I really truly believed and doubt I think I need rebaptized (or “really baptized” this time – just like the infant), then he can and will get rebaptized.

    In fact the entire history of the Baptist religion/church is against Grace in this for many of the forefathers of this religion where rebaptized themselves and this is simply a fact.

    The question is not even the number or frequency of rebaptisms, or even to whom do they occur infants or adults, but WHY they occur AT ALL.

  • larry

    A quote John MacArthur, note how he like the Pope enters into the conscience and encourages others to do the same. This is the very essence of antichrist and was during the reformation, the entrance, via the law into the conscience to make one right with God. I really don’t have to explain the baptist doctrine it pretty much explains itself:

    You know, during the time of the Reformation too, they thought that…they were so into infant baptism that anybody who got rebaptized after they’d been baptized as an infant was in some trouble. They were called Anabaptists because they got rebaptized. They came to the conviction that infant baptism was wrong and you needed to be baptized as an adult believer…they were rebaptized and in so doing, they were sort of slapping the face of the religious hierarchy–the national church–and the Reformation produced national churches, governmental churches, that, in many cases, weren’t much better than the Roman Catholic nations. They had literally Protestant countries where the church exercised great political pressure and power. Many times the Anabaptists were persecuted and sometimes executed by Reformers–hard to imagine.

    So, that they thought rebaptism was unacceptable. Well, that’s another confusing thing. People ask me about that all the time: “I as baptized once as a baby; do I need to be rebaptized?” Answer: if you weren’t baptized the biblical way, you’d better be baptized the biblical way. John the Baptist’s disciples showed up in Acts 19; the apostles said to them, “Have you heard of the Messiah?” etc….they said, “We don’t know anything about that. We were baptized with John’s baptism.” They didn’t say, “Oh well, that’s sufficient.” They said, “Then you need to hear the truth about Messiah…” They heard the truth and they were baptized the right way. Well, more later…

    Baptism is a command. It is the purpose of God. It is the command of Christ. And, if you say, “No!” it can’t be ignorance; we’ve eliminated that category, if you were listening. Pride, indifference, defiance, or you’re not a Christian. Jesus said, “How can you say, “Lord, Lord!” and do not the things I say?” Jesus said, “If you love me,” you’ll what? “Keep my commandments.” Don’t bring yourself under God’s chastening because of disobedience in this most simple act of obedience, which will bring upon you God’s favor and your own joy.

    Now, make it practical. In the pew is a little green card…if you want to be baptized, we’re going to be prepared to do that. You just need to take that green card and put your name on it and check off baptism, or write “baptism’, and give us a phone number and address–most helpful would be a phone number—and we’ll get a hold of you and include you in a baptismal service very quickly. We’re going to do some special things in order to respond to you. The green cards are there–if you can’t find a green card, use a beige one. Just write your name and write “baptism” and make sure your phone number is there so we can reach you and we’ll arrange…our pastoral team is standing by and ready to arrange that.

    All I can do is lay this on your conscious from the Lord Himself and trust that you’ll do what is right. For those of you who have been baptized–you know those who haven’t–you can become a little added conscience for them, to stimulate them to do what is right before God. When you go out the door, the ushers will be there and they will collect those green cards, O.K.? I’ll give you a minute to do that–don’t…if you’re too shy to take the green card out and see somebody watching, gonna have kind of a hard time getting into the baptismal–we have to get you past that barrier if we could, my goodness. Just take one of those cards and you should be stampeding to get one because of the joy of obedience.

    Let’s pray–let’s stand first and we’ll pray.

  • larry

    A quote John MacArthur, note how he like the Pope enters into the conscience and encourages others to do the same. This is the very essence of antichrist and was during the reformation, the entrance, via the law into the conscience to make one right with God. I really don’t have to explain the baptist doctrine it pretty much explains itself:

    You know, during the time of the Reformation too, they thought that…they were so into infant baptism that anybody who got rebaptized after they’d been baptized as an infant was in some trouble. They were called Anabaptists because they got rebaptized. They came to the conviction that infant baptism was wrong and you needed to be baptized as an adult believer…they were rebaptized and in so doing, they were sort of slapping the face of the religious hierarchy–the national church–and the Reformation produced national churches, governmental churches, that, in many cases, weren’t much better than the Roman Catholic nations. They had literally Protestant countries where the church exercised great political pressure and power. Many times the Anabaptists were persecuted and sometimes executed by Reformers–hard to imagine.

    So, that they thought rebaptism was unacceptable. Well, that’s another confusing thing. People ask me about that all the time: “I as baptized once as a baby; do I need to be rebaptized?” Answer: if you weren’t baptized the biblical way, you’d better be baptized the biblical way. John the Baptist’s disciples showed up in Acts 19; the apostles said to them, “Have you heard of the Messiah?” etc….they said, “We don’t know anything about that. We were baptized with John’s baptism.” They didn’t say, “Oh well, that’s sufficient.” They said, “Then you need to hear the truth about Messiah…” They heard the truth and they were baptized the right way. Well, more later…

    Baptism is a command. It is the purpose of God. It is the command of Christ. And, if you say, “No!” it can’t be ignorance; we’ve eliminated that category, if you were listening. Pride, indifference, defiance, or you’re not a Christian. Jesus said, “How can you say, “Lord, Lord!” and do not the things I say?” Jesus said, “If you love me,” you’ll what? “Keep my commandments.” Don’t bring yourself under God’s chastening because of disobedience in this most simple act of obedience, which will bring upon you God’s favor and your own joy.

    Now, make it practical. In the pew is a little green card…if you want to be baptized, we’re going to be prepared to do that. You just need to take that green card and put your name on it and check off baptism, or write “baptism’, and give us a phone number and address–most helpful would be a phone number—and we’ll get a hold of you and include you in a baptismal service very quickly. We’re going to do some special things in order to respond to you. The green cards are there–if you can’t find a green card, use a beige one. Just write your name and write “baptism” and make sure your phone number is there so we can reach you and we’ll arrange…our pastoral team is standing by and ready to arrange that.

    All I can do is lay this on your conscious from the Lord Himself and trust that you’ll do what is right. For those of you who have been baptized–you know those who haven’t–you can become a little added conscience for them, to stimulate them to do what is right before God. When you go out the door, the ushers will be there and they will collect those green cards, O.K.? I’ll give you a minute to do that–don’t…if you’re too shy to take the green card out and see somebody watching, gonna have kind of a hard time getting into the baptismal–we have to get you past that barrier if we could, my goodness. Just take one of those cards and you should be stampeding to get one because of the joy of obedience.

    Let’s pray–let’s stand first and we’ll pray.

  • Grace

    larry,

    As a pastors daughter, attending many conventions with my parents, including visiting many churches – - your rendition of what you think I’ve witnessed or what actually is taught is wrong, concerning my background, and experience.

    You’ve got Baptist on the brain, that’s what you fall back on, no matter what subject is disagreed upon, it’s the Baptist. I’m not a Baptist, nor have I ever been one.

    There are lots of churches out there larry, there are lots of people as well, that are gullible enough to be baptized over and over again. The reason they cannot sort this out, IS, they have not studied the Bible for themselves, but make excuses.

    The little rendition you’ve concocted below is typical “larry” style – perhaps it is you who has been or had been attending such a church, and now believe everyone else has as well.

    “When you go out the door, the ushers will be there and they will collect those green cards, O.K.? I’ll give you a minute to do that–don’t…if you’re too shy to take the green card out and see somebody watching, gonna have kind of a hard time getting into the baptismal–we have to get you past that barrier if we could, my goodness. Just take one of those cards and you should be stampeding to get one because of the joy of obedience.
    by: larry

    That’s a whopper!

  • Grace

    larry,

    As a pastors daughter, attending many conventions with my parents, including visiting many churches – - your rendition of what you think I’ve witnessed or what actually is taught is wrong, concerning my background, and experience.

    You’ve got Baptist on the brain, that’s what you fall back on, no matter what subject is disagreed upon, it’s the Baptist. I’m not a Baptist, nor have I ever been one.

    There are lots of churches out there larry, there are lots of people as well, that are gullible enough to be baptized over and over again. The reason they cannot sort this out, IS, they have not studied the Bible for themselves, but make excuses.

    The little rendition you’ve concocted below is typical “larry” style – perhaps it is you who has been or had been attending such a church, and now believe everyone else has as well.

    “When you go out the door, the ushers will be there and they will collect those green cards, O.K.? I’ll give you a minute to do that–don’t…if you’re too shy to take the green card out and see somebody watching, gonna have kind of a hard time getting into the baptismal–we have to get you past that barrier if we could, my goodness. Just take one of those cards and you should be stampeding to get one because of the joy of obedience.
    by: larry

    That’s a whopper!

  • larry

    That’s actually a quote from John MacArthur, not Larry. In fact after the first paragraph (my intro) its purely a quote from John MacArthur. So once again Grace proves her folly.

  • larry

    That’s actually a quote from John MacArthur, not Larry. In fact after the first paragraph (my intro) its purely a quote from John MacArthur. So once again Grace proves her folly.

  • larry

    Note how cruel the baptistic theologies are:

    “there are lots of people as well, that are gullible enough to be baptized over and over again. The reason they cannot sort this out, IS, they have not studied the Bible for themselves, but make excuses.”

    In comes people to be led by people, such as J. MacArthur, Piper, etc…they trust them to teach them. When they ask a very simple and legitimate question concerning their “obedience” to the doctrine of believers baptism, they are not fools but genuinely Christians desiring an answer for they see that “what goes for infants must necessarily apply to adults. So they ask, then they get from the likes of Grace “there are lots of people as well, that are gullible enough to be baptized over and over again. The reason they cannot sort this out, IS, they have not studied the Bible for themselves, but make excuses.”

    But Grace, as usual, as all fooled and deluded by believers baptism do is punt. Because the reality stands, what applies to the infant applies to the adult. And the adult must know how they know that they had faith before their baptism, undeniable, irrefutable, uncontestable proof that “I believed first (i.e. was truly born again, regenerate, elect) then I could be baptized”. For this is the very reason infants are demanded of by these wolves to be rebaptized. So that the individual, such as Grace, must too give their proof that they have done this. Note how that’s never answer but the ‘theological punt’ “The reason they cannot sort this out, IS, they have not studied the Bible for themselves, but make excuses.”

    So that, assumedly, Grace knows she was baptized in the correct sequence, i.e. had faith (because that’s what infants don’t have and the reason for telling them to be rebaptized) because she has studied the bible and knows “The reason why she can sort this out rather than make excuses.” But that’s not an answer for why and how Grace knows she got sequence right and was not deceiving herself. “How do you know you in particular were baptized correctly?” Asked the despairing so that they might know. In comes a “Grace” and says, “Well I know because I studied the bible and worked all this out”. Never mind the still “no specifics” just a carte blanche “there are lots of people as well, that are gullible enough to be baptized over and over again. The reason they cannot sort this out, IS, they have not studied the Bible for themselves, but make excuses.”

    Grace the reality is this, you and I do not worship the same God in the least and I have no sugar coating for you on this matter. You don’t have to agree with me, I’m stating it as fact from my of faith and I will never worship what you somewhat albeit malleably proclaim as “your faith”. In fact the baptism of my children openly bears witness against your religion, every time I go up and eat the body and blood of Christ I bear open witness against your religion and I do so willingly, confessionaly, and intrepidly.

  • larry

    Note how cruel the baptistic theologies are:

    “there are lots of people as well, that are gullible enough to be baptized over and over again. The reason they cannot sort this out, IS, they have not studied the Bible for themselves, but make excuses.”

    In comes people to be led by people, such as J. MacArthur, Piper, etc…they trust them to teach them. When they ask a very simple and legitimate question concerning their “obedience” to the doctrine of believers baptism, they are not fools but genuinely Christians desiring an answer for they see that “what goes for infants must necessarily apply to adults. So they ask, then they get from the likes of Grace “there are lots of people as well, that are gullible enough to be baptized over and over again. The reason they cannot sort this out, IS, they have not studied the Bible for themselves, but make excuses.”

    But Grace, as usual, as all fooled and deluded by believers baptism do is punt. Because the reality stands, what applies to the infant applies to the adult. And the adult must know how they know that they had faith before their baptism, undeniable, irrefutable, uncontestable proof that “I believed first (i.e. was truly born again, regenerate, elect) then I could be baptized”. For this is the very reason infants are demanded of by these wolves to be rebaptized. So that the individual, such as Grace, must too give their proof that they have done this. Note how that’s never answer but the ‘theological punt’ “The reason they cannot sort this out, IS, they have not studied the Bible for themselves, but make excuses.”

    So that, assumedly, Grace knows she was baptized in the correct sequence, i.e. had faith (because that’s what infants don’t have and the reason for telling them to be rebaptized) because she has studied the bible and knows “The reason why she can sort this out rather than make excuses.” But that’s not an answer for why and how Grace knows she got sequence right and was not deceiving herself. “How do you know you in particular were baptized correctly?” Asked the despairing so that they might know. In comes a “Grace” and says, “Well I know because I studied the bible and worked all this out”. Never mind the still “no specifics” just a carte blanche “there are lots of people as well, that are gullible enough to be baptized over and over again. The reason they cannot sort this out, IS, they have not studied the Bible for themselves, but make excuses.”

    Grace the reality is this, you and I do not worship the same God in the least and I have no sugar coating for you on this matter. You don’t have to agree with me, I’m stating it as fact from my of faith and I will never worship what you somewhat albeit malleably proclaim as “your faith”. In fact the baptism of my children openly bears witness against your religion, every time I go up and eat the body and blood of Christ I bear open witness against your religion and I do so willingly, confessionaly, and intrepidly.

  • larry

    Grace pronounces that “her experience” is the rule. Then I reply, “not so fast here are other baptist, including myself and their experience”. She then constructs a strawman – that I’m speaking of her “experiences” when I clearly said not hers but others – to knock down. Since that was never said Grace is boxing her own shadow.

    However, I did say that “her experience” is not the majority report and the history of the Baptist church itself bears witness against her experience. Even recent history shows that by many, even the majority report the doctrine of believers baptism reveals itself and its not in the infants rebaptized but adults. Paul R. House, editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, wrote in Baptism, Assurance, and the Decline of Conservative Churches, “…statistics compiled by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention reveal that as many as , half of all the adults baptized in Southern Baptist churches are rebaptisms of persons already baptized by Southern Baptist pastors… Another forty percent of adults baptized are Christians from other denominations that have never been immersed… ten percent, then, of all adults baptized by Southern Baptist churches are “making first-time professions of faith.

    Now we pit Grace’s experience on fantasy island with the statistics of the largest baptist denomination in the country. Perhaps they are lying too and Grace is the holder of all truth, not via Scripture but by her own admittance her experience. The pope and Grace have this in common, that revealation of the truth comes from them and not the Word of God or enthusiam as Luther would say.

  • larry

    Grace pronounces that “her experience” is the rule. Then I reply, “not so fast here are other baptist, including myself and their experience”. She then constructs a strawman – that I’m speaking of her “experiences” when I clearly said not hers but others – to knock down. Since that was never said Grace is boxing her own shadow.

    However, I did say that “her experience” is not the majority report and the history of the Baptist church itself bears witness against her experience. Even recent history shows that by many, even the majority report the doctrine of believers baptism reveals itself and its not in the infants rebaptized but adults. Paul R. House, editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, wrote in Baptism, Assurance, and the Decline of Conservative Churches, “…statistics compiled by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention reveal that as many as , half of all the adults baptized in Southern Baptist churches are rebaptisms of persons already baptized by Southern Baptist pastors… Another forty percent of adults baptized are Christians from other denominations that have never been immersed… ten percent, then, of all adults baptized by Southern Baptist churches are “making first-time professions of faith.

    Now we pit Grace’s experience on fantasy island with the statistics of the largest baptist denomination in the country. Perhaps they are lying too and Grace is the holder of all truth, not via Scripture but by her own admittance her experience. The pope and Grace have this in common, that revealation of the truth comes from them and not the Word of God or enthusiam as Luther would say.

  • Grace

    larry,

    You mixed up the quote, using one paragraph here, and another one there. Here is the LINK to the exact statement from MacArthur:

    http://www.gty.org/resources/Print/Sermons/80-190

    BTW, I am not a fan of MacArthur, so you can drop this as well.

    You’re an angry man larry, the more you rant, and misquote me, the stranger it gets.

  • Grace

    larry,

    You mixed up the quote, using one paragraph here, and another one there. Here is the LINK to the exact statement from MacArthur:

    http://www.gty.org/resources/Print/Sermons/80-190

    BTW, I am not a fan of MacArthur, so you can drop this as well.

    You’re an angry man larry, the more you rant, and misquote me, the stranger it gets.


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