More on What's Wrong at Young Life

On November 30, Elizabeth Thompson was fired from the staff of Young Life in Durham/Chapel Hill. According to her account, which I’ve read, she was fired because she refused to tell developmentally disabled teenagers that they are depraved and separated from God. You see, Elizabeth ran YL’s Capernaum Ministry in Durham/Chapel Hill. She was presented with the Non-Negotiables statement from YL (an earlier version) and asked if she could assent with all point in the 9-page document. She said no. She said that the kids with whom she works cannot understand “separation from God” as it is dictated in the penal substitutionary theory of the atonement. So she was fired.

Subsequently (in December), a clause was added to the Non-Negotiables document exempting Capernaum staff from having to present the linear gospel presentation dictated in the Non-Negotiables document. But that raises the obvious question: If the theological proclamation in the document is “non-negotiable,” then how can there be exceptions? What about a regular (i.e., non-Capernaum) YL staffer or volunteer who is working with a student with Asperger Syndrome (a mild for of autism), or a student who is clinically depressed and suicidal, or a kid whose parents are going through an ugly divorce? Are they exempted, too?

In fact, some of us would argue that teenagers in general are developmentally incapable of understanding human depravity as it is spelled out by theologically sophisticated adults like Augustine, Calvin, and Luther.  (Please, don’t get on the comments section and tell me how well you understood sinfulness when you were a teen.  Have you read Luther with teens?  I have.  The fact is, his doctrine of sin is compelling and brilliant, but it’s not for 13-year olds.)

You see, this is the problem with absolutist statements of doctrine, as some of us have argued. There are always exceptions, they’re always relative, and they’re always debatable. Thus, to publish a document entitled “Non-Negotiables” takes YL from being a centered-set ministry (the center being relationships and Jesus Christ) to a bounded-set ministry (if you don’t subscribe to every bullet point in this document, you’re out) (good post on centered and bounded HERE). This, I argue in my forthcoming book, is inevitable: Centered sets (at least theological ones) invariably devolve into bounded sets. It’s happening at the Evangelical Theological Society, it’s happening in the Southern Baptist Convention, and now it’s happening at Young Life.

Thus, my prediction that a schism is coming in evangelicalism (which was founded in the 1940s as a centered-set movement).

Oh, and if you want to see the ministry that Elizabeth had going, watch this:

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  • http://www.thriven.org jonathanbrink

    My wife worked for YL for four years and a good friend was with Capernaum. Absolutely awesome ministry. Being around him made me realize that I needed to love more and talk less.

    You’ve touched on a troubling problem Tony and it makes me sad.

  • http://leadershipbuzz.com Jay Kelly

    Money post, Tony.

  • http://www.iamjoshbrown.com/blog josh

    you pot-stirrer you. always calling out these bad boyz.

    i want to talk about this coming schism with you on the podcast in a couple of weeks. because i agree. i’m thinking more and more about if there is a coming “divide” and the boundaries continue to get tighter and tighter for some groups, then things will inevitably get more combative in nature and tone. and more and more people will be pushed to the outside looking in (like the fine capernaum group). and i know we shouldn’t be combative in nature, but as more and more people start losing their jobs, livelihoods, and reputations . . . do we not have a responsibility to fight back. i mean whether it’s He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named’s defamation type attacks or the YL firings . . . at what point do we not have a responsibility to combat pharisetical type behavior in the same way that jesus did. obviously not with hate and swords . . . but nonetheless naming it for what it is instead of bending over backwards with generosity trying to make room at the same table for them.

    does that make any sense?

  • http://coffeewithchris.com Chris S.

    I find it pretty interesting that all of this is “hitting the fan” just as YL is having their all-staff meetings down at Disney World. I am really looking forward to getting some coffee with my local YL area director to see how this all played out down there!

  • http://snavenel.blogspot.com Len

    Is the schism coming or has it already begun? If you think it has begun (which I do) are you able to give a date or event when it started?

  • http://mjp-journey.blogspot.com Mykel Pickens

    How sad that we live in a day in age when people fight over ridiculous things. All this and those poor kids are left with no answers.

    Bastards….

  • http://www.garretshelsta.typepad.com garret

    I am glad that you posted this tony… My brother has Down’s and this is exactly the line of thought that I have been walking down for a little while now. I am having trouble trying to find a language to talk about this with my evangelical friends because there is such a lack of people with disabilities in evangelical congregations. But, it is good to see others having people similar thoughts.

    p.s. i made the very wrong decision to read a section of “politics of jesus” with some high schoolers… SUCH A BAD IDEA!!!

  • benlamb

    I am an evangelical but have great interest in the emergent movement and what it is trying to do because I see some of the errors of the evangelicals. But truth is not relative. If the emergents are teaching this, then I have lost interest. If truth is relative, then anything can be changed for anyone. True, when dealing with special needs children/teenagers, explaining the depravity of man may not be the best tactic to reach them. But the Bible does say, “all have sinned.” And a relationship of Jesus is planted when one realizes that they have a need for a Savior. How can I realize I need a Savior unless I realize in some way that I am unable to save myself?
    As Tony states very well, most teenagers do not fully understand the concept, much less special needs teenagers. The YL list of non-negotiables clearly state that the list is not to limit the teachers creativity but to allow the teachers creativity to flourish within certain non-negotiable truths. And the depravity of man is a non-negotiable truth set forth not in a YL document but in the Bible.
    It should be the YL’s teachers job to find the best way to communicate it to his/her students at their level, which will most likely not be by reading John Calvin to them. His writings make me fall asleep and I am interested in the topics.
    I am so hopefully interested in the Emergent Movement, but I will be saddened if there are not certain truths that are non-negotiable to the Movement. By the way, I do not think that list needs to be very long – just the basics of Christianity, which includes the depravity of man.

    I know I rambled – sorry.

  • Colin

    Dear benlamb,

    You state:

    “I am an evangelical but have great interest in the emergent movement and what it is trying to do because I see some of the errors of the evangelicals. But truth is not relative. If the emergents are teaching this, then I have lost interest.”

    I will preface this post with all necessary apologies, as I will most likely go on for a bit too long about a bit too little in a way that doesn’t fully explain (or even correctly explain) what I am trying to convey.

    I think that you should continue to pursue your interest in the flux that the church is going through. There is a very broad misconception not only about post-Evangelicalism but about post-anything that says “truth is relative.” Postmodernism is not universalism (which is a very modern ideal). Neither is what you refer to as the emergent movement. Yes, there is what seems to be a good deal of reactionary or negative theology/philosophy out there, but such is the way of a new movement and one can hope that sooner, rather than later, we can begin to move away negativity to a cohesive (or more cohesive) vision.

    Every one that is a part of the spring of the emerging Christian conversation that I have read and interacted with have been quite concerned with orthodoxy (right-thinking), but also with orthopraxy (right-acting). I like how McLaren puts it in an interview with Relevant Magazine:

    “A lot of criticism has come from people saying that we’re just trying to pander to the culture or watering things down. That’s not been our concern at all. I think we’re excited about taking the full-strength, full dose gospel.

    “There’s a great phrase for this in Spanish. Another important thinker who’s had an influence on me is a Latin-American theologian named Rene Padilla. Rene uses the term “mission intégrale”. In English we’d say “integral mission”, but the great thing in Latin America is the word, when you hear it, it brings to mind “pan intégrale” which means “whole-wheat bread.” And I think that’s what we’re looking for: The real substance of the gospel.”

    (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god_article.php?id=7108)

    If you are interested in ways that modernity (or Enlightenment era thought) has influenced the church and the very way that you and I think about God and act out our faith and how we can become unbounded from the constraints of modernity, then continue your study. Postmoderns do not do away with truth, nor does it say that all things are true. It is really a much broader cultural shift that says, “Hey, modernism was not-too-bad, but there were a few issues with it. I was very modern in my thought, but now I am seeing the limitations of that way of thought and hope to emerge from modernity to something different.” Global/local justice becomes of prime importance in addition to the compassion that Christians are already good at showing, and theological questions regarding “the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin” are not quite so important. Rather than a gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have a Gospel proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom of God.

    The cultural changes are broad. Rather than certainty, people might talk about confidence in knowing. Art has changed, with one scholar calling the collage the definitive postmodern art-form. Literary criticism has shifted somewhat from the authorial-authority over the meaning of the text to the reader’s authority over the text. Walter Truett Anderson refers to a new awareness of the “stage” of reality, as seen in the media representations of the political environment (perhaps starting with Ronald Reagan), adertisement, and even human interactions. While modernism was all about the individual as the highest (for example, a personal relationship with God being the very most important part of Christianity), communities have become more important. One maxim of postmodernism (and forgive me, for there may be no such thing) is to “act locally; think globally.” This emphasizes community over individual and how a local community fits in with the story of mankind rather than serving its own best interest.

    And I could go on, but I will defer to others who are more experienced than I on matters of orthodoxy/orthopraxy and await your reply.

    Best,
    Colin

  • http://www.arnizachariassen.com Arni

    “Quite simply, the challenge of learning to know, be with, and care for the retarded is nothing less than learning to know, be with, and love God. God’s face is the face of the retarded, his body is the body of the retarded, his being is that of the retarded. For the God we Christians must learn to worship is not a god of self-sufficient power, a god whose self-possession is such that he needs no one; rather he is a God who needs a people, who needs a son. Absoluteness of being or power is not a work of the God we have come to know through the cross of Christ.

    That is why in the face of the retarded we are offered an opportunity to see God, for like God they offer us an opportunity of recognizing the character of our neediness. In truth the retarded in this respect are but an instance of the potential we each have for one another. That the retarded are singled out is only an indication of how they can serve as a prophetic sign of our true nature as creatures destined to need God and, thus, one another.

    Our learning to share our life with God is no doubt difficult it must be at least as onerous as learning that we can share life with the retarded. But that such a sharing of our sufferings as well as our joys is necessary cannot be doubted. For a world where there is no unpatterned unpurposeful suffering would be devoid of the means to grow out of our selfishness and into love. That is why those who worship such a God are obligated to live confident that we can live well with those whose difference from ourselves we have learned to characterize by the unfortunate label “retarded”. For if we did not so learn to live we know we would be decisively retarded: retarded in our ability to turn ourselves to others’ needs, regardless of the cost.”

    - Stanley Hauerwas, “Eliminating People Who Suffer?” ( http://www.stauros.org/notebooks/v02n5a01.html )

  • http://momentsofrecognition.blogspot.com Josh H.

    [...] This is a little more info and another realm of the issue that I didn’t even know about. An insightful post by Tony Jones. If these non-negotiables really do carry over to Capernaeum stuff, that is a bit crazy to me. [...]

  • http://punsinapod.blogpsot.com Ben Pun

    Is it possible that the issue isn’t whether we talk about sin first or grace first? I believe you can’t talk about either one without talking about the other, and if you talk about one without the other you aren’t really describing it fully. i.e. talking about grace and God’s love without understanding sin really minimizes how electrifying grace and love really is. And talking about sin without talking about grace just leads to guilt-mongering and moralism. I believe that the problems wasn’t that YL was trying to set boundaries, but that their boundaries were poorly articulated, and it doesn’t sound like they were really seeking to understand the staff.

  • http://rocksoliddaddy.blogspot.com Chris

    Tony,

    Some of us are still waiting for you to correct the record when it comes to your post yesterday regarding Young Life saying they want kids to “wallow” in their sin.

    I enjoy reading your posts. They are thought provoking, but your credibility is in question with me, because you misquoted something, had it pointed out, and haven’t even commented, much less apologized for it.

  • http://www.iamjoshbrown.com/blog josh

    ben.
    there are ways of talking about sin that don’t involve depravity.

  • Tony Arens

    I think it’s important to note that YL is a corporation that owns over a quarter billion dollars in assets with 2006 revenues over 200 million dollars. YL’s CEO made just under 350,000 dollars last year (and that’s just salary). YL is a big business that commands big money. Those that understand business must admit that a clearly defined mission, a series of objectives, and a set of standards (non-negotiables) need to be in place for a business to run effectively.

    Christianity as big business is a relatively recent phenom – the early followers of Jesus earned money the old fashioned way and furthered the Kingdom on their own time.

    This whole issue can ultimately be traced back to a point and time when we started paying people to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Throw money into the mix, and eventually rules, governance, and you guessed it – non-netotiables will emerge.

  • http://www.leaf-blog.blogspot.com Erik Leafblad

    Tony Arens raises some important figures, and a more substantive point in addressing the big business of modern (especially American) Christianity. Could you link somewhere where we could find the YL figures?

    And, if you don’t mind nit-picking, wouldn’t it be perhaps more accurate to say that the early followers of Jesus used their lives to further the Kingdom, which included how they earned their money? It just doesn’t seem quite accurate to describe this vocational and discipleship split as “further[ing] the Kingdom on their own time.”

    In any event, it saddens me that all this is going down at YL. As should be clear, this has ramifications for all of us, especially those of us in youth ministry.

  • benlamb

    Colin:

    “Postmodernism is not universalism (which is a very modern ideal). Neither is what you refer to as the emergent movement. ”

    From Tony’s original post, it seems that YL giving the non-negotiables is a bad thing. I would make the case that the exception for the teacher was the bad thing. It appears that they were setting out what they believed as “the real substance of the gospel” and communicating that to their teachers/employees. Admittingly, I have not read anything about the YL incident other than what is here at this blog. But the document they published did not demand the teacher to communicate the depravity of man in those terms. The document left creativity up to the individual teacher on how to best communicate that concept to their students.
    As Christians, there has to be a set of non-negotiables. The problem I have is with most evangelicals when their list include theology that is nonessential to the Gospel. The angels on a head of a pin is an extreme example of such theology. Some other examples would be a belief in baptism via submersion vs sprinkling; free will vs predestination; gift of tongues; traditional hymns vs modern praise music; pro-choice vs pro-life. As you can imagine, the list can go on and on. Though I think some of the issues are extremely important, none are essential to the Gospel of Jesus. And when you condemn people, break fellowship, and are basically mean to people who have different theologies than you, then you are not practicing the Gospel of Jesus. That is what attracts me to the post modern movement and repulses me about the evangelical (of which I am). Don’t kick me off the blog, but I am a deacon of a Southern Baptist Church deep in the Bible belt.
    My prayer for the postmodern/ emergent movement is for it to agree on their non-negotiables. Not in order to exclude all those who do not believe in those, but in order for the movement to reach others for the Gospel of Jesus. Anything that is built must have foundations.
    When Christianity (whether evangelical or postmodern or Catholicism or whoever) can communicate the non-negotiables in such a way that it is communicated with the love that Jesus shows in His life, then His kingdom will be expanded. His kingdom is not expanded when a preacher says that 9/11 is God’s wrath on a evil nation. And AIDS is God’s wrath on the homosexual. But neither is His kingdom expanded when you say this is what I believe but it may not be right for you.

    “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.”

    And to Ben Pun – you are absolutely correct, any conversation about sin is incomplete without a conversation of the amazing grace that covers all sin.

  • Tim Fitch

    You mentioned one of my key words so I am going to jump in for a minute with full acknowldegement that most of you will think me a liberal postmodern. You mentioned Asphergers, which for the record is much more complex than mild autism. I know cause I have a son who is diagnosed with it. Once you start working with children who have nuerological disabilities your theology begins to shatter especially the doctrine of sin. I wish I could explain this in words like some of you who are gifted with words but what I would do challenge you to get to know a kid with Asperger syndrome would make this argument about sin and shame look a lot different. Maybe we missed the boat entirely.
    thanks

  • Tony Arens

    Thanks Eric:
    If you go to YL’s website, you can look at their annual statement and financials – public domain for non-profits.

    And I agree that the disciples did not compartmentalize their work life and their spiritual lives – they strived to walk with Him in every aspect of their lives. I was trying to draw on the theme that they didn’t establish paying businesses to further their ministry.

    I really do believe that this is a key issue – For example, consider a lead pastor of a large church pulling down 200K (much of it tax-free) + expenses, benefits, perks (golf memberships, access to condo’s, timeshares, flyer miles, etc. gifted by members with deep pockets), housing allowances, etc. Man, put yourself in those shoes, and really think about it. Might sound good, but what a difficult situation when you consider the many tethers you’d be tied to.

    In New Testament days, leaders were normally not paid. That is, money was given more as a gift than as an income or a salary. Leaders like Paul could receive money, but Paul chose not to receive any from the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 9:8-12). He wanted to serve without depending on any church for financial support. Churches had a responsibility to “reward the ox” (1 Timothy 5:17) and to share with those who taught (Galatians 6:6). But money was never to be the driving force of ministry (1 Peter 5:2). Unfortunately, churches today will not call a man until they feel they can support him, and some men will not seriously consider a call if the financial package is “inadequate”.
    (excerpt from “All Things New, page 250)

  • brian

    Again thanks for what you wrote and I look forward to your book

  • http://reorient.blospot.com James

    I love this post – and calling ot a coming schism takes guts – *applause*

    I think many people see it, but try to fight the inevitible because they love evangelicalism so much that they mistake it for the gospel – i know that’s how i was taught…

    I just wish (pray) that we could see the coming of these schisms and embrace new centering sets with grace and peace. Perhaps, in my view, the real heroes of the faith today are people who, though they have a deep love and strong roots in the past ways are willing to help those with new passion to explore more and more of what this gospel of Jesus Christ could really mean!!

    Thanks again -

    J<

  • http://reorient.blospot.com James

    i should add – i am a member and pastor in the Evangelical Church of North America.

    how’s that for irony!

  • Mike

    to Tony and All,
    Thanks to Tony and all others who are engaging in this conversation. 2 things.
    1) Do/did people really get fired, let go, “encouraged” to go elsewhere over this document?
    AND
    2) i have a special needs son age 12. joy, happiness, peaceful, totally inclusive, transparent, loving, kind, giving, smiling, laughing, meets no strangers, and always honest describes him fully. I know that many believe all have sinned. But for 12 years, 24/7, I’m not seeing it. His salvation, i absolutley believe, doesn’t depend on YL, church, or me – convincing him that he is in some way bad or seperated from God. Of all the people I know in the world or have read about, my son has been the most consistant Jesus like person I know. I just wish he could talk so he could tell me and others more about the way he sees the world.
    I know many have their verses to string together to prove me wrong. Thats cool. But I’m gonna choose to live with the reality that is mine. This week I will again walk into a public place with Ty and will again experience the moments he manages to escape my control and ease up to a stranger and holds out his hand and smiles, and so far, ALWAYS, the stranger ceases from their current task, takes his hand and converses with Ty even though Ty only smiles. The stranger will smile back and reject all of my apologies for interupting their day. This is the truth I live with. This is the truth that continually reshapes me and moves me to be a more loving person in this world.
    May all that we pursue and learn take us to such a place.

    Thanks again Tony and all.
    Mike

  • http://theoblogy.wordpress.com/ Tony Jones

    Mike, that’s beautiful. I read it to Julie and we both cried.

  • brian

    Dear Mike Tony and others

    I have worked with people with disabilities for about 25 years now, and Mike what you wrote truly touches my heart and reality. When I first became a Christian it was an in an incredibly dogmatic faith tradition which had the large part of humanity going to hell with no hope what so ever. The very very few elect would be saved. They did not see come right out and say it but they “struggled” with people who were not cognitively able to “understand” all aspects of the Gospel and God may not be “savable” for lack of a better word.

    I was involved with Convalescent ministries all the way to working with kids with autism whom had severe behavior issues. The struggle many had made me question my faith, and to my shame even God’s love. I could not understand why God would create someone who has to struggle with such issues just to “reprobate” them. I studied, and prayed and begged for answers to these theological issues. Then it hit me, I would see what Mike was describing, simple acts of grace and kindness. A smile or laugh when a student who never responded to anything would respond to an adaptive communication device I built for them. The smile and look when I would just love the person.

    I was involved with YL back in the 90′s when they were working with young adults with disabilities. I loved that ministry but my health, sight etc failed which lead to me being a bit frustrated and being a pest. I was asked to leave and they were right I needed some distance and this was an act of mercy on their part. Enough said on that. But when I read about this document it brought home some real hard issues I have struggled with my entire Christian life.

    Simple grace operating in a world that needs light. It seems that is how God works, He choses to confound the world by showing His glory through folks the world often ignores. The questions being asked are huge our world is changing, the very nature of how we view reality is truly changing because what we know about the universe etc has changed. It does not diminish the Gospel by seeking to build on the change, it is not an attack on Orthodoxy. It is a plea to meet people where they are at. I was thinking about a young man I worked with for 10 years. When I first worked with him he did not know me from a chair in all reality. With the use of computers and great intervention on the part of where he lived he would type my name and ask me for things. He even attended his mothers funeral, that is a miracle and that is God in action giving grace to the humble.

    Sorry about the length. But this episode has broken my heart and restored it. I offer one thing, I hope neither side let any bitterness build up in their heart like I did, I was wrong and it cost me. For that I am again sorry to God.

  • Phil

    Young Life now has it in for kids with disabilities?

    Seriously Tony?

    Schism?

    Really?

    Brother, I am not sure what dog you have in this fight (please do not post that Young Life is into dog fighting) but you’re getting sensational in your attacks.

    In all of my years at Young Life, whether on staff or as a high school kid, I have experienced Young Life passionately pursue relational ministry to kids with disabilities.

    And there is no schism, Young Life, as a staff is just figuring this out. It really is not an organization that is driven from the top down; the field staff have traditionally had a de facto veto if policies were not working in practical settings.

    I was sad to hear the staff had been fired or resigned or some combination, I thought Jeff was a fine camp speaker and his dad is one of my heroes. But Tony, this is one incident, Capernum (YL ministry to kids with disabilities) included. It is one area and I imagine (but do not know) there is more to the story on both sides. Maybe you are just hearing a few perspectives, or many similar perspectives, I don’t pretend to know.

    Young Life and Jeff’s staff handled this poorly, it is a gringy worthy family moment and many are deeply hurt all the way around. There is no schism here and please do not be party to tying to start one.

    I am still trying to understand why Young Life’sf amily problem drew such an emotional response from you.

    BTW, Young Life will still lovingly serve kids with disabilities across the country, including Durham, until Jesus comes back.

  • Phil

    I always screw the spell check up:

    “gringy” was meant to be “cringe”

    and I meant to add at the bottom:

    “I may be reading you wrong on this Tony, and I feel no malice to you personally, I remain a fan and my spriritual journey has been forever changed through your writings. Thanks for your ministry.

  • brian

    Phil I wanted to write something, I dont know about schism but I can tell you what its like to be terminated as a volunteer from YL. Every single friend I had there basically never talked to me again. I went from a great guy, faithful etc to no one even wanting to see me. I am not is schism with anyone, never tried to be, just tried to point out some issues and YL has a very hard time with any type of critical discussion. That is not a hateful remark just my observation.

    As a person who has worked with people with disabilities for over 27 years and I was in special Education when I was a kid. We were and in many ways still are not welcomed in the Church, that to is an observation, backed up with facts. When I was part of Capernum the staff were the finest human beings I have ever had the privilege of working with. I made many mistakes for which I have begged for forgiveness. Much of it caused by being very sick at the time, which is not any type of excuse.

    Tony brings up some good points, there was a rescinding of the Non negotiable for Capernaum kids if I understand it correctly. That alone makes one question such a directive. As someone whom has been with the elderly when they die, the disabled and others I find such Non negotiables really unproductive. Sometimes its just holding hands, wiping a brow with a cold cloth etc. I really tried to be a good leader, with all that was in me, to no avail.

    I still ask for forgiveness from YL and those I caused any pain to. Offered for what little it is worth. I can tell you one thing when these young kids grow up and become young adults, all that excitement grows stale and when they are not in High school they come to programs like mine. It is different being an young adult with a disability. All the hype comes home to roost. They loose much of their funding, and the ministries for high schools tend to drift away. They wonder what they have done wrong when this happens. I have spent many nights with tears with my students over such things. YL has a key to this but these folks need continuity. I am sure I missed something along the way but I dont know what to tell them when they ask me what they have done wrong. It brakes my heart.

  • Brandon P

    I think you are the only person on the earth that has a problem with YL. Young Life has completely changed my life in more aspects than one. I don’t understand why you would criticize one of the most sucessful ministries in the world for bringing kids to Christ.

  • brian

    Dear Brandon P.

    I prayed about a month to respond to this. If I may offer a note, disagreeing with an organization does not discount the effect that organization has had on a life or soul. I did not grow up with YL or any “youth group”. I grew up thinking that needing was a deep sin and should be repudiated. Then by the grace of God I became a “Christian”, but in my faith tradition, emotion was seen as evil, vile and satanic. They did not mean it that way but that is how it manifested itself. I tried to point out some of this but the same point was made, how dare I bring up a disagreement.

    I volunteered for yl for 10 years then I was shown the door. I fault only myself and I have tried to repent of making a mistake for years. Disagreeing with YL is not a sin, though it is often seen that way. The fact that it is a successful ministry makes it more susceptible to mistakes in a way. I would have loved a youth ministry when I was a kid, granted that is emotional and well pathetic. I loved yl I still do with all my heart. But speaking out about issues does not denote lack of respect for a ministry, in someways it shows great respect.

    I have sat in so many hospital rooms with my students and friends and watched their deaths, most, no all were horrid writhing in pain and that grimes of the face with such deep anguish. It does something to you, it should not and I admit that, to my shame but it does.

    My comments were for love of YL and for the young folks. I do miss the ministry so much. God be with you.

  • http://none Joyce

    You know “Young Life” is a splitter from a splitter from a splitter of yet another Protestant movement which splitted from the True Christian Chruch…The Catholic Church…. it started from the beginning over 2,000 years ago and you people still haven’t done your home work to check it out. Here is the Church Jesus Christ establish with Peter as it’s foundation and Jesus Christ as the cornerstone….and you all ignore it. Here is a VISIBLE CHURCH, with one Faith, One Lord and One Baptism and you deny it. You would rather follow people with NO given AUTHORITY from God, then the Catholic Church that Jesus Christ gave Authority to, (trace it back, no man started this Church) does that make sense? Why do you think there are so many denominations from the Protestant Churches, because there is NO AUTHORITY, they keep changing the TEACHINGS, and when the people in that Church don’t like it, they splitter off. Why do some Protestant Churches teach that Birth Control is fine, divorce is o.k. Faith alone will get you to heaven and the newer one, Bishops can be gay….this is NOT of GOD! If Protestants would get their act together and trace Christianity back to its roots and see that Jesus Christ really started a Church that He wanted to be visibly recognizable EVERYWHERE and to lead us through the Holy Spirit to all TRUTHS, we would all live in Harmony, we woud have heaven here on earth. Even if we didn’t like what the Catholic Church teaches, we would still try and be obedient, because we would know that the Catholic Church is where our salvation is….and we better try following it to a tee, if we want to have eternal life! Please Check out the Early Church Father’s, the Perfect Saints in heaven and read Catholic Books, to see what they really teach, not what you’ve heard and look up some good Traditional Catholic websites. Because there are some PEOPLE mind you people, not the Catholic Church )who have dissent from the true also, but they are not from the one and ONLY TRUE Catholic Church….they are actually Protestant, because they too have split from the Catholic Church teachings of Jesus Christ.
    Please if you have any questions, I’ll try and answer and if not I will get check it out also.!
    God Bless-Joyce

  • robert

    I agree with Phil and I really think that Tony has no idea what he is talking about and furthermore I can’t believe that people would just blindly read his article and accept this as truth. This article is so slanted and so full of twisted truths. I do not mean to say that YL is exempt from criticism but at least get your facts straight before post something like this. It really irresponsible journalism at best.

  • SBW

    Here’s how you do it for a 13 year old.
    If you sin, it separates you from God. We’ve all sinned, so we have no way to get to God on our own. But God didn’t want to leave it that way, so He came down to take the punishment for our sin, which is death. We all deserve eternal death for sin, but because Jesus died in our place, we can receive His gift of eternal life, instead of the punishment. And so on. It’s simple. It’s been working right well for 2000 years. Figure it out.

  • Tim

    As a Caholic and also a Young Life WyldLife leader, I agree with the Catholic post earlier. It sure is great to have a church that dates back to oral tradition before the bible was even canonized by the Catholic church. Relational ministry and YoungLife is awesome but when you start to define theology at this level . . . leave that to the Church!


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