// Required code

Announcement

Collapse

Deeper Waters Forum Guidelines

Notice – The ministries featured in this section of TheologyWeb are guests of this site and in some cases not bargaining for the rough and tumble world of debate forums, though sometimes they are. Additionally, this area is frequented and highlighted for guests who also very often are not acclimated to debate fora. As such, the rules of conduct here will be more strict than in the general forum. This will be something within the discretion of the Moderators and the Ministry Representative, but we simply ask that you conduct yourselves in a manner considerate of the fact that these ministries are our invited guests. You can always feel free to start a related thread in general forum without such extra restrictions. Thank you.

Deeper Waters is founded on the belief that the Christian community has long been in the shallow end of Christianity while there are treasures of the deep waiting to be discovered. Too many in the shallow end are not prepared when they go out beyond those waters and are quickly devoured by sharks. We wish to aid Christians to equip them to navigate the deeper waters of the ocean of truth and come up with treasure in the end.

We also wish to give special aid to those often neglected, that is, the disabled community. This is especially so since our founders are both on the autism spectrum and have a special desire to reach those on that spectrum. While they are a special emphasis, we seek to help others with any disability realize that God can use them and that they are as the Psalmist says, fearfully and wonderfully made.

General TheologyWeb forum rules: here.
See more
See less

Three Things Youth Need To Relearn

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Three Things Youth Need To Relearn

    A response to Addie Zierman

    The link can be found here.

    The text is as follows:

    Has youth ministry gone the wrong way? Let's plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    Recently, Addie Zierman wrote an article that appeared in Relevant Magazine about three things she had to unlearn in youth ministry. Unfortunately, looking at the list, it looks like three things that we still need to learn about youth ministry.

    So let's look at the first. The first item to learn is that youth are not going to be persecuted for what they believe. So what is Zierman's evidence for this?

    I spent the duration of junior high and high school braced against the entire student body, sure that they secretly mocked/hated/despised me. I wore Christian T-shirts like some kind of bullet-proof vest. I memorized all of the brilliant apologetic arguments in favor of Christianity in case any teacher or student ever cornered me in the hall and forced me to debate my faith.

    But no one ever did.

    What actually happened is that I distanced myself from everyone who didn’t believe like I did. It wasn’t that they didn’t like me—it was that I had barred my arms in an eternal defensive pose, and no one could even get close. So after a while, they stopped trying.
    So all we have is her anecdotal evidence. Okay. If that's what counts, then I will give anecdotal evidence of people coming to me talking about youth or youth themselves talking about how they receive this exact same treatment. I could point to how young atheists like David McAfee are developing followers among their own young people. I could talk about how you can find many teenagers and other young people on YouTube more than happy to tear apart anyone who does anything Christian. I could talk about how many young people on Facebook and even some in ministry that I saw had the equals sign on their Facebook page showing they were interested in redefining marriage and how my own wife had people going after her because she dared to do something horrible like go to Chick-Fil-A on Chick-Fil-A day. I could also point to the numerous people who go off to college and lose their faith because they were not intellectually equipped when a challenge to it came. Yes. All of this is going on.

    I could also point to the research done by sociologists like George Yancey on the problem of changing attitudes towards Christianity and Christians, and they're only getting worse. While I think it's an insult to call this persecution in light of real persecution going on around the world, it is foolish I think to look at our world and think it's not coming and each year, people are getting more and more hostile to the Christian message and that is going to affect our youth.

    So the first lesson to learn for youth? You are a soldier of the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of this world is radically opposed to the Kingdom of God. If you are not ready, then you will be ineffective or you will be a casualty.

    The second lesson is that your friends' salvation does not depend on how well you can defend Christianity.

    It's a wonder Zierman knows the friends of people she's never even met before.

    Zierman in this part refers to our giving of trite answers which yes, I must admit happens too often, but I would say I'm more impressed that anyone is actually giving answers because when I was growing up in youth group, no one was discussing this kind of stuff, and I know of many who have undergone the exact same situation. Zierman wants us to understand that we are not the savior and we are not going to save anyone. (This despite Paul said he lives in such a way in 1 Cor. 9 that through all possible means he might save some. Apparently, Paul didn't have the hesitancy of language that many of us have today.) Of course, if this is meant to say no one can give an argument to force someone to convert, then this is absolutely true.

    In the same way, no one can do a loving action to force someone to convert either.

    So by that standard, we should cease to be doing loving actions for other people as a means of evangelism.

    If trite answers are a problem, and I agree that they are, how about giving real and effective answers that will help those outside the faith to be refuted and to provide assurance for those that are within. Zierman goes on to say

    Later, when they begin to grapple with the inconsistencies and the doubts and the hard things in their faith, it won’t be trite answers that see them through. It will be that glimpse they’ve had of the beauty of God. It will be the muscle memory of having dived deep into something real. And if and when their friends question them about their faith, it won’t be about showing them a diagram. It will be about showing them Jesus.
    It's really sad that I can picture Mormon leaders saying this to Mormons. It would work just as well. "You might come across challenges to your faith and inconsistencies between archaeology and the BOM or the BOM and the Bible or other such things. When those times come, do remember that you have a burning in the bosom and let it be that people will see that passion you have for Jesus and know that your faith is real. Show them Jesus."

    Of course, I have no opposition to showing people Jesus and I have no opposition to people having powerful religious experiences. What I have opposition to is the foundation being someone's own personal experience. This feeds into our rabid individualism that is destroying the church. I can already tell you is that if all you have is the love of Jesus, new atheist types out there will chew you up and spit you out. They will not be persuaded. You might get a "Well I'm happy you found something that works for you" or they could just think you're still a deluded person and your delusion will be harmful if it spreads.

    There are people like Peter Boghossian out there who want to get 10,000 street epistemologists out there and each one is to have the goal of deconverting 100 people. These people will not respond if you simply point to feeling the love of Jesus. Well, they will respond, but it will not be in the way you'd like. Also, when someone comes home from college having been hit with Zeitgeist or evil Bible or Jesus mythicism or the problem of evil or any number of problems, it won't be feeling love that will get them through. It will be having an intellectually robust faith where they know that there are answers and those answers inform how they live.

    The third belief we need to get rid of is you have to do something to make a difference for God.

    Yes. She actually says that.

    Now I do think she is right when she says

    The Christian walk is a long journey—so often mundane and difficult, putting one foot in front of another—seeing nothing, feeling nothing. And linking faith with extraordinary actions and extraordinary feelings makes it so much harder for us when we slam into the inevitable ordinary.
    Of course, there won't be constant mountaintop experiences and exciting adventures every day. Not everyone is going to be a famous evangelist or apologist or what have you.

    But if you want to make a difference for God, yes, you have to do something and yes, you should be striving to do more than you are. Zierman goes on to say that

    You can’t do anything to make God love you more.

    You can’t do anything to make God love you less.

    You are already enough.

    God is already doing amazing things through you—even if it all feels hopelessly average.
    How does Zierman know God is already doing amazing things through the reader? Maybe the reader really isn't growing and striving in their faith at all. Maybe the reader never says a word in evangelism. Maybe the reader has no prayer life and does not study the Bible and simply comes to church because their parents make them. An article like Zierman's can lead to great complacency and notice where the focus is at the end of this.

    God can't love you more.

    God can't love you less.

    You are enough.

    You are already being used by God for amazing things.

    You. You. You.

    And this is part of the problem. Most of us in our culture think way too much of ourselves already. You can't do anything to make God love you more or less. Okay. I agree. So what? What does that have to do with your evangelism and how you are to live? Do you really do what you do because you're wanting God to love you more or less? You have a pretty bad theology already if you do. Would such an attitude work in a marriage if you had it? "I don't really need to strive to do something amazing for my spouse because they already love me as I am and they think I'm amazing enough already."

    God have mercy on me if I ever approach my Allie with that attitude.

    Should I give God any less?

    All the things Zierman says she thinks we need to unlearn, I would prefer if we relearn them and actually teach them.

    We have too many casualties already and it's only getting worse in America. The individualistic ideologies being thrust onto our youth will only compound the problem.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

  • #2
    Those fundy atheist teens that I encountered in high school were ANNOYING! I don't know if they just thought being an atheist was cool or something or if they really thought they were right and everyone else was wrong.
    If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

    Comment


    • #3
      Now that I'm a teen I never really liked the whole kiddy teachings and such taught in the Churches I've gone too,and I never cared for TBN or their prosperity preachers.
      My Mom on the other hand whose hooked on their form of "prayer" .

      Most of my other friends in school believe in these basic teachings and even worse the illuminutty is out to stop Christianity.
      "Kahahaha! Let's get lunatic!"-Add LP
      "And the Devil did grin, for his darling sin is pride that apes humility"-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
      Oh ye of little fiber. Do you not know what I've done for you? You will obey. ~Cerealman for Prez.

      Comment


      • #4
        Reading this, I was reminded of something else I read:

        Thus, anonymous comments and social media did not tempt people into blabbing their confrontational, smug, gotcha! slogans to the rest of the world. That attitude and behavior was already highly visible back in the '90s, and even the 2000s -- right up until the web 2.0 opened its doors. Twitter did not set off the battle between SJWs and their counter-trolls; that existing culture war simply shifted arenas, from car bumpers to social media sites.

        It also goes to show how little the difference between today and the '80s has to do with technological changes. People didn't have anonymous comments and Twitter back then, but they had bumper stickers and decals -- why didn't they plaster dozens of stickers on their bumper, using them for hostile crusading like they would come to do during the '90s? Quite simply because they didn't have that attitude.

        The primary change between the get-along '80s and today is one of attitude, social stance, worldview, and so on, not technology. The '90s is the crucial decade to resolve the matter. Like the '80s, it lacked an internet with anonymous comments and social media sites. Unlike the '80s, people's attitudes had shifted toward cocooning and anxiety or hostility in social situations.

        The social mood trumped technological constraints, with people of the '90s making do with bumper stickers for socially anxious confrontations: to wage SJW crusades (or to troll the SJWs in return), to blab their obsessions to the world, and to try out one-liners on an audience that can't respond by rejecting them.
        Or: The very first thing youth need to relearn is how to engage in normal, everyday, non-drive-by, face-to-face interaction with others that are reasonably like them. When they have understood the mundane thoroughly, they will then recognize the Holy when it comes. How shall young Christians burn to save those whom they have not even begun to understand, or empathize with, on a day-to-day and month-to-month basis? If they cannot recognize, empathize with, and divide from the personality of, the everyday temptations and sins of their peers, how shall they recognize the same risks when they come their way? How shall the full horror of both the final destination and the temporal degeneration of the soul and body be evidenced without a near and wide basis for comparison?

        A T-shirt is nowhere near as important as the one on whom it rests, and whether he is by temperament this week's billboard or every day's witness.

        Comment

        Related Threads

        Collapse

        Topics Statistics Last Post
        Started by Apologiaphoenix, Today, 10:06 AM
        0 responses
        4 views
        0 likes
        Last Post Apologiaphoenix  
        Started by Apologiaphoenix, 10-16-2020, 09:00 AM
        0 responses
        13 views
        0 likes
        Last Post Apologiaphoenix  
        Started by Apologiaphoenix, 10-15-2020, 09:44 AM
        3 responses
        35 views
        2 likes
        Last Post ReformedApologist  
        Started by Apologiaphoenix, 10-14-2020, 09:09 AM
        0 responses
        13 views
        0 likes
        Last Post Apologiaphoenix  
        Started by Apologiaphoenix, 10-12-2020, 09:02 AM
        7 responses
        76 views
        2 likes
        Last Post ReformedApologist  
        Working...
        X