Frequent BJS poster and commentator Scott Diekmann posted this a month or so ago on his blog, Stand Firm. I happened to catch it in my search for something completely different, but thought it should be posted here. Ever since I heard from my son about what happened at the event he went to back in 2001 I’ve been concerned about the NYG and the non-lutheran teaching that our youth are getting there (well, I lied .. I’ve been concerned for many years, I just didn’t have second-hand experience before then).
Reviews of the 2010 LCMS National Youth Gathering
It’s nice that the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) thinks it’s important enough to minister to the youth of our Synod that we have the National Youth Gathering (NYG) every three years. There’s a lot of good things offered at the Gathering, but yet there were things this year that strayed from the teaching of Christ. The average congregant doesn’t know that there are theological problems with the NYG, and, given the chance, might not recognize those problems. We did not send our son to the NYG because of these problems, though he had the opportunity to attend. Instead, he taught Vacation Bible School to the First Nations people of central British Columbia. I don’t want my son being taught even a little generic Evangelical moralism or being taught that the Holy Spirit works through the rhythmic banging of a drum while in the care of the LCMS.
It’s not unreasonable to assume that those in charge of the NYG would see to it that proper doctrine is taught at this event in all of its venues, as Scripture tells us to do, yet that’s not always the case. Who is responsible for determining if our children are being properly taught? Ultimately, it is we, the parents. For those of you who might not recognize all of the error being taught and are concerned about the spiritual well-being of your kids, assembled below are blog posts, a podcast, and a video which review some of the problems at the 2010 NYG. As an alternative to the NYG I would suggest Higher Things, a Recognized Service Organization of the LCMS which will properly catechize your children, offering yearly events and much more.
Timotheos, who is one of the authors of the blog Balaam’s Ass, offers a decent summary in his comment on a speaker at one of the mass events:
But the worst of it was that when she talked about her daughter being in heaven, she said it was because she had given her life to the Lord. (Could it be that Baptist worship leads to a Baptist theology of conversion? Just asking.) Frankly, that’s simply not true. Her daughter is not in heaven because she gave her life to the Lord; she is in heaven because Jesus gave His life for her. That’s not just semantics; it’s the difference between heaven and hell, comfort and despair, life and death. It matters how we talk, and if we do not recognize how foreign the thought of “giving our life to Jesus” is to ”grace alone,” then we have ceased to be Lutheran. And that’s fine–if you don’t want to be Lutheran. But how is it acceptable for a Lutheran woman, married to a Lutheran pastor, to say things like that to teenagers who have friends who believe that salvation happens exactly how she worded it? It matters how we talk, because, ultimately, we will think and believe the same as what we say. Ask a liturgical scholar how many times the liturgy changed before the doctrine. It’s not my personal bias, it’s a fact.
Balaam’s Ass: An Open Letter on the LCMS National Youth Gathering
Pastor Jonathan Fisk: Take Home More God
Pastor Jonathan Fisk: I’m Just Very Confused – Part 1: Simulized Adrenali-Fide
Pastor Jonathan Fisk: I’m Just Very Confused – Part 2: Authorized Take-Over Deum
Pastor Thomas Messer: Take Home More God
Pastor Thomas Messer: On “Prayer Walking”
Putting Out the Fire: So, What Are The Rubrics For Liturgical Thundersticks During Worship?
Table Talk Radio: Table Talk Radio’s Youth Gathering Survival Kit
The Brothers of John the Steadfast: LCMS Youth Gathering Praise Music Now Comes with a Theological Disclaimer
Be sure to keep Stand Firm on your regular web reading list.