Monday, September 27, 2010

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.


Frank Gillespie said...

I keep receiving comments and emails that I shouldn't criticize the NYG because I wasn't there. Using that logic, we shouldn't any of the atrocities carried out by despots and dictators because we don't have first hand knowledge which is lu...dicrous. The funny thing is that every post I've seen which has been critical has used video from the NYG website with the supporters telling me that that the videos don't tell the whole story so therefore we should ignore them. Don't pay attention to the what is going on but look at our intentions.
I guess we should also ignore the flyers that state that the kids may have to be "debriefed" in order to be reintegrated into their normal lives after they have "experienced an enormous spiritual mountaintop for the first time."
If we need to debrief the kids, we are emotionally manipulating them and we are operating no different than the cults.

Kelly Klages said...

While we were on vacation, Alex and I visited my home LCMS church, where I first joined Lutheranism in 2004. After church during announcements, a girl who went to the NYG to give a little personal report (testimony?) on it. She was quite emotional, and mentioned that she "never really knew what forgiveness was all about" until then. That strikes me as somewhat problematic. The preaching and conducting of the liturgy has always been pretty good in this church, in my experience.

Anonymous said...

You can remove the ? from NYG.
It has been the Trojan Horse used
to sneak pop evangelicalism and
irreverent "worship" into LCMS
for the last 20 years, at least.

If you want your youth to have a
"mountaintop experience and come
home Lutheran, send them to Higher

Scott Diekmann said...

The question mark was an upgrade Helen. The question mark wasn't there previously, but I heard from Pastor Kumm that things are going to change with the NYG, so that's why the question mark is there. Of course, I await the actual gathering to see how things turn out, and I suppose not everything will be changed at once. So call it a "tentative" question mark. Thanks for reading. Scott