Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How Should The Church Respond To The Exodus of Our Youth? (Pt. 7)

Al Mohler has a posted an article on his website about a new book, that is a NY Times Best seller, called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. He are some are some of the excerpts that he includes from the book.

According to Byrne, every object and mind in the universe operates on its own frequency, and minds can attract matter. "Thoughts are magnetic," she argues, "and thoughts have a frequency. As you think, those thoughts are sent out into the Universe, and they magnetically attract all like things that are on the same frequency. Everything sent out returns to its source. And the source is you." Yep. You are the center of the universe.

"You are God in a physical body," she writes. "You are spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet."

Now this is a classic example of the wisdom of the world. As bizarre as Rhonda's thoughts are, they are being accepted by the general populace as wonderful ideas. I think a lot of people sort of believe that they are the center of the universe, but they are not quite brash enough to say so. Since Byrne is able to say it in such esoteric language she gets away with it. What if the esoteric language was removed and we just went with the basic idea. Here is what it would look like:

Basically I am God. I control the universe. I can do whatever I want.

My guess is that if she would have put something like this as the subtitle she would have sold a few less books. Well what's the problem with Rhonda's ideas? Well, in a nutshell they are absurd. What exactly did Rhonda have to do with maintaining the precise spin or orbit of the earth while she was sleeping last night? What exactly does Rhonda have to do with ensuring her next breath? What exactly does Rhonda have to with engineering the entire universe to work in harmony? The answer is nothing. We could all ask ourselves the same question and the answer will still be nothing. The answer to why all of this happens is very simply given in the Bible:

Colossians 1:16-17 For by Him [Jesus Christ] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.NASB95

This is true wisdom. Christians do not need to go to the world for wisdom. We simply need to go to God's word. Our youth are in desperate need of true wisdom in a world of absurdity. Sadly, many churches offer them tiny tidbits of truth packaged worldly wisdom and trappings.

Last post we said that the 4th biblical principle that every discipleship ministry, including any youth ministry, must operate under is that the Bible is supremely relevant for every human need. Here is the fifth:

5. The Bible teaches that we do not go to the world to find out how we need to relate to people. Instead the Bible tells us to bring the wisdom of God to the world.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.NASB95

In Paul's day the rhetoric and sophistry was huge. "Wisdom teachers" used to go from town to town impressing people with their eloquence. They were not all that concerned as to if they were right, but they were very concerned about persuading people that they were right. They wanted to win arguments and gain a following. Paul was the polar opposite of this. He was unwilling to use popular tactics of persuasion to accomplish even a good thing! He relied completely on the simple message of the gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and the power of the Holy Spirit. He wanted to be absolutely sure that is was the power of God at work and not the manipulation of men.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,NASB95

It is hard to use the methodology and wisdom of the world to attract people and then turn on your own methods and destroy them and cast them down. However, this is exactly what we would have to do if we let the world tell us how to run our youth groups. The idea is to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." This means that we don't think like the world to reach the world. Instead we proclaim Christ and His truth to the world and call the world to repent and think the thoughts of Christ after Him!

Can we say that our ministries are all about simply proclaiming the gospel and relying on the Holy Spirit, or are we trying to manipulate something through worldly sophistication that only God can accomplish?

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