So, we were talking about liberal theology (of the Adolf Harnack variety) in Church History. It became readily apparent that, although I consider myself to be fairly generous theologically, liberal theology falls well outside the scope of Christian orthodoxy. It was quite absurd to me that these people even considered themselves Christians because their faith had virtually no resemblance to anything that came before it in terms of orthodoxy.
Dr. Johnson went on to tell of a survey (I need to get my hands on it) that evaluated student’s beliefs and whatnot and found out that most Christian young people are essentially relativistic, moralistic, deists. Which, is uncomfortably similar to liberal theology. So, youth ministry as a whole is graduating liberal theologians from high school and sending them out into the world with a faith that bears no resemblance to the Christian faith of the last 2,000 years. This is quite troubling.
So what can we do? Well, we might have to be ready to accept the fact that youth groups might shrink in size. Giving the self-esteem, how-to-relate-to-your-parents, sex-is-bad, and other typical youth group lessons might need to be rethought. Essentially, students are simply being taught how to live moral, ethical lives and to deal with their problems as adolescents. But are they being allowed to experience God? Do they really think that God intervenes in this world? Do they pray? If they pray, do they feel like God hears anything that they pray? I’m starting to think that one of the best ways to combat this deism is through prayer. A deist will not pray because it will do no good. But if we believe that God is indeed the God of the Bible who enters into this world (remember that event called the INCARNATION?) and has the power to change and affect it, we must be people of prayer. Students need more than moral teaching. They need to become members of the historic Christian faith.
This is highly frustrating because doing this would undoubtedly cost youth pastors their job. So, we continue to make parents, pastors, and students happy. In turn, we turn out relativistic, moralistic deists. But hey, at least everyone’s happy. Right?