Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One Remarkable Record of Retention

The other day a friend of mine told me a tragic story of how a nephew of his declared his apostasy from Christianity. That’s bad enough but there’s more to it.
This nephew was actually the latest of several children in this family to do this.
The first one to do so eventually committed suicide after several months of trying to reconcile themselves to their new view of the world.
One of the others is now a strident, vehement “fundy atheist” who does her very best to offend Christians.
And this family, by the way, attends a Southern Baptist church.
Obviously this is anecdotal evidence. But a story like this doesn’t emerge in a vacuum. It’s clear from this and many other stories like it that we have failed when it comes to discipleship (especially youth discipleship) in our churches. Our youth programs are mostly vapid entertainment sessions that don’t prepare students for the real world of challenges to their faith. (In that, they tend to imitate the adult programs, though.) Many youth pastors (and many adult pastors, yes) are themselves ignorant of nature of their faith, yet they’d rather be eaten alive by weasels than surrender their pulpits to a competent scholar or apologist for even one Sunday – or even do much to encourage a class being taught by them.
A youth pastor at my former church is a model for this sort of thing. When he first arrived and I met with him, his first words were, “I’m scared of you.” Eventually I convinced him to let me do an occasional teaching to the youth, which I hoped would grow into something more. You can still hear the remnants of this in the Tekton Audio Library -- seven sessions. Only a few minutes. Plenty of time to get these youth informed on those hard issues. Right on.
For the next semester, that youth pastor started getting evasive. He vaguely said they were trying “something different,” though they had no idea what it was and they were making plans, so he’d get back to me. He never did. I rang his bell (figuratively) every 2 weeks or so to see what was going on and got the same evasive answer until the very end – when suddenly, 2 weeks after the last edition of that same evasive answer, he told me that the plans had been made now and there was no room for any more sessions like the ones I did.
This youth pastor’s foolishness continued for some time after that. The most stunning example was his use of church funds to purchase a used automobile – a rather nice model – which he offered as a giveaway prize to the youth, on a night when they were supposed to invite all their unsaved friends to come too. Come to church, win a car. That’ll pack ‘em in, won’t it?
It’s not necessarily the youth pastors who are the doofuses, of course. I had also met a very energetic youth pastor in a county to our west who was very interested in bringing apologetics into his youth programs. That never happened, though. You see, his programs were so good that the church kids were able to encourage their non-Christian friends to come, and they did. Regularly. Unfortunately, some adults at the church decided that that wasn’t the type of crowd they wanted to attract and politely informed him of that.
Imagine that. We’re actually attracting the unsaved to church. Who woulda thunk?
He resigned, and I don’t blame him one bit.
Is it any wonder I look forward to seeing these people scrubbing toilets in eternity?


  1. The suicide story is sad indeed. I also read that Rev. Michael Patton, an apologist, lost a sister to suicide, and hopes she's in heaven.

    Somewhat comparable stories can able be found among youth torn up about coming out gay to their parents and peers, some of whom are terribly frightened, harrassed and/or bullied and commit suicide.

    Makes me wonder what exactly this person went through--in addition to struggling to rethink his prior view of the world that he'd been taught since a child.

    By the way, major depression and thoughts of suicide are not unique to non-Christians. In fact one emergency room in Boston found that the highest percentage of people admitted there for emergency cases of depression were Pentecostals. And Rev. Michael Patton, the apologist I mentioned above, admits he struggles with depression as well.

  2. @Esdki:

    >>>By the way, major depression and thoughts of suicide are not unique to non-Christians.

    Didn't say they were, Edski. Stop trying to turn the personal tragedy of others into advertisements for your crappy arguments.

  3. I was reacting to the fact that YOU were turning such a personal tragedy into an advertisement/argument for the necessity of apologetics ministries.

  4. Baloney, Edski. If that were the case it wouldn't have taken you 9 days to come up with that response -- unless your brain is much slower than even *I* anticipated, which is always possible. One thing that you DO continue to surprise me with is just how inept and slow you can be. I can well imagine you're presently making plans to attend Super Bowl XXXVII.

  5. Baloney? Is that your response? It's pretty plain that my statement was not baloney, but rather, your subsequent attempt to insult me for not feeling the need to respond lickety split to every oink from your mouth, THAT was baloney.

  6. Yes, Edski, it's baloney, for the very reason I stated and which you evaded. You want to try and justify yourself a whole two months later? You, who spew your trash all over the Net during working hours every day of the week, now want to make out that you're just not in a hurry to respond?

    You're as entertaining as a hotel fire, and nearly as intelligent! :D

    BTW that's your third comment for this entry, so you're out.