Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Misled Youth: "Deeply Craving Answers"

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Deep in the North Carolina forest, a group of young adults are conducting a worship/therapy service.

Their agony is stunning and heartbreaking. Having been a youth pastor for a number of years, I have walked with kids through this kind of darkness and despair---confusion and loss of identity.

I have linked a video of their religious service. It is 1:48 minutes. Please watch it.

You will note the wailing and the sense of hopelessness. You will also note their leader, Syndee L'ome Grace, telling those gathered with her that they are, "deeply craving answers," and "deeply hurting in America" and "we have lost our identity."

"Bring me to this rock," she says pointing to a stone in the forest, suggesting the rock gives her a sense of being alive, but the ethos of the moment suggests something far different.

They are looking to the wrong rock.

"Deeply craving answers."

"For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities---His eternal power and divine nature---have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened...they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator---who is forever praised." Romans 1: 18-25.

When people begin to worship the creation rather than the Creator, societies begin to turn from the truth of the Creator and worship the created---"Mother Earth." And in their relativism, creating new truth that justifies their beliefs.

And with their new religion comes an evil deception and cultural decline.

Romans 1: 18-25 explains that downward decline.
  • People embrace shameful lusts.
  • Women exchange natural relations for unnatural ones.
  • Men abandon natural relations with women and are inflamed with lust for one another.
  • People become driven by wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.
  • People become gossips, slanders, God haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful.
  • People create new ways of doing evil.
  • They disobey parents.
  • They are senseless, faithless, heartless and ruthless.
Paul writes in Colossians 2, "Continue to live in Christ, rooted and built up in Him."

And, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

The young adults in the video are victims of a hollow and deceptive philosophy passed off as religion.

Barbara Brown Taylor symbolizes the "exchange of truth" and "hollow philosophy" of a new age religion in her, "Green Bible," as she carefully redefines the biblical account of creation in Genesis 1 and God's directive for mankind to take dominion over His creation, reducing man to nothing more than another animal.

She challenges the fact that God exclusively created man in His image and likeness on the sixth day, teaching rather that day 6, "Starts two verses earlier, with the creation of land animals along with man."

Her conclusion? "We were made on the same day as cows"--- "we are not made of any more special stuff than the rest of creation."

This kind of belief, distorts everything we know about God. It diminishes the sanctity of human life, removes the exceptionalism God attaches to mankind, and pollutes man's understanding of God's purposes and promises for each of us.

If Christ died for the sins of people, did He then also die for the sins of land animals? What about rocks, trees, the ocean, the air and the Earth?

This kind of false teaching leads to despair, loss of identity and too many unanswered questions. It also ultimately leads people into the forest, wailing and asking, "Why?"

Mike Schut, a spokesman for the national Episcopal Churches said in their national statement regarding Good Friday ---"Might we suggest that when Earth is degraded, when species go extinct, that another part of God's body experiences yet another sort of crucifixion."

All Episcopalians do not agree. Fr. Orthohippo, a South African traditional Anglican priest says after reading the statement, "This seeming almost equation, this linking, of Good Friday with Earth Day is a clear example of how theology can be shaped to meet one's expectations."

He says, "Seriously? So littering is like a crucifixion? I think its about time someone took away the fax machine from the Episcopal Church's office of Economic and Environmental Affairs."

He suggested they all might want to spend Good Friday journaling about how "the Risen Lord is just really a great step in recycling."

So, back to the kids in the forest. Yes, they are part of Earth First and this meeting may be extreme. However, there are people walking urban sidewalks and driving through suburban streets asking the same questions, with the same sense of lost identity. "Who am I and where am I going?"---Feeling violated, confused and in need.

The ancient prophet Isaiah said, "Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not been mindful of the Rock of your stronghold---your harvest will be a heap of ruins." Is. 17:10,11.

Who is the "Rock" of your stronghold?

That Rock is Jesus Christ. (1 Corth. 10:4)

Hundreds of millions of Christians will attend services around the world this Friday and Sunday. Most will hopefully hear that Christ died for their sins and was resurrected on the third day. Believe it.

You will hopefully hear that the stone was rolled back from the opening of the tomb where they laid His body. Believe that also.

But don't just focus on the stone by the tomb, allow yourself to know that He is the Truth, the Way and the Life. Look past the stone. If you do not fear the truth, consider that Jesus Christ loves you, died for you and will bring forgiveness, redemption, purpose and hope to your life, even if it is in ruin.

Consider that while many have cast away this stone of truth, many have allowed Him to become the Rock in their life.

May God Bless you.

Gary Randall
Faith and Freedom

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