Thursday, August 11, 2005

Guess what the kids learned at M-Fuge

RELEVANT . GROUNDED . SATISFIED
Since 1995, M-Fuge has offered missions and ministry opportunities for students and adults within a camp context. M-Fuge, M-Fuge International, and Urban Connexx give your students the chance for hands-on missions and ministry opportunities during the day and creative worship and other fun activities in the evenings. Whether you are interested in missions in the United States or abroad, with your group or mixed in with students from across the nation, or ministry in a large, urban setting such as Chicago, M-Fuge has an option suited just for you!

That's what the Lifeway website says about this summer youth conference that is geared toward students.


Now read what a Youth Pastor from South Carolina has to say about his experience at M-Fuge.

I recently returned from M-fuge @ Southern Charleston University. We went from June 11-17. On Sunday night, June 12, all of the campers and staff gathered for worship. The speaker told all of us to close our eyes and to open our hands as if we're about to receive something... then he told us the following (this is word for word what he said, for this comes directly from the lifeway outline that every M-fuge preacher must follow)

"1. As you sit comfortably with your eyes closed, let yourself settle down. Let go of all the thoughts, tensions, and sensations you may feel and begin to rest in the love of God who dwells within.
2. Effortlessly, take up a word, the symbol of your intention to surrender to God's presence, and let the word be gently present. The word should be one syllable, if possible, and should communicate God's love to you. Repeat it over and over during your prayer time. Focus on the word and what it means in your relationship with God.
3. If thoughts subside and you find yourself restfully aware, simply let go of the word. Be in that stillness. When thoughts begin to stir again, gently return to the word. Use that one word as your only response to thoughts, questions, or anxieties that arise in your mind.
At the end of the prayer time, take a moment to come out of the silence gently. This is a good time to internally express thanks and gratitude to God, and to pray for others in need of God's grace. Pray over the audience as this time ends."

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi would be proud.

Who says that there is no longer any need for biblical reformation within the Southern Baptist Convention? This did not happen on the liberals' watch. This was brought to you by inerrantists.

Inerrancy is not enough. If we do not see an ongoing doctrinal and ecclesiological reformation in the churches of the SBC then within 30 years we will be right back where we were in 1970. Let me reitertate, I am not talking about promoting Calvinism, I am talking about recovering Christianity.

21 comments:

Sean said...

As one who has personally taken youth to M-Fuge every year since 1999, I have to say I have NEVER SEEN this type of mysticism. If I had I would have confronted the leadership and told them my concerns. The preaching has been solidly Biblical, the experiences good, the evangelism training leans toward Arminianism which I did have a problem with, but overall, it has been a GREAT experience for our youth. In 1999, and 2001 we went to M-Fuge California, in 2002 and 2003 we went to M-Fuge Denver and last summer we went to M-Fuge St. Louis--every thing has been pretty solid. I would be very concerned at this trend and I hope it didn't come from LifeWay as mandated down as to what to say. I support M-Fuge, but this is highly unusual and disturbs me if this is truly what happened.

Tony K. said...

It sounds like Jimmy Draper should look into this. I think churches too often will settle for anything in youth and childrens ministry. How long do you think before the Seminary grads will have an impact on the convention?

GeneMBridges said...

There's a new entry at www.ntrmin.org entitled:

"Christians" Who are Biblically Ignorant, Yet Deeply Spiritual

It fits perfectly with our discussions here this week.

Tom, thank you for discussing these issues!!!!! I've been able to point several folks here in recent days and they've learned a great deal.

pastorken said...

Tom, thanks for the post. However, because this does go so far out of what I would expect, are you absolutely sure as to the veracity of the "word for word" description? I don't want to seem a doubter, but before I or others perhaps act on this, I want to make sure the source material is valid and not find out later that this is some sort of urban/m-fuge legend. Thanks for letting me ask. Please be encouraged about your work. It and you are very much appreciated.

Brian R. Giaquinto said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian R. Giaquinto said...

It may be a good idea for all of us - including our leadership - to read "The Two Babylons" by Alexander Hislop and "The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow" by Constance Cumby.

Tom said...

I know...it sounds incredible. I would never have posted this without being convinced of the veracity of the source. Now, if I am proven wrong then I will publicly and plainly make that known and try to make any amends necessary.

I met the Youth Pastor I quoted. He told me the story after telling it to others. He is not a Calvinist, by the way. He went directly to the camp leadership and voiced his concerns. That is when he recieved a copy of the script that was read. I also have some email exchanges between him and someone in authority involved in M-Fuge. The authority attempts to justify what happened by invoking Henry Blackaby's name and teachings. As I understand it, the Youth Pastor emailed several SBC denominational leaders calling this to their attention and did get some favorable response. He was told that this prayer exercise would be pulled from all other M-Fuge gatherings this year. Based on what Sean wrote, perhaps that indeed happened. If so, then we can all appreciate the willingness of those in charge to stop promulgating new age mysticism. This does not, however, alleviate the concern about why such activity was promoted in the first place.

In addition, this Youth Pastor is considering writing an article on the whole thing. If he does, I will alert you to it.

Steve Weaver said...

Tom,

I believe I have heard the exact same report first hand from a youth leader who was there. It might be the same one you reference (though he is in TN, not SC). The sad thing is that he reported that the camp leaders said that they had been doing the same thing all year and no one had complained! Highly disturbing!

pastorken said...

Tom, thank you very much for your reply. Amazing that this was actually published material provided to the leadership. It will be interesting to see what becomes of this issue. Blessings

Tom said...

Steve is correct. The youth minister is in Tennessee, not South Carolina. Also, I should clarify that he has been asked to write about this experience--whether or not he is thinking about it, I cannot say with certainty.

Brian Hamrick said...

In a way, I'm not surprised. I took kids to Centrifuge this summer, and they took Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship" to be explained by creation, not by salvation by grace!

And for VBS, the day AFTER the gospel presentation, the lesson was, "I can choose to believe Jesus is real." Say what? And they tried to build that point from the doubting Thomas story in John's Gospel.

What happened to good theology in the SBC? Shouldn't some of our finest theologians do exegesis on materials such as these for wide consumption? If not, why not?

Mike Beach said...

I was with Steve Weaver when this discussion took place and I saw the described sheet myself. This was real and it is a very troubling development for a program that has evidently been a blessing to many campers.

Let's hope that Lifeway's drive to cater to the "larger evangelical family" doesn't lead them down the wrong path. Personally, I don't think Draper or Rainer would ever sanction such a thing. Let's hope that this gets or has gotten their attention.

MB

Steve said...

"I am not talking about promoting Calvinism, I am talking about recovering Christianity."

Thanks for putting it that way Tom. Most would assume you wouldn't put it that way.

Steve McCoy
www.stevekmccoy.com

Aaron L. Turner said...

In light of the present post, I am thankful to the Lord for Bill Ascol, and Saved by Faith Youth Challenge. It is a blessing to be able to take youth to an event and totally relax because you don't have to worry about unscriptural practices, or preaching.

God has used this gathering to bring a measure of revival not only to our youth, but our whole church.

For those of you who are looking for a place to take your youth where Biblical Christianity is practiced rather than Buddhhism, I strongly recommend the Saved By Faith Youth Challenge.

Sean said...

Is there a way we can get a preview video or packet information on the Saved by Faith Youth conference? Having attended M-Fuge, Centrifuge, and Student Life Camps, they have promo pieces that show what to expect. I am highly interested in this camp and wonder if there is a way to preview it before bringing our kids. Is the worship (ie: music) youth friendly? Thanks.

Aaron L. Turner said...

Sean,

There is a way. You can receive a dvd of the highlights of the conference by calling Bill Ascol. You can find his information in the founders friendly churches in the state of Lousianna.

I can tell you that the music is very youth friendly. It is God centered blend of contemporary praise and worship, with some hymns as well.

Hope this helps

Jeff Wright said...

Just by way of information, you can find the youth minister in discussion here on the web at www.jaredmoore.exaltchrist.com

I'll tell him to make sure he does a thorough write up in case anyone else is interested in reading it.

Barry said...

This script is almost identical to one I heard at a comtemplative prayer gathering of Roman Catholics years ago. It was held at St. Vincent Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. The leaders stated how rich the RCC is because of the many roads that influence her prayer life. They went on to talk about how much can be learned from eastern mysticism.

Jared Moore said...

Guys,
My name is Jared Moore. I'm the guy who talked with Tom. When we got back from M-fuge, I had no idea what to do. So, I immediately emailed Danny Akin, Al Mohler, Jerry Vines, Paige Patterson, Adrian Rogers, Voddie Baucham, the White Horse Inn, Baptist Press, Ergun Caner, Jr. Hill, and Mac Brunson. You can find my article with details, and exact emails @ www.jaredmoore.exaltchrist.com

Stephen Ingram said...

This is insane!!! Why are so many people afraid of prayer that does not follow the same old format, "Deeer Lourrdd we just, father, Lord blah blah blah." Are we so afraid of that small voice? What is wrong with focusing ourselves on Gods presence and, oh my God actually let God speak to us!?!?!? Christianity is not about the defensive, there is a great tradition of Christian Mysticism in ALL of our Past that is if you call yourself a Christian. I use this type of prayer all of the time with my youth and it has been great, I have noticed great strides intheir spiritual growth. Try it before you knowck it, God is not as small as we think.
Pax
Stephen

Adam said...

Stephen,

THANK YOU! I'm glad someone out there spoke up. The entire string (post and comments) is ridiculous.

I must say, if I were Christian (which I'm not), I would almost certainly have apostatized by now.

Good work.

Adam

Pax tibi, Stephen.