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Tag: Cameron Cole

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Secularism to Blame for Young Adults Ignoring Stay at Home Orders

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Media, government leaders, and adults have all expressed a great deal of frustration with the young people’s lack of compliance to social distancing during the Coronavirus Crisis. States shut down their beaches after pictures surfaced of college-age spring-breakers flooding the coastline in full violation of social distancing recommendations. Government leaders, healthcare authorities, media outlets, and the President of the United States himself have warned and implored young people to obey the quarantine regulations, if not for themselves, then for the sake of the vulnerable. Many in the media have expressed outrage that many (if not most) young people have completely ignored the mandates. 

My question for  is this: why are you surprised by their defiance? After all, they are being faithful followers of the prevailing pop-religion, “You Do You,” fed to them frequently through various media and institutions. With all authenticity, they are being “true to themselves.” They embody the sacred maxim, YOLO – You Only Live Once. 

“You Do You” combines radical individualism with moral relativism. This pop religion  involves each person developing and dictating his or her own ethical framework with individual happiness comprising the highest aim. After the these individual determinations, “being true to yourself” constitutes the real measure of virtue. 

To the extent that this incoherent moral system considers others, the primary rule involves supporting and enabling other people to be true to themselves. Whether that involves sexuality, gender, or other forms of self-expression, the primary responsibility of mankind and deepest promotion of human flourishing means affirming every person’s pursuit of authenticity. Intolerance — or not affirming another person’s self-engineered norms for ethics and self-expression — remains the carnal sin of the pop religion. You simply cannot resort to moral absolutes, whereby you tell a person what to do or suggest that their standards of self-expression may be harmful to themselves or society. 

Now we have a healthcare crisis on our hands, which requires virtually every citizen to think collectively. Even if we are young and healthy, we all absolutely must quarantine. We have to put the needs of the elderly, the immunocompromised, the diabetics, and those with respiratory conditions above our personal freedoms and wants. We must die to a “me first” individualism and comply for the greater good. Lives are at stake. 

Many young people, however, mainly those out from under parental supervision, just don’t seem to get it. They just don’t seem to care. They will not comply. 

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The Coronavirus Crisis creates an opportunity for our education on biblical ethics for our kids. Here are three steps I recommend taking:

(1) Point out the intellectual incoherence and pragmatic unworkability of moral relativism and “you do you” ethics.

We should never demean people; ideas, however, are fair game. Moral relativism is philosophically asinine and intellectually bankrupt. It sounds very appealing at the fleshly level, but objective reasoning demonstrates that moral relativism taken to its furthest extent ends in self-destruction, self-absorption, and anarchy. 

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Our resistance to ethical action reflects a lack of trust in authorities, namely God. When the now infamous spring-breaker said, “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying,” his statements reflected mistrust. The authorities are against me and my desire to have fun. All sin contains a belief that God is against us and is holding out on us. 

We should show kids that God gave us his law because he loves us and wants the best for us. Furthermore, God not only desires the best for us as individuals, he desires the best for all of society. God desires shalom, flourishing, and wholeness for the whole world. 

Let’s tell kids that our obedience to God’s law through the power of the Holy Spirit and out of faith in his grace are a part of something bigger: that obedience is part of God blessing and redeeming the world.

Cameron Cole, Rooted Ministry, The Ethical Lesson for the Young in the Corona-Crisis, April 16, 2020

The Coronavirus Pandemic: The Ministry Opportunity of This Century

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It seems impossible for Evangelicals to love and be kind to others without having some sort of ulterior motive for doing so. I have written about this issue here: Beware of Evangelicals Coming in the Name of Friendship and How to Turn Your Evangelical Teens into Annoying Fake Friends. Evangelicals are the equivalent of door-to-door salesmen. While they may smile and share a cup of coffee with you, their goal is to get you to buy what they are selling. You, the target, are just a means to an end. The vacuum cleaner salesman hopes you will give him your money in return for a grossly overpriced sweeper. The Jesus salesman hopes you will surrender your reason and personal autonomy in return for the forgiveness of sins and an eternal home in a celestial Heaven no one has ever seen. Worse yet, the Jesus salesman wants you to come to the home office where he learned the tricks of his trade. Doing so will require your time and money, but just remember all the perks that come with buying Jesus.

Cameron Cole, the Director of Youth Ministries at the Cathedral Church of the Advent and the founding chairman of Rooted Ministry, thinks that the current Coronavirus pandemic is ” the ministry opportunity of this century.” Cole, an Episcopalian, is surprisingly quite Evangelical theologically, and his approach towards preying on non-Christians, especially teenagers, is no different from what is found in conservative Baptist churches.

Cole writes:

Thousands of people are suffering, sick, and dying. Many people are facing financial straits and dire situations. In no way should we overlook what a catastrophe the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes for countless people around the world.

I have been in youth ministry professionally for fifteen years and another five as a volunteer before that; in other words, for this whole, young century. I want to tell everyone who ministers to young people — youth pastor and parent alike — this is the ministry opportunity of this century.

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Biblical Christianity is the only worldview with sufficient, helpful answers to these incredibly difficult questions. Frequent will be the opportunities for kids to express doubts and to lament. Often will be the chances to offer answers or to simply lament with a child (and leave the theology for another time). Parents and youth pastors have an opportunity to enter into these hard questions with teenagers and offer hopeful truths or to just wrestle along with them.

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Still, very few young people think they are actually ever going to die. Their mortality generally never crosses their minds. This global pandemic does cause them to consider their death and their standing before God. They may genuinely experience fear of death in these moments. Now is an opportunity to offer them the great comfort that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection means there is no fear in death for the believer.

As I said to start this article, we never want to think about the suffering and tragedy of others as an opportunity to capitalize on. What I do want to convey is that this challenging time offers a rich, unique, and temporary opportunity to minister to kids in a way that could change their lives forever.

Cole wants Christian readers to know that God has given them a golden opportunity to bushwack unsuspecting people who are sick and dying from the COVID-19 virus. People rightly fear dying from the virus — I know I do, to some degree — and Cole sees this as a vulnerability that can be exploited — in Jesus’ name, of course. You see, Cole and others like him think they KNOW what non-Christians need. Regardless of the circumstance or problem, the solution is always the same: Jesus.

Cole recognizes that his post makes him seem predatory and indifferent towards the sick and dying. Too bad he didn’t ponder that for a moment and then stop writing. But, he didn’t, there are souls that need saving, and it’s up to God’s chosen ones to harass, bug, and irritate them into saving faith.

The Coronavirus pandemic presents Christians with all sorts of opportunities to “let their little light shine” so the unsaved people of the world can see their good works and perhaps give glory to God as a result. Instead, Cole gives lip service to the plight of the sick and dying and instead focuses on rescuing people from eternal damnation.

Let me conclude this post by giving careful consideration to Cole’s last paragraph:

We never want to think about the suffering and tragedy of others as an opportunity to capitalize on. What I do want to convey is that this challenging time offers a rich, unique, and temporary opportunity to minister to kids in a way that could change their lives forever.

Cole says, ” We never want to think about the suffering and tragedy of others as an opportunity to capitalize on.” Good idea. Be better than most Evangelical Christians and just be a decent human being. If people want to know about your Jesus, salvation, or church, they will ask; but if they don’t ask, be content to let your “good works shine before men.” Cole doesn’t mention doing works of mercy for virus sufferers. He doesn’t mention any of a number of things he and other Christians could be doing for those suffering the effects of the Coronavirus, or for those in social isolation right now. Instead, his focus is on “eternal” matters. He’s more concerned with the “rich, unique, and temporary opportunity to minister to kids in a way that could change their lives forever” than he is wading in the gutter of human suffering.

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Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser