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Monday, January 07, 2008

Drawing And Defining The Gospel Lines

Here is an interesting article at Christianity Today online reporting about drawing and defining the language/concepts Young Life uses to communicate the gospel to teenagers all over the world. The paper that Young Life (YL) draws up is entitles "Non-Negotiables of Young Life's Gospel Proclamation." Here is a small portion of the article:

The Non-Negotiables statement came out after a paper circulated last summer by Jeff McSwain. The former YL area director for Durham and Chapel Hill, McSwain was the highest-ranking staff member fired. In his paper, McSwain took issue with YL "sin talks," where leaders explain that "God is holy and pure and we are impure." He said talks that include statements such as, "We've broken the law and someone needs to pay," can sound more Unitarian than Trinitarian by drawing a sharp contrast between the holy God and incarnated Son who "actually became sin." McSwain, one of YL's most experienced area directors, pointed to YL's trademark contact strategy of incarnational friendship and said ensuing messages of separation introduce "serious confusion into the hearts of the kids who we love."

This sort of clarification is usually reserved for denominations. The firing and resigning of leadership is usually reserved for local churches. But to see this happen to such a significant youth ministry organization like YL is tough.

I don't think we'll see a lot of this with other youth ministry organizations either local or national, but you never know given some of the tension that is emerging from rethinking what that Gospel is all about and how we communicate it.

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