Surrogate Church: College Ministries and Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

A recent study acknowledges that college students are leaving the church at increasing rates, whether they be Christian or secular schools.  Mike Horton over at the WHI explains how “it’s far more important to find a good church than to expect a college to buttress one’s faith” (click here for more).  It is central to the Christian faith and to the family to have young people in church with the covenant people of God.  The church cannot place an unbiblical burden on the college ministry by having them take on a surrogate role for the church.

In addition, as I have witnessed first hand having gone to a Christian college and having seen many parachurch ministries, these ministries often confuse the law for the gospel. They focus on law, “Do this and not that” or  “Have you met up with your accountability partner this week? Attended mandatory Bible study, focused hard on your spiritual formation?” and the list goes on.  Over time, the youth become numb to all this, nodding in submission and to the right answers of their moralistic teaching, until the praise band kicks off, the skits begin, or a great motivational speaker calls everyone to surrender their life to Christ by nailing their sins to a wooden cross at the front of the gym.

Statistics show that a majority of the youth walk away from the faith and many even become bitter, “the last person they want to talk to is a conservative Christian, much less an evangelical. I don’t blame the college, but the whole religious sub-culture that shaped these young people and then provided a few extra years of moralistic, therapeutic deism.”

While your children are in Missoula attending the University of Montana or if you go to this fine institution, come and attend our Lord’s Day services at Missoula Reformed Fellowship.  We promise to give young people only what they need not what Christian pop culture advertises.  As a church, we value the gospel of free grace.  Because of this, we also, as our Reformed heritage in the past, promote Christian liberty.  The Bible presents a law of righteousness as an enemy of the gospel.  We will not confuse the law and the gospel.  We acknowledge that God alone is the Lord of the conscience.  This church will not yoke a conscience with anything unbiblical for we have been set free from the opinions and commandments of men.  We will nourish young people in a “pattern of sound doctrine” contained in our creeds and confessions.  The creeds and confessions of moralistic, therapeutic deism are silent within our walls.

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