Well, there are some interesting articles coming out about Young Life and The Non-Negotiables of Young Life's Gospel Presentation. As I graduated college and was coming off a stint of student staff with YL, I honestly was wondering when this type of document would come out and try to establish from the top down, certain criteria by which the gospel was to be shared and told within the organization. The Non-Negotiables act as a sort of litmus test for staff members, though YL has said they will not make all staff members sign the document yet YL has already fired an area director and accepted the resignation or has fired 9 others related to the area director in North Carolina.
I come from a pretty strong YL background and have a lot of friends in those circles, many of which have or do read this blog. I'd be interested to hear your reactions to the articles one in Christianity Today and another in Christian Century, or even the Non-Negotiables. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I have had some problems with the formulaic approach of club talks and what it means to "share the gospel" for some time now, and that the non-negotiables worry me a bit. Specifically the often emotional manipulation that can come in focusing on sin first rather than the love of God, resulting in students wanting to be saved from hell rather than being motivated by love or the story of God's action in the world and our invitation to join God. Also here are some blogs talking about stuff:
Tony Jones- Something is Wrong at Young Life
Rick Lawrence- Heartbreak and Controversy
Mark Van Steenwyk- The Gospel According to Young Life
This isn't a specific critique of YL in our area because it has been some time since I've been involved in the actual work of YL in our area, and I'm not trying to say that they are all bad people at the top of the organization or anything. But I do have some serious questions, and am a bit disappointed in the top-down approach of forcing staff to work under a document, besides the point that theological training is not a necessity from the organization's standpoint. So how can staff who've not necessarily had the theological training to know whether or not such a form is helpful or detrimental deal with some of the nuances of the argument? That is not to say that theological training is necessary, but certainly would be helpful in this discussion.
I've said this to others before, but I think that YL and Crusade, etc. and other organizations that focus on a certain aspect of the Christian life, i.e. evangelism, and are not linked to specific churches or denominations, have a lot to reckon with in light of post-modernism. The critique of the enlightenment and its inherent epistemological presuppositions and the claim of the Bible being the authority without acknowledging the various interpretations and methods of interpretations will pose problems in the future for organizations the are sort of battering down the hatches and creating non-negotiables.
I was pleasantly surprised in the non-negotiables document to see a plurality of viewpoints being expressed about soteriological issues, while the Scripture piece seemed to say that the OT pretty much existed only to point to the NT and Jesus, as though the OT is not good in and of itself and important in the story of God's salvific work in the world.
That's enough for now, I look forward to hearing what some of you might think about this recent activity in YL...peace!