Matthew 25:1---What's Wrong with and Missing from Contemporary Youth Bible Curricula?

According to the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Second edition, the Jesus Seminar is a small, self-selected association of academics who meet twice a year to debate the Historical Jesus.   Its' stated mission is the debunking of the false perception fostered in the Gospels and many churches that Jesus is not only human but God Incarnate who brought salvation and will one day rule all things as sovereign Lord. The Jesus Seminar has marketed its views skillfully and has not only attracted widespread media interest but the rapt attention of the international occult New Age Luciferian elite-pagans whose project is the building of the new Tower of Babel, a religiously pagan, God-less occult pantheist/evolutionary NWO.

The Jesus Seminar is committed to seven "pillar" assumptions about the Gospels and Jesus.  These are:

(1) the "historical" Jesus is not the "Christ" confessed by the church

(2) the Jesus of John's Gospel is almost completely fictitious

(3) Matthew and Luke are largely derived from Mark

(4) more important than Mark, Matthew and Luke is a hypothetical document called Q (consisting of about 225 verses common to Matthew and Luke and absent from Mark)

(5) Jesus was not an eschatological visionary with respect to either some "second coming" on his part or some cataclysmic divine intervention by God to end the present age and inaugurate the final one

(6) Jesus must be considered within an "oral culture" context, claimed to be quite different from a written (historical) culture

 (7) the Gospels' are false in matters of history unless they can be shown to the modern skeptic's satisfaction to be true. (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Second edition, s.v. "Jesus Seminar;" online source: White Horse Inn)

In the essay, "Paganization of Biblical Studies," Dr. Peter Jones, adjunct professor of Westminster Seminary, Calif., writes that the Jesus Seminar consists of Gnostic evolutionary pantheists committed to the rehabilitation of ancient Gnosticism as a valid, yet Christ-less form of early Christianity.  Some of the books written by Jesus Seminar fellows serve as programmatic templates for the future New Age pagan community from the point of view of Christian apostasy and socialism undergirded by evolutionary pantheist orthodoxy.

The rising New World Order will be post-Christian because evolution supposedly proves that human beings, as they evolved out of primordial matter, created language, then symbols, then religious explanations and God Himself.  Therefore tomorrow's world order will be pluralistic, syncretistic, relativistic, and poly-gendered because evolution integrates all scientific, cultural, religious, economic, and human gender into a massive anthill, thus when society emerges from the evolutionary process,

 " will require humanity to develop a new consciousness and a new form of spirituality" because "the new story which has become basic to the global world begins with a new word or idea...evolution." (ibid, Jones)

Evolution is only scientific within the context of the ancient Mysteries and attendant magical occult traditions such as Hermetic magic and Cabala where it is closely connected to the devil's lie that man is a being who though presently limited in time and space is nevertheless capable of achieving a great leap of being and magically evolving into a much more powerful god-like being in the future. (Occult Evolution: Antediluvian, Babylonian, and Modern Expressions, Kimball, American Prophet, May 2, 2014)

Evolution therefore bespeaks a process of magical transformation (biological and spiritual evolution) moving from one kind of lower thing to another kind of higher thing.  For example, with ancient Egyptian Hermeticism, human beings,

"...are themselves the product of a long spiritual evolutionary process that moves from 'creeping things' to fish, mammals, birds and then people.  Humans can---through occult knowledge and extraordinary ability---continue this evolutionary process and become daemons, then gods..." (The Making of the New Spirituality: the Eclipse of the Western Religious Tradition, James A. Herrick, p. 40)

The key tactic employed by Jesus Seminar pagans and like-minded apostatizing theologians for the evil purpose of introducing evolution into Scripture, thereby unmaking the Word of God and simultaneously reducing our Lord Jesus Christ to mere mortal involves the reduction of the Genesis account, particularly the historical and literals elements of the first three books, to allegory and myth.   This evil scheme works by eliminating the physical, historical Adam from which all people descended and the sin that he transferred to the rest of the human race.  This strikes directly at the heart of the Gospel: the need for the 'last Adam' to provide for us an escape from the wrath of God against sin incurred by the first Adam.  In this way, not only is the work of Christ on the cross rendered superfluous, meaning the heart of the faith is ripped out, but God is made responsible for sin and evil. (1 Peter 3:18-22; 1 John 2:22)

For more than sixty years the paganizing influence briefly outlined above has been infiltrating and corrupting the whole body of the Christian Church.  This malign influence is seen by the existence within the church body, for example, of evolution quietly supplanting Special Creation, relativism (sinless man's autonomous opinions and feelings as supreme), universalism (all ways lead to heaven), yoga, mind science, Jungian psychology, salvation through nice works, the strange Holy Spirit (Kundalini), and culturally relevant youth ministries resembling romper rooms equipped with pizza.

Paganizing Influence and Youth Dropout

Youth dropout is an urgent concern in today's Protestant churches, evangelical and mainline.  In an effort to understand the cause, Brian H. Cosby, pastor of Wayside Presbyterian Church (PCA) on Signal Mountain, Tennessee, analyzed popular contemporary youth bible curricula.  He found that the vast majority of contemporary youth-targeted Bible studies and curricula make it their purpose to be 'culturally relevant,' 'engaging,' 'cutting edge,' 'creative,' 'radical,' or 'real,' meaning actual statements promoting popular studies.

For his research, Cosby selected some of the most popular contemporary youth curricula: Studies on God (Youth Specialties), Encounter Curriculum (Standard Publishing), Bible Stuff Series (Simply Youth Ministries) and Life Choices (Outreach).  He found that many contemporary youth studies,
"...are filled with Hollywood movie clips, icebreakers, and calls to confront the 'real world' with love...without the narrow confines of old heady doctrine."   (Style or Substance, Cosby, Modern Reformation, p. 30)
 What is wrong with and missing from contemporary curricula? Cosby provides an outline:
1. Wrong---self-salvation.   Missing--- God's attributes, character, self-sufficiency, or supremacy, namely, the glory of the wholly other God Who draws us to himself are missing.  Thus the student is left with a plea to 'try God' or just apply the 'moral of the story' as if the student is the autonomous arbiter of salvation and meaning.
2. Missing---historical and literal elements of Scripture, particularly Genesis:  Few, if any, of these studies place the Scripture passages in their historical-redemptive context to show how they point to Christ and the gospel, or where it fits within salvation history.  The trend is toward moralism: "You can do it, God can help."
3. Wrong: relativism:  While these studies provide some thought-provoking questions, they are rarely answered with Scripture.  This leaves students deciding 'truth' for themselves.
4. Missing: sin: You will be hard-pressed to find much about 'sin' in these studies.  Rather, you will find replacement words such as 'troubles,' 'brokenness,' 'frustrations,' and living in a way that isn't the most healthy and happy.
5. Wrong: Jesus Idols: These studies assume a youth group and youth pastors to the exclusion of parental involvement and the significance of God-ordained church leadership.  They imply an overemphasis on the 'me-and-Jesus' syndrome.

The wrong and missing elements parallel the paganization of Scripture agenda carried out by evolutionary theologians like the Jesus Seminar Gnostics, making contemporary curriculum, whether by design or lack of discernment, a nearly oil-free lamp of profession in the hand but not the heart:

"Our light must shine before men in good works; but this is not likely to be long done, unless there is a fixed, active principle in the heart, of faith in Christ, and love to God and our brethren." Matthew Henry, Matthew 25:1

Dropout doesn't have to be an over-riding concern.  But what must happen is the replacement of contemporary curricula with Scripturally faithful curricula that equips youth with doctrinally sound teaching  and apologetics training that helps them grow, sustain and defend their faith in our paganized culture.

Pastor Cosby recommends curricula such as the following:
1. Bible Doctrine for Teens and Young Adults (Reformation Heritage Books): A three-volume series covering all the major biblical doctrines.  Written from a Reformed, confessional position it also emphasize the role of parents and the local church.
2. Gospel Project for Students (Lifeway): From a Reformed Baptist position, emphasis is on the redemptive context, seeing Jesus in all of Scriptures. 
3. So What? (Great Commission Publications): From a Reformed-Presbyterian angle, these studies are filled with solid content, Bible commentary and appropriate application.
4. Children Desiring God Youth Studies (Desiring God): From a Reformed Baptist slant with the following stated distinctives: God/centeredness, depth/accuracy, application, theology, and partnership with parents.

@ Linda Kimball