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What will the kids learn at Centrifuge?

From the looks of what is being advertised on the centrifugecamps.com site, this summer may be no safer than last summer for teenagers who are innocently set off to camp by parents and churches. This site offers the first day’s lesson of the summer Centrifuge Camps. The Bible Study Leader’s Guide for “Fuge 2006” is entitled, Thrill Ride and is written by Christopher S. O’Dell. The author is described in the preface as “a full-time stay at home dad of four children” who “served as a youth minister and worked Centrifuge camp” before becoming a dad.

If the posted first day’s lesson is any indication, this may be another infamous “Fugegate” offered up by Lifeway. According to Sephen Underkofler’s blog about this, that is precisely what is going on. Stephen received the whole teaching guide in the mail and says, “there is no cross” in it. Specifically, he laments, “Yes, they want me to teach the ‘gospel’ without mention of the cross, resurrection, sin, or God’s holiness.” I searched the lesson that is posted and did find 2 quick references to sin, but none to forgiveness, repentance or hell. I did find this:

Ask: What’s the point of riding a roller-coaster in the first place? [The thrill!]

Say: We can go to a carnival and see the most rickety, old, squeaky, rusty roller-coaster with a sign posted out front that says “WARNING: Not safe! WARNING: Really!” And still get on it. Jesus calls us to “step right up,” yet we let uncertainty cloud our senses. In this lesson, we will see that Jesus is the most entertaining and thrilling ride we could ever choose. May we allow God to tighten the bolts and oil the gears of your faith. Jesus offers you a life full of LIFE. We should not be satisfied with waiting for everyone else to finish the thrill ride. We are to strap ourselves in and enjoy the ride.

Read Stephen’s full account and get his take on this material. Regularly I am asked if I really think that we have lost the Gospel in our day. Things like this make it easy to defend my answer.

And before anyone emails me accusing me of “pushing Calvinism” again, let me state the obvious that too often seems to be missed by some: This is not a Calvinist issue. It is a Gospel issue. My Arminian friends are just as appalled by this kind of whiz-bang, supercool substitution for the Gospel as we Calvinists are.
HT: Alex Forrest.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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