Windsor Hills Baptist Church plans to hold a shooting competition at their youth conference where they are giving away some fairly hefty fire power. The motives are clearly at least in part good. The church’s youth pastor, Bob Ross, claimed the main thrust of the conference wasn't about guns but rather "teens finding faith".
Perhaps this doesn't sound strange to you: to a Brit like me, it sounds about as responsible as giving away 6 packs of extra strength lager to try to encourage 8 year olds to attend vacation bible school - and no, even now we have returned to Europe, this isn't our plan!
The plan has unsurprisingly provoked some comments by local media.
But, if you are not planning to give away guns to encourage youth to attend your retreat, what it the hook that you would like to use? Is it the gospel, or is it something that would be extremely appealling to young people intent on pursuing the things of this world, whether it be guns, beer or something a little tamer? Is it OK for a youth group to be sold on the great programme planned and then sneak the gospel in through the back door? How can we be sure that we are presenting the gospel to young people in a way that is by no means deceitful or manipulative?
Giving away free stuff if you come to church always reminds me of the credit card companies on the college campus giving away a free t-shirt if you sign up, and that is not a good thing to be compared to.
Apparently they had almost canceled this shoot fest '08 and left this note on their website:
Although the shooting competition that was to take place during the Youth Conference had been canceled, due to false statements* made by the Oklahoma City TV Channel 5 (KOCO) and subsequently reported also by media outlets across the country, a shotgun was donated last Saturday so that the competition could go on as planned.
If Congress, back when our country was fighting for its independence could give engraved muskets to the fifteen or so eleven year old boys that their teacher, Mr. Akins, led into battle against the British, then we can give away a firearm still today, especially since our Supreme Court just re-emphasized our Second Amendment rights.
And if "Congress back when our country was fighting for its independence" thought slavery was ok and that women should not vote and Natives were ruthless savages less than human, then....
Props: Church Matters