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Section 10D .. Our Country, Our Children

 

003white  Index To Our Country.. Our Children         >           Teen Mania

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Battlecry

Teen Mania/ BattleCry /Acquire the Fire

Carol Brooks

Please Note: Each coloured link within the article will lead you to a related topic on a different page of this site. However while the text is part of the original article, the links are not. The author of this article may or may not agree with the views expressed on those pages, or anything else on this site..

ON THIS PAGE

Teen Mania Ministries
Acquire The Fire
The Honor Academy
Ron Luce

Battle Cry
BattleCry ReCreate’s Featured Artists
BattleCry ReCreate’s Featured Speakers

Ron Luce and Nocturne Productions
BattleCry and P.O.D

Teen Mania and Marketing
The Strategic Planning behind Teen Mania
Teen Mania and The Egyptians

Teen Mania and TBN
Coalition Supporters And Members

Teen Mania Goes Contemplative
Teen Mania Introduces Kids to Contemplative-Promoting Speaker

Teen Mania and Ecumenism

Conclusion

 

Teen Mania Ministries is an Evangelical Christian mission organization located in Garden Valley, Texas. Its programs include the Battle Cry Campaign and Acquire the Fire events, described by one writer as "a mix of pep rally, rock concert and church service," that are held in over 30 cities across the United States and Canada each year. Among other programs, the ministry organizes domestic and overseas mission trips, and operates a one-year-long residential program on its campus, the Honor Academy, marketed to high school graduates.

Teen Mania Ministries' mission, as stated on its corporate web site, is "to provoke a young generation to passionately pursue Jesus Christ and to take his life-giving message to the ends of the Earth".

Teen Mania is not affiliated with one specific denomination, but works with all denominations. Each year, youth groups from over 50 denominations attend the Acquire the Fire youth events. [Wikipedia].

Teen Christians campaign against pop culture, a part of the CNN.com series God's Warriors, says the following…

    From 2006 to 2007, a total of 127,830 people attended the 34 Acquire the Fire rallies, and 71,414 people attended the three BattleCry events held in San Francisco, California; Detroit, Michigan; and Bristow, Virginia, according to Teen Mania… Ron Luce, the 46-year-old founder of the organization, has waged a modern-day crusade against "purveyors of popular culture," whom he has condemned as "the enemy." More than two decades old, Teen Mania estimates it has reached more than 2 million teens with its message "of living completely for Christ."

    The organization is sprawling. In addition to its live stadium rallies, there are BattleCry shirts and hats, mobile screen savers, books and a television program. There are international mission trips -- Hutchins attended one in Tijuana, Mexico, this summer. There is even a Teen Mania internship, a one-year program called the Honor Academy, based in Lindale, Texas. [a]

Also See Teen Christians campaign against pop culture on CNN [View]


Ron Luce
According to the Teen Mania site

    “Ron is the President and Founder of Teen Mania Ministries, a Christian youth organization that reaches millions of young people worldwide. Ron passionately declares the truth of the Gospel without compromise as he challenges teenagers to take a stand for Christ in their schools, communities, and throughout the world.

    Raised in a broken home, Ron ran away from home at the age of 15 and became involved in drug and alcohol abuse before finding Jesus at the age of 16. The life-transforming impact of Christ inspired Ron to dedicate his life to reaching young people. After receiving both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in counseling and psychology, Ron and his wife, Katie, started Teen Mania in 1986 with nothing more than a hatchback car and a dream to raise up an army of young people who would change the world… Ron and Katie live in Garden Valley, Texas with their three children, Hannah, Charity, and Cameron”. [1]

The Acquire The Fire site says

    As a young man, Ron had an earnest desire to become a missionary. After traveling all over the world and ministering to people of foreign cultures, a question came to his mind, “What about the people in America?” At that moment, as Ron states, “ I was presented with two different ministries. On one hand I had missions, and on the other, I had America… At that moment, I saw a connection. God was calling me to build army of teenagers that would be willing to stretch out and save the world through missions!” Since then, Ron and Katie have diligently sought the will of God and continue to build a spiritual army for Jesus Christ reaching out, not only to a young generation of American teenagers, but countries all of over the world. All because one man had a dream, a passion, and the will to find the future that God had set before him… [2]


Acquire The Fire
According to a 2002 Time magazine article..

    “Combining teens' desire to belong to a larger group while also catering to their appetite for popular culture, Teen Mania started the Acquire the Fire rallies in 1991. The fast-paced live events, with light shows, music and dancers, offer a 21st century iteration of the Gospel and draw 5,000 to 10,000 kids each weekend. Ron Luce, head of the organization, aims to have something different happening onstage every five or six minutes, and each song or performance, skit, speech or video clip carries a Gospel message. Significantly, five or six minutes is about the length of two rock videos”. [3]
     

The Honor Academy..
With more than 800 undergraduate and graduate interns, the Honor Academy is located in Garden Valley, Texas. It is Teen Mania’s year-long internship program for young people with the mission “To provoke a young generation to passionately pursue Jesus Christ and to take His life-giving message to the ends of the earth!”… This character development program takes place at a 500-acre facility located in North Smith County.

     “Luce has built college-style dormitory buildings, a cafeteria, gymnasium, "sport court" a water park with slide, a teen-oriented meeting hall complete with jungle set and moving accent lights. He calls the internship the "Honor Academy."” [4]
     

Battle Cry
The basic purpose of the BattleCry Campaign, as described in its promotional materials and events, is to ensure that Christianity survives in America by redefining society.

The third series of "BattleCry" stadium events and rallies, called BattleCry ReCreate, took place on February 8th and 9th, 2008 in New York City, of which the BattleCry web site said

    “It’s time to ReCreate your life, your culture, your world! BattleCry ReCreate is a weekend event for students, leaders and parents that will challenge all to let their voice be heard, to make a difference in their homes, their churches, at work and at school, as well as make decisions based upon Godly principles and not what is popular in society.

    This event develops strong commitment to the Lord and discipleship through powerful times of praise, worship, and the Word of God illuminated by messages and a full-scale drama all intricately woven together to capture the young person’s attention and inspire leaders in winning a generation back! IT’S TIME TO RECREATE!” [5]

Greater New York BattleCry, scheduled for April 16-17, 2010 is touted as

    Bring your youth to the event of a lifetime. You'll find the greatest worship bands, the greatest audio feast, and the greatest, most mind blowing interactive ministry you have ever experienced at a Christian event. Join the hundreds of thousands of young people who will give God 27 hours at a Teen Mania event this year and walk away transformed. [5b]

While I am no sure what “ mind blowing” performances are scheduled for 2010, there were certainly some some extravagant entertainment in 2009...
 

BattleCry ReCreate’s (2009) Featured Artists
However apart from the rather steep Event Door Pricing of $60, included among the ‘Featured Artists’ were the Nubian Gents… a rap style group also called a “Christian step-dancing team”. Started by Lamont O'Neil of Brooklyn, New York, who caught the step-dancing bug as a graduate student at Penn State.

    “Step dancing, which originated in South Africa, is popular among black college students. Dancers in bright, baggy gym suits stomp their feet, slap their legs and clap their hands in synchronized rhythm. The routines are a mixture of hip-hop, aerobics and drill-team maneuvers, sprinkled with a dash of Michael Jackson's moonwalk.

    To the accompaniment of contemporary gospel music, O'Neil steers the Gents in chanting lyrics such as: "No need to worry. No need to cry. Jesus is there for you." Young audiences eat it up.”  [6]

See video of the Nubian Gents
 

BattleCry ReCreate’s Featured Speakers
While I am not familiar with all the featured guests The BattleCry site boasted that

Bishop TD Jakes

    “.. IS COMING to the BattleCry NYC event on February 8, 2008 and is calling all senior pastors, youth leaders, parents and mentors to bring your students and youth groups for an urgent and life-changing weekend. Reaching the young people in this generation is so important that Bishop Jakes is coming IN PERSON, won’t you join him and bring every student you can. [7]

TD Jakes? Someone has to be kidding me?  This is the guy that received a new Bentley from Paula White? Of all the hucksters alive they could not have picked a much bigger one than T.D. Jakes. And here is the rest of it [T.D. Jakes]  

Seth Franco
The second advertised speaker was Seth Franco known as the “first Caucasian Harlem Globetrotter” His web site says that he

    “…travels throughout the US and internationally using his unique basketball-handling routine as a platform to share the love of Jesus Christ with others”.

Yes! You read that right. He shares his walk with the Lord through a unique ball-handling routine. While I can admire skills with a basket ball as much as the next person, I fail to see what gymnastics have do with the Gospel. See video of Seth Franco [8]..  At the BattleCry Event Franco told the audience that ‘this was his way of worshipping God, for giving him a second chance’. Boy! The worship must raise the rafters of Heaven at a Cirque du Soleil performance.

Mariano Rivera
a professional baseball player with the  New York Yankees and who’s chief function at the event seemed to be to introduce Nicky Cruz.

Sean Hannity
And of course who is not familiar with Sean Hannity, who is not only Catholic, but has endorsed Ron Luce’s book Battle Cry For My Generation. Obviously there was nothing in the book to give offense to Hannity’s
Catholicism. Actually some of the material in the book was quite encouraging. [See Ecumenism below].
 

Ron Luce and Nocturne Productions
In his book, Battle Cry for a Generation, Ron Luce says..

    Music: pounding home the obscenities. The enemy isn't limited to television and movie screens, of course. Going far beyond the limits of decorum and good taste - while foregoing any attempt at true musicality - most of today's hits simply dish up steaming helpings of vileness [page 38].

Ron Luce then goes on to quote lyrics he finds offensive, including two songs by Kid Rock.

However Teen Mania used Nocturne Productions for their San Francisco happening.

    “Nocturne Productions is named in the credits of the video coverage of the first two "BattleCry" events, aired on TBN, JCTV and the NRB Network.

    Nocturne is also named as one of the top five independent contractors on Teen Mania's tax return, having been paid $91,500 for services in the year ending August 2004. [12]

So who are Nocturne productions? Their web site says they provide

    “… expert live entertainment and corporate production services at the arena and stadium level… We provide the most current technology and the most motivated and talented crews. [http://www.nocturneproductions.com/co.html]

Sadly this has given much ammunition to those who criticize Christian Fundamentalism (and who know little or nothing about it except what people “In the spotlight”… people like Ron Luce convey).

While on the one hand Ron Luce says

    "I think people have gotten more and more open to dealing with secular firms when they see that there's no way to get the job done otherwise, at least in Christian circles," Mr. Luce said. "I know a lot of leaders in the faith-based community, and they don't have a problem going to a secular agency if they're reputable and have good character." [13]

Reputable and have good character? While I have been unable to confirm whether Nocturne actually supported one of Kid Rock’s fairly recent tours, their client list does include Prince, Kiss, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, Earth Wind and Fire, Godsmack and Madonna. [http://www.nocturneproductions.com/clients.html]. According to Ron Luce...

    The problem for some organizations is that Christian ad agencies may not perform on a "world-class level," said Ron Luce, the president and founder of Teen Mania. [14]

The video "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails shows a monkey crucified on a cross! But I guess you can justify anything in the effort to “perform on a world-class level"

Also See Section Secular Rock


BattleCry and P.O.D.
Additionally, at least two of the three BattleCry events have featured the despicable group P.O.D, that, for some inexplicable reason, are considered a Christian band by the completely delusional.  UTube showcases several excerpts from the Bristow Virginia and the Detroit Michigan events.

    POD rocks the house at the 2007 Virginia BattleCry event

      [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIMlDfdQteM&NR=1]

      [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Jifdptl-PQ&feature=related]

P.O.D. Playing at BattleCry Detroit 2007

    [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkAOT1zdkzE&feature=related]


Teen Mania and Marketing

There is no doubt that Teen Mania is right about many things.. For instance they say

    “A stealthy enemy has infiltrated our country and is preying upon the hearts and minds of 33 million American teens. Corporations, media conglomerates, and purveyors of popular culture have spent billions to seduce and enslave our youth. So far, the enemy is winning. But there is plenty we can do. We need to take action. We need to answer the Battle Cry”. [9]

They then go on to specifically mention the sexual content on television, the internet and in music, which should be a source of extreme concern to every Christian parent alive today. However Teen Mania also targets advertising (which in many cases they should) saying [Emphasis Added]

    “With more than $128 billion dollars in their pockets, this generation has been targeted by corporate America, who does everything it can to grow brands and profits without any regard to the moral decay of a generation”. [10]

In the light of the above diatribe against the secular culture and corporate America, it is extremely interesting that several people who've held important positions in Teen Mania have also worked for one of the nation's biggest advertisers, Procter & Gamble, and have been involved in sales, advertising, marketing, promotions and product management.

Tom Muccio, one of the featured speakers at Maximum Impact is

    "…the recently retired President of Procter & Gamble's Global Customer Teams. He was with Procter & Gamble for 35 years in a variety of sales and marketing assignments in both the U.S. and abroad." and is currently” the CEO of two start-up companies - BioBased Systems and BioBased Technologies”.  [11]

Rick Brenner, Teen Mania's Chief Operating Officer (2002-2004), who was paid a larger salary than Ron Luce and his wife combined…

    “is the founding CEO of TyraTech and VP of Business Development for XL TechGroup. … His general management roles were preceded by three years at PNV, a telecommunications start-up company, eight years in marketing at Procter & Gamble serving in multiple roles, including marketing Director and six years at Leo Burnett Advertising,in account management. Mr. Brenner received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Maryland and a Master of Management degree from Northwestern University. [11b]

[In 2004 Ron Luce as president made $134,181, while his wife Katie Luce as secretary made $35,000. Richard Brenner as CEO made $180,455. This information came form www.charitynavigator.org and was based on the financial information each charity provides annually in its informational tax returns, or IRS Forms 990].

Besides which, the strategic planning for Teen Mania also came from the ‘war room’ at Proctor and Gamble
 

The Strategic Planning behind Teen Mania
Michael Zigarelli, Associate Professor of Management at Messiah College and the former Dean of the Regent University School of Business is the author of several books, including Management by Proverbs, about which the overview on Google books says

    “Whether you're a first time supervisor, a pastor of a small church, or the CEO of a multi-national corporation. The book of Proverbs offers timeless principles for leadership success”

In the book Zigarelli quotes from a May 2004 personal interview with George Babbes, a member of the Teen Mania board, a Wharton MBA grad, and a lifelong friend of Ron Luce’s... (Emphasis Added)

     “After a few years of ministry growth it was complete chaos. Ron’s BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals) kept taking us to new levels of impact, and his vision led the ministry to where it is today, but along the way we encountered major stress fractures. There were too many moving parts and without a formal strategy and structure, the ministry began tearing apart at the seams.” So at that point, Babbes, then a brand manager at Procter and Gamble (P&G), invited Ron to join him to draw up a formal strategic plan. “We put together a clear mission statement and then went into the ‘war room’ at P&G and walked through Jay Galbraith’s standard approach to strategic planning. We filled board after board with ideas, and by the end of the weekend, we had easel paper hanging on every wall of the room.” [15]

So the strategic planning for Teen Mania came from the ‘war room’ at Proctor and Gamble

The book goes on to say

    “Strategic planning is a management tool used by almost every major company in the world, as well as by many not-for-profit organizations”. [16]

And

    “Planning is an indispensable tool for effective management. When it’s a priority, planning will strengthen your organization and improve your bottom line; when neglected, the opposite happens. Whether you are managing a company, a church, a department, a project, a career, or a household, the old adage resounds: failure to plan is a plan for failure. It’s a truth that we learn not just from an extraordinary ministry in Texas, but throughout Scripture as well”   [15]

Since…

    “God is a planner. He planned the whole storyline of Scripture from the beginning” [15]

They then claim that “Jesus also affirmed the enterprise of planning, quoting Luke 14:28-32, in which Jesus said

    For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it? Lest haply, when he hath laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, as he goeth to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and asketh conditions of peace. [17]

However, there are several problems with the above thoughts. As so many who seek to superimpose their own ideas on Scripture, they have taken the verses from Luke completely out of context. While there is little doubt that planning is essential and wise in many many facets of our lives, Jesus, in the above verses, was NOT emphasizing any kind of strategic planning, but was talking about salvation, and about the necessity for not just starting the course, but making sure you finish it, since the cost of failure is enormous".

While you will have to read the entire chapter to get the full sense, the verses immediately preceding and following the quoted ones make it clear that Jesus was talking about discipleship, not plannning a business venture or even a ministry.  In verse 27 Jesus says “Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” and in verse 33, He says “So therefore whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple”. [Also See Article Cost of Commitment].
 

Teen Mania and The Egyptians
The prophet Isaiah issued a a reproof to the Israelites for forming an alliance with the Egyptians, and not trusting in the Lord ..

     Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, and trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek Jehovah! [Isaiah 31:1]

While it is true that Michael Zigarelli goes on to say that anyone who “claims a Christian world view” are to be

    “… dependent upon God and seek His counsel” and “make Him a full partner, leaning heavily on His Word and on His personal revelation as we chart our course from today until tomorrow”. [17]

But regardless of the pious words, Teen Mania had begun to come apart at the seams [15] before they went down to Egypt for help. Without the intervention of Babbes, then a brand manager at Procter and Gamble and “Jay Galbraith’s standard approach to strategic planning”, it is pretty obvious that Teen Mania would probably not be where it is today.

    (Incidentally, Babbes teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in strategic marketing, strategy and planning, and managerial economics, while Jay Galbraith is founder of Galbraith Management Consultants who’s “work focuses on the areas of organizational design, change, and development; strategy and organization at the corporate, business unit, and international levels)

So how can we tell whether Teen Mania’s success comes from well oiled corporate planning or from a movement of the Holy Spirit, seeking to draw young people to Christ. Well, as the old adage goes… the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The Bible puts it this way..  By their fruits Ye shall know them " (Matt 7:16 ).

 So what are some of the fruits of Teen Mania and related organizations? How can one point a finger at a Christian youth organization devoted to steering teenagers away from drugs, alcohol and premarital sex.

Unfortunately Ron Luce and his organization have made it very easy. 

In Romans 10:2 Paul, talking about some of the Jews says

     For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

In other words, not only has a person have to have a great enthusiasm for God, but it also has to be an enlightened, discerning, and intelligent zeal. The energy has to be founded on a correct views of God and of religious truth. If the organization is leading Young people away from substance abuse and sex but is exposing them to other and equally sinister dangers, it has not accomplished much, if anything at all.

The homepage of The Honor Academy site used to carry a message from Ron Luce, in which he said

    “You don’t want to miss it man, It’s like being around a bunch of animals for God..”

In fact, in the above mentioned message there is a brief glimpse of what appears to be a typical Rock concert with all the trimmings. It is hard to see how Heavy Metal Christian raves complete with pyrotechnic thrills, marching or military style fervor can make a life long Christian disciple. Additionally rhetoric that flows in stadium events can be very difficult to sustain once everyone returns to the daily grind. The mountaintop experience of a weekend conference is hard, if not impossible, to maintain come Wednesday or Thursday.

However that aside…
 

Teen Mania and TBN
Teen Mania’s site says the following

    “Ron is a sought-after speaker who has traveled to more than 50 countries and has made numerous media appearances, such as Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio broadcast and The 700 Club. He is also a frequent host and guest on the Trinity Broadcasting Network”.

The Trinity Broadcasting Network? Time and space does not allow me to list all the problems with TBN. Suffice to say Paul and Jan Crouch do not know what they believe or they do not care. Their response to any guest (regardless of how fundamental or ‘way out’ the theology) who invokes the name of Jesus, is the same… Unabashed approval. While they believe that they are God's appointed Noah's Ark for the last days, TBN’s stable of ‘regulars’ has done the worst damage in scattering the seeds of heresy far and wide.

The cornerstone of the TBN’s ministry, the one that keeps the machine well oiled is the prosperity doctrine which squeezes contributions of hundreds of thousands of TBN fans, well-wishers and ordinary people who have been suckered into the idea of ‘planting a seed’, which will be re-paid 100 fold by the Lord, but which in fact do little but line the pockets of Paul and Jan Crouch and spread TBN’s manure to even further recesses of the earth.. [See TBN]
 

Coalition Supporters And Members
The ‘Partners’ page on the Battlecry site says

    “As the Battle Cry Coalition gains momentum, these notable Christian leaders have already enlisted and are actively lending their support to the Coalition's efforts. Won't you join them in helping to reach this generation?” [18]

Listed among others are John Maxwell of the  Injoy group, Pat Robertson (Christian Broadcasting Network), Joyce Meyer, and Jack Hayford.. pastor of Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California.

Pat Robertson is unique even among all the other crooks in Christianity, some of whom could be charitably considered ‘vastly deluded individuals’. He has taken the word ‘Christian’ leader to new lows, partially lining his pockets by getting involved with diamond-mining operations and brutal dictators and dealing with peddlers of porn… all the while peddling his version of the truth to millions. Unfortunately Pat Robertson’s reprehensible conduct has far too many facets to be listed here, so Read On

The following points about Jack Hayford are from Way of Life’s article Beware Of Jack Hayford…

    At the Promise Keepers Clergy Conference in 1996 Hayford urged the crowd of 40,000 to “dance in the Lord,” saying that he learned the dance in Africa and that later the Lord said to him, “May I have this dance?” [(Bruce Caldwell, “Following in the Footsteps of the Apostate Presbyterians,” Christian News, March 11, 1996)]

    Hayford claims that he got his radical position on ecumenism directly from God. He says that in 1969, as he approached a large Catholic church in Southern California, God spoke to him and instructed him not to judge Roman Catholicism. He says he heard a message from God saying, “Why would I not be happy with a place where every morning the testimony of the blood of my Son is raised from the altar?” (“The Pentecostal Gold Standard,” Christianity Today, July 2005) Based upon this “personal revelation,” Hayford adopted a neutral approach to Catholicism,

    Hayford was a featured speaker at John Wimber’s 1991 conference in Sydney, Australia, joining hands in that forum with Catholic priests Tom Forrest and Raniero Cantalamessa and Catholic layman Kevin Ranaghan

    Hayford is on the Board of Regents for Melodyland Christian Center, which has a close relationship with Roman Catholicism. A fellow board member is Roman Catholic Fred Ladenius, author of Amazing John XXIII, a book fully supportive of the Pope by that name, a Pope who died with a Rosary in his hand and prayers to Mary and Catholic “saints” on his lips.

    Hayford also has a close relationship with heretic Robert Schuller. He spoke at Schuller’s Men’s Conference at the Crystal Cathedral in March 1995 and in January 2005 and endorsed Schuller’s 1996 autobiography, My Soul’s Adventure with God.

    Also Paul Crouch, founder of TBN, is a member in good standing at the Hayford-pastored Church on the Way.

However there is more. Teen Mania has jumped on the mystical bandwagon and promotes dangerous Eastern practices like meditation and Contemplative Spirituality.
 

Teen Mania Goes Contemplative
Source: Lighthouse Trails

Ron Luce's Teen Mania and meditation promoter Liz Babbs are resonating with each other, and the connection is meditation. Luce is the "President and Founder of Teen Mania Ministries, a Christian youth organization that reaches millions of young people worldwide." An October 2006 article, Teen Mania Introduces Kids to Contemplative-Promoting Speaker, explains that Teen Mania was bringing contemplative promoter Jack Hayford to speak at one of their events.

In a most revealing video clip, Ron Luce now interviews meditation promoter Liz Babbs. In September 2006, we reported:

    Liz Babbs is an "award-winning author, performer, broadcaster and spiritual mentor [who] travels extensively raising awareness of issues of health and spirituality." Her book, Into God's Presence, can be found in Christian bookstores and through various Christian ministries. Organizations like American Family Association (AFA), Christianbook.com, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, and Lifeway Stores (Southern Baptist outlet) all carry Babb's book, and the publisher, Zondervan, is considered to be a Christian publishing house.

But just what does Liz Babbs mean when she says, Into God's Presence? The answer to that question can be easy to find. On Babbs' website, she gives specific instructions (which she says are taken from her book) on meditation. And we're not talking about contemplating or meditating on God's word. No, this is Eastern style meditation, which she calls a "deep form of prayer" that leads to "a wonderful pathway of intimacy with God." With meditation practices like breath prayers, one word meditations, the Jesus Prayer, and others, Babbs reveals her spiritual affinities. [See Contemplating The Alternative]

In the interview between Babbs and Luce, she tells Luce how meditation can be done and can include repeating the name of Jesus over and over in order to rid oneself of distractions and really hear God.

What this means is that Teen Mania's "millions of young people worldwide" may ultimately be introduced to mysticism. It is important to note that Teen Mania has the same militant undertone as Pete Greig's 24/7 ministry. [http://lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=288&more=1&c=1] This militancy/meditation mixture is going to have disastrous effects, and the fruit of it will be potentially harmful to the spiritual lives of many people. This same militancy is found in the emerging church movement as well as the Purpose Driven program and is linked to the New Age militancy against Bible believing Christians. [19]

See Video Clip of Liz Babbs interviewed by Ron Luce on Christian Meditation
 

Liz Babb’s’ 2006 TEXAS BLOG has the following (All Emphasis Added)

    Tue 14th Feb:
    My big day – Liz on US TV!!. Georgeanne and Jim were such perfect hosts and they even arranged for me their hairdresser Donna to come to their house that morning so that I looked good for the show. We arrived at Daystar TV and I felt immediately at home. People couldn’t have been kinder. I loved being on the ‘Celebration’ programme. The Daystar Singers were amazing live and their wonderful worship soon put me at my ease. Joni and Marcus Lamb were away that day so a lovely guy called Ron Luce stepped in. I really enjoyed the interview and could hardly believe that I was sitting on the set that I had seen so often on Sky TV from England! Wow what a privilege.

    Sun 12th Feb:
    I went to church at Gateway Church which is a very modern mega church with surround sound and a very large congregation of 1,000’s. This is also Lena’s church. The service was very lively and great fun. In the afternoon we toured the Reality Theatre at Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and afterwards visited Wal-Mart to look at the books there.

    In the evening I went to Georgeanne’s church Calvary Lutheran Church for a Taize service which was wonderfully peaceful. Then we went home for hot spiced apple cider and some of Jim’s amazing homemade choc chic cookies. [See Footnote on Taizé]

    Mon 13th Feb
    In the morning we went on a tour of TBN TV studios…and then whipped back across Dallas to
    TBN to catch a very lively music and praise edition of ‘Praise the Lord’ being filmed that evening. [20]
     

Teen Mania Introduces Kids to Contemplative-Promoting Speaker
Source: Lighthouse Trails

Teen Mania's Fall 2006 "Battlecry Leadership Summit" will take place in several US cities this fall, and unfortunately one of the speakers is contemplative-promoting Jack Hayford. Hayford has been an ally with contemplative Richard Foster for some time now and has his endorsement on the back cover of Richard Foster's book, Streams of Living Water, in which Foster quotes panentheist Thomas Kelly as saying

    "Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center."

Hayford's affinity for contemplative is even more apparent when he endorsed the back cover of John Michael Talbot's 2005 book, The Way of the Mystics. Of the book, Hayford says:

    John Michael Talbot is a faithful worshiper of our Savior, whose music and meditations not only refresh many, but whose witness reminds us of the breadth of the scope of vital, living witness throughout the whole Body of Christ, and how much we who love Jesus Christ have to give to each other of our mutual growth and benefit.

But those "meditations" of Talbot are centered on Eastern mysticism as is apparent in The Way of the Mystics. In the book, Talbot writes about 12 or so past mystics, including St. Anthony (a desert father), Hildegard of Bingen, Ignatius of Loyola, George Fox and Thomas Merton. [For More Information, See Section Mysticism in The Church]

Of Merton, Talbot writes:

    [O]nce Merton was established in the silence, solitude, and seclusion of Gethsemani, his inner mystic and his inner muse began working overtime to create a vast outpouring of books" (p. 217).

That "outpouring" showed very clearly that Merton, who said he was impregnated with Sufism, had become completely immersed in mysticism and the belief that God dwelled in all human beings. [More About Merton]

Talbot shows equal admiration for a woman named Hildegard of Bingen. According to New Age mystic Matthew Fox, Hildegard "represents the big link between Christian spirituality and pre-patriarchal spiritualities (goddess spirituality)" and that she is called the "Grandmother of the Rhineland mystic movement, a movement of creation-centered spirituality" (from Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen).

John Michael Talbot's affinity to mystical practices is no secret. He says:

    "I began practicing meditation, specifically breath prayer, once again. I integrated the use of Tai Chi and yoga" [21].

When Jack Hayford says that Talbot's meditations "refresh many," one can only wonder if Hayford himself has indulged in these meditations. And with Hayford's obvious attraction to contemplative through his endorsement of both Foster and Talbot, will he bring this influence to countless young people at the Battlecry event?

We hope that the other speakers, including Pastor Tommy Barnett, will warn the youth attending to stay away from the spirituality that Jack Hayford is so readily promoting. And once again, we ask, why are Christian leaders turning away from biblical integrity and following hard after a sensual, New Age spirituality while leading so many on this dangerous trail?

Worth noting, Benny Hinn is one of the speakers at the upcoming King's Seminary (Hayford's seminary) Autumn Leadership Conference. Hayford, who is the current president for the Foursquare Church denomination, is bringing much harm to many by leading people to the teachings of Hinn and Talbot.
 

Teen Mania and Ecumenism
Teen Mania’s web site says

    Teen Mania is not affiliated with one specific denomination, but works with all denominations. Each year, youth groups from over 50 denominations attend the Acquire the Fire youth events. We believe strongly in creating unity within the Body of Christ. To truly make a difference on this generation, the largest teenage generation in history, we must partner together. [22]

Which seems to be more than literal.

In an article by A True Church in Lake Hughes, CA, the author quotes from Ron Luce’s book Battle Cry For My Generation

    In the late 1200s, the uncle and father of the famous explorer, Marco Polo, were visiting what we know today as China (and some of it's surrounding regions). The Polo brothers met with the ruler of the region, Kublai Khan, who was the grandson of the famous ruler Genghis Khan. During their visit they told him many things about the western world, including Christianity. Kublai expressed so much interest in the claims of Christ that he sent letters back with the Polo brothers asking the pope to send 100 missionaries who could tell him and his people more about the Christian faith. He went on to say that if they could simply show him why the Christian faith was truer than all other religions of the world, then he and all his followers would commit their lives to Christ. When the Polo brothers eventually delivered the letters to the pope, he had other more pressing matters on his mind. Instead of sending the 100 missionaries, he sent only 2 Dominican monks - who unfortunately turned back in fear for their lives.

    When you look at the territory that the Khan oversaw, it is much of what we know today as the 10/40 window. The 10/40 window refers to the least-evangelized area of the world. Since the time of Kublai Khan, billions of people have lived and died in that region without ever even hearing the name of Jesus. What would have happened if those 100 missionaries had been sent? What if even one of them was able to lead Kublai to Christ and through him, his entire nation came to know the Lord? Perhaps the 10/40 would today would be known as one of the most evangelized regions in the world. How many hundreds of millions, if not billions of people would be in heaven today if that opportunity had been handled differently? We will never know, but it will go down as one of the greatest missed opportunities for the advancement of the Gospel in the history of the world. (p. 120-121, copyright 2005) [23]

He then correctly comments

    When Luce here writes, "Christianity" he writes in the context of Roman Catholic "Christianity," as should be evident by his references to the pope. When Luce here says, "missionaries," he speaks in the context of Roman Catholic missionaries. When Luce here writes, "evangelized," he writes in the context of Roman Catholic evangelization. When Luce here says, "Christ," he speaks in the context of the Roman Catholic Christ. When Luce here writes, "Jesus," he writes in the context of the Roman Catholic Jesus. When Luce here says, "Christian faith," he speaks in the context of the Roman Catholic faith. When Luce here writes, "Gospel," he writes in the context of the Roman Catholic gospel. [23]

See Section on Catholicism

Ron Luce has also written a small book for teens called Extreme for Jesus Promise Book, in which he teaches,

    Even though you did nothing to earn God's grace, He gives it to you unconditionally, and because you didn't earn it, there is nothing you can do to cause it to go away. (p. 149)

Both statements are patently untrue. While God’s grace is free, repentance and faith are preconditions to God’s forgiveness and salvation, and yes, there is plenty you can do to lose your salvation.. [See Once Saved Always Saved?]

    Unfortunately, some Christians are only skin-deep. They talk about their faith, but they still live in the same way they did before they knew Jesus. There is no evidence of change. (p. 115)

This is a very distorted view of what a Christian is. if there is no evidence of change in a person then that person is NOT a Christian. Without being born again no one will see the Kingdom of Heaven. The very nature of the re-birth is change. [See Born Again.  Also See Carnal Christians?]

When your first priority is pleasing God instead of yourself or others, then you know that you have reached a deeper level of faith.

What Luce calls a "deeper level," the apostle Paul calls being a Christian.

    For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. (Romans 14:7-8; see also 2 Corinthians 5:9, 15)
     

Conclusion
It seems to me a tragedy that when someone like Ron Luce is in the position of reaching so many lost young people today, and capable of helping them stay away from the dangers of our modern society, he is not adhering to, nor teaching his young charges, the full counsel of Scripture. On the contrary he has given the thumbs up to fakes like TD Jakes and the blasphemous group P.O.D, indirectly taught that there is nothing wrong with Catholicism, and introduced them to Mysticism and Contemplative Spirituality. In short he has done more than his fair share to lead astray the thousands of your people who attend his events.

Teen Mania’s emphasis on turning Christian kids into "warriors" lines up with Erwin McManus' Barbarian Way and Kids in Ministries' Jesus Camp. Dressing kids in army fatigues and having them chant things like, We are warriors, is not indicative of Biblical Christianity that Jesus Christ or the disciples taught. Now with the coupling of militancy and mysticism, the possible results should cause alarm and deep concern.

Paul warned that after his departing wolves shall arise from among the flock to draw away the disciples after them.

Sure enough!
 

Footnote

Taizé: According to Wikipedia…

    The Taizé Community is an ecumenical Christian monastic order in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France. It is composed of a little over 100 brothers who come from Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant traditions. Over 100,000 young people from around the world make pilgrimages to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing, and communal work.

    The community, though Western European in origin, seeks to welcome people and traditions from across the globe. This is reflected in the music and prayers where songs are sung in many languages, and increasingly include chants and icons from the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The music emphasizes simple phrases, usually lines from Psalms or other pieces of Scripture, repeated and sometimes also sung in canon. The repetition is intended to aid meditation and prayer.

In other words the repetition promotes an Alternate State of Consciousness.

This style of worship has spread around the globe. For example the Calvary Baptist Church of Denver [http://www.calvarydenver.org/taize/#more] issues an invitation to join them for  “… Scripture, silence and song in the style of the Taize community” and goes on to say that “occasionally a labyrinth is made available at Calvary and at The Threshold…” [See Walking The Labyrinth]

 

End Notes

[a] http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/08/22/gw.teen.christians/index.html

[1] http://www.teenmania.org/corporate/index.cfm

[2] http://www.acquirethefire.com/page/about_atf

[3] Time Magazine. When God Is Cool. Sunday, May. 05, 2002.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1002432-3,00.html

[4] National Momentum Surges From Garden Valley Ministry. Tyler Morning Telegraph 2008

[5] www.mybattleplan.com/pages/battlecryrecreate_dallas.php.
http://eventful.com/eastrutherford/events/battlecry-2009-/E0-001-018587369-4@2009041719

[5b] http://www.battlecry.com/index.cfm/PageID/2210/index.html

[6] http://www.charismamag.com/display.php?id=6886

[7] www.battlecry.com/pages/battlecryrecreate_nyc.php

[8] www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulm3YmCxx5s

[9]

[10] http://www.acquiretheevidence.com/index.html

[11] http://www.maximumimpact.com/Mentoring/LTC/archive/Muccio/speaker.aspx

[11b] http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Brenner_Rick_5770839.aspx

[12] http://www.acquiretheevidence.com:80/articles/dependence-on-secular-talent.html

[13] http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/26/business/media/26adco.html

[14] http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/26/business/media/26adco.html

[15] Management by Proverbs By Michael A. Zigarelli. Page 70

[16]ibid. Page 73

[17] ibid. Page 71

[18] http://www.battlecry.com/pages/partners.php

[19] http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=640&more=1&c=1

[20] http://www.lizbabbs.com/texas.htm

[21] Ray Yungen A Time of Departing, p. 10

[22] www.teenmania.org/corporate/index.cfm

[23] http://www.atruechurch.info/atf.html

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