Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In the News: Church Camp?

inthenews

The Christian Chronicle is a newspaper that reports on events and activities among institutional churches of Christ. Though it claims not to be, it is also an instrument of digression, often reporting favorably or editorializing upon practices and doctrine without Biblical authority.

One example of this is the editorial in the September 2010 edition of the paper, titled “Church camp: An idea worth exploring” (page 30). The editorial relates the large number of letters that had come in, in response to a the Chronicle’s request that readers share their “favorite church camp memories.”

At one point in the article, the editor (most probably Erik Tryggestad) notes that dozens of church camps are convening each summer in Europe. Consider the following paragraph:

“Church growth in Europe is slow, but the responses at these camps inspire us. Missionaries invest their time and resources in Christian camping because they see it molding future generations of church leaders.”

Further, the editor emphasized the importance of such camps, both in Europe and here in the United States.

“Camps are expensive, and many struggle to stay funded in this time of recession. But their mission is important to the future of the church. Find ways to help them reach their financial goals.”

“…The future of the church may be at stake.”

I must confess when reading things such as this I have a hard time knowing where to start in expressing my objections. I will try to here for focus and succinctness.

First, the practice is without authority from God. The Lord’s church does not operate youth camps. Never has, never will. Whether the camp is funded by a congregation or congregations, sponsored by one, or if the camp is under the oversight of an eldership, or if those who call it that have simply adopted the nomenclature of the denominations, the concept is unscriptural. Christ did not die for (as quoted from the article) “campfires, nature hikes, canteen food and even a few summertime romances.”

Second, the idea that the church is depending upon these camps for its future is both sad for those congregations who have bought into the hype, and a blasphemous charge against the all-sufficiency of God’s institution. The church does not need church camps.

Third, we must be careful, and ask the same question of ourselves? Many of our children go to the Florida College camps each summer. Ask yourself, do you believe these camps are important to the spiritual welfare of God’s people? Are they crucial to the future of the church? If you don’t think so, do you know whether your children feel the same way you do?

My kids have gone to the camp for years. Every summer they go I tell them to have fun, and that it is not the camp’s place to develop them spiritually. I don’t want my kids to have their faith influenced by some 20 year old counselor at FC camp, quoting from the Living Bible paraphrase. Spiritual instruction is my job as their father.

Brethren, this is a cause for concern. My kids have first hand knowledge of things in these camps that are not conducive to the faith of Christians. It is a far cry better than most camps out there, but it should not be considered a source of edification. However, it is evident that for many young people, summer camp is the most important “spiritual” event each year in their young lives. This is a travesty.

No, we don’t call it church camp, and it is not unscripturally organized or funded — But if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…