By Pastor Carmen Rizzo
Over the last eight years Grace Baptist Church has participated in the Aquire The Fire events that have been held in Western MA. During this time our participation has included among other things activity as a ‘Partnering Church” in assisting with the logistics involved in the event that is held annually at the Mullins Center on the campus of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Initially we came under some pretty heavy criticism by other brethren that came from churches that claimed to be Fundamentalist churches, but in reality were expressing objections to our participation that were based more upon the error of Legalism rather than the “Five Fundamentals” that came to define the Fundamentalists as opposed to the Modernist Movement of the early 20th century. The error of Legalism is that the 5 Fundamentals have become the 50 fundamentals. Yet as I asked my colleagues to define for me what “Modernism, and the New Evangelical Movement were, I got responses such as the following: It’s a movement where the end justifies the means”. No thinking individual with an IQ above that of a Jelly Fish would accept that type of response. I wonder how many of these men have actually read the books which were entitled “The Fundamentals of the Faith” Which actually gave rise to the term ‘Fundamentalism”. Having read those writings, I could find no Biblical justifiable reason for separating and avoiding any participation at TeenMania Ministry events.
Recent events however have led me to revisit this issue and caused me to have to make a difficult decision concerning a future relationship with TeenMania Ministries. I have been present at many TeenMania events. I have been to the TeenMania Campus and have been in the home of Ron and Katy Luce. I believe him to be a genuine man of God who has a very heavy burden for the youth of our culture. I can testify first hand to the reasons behind this conviction. In my years of observation Ron has been very careful to maintain a degree of neutrality for the ministry as regards denominational affiliation. However in recent times I have witnessed more and more of a presence and association with what I would term the radical fringe groups of the Charismatic movement. In particular, the “Word of Faith” wing of the charismatic movement. There is an abundance of evidence both from the sacred as well as the secular as to the fundamental driving ideology behind this movement. That ideology is not Christ centered but rather Mammon centered. Just tune into the so called Christian TV stations and watch for yourself. You’ll see what I mean.
While I continue to believe in the goals of Ron Luce and TeenMania ministry, I can no longer lend my support to this ministry until such time as either the present association with this radical fringe group is changed or a letter of clarification is issued. With this in mind, I am terminating any and all relationships with TeenMania and Aquire The Fire, to become effective May 31, 2007.
Pastor Carmen Rizzo