Having just watched “Mind Over Mania” on MSNBC, I was reminded of Satan’s temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4. Satan tells Jesus to throw himself off a roof and quotes Scripture: “[God] will command his angels concerning you…” In other words, jump and God will catch you.
Jesus replied, “It is also written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
Oddly enough, during the documentary, Teen Mania chief Ron Luce said that the boot-camp like hazing of his Honor Academy’s ESOL program was intended to force kids (a) to dig deep inside to find extra strength and (b) to really depend on God.
We have two big problems even after we realize that (a) and (b) contradict (why do we need to dig deep into our strength if we’re depending on God?).
First, in the context of Christian theology, a biblical leader ought to teach kids to seek God’s strength, not their own strength.
Second, Luce is leading kids to tempt God by pushing themselves to physical and emotional limits with the thought that such exertions might cause them to really depend on God.
From a Reformed perspective, absolutely nothing Luce and his staff said in the interviews had anything to do with kids receiving the completed work of Christ on their behalf — thus making Teen Mania’s abuse and hazing counterproductive to any sense of Christianity.