Note: If this is your first time here, please check the “Allegations” tab at the top or the “true stories” category on the right to read about abuse at Teen Mania.
One of the most common questions that was asked during our protest is do we think the Acquire the Fire event is bad?
In 2 years of blogging, I have not once written about Acquire the Fire. I do not find it systematically abusive or damaging on any level that is even close to how the Honor Academy treats interns. (A weekend event under the care of your youth pastor is quite different than a year long intensive on a campus in the middle of nowhere, totally isolated from all your friends and family.) Many of us have seen the good fruit from ATF and have wrestled with the stark differences between the good that comes from it and the bad that comes from the Honor Academy.
Right before this video starts, I’ve just finished telling the youth pastor that I don’t have a major beef with Acquire the Fire in and of itself. If your youth group is able to worship and connect with God there, then that is a great thing. My two main problems with ATF are these:
1) ATF recruits teens via false advertising which sucks them into the Honor Academy, where many eager teens are subsequently damaged.
2) Although the theology at ATF is much “lighter” than what you will hear at the Honor Academy, you can see the beginnings of works based righteousness. This only gets worse, the deeper you get into Teen Mania.
Again, to clarify, if ATF is your only exposure to Teen Mania, by and large I don’t think there is enough time or enough opportunity to damage most young people in a significant way. I do believe there are many opportunities at ATF for a genuine encounter with God. However, the ATF is EXTREMELY different from the environment at the Honor Academy and that is why you must exercise caution.
This is my personal opinion and my personal experience. I’m sure there are a variety of opinions on this topic within this community. Feel free to share yours in the comments.