In a post on December 1, 2008, David Hasz, director of the Honor Academy, said:
In this spiritual battle, it is crucial that you remember who provides the strength to win the battle. Satan’s conquests are only successful over ignorant individuals who don’t have the strength or understanding to resist him. Only Christians without complete armor will ever find themselves in this state. Satan’s assaults on a saint, “whose freedom was won at the Cross, once for all,” are as ineffective as laying siege to a city with sturdy gates and bars. If you are prepared with the full armor, you wil be protected against the enemy, even in your weakest state.
This is just another example of the dangerous doctrine that Teen Mania interns are steeped in. It’s hard to see how dangerous it is until you’ve lived in it for a while. So let me share my experience. The first sentence sounds Biblical enough – we do need to remember whose strength we rely on to win the battle. But then, as he so often does, Dave totally undermines that thought with the rest of his post. Satan can only successfully attack ignorant or weak Christians? Do you see how that puts the blame for everything bad that happens to you right at your feet? He completely disregards the reality of our fallen world and fallen nature and insists that we can live in a protected bubble – so long as we do, feel and say the right things.
This is exactly what I experienced in the Honor Academy. If I was struggling with anything its because I wasn’t good enough – I wasn’t serving enough, studying enough, praying enough, etc. You are blamed for all your problems. This kind of theology creates a performance trap that you can’t ever outgrow. You try hard to become the Christian you are supposed to be, but you inevitably fall short. This leads to despair and then another effort to try even harder. And the cycle goes on and on.
Towards the end of my second year, after months and months of trying as hard as I could to seek God, doing everything I knew to do, but living in despair because I couldn’t hear him or feel Him feel – I went to Dave Hasz. I sat in his office and asked him what to do. Why is this happening to me? How can I find God again? I was in a dry, desert place. This same theology is what he fed me. Without so much as a hint of compassion for this broken vessel, he said my problem is that I wasn’t going to church enough. He blamed me for not seeking God correctly or doing enough Christian things. It was devastating because I was seeking God as hard as I could.
How harmful is this doctrine! As long as we are in a fallen world, we will face pain and tribulation and struggle. To say that, “Only Christians without complete armor will ever find themselves in this state,” is a lie from the pit of hell. It has two outcomes – the successful become proud because of their righteousness and the rest become despondent. Neither of those two outcomes seems particularly healthy or Biblical to me.