There's this friend of mine...

...about whom I am rather worried.

He is 19. I have known him for about a year and we have become rather close. He is not from a religious background, but a couple of years ago came to an awareness of Christianity.

He has got involved with an independent "pentecostal" group, and is now very much a part of their community. Not only are they not within the Apostolic Succession, they do not have any concept of what it actually is. He asked about my church and I was trying to explain to him why the Mass means as much as it does to me as being central to the Christian Faith but his understanding was on a totally different level as he didn't even have a concept of Sacramental grace. From what he has said, this group sounds rather biblical fundamentalist. His parents, who are not opposed to religion, have raised concerns about his involvement with this group, especially as his 12-yr old brother has also expressed an interest.

When we began to talk about this in more depth, he said that he would rather not talk about it any further, as he didn't want to have an argument. This rather surprised me, because I am accustomed to discussions of a religious nature with friends, both in person and online, where we thrash out our ideas, often completely rubbishing each other's deeply-held beliefs, and then going to the pub together with no damage to our relationship whatsoever. If anything, such exercises help me to understand opposing views, and help me to understand my friends better than I otherwise would. It seems that he has not reached a level of maturity to be able to distinguish between intelligent discussion between people of opposing views and an argument. You will be pleased to read that I was not suffiently patronising to tell him this, but instead I suggested that he might enjoy reading some message boards, even if he preferred not to post. I recommended some that I know have posters of various traditions, but he saw this as very intrusive and did 'not want to be told what to do'.

I am sure that some of my concerns are the same as those of his parents, and I really do not know what to do do, if anything. This is his life, but I do have another friend who became involved in a similar group at a similar age. He is now 24 and has got past most of the psychological trauma that this caused. I do not want to see the same thing happen to my younger friend, but I am aware that any persistence on my part will just strengthen his determination to continue.

Please pray.

5 responses:

Anonymous said...

I will pray, of course!

Perhaps your young friend is still too new to his new-found group to be able to articulate its beliefs clearly. In that case, he would not feel able to do whatever kind of "apologetics" they would teach....

I have found, with members of my own family, that "meeting them on their own ground" is usually the easiest--they simply aren't ready for much more.

Sigh.

Leetle M.

Ian said...

Prayers from Down Under.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

He sounds like somebody in the CU that I'm involved with!
I'm praying that they will all join the true catholic church.

Michael said...

Thank you, all.

Thanks anonymous. ;-)

I'm not sure about 'true catholic church', but you know how we differ.

I'm just worried and feeling rather helpless. Prayers welcomed.

Merseymike said...

I once became involved in a group like this. It was largely as a way of (not) coping with my sexuality, and I stayed in it for two years. Yes, to an extent it did mess me up - and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

But it is something he will have to recognise for himself. This sort of church does not encourage any sort of genuine questioning or critical analysis, and if you try to do this, no doubt you will be branded an agent of satan!

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