Responding to “A Letter of Complaint”

May 22, 2017 by missionsandmysticism

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Psalm 115:1

We have found that blog posts from Racers can be helpful in unveiling what Adventures in Missions is teaching.   Unfortunately, we have found it to be the rare Racer that points to the person and, more importantly, work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Generally, the “gospel” shared is missing a saving message.  It is therefore impotent.

This is an interesting blog post titled,  “A Letter of Complaint”.

“Dear Seth Barnes and the World Race Family,

This is a letter of complaint on my behalf for the past 11 months and how you have progressively been destroying my life and future in this world with forced community, eye-opening experiences, and contact organizations.”

This kind of terminology is used often at AIM.  Pay attention to how many times throughout the post she points to AIM as what changed and influenced her.   No testimony of  salvation is offered and although we cannot judge that based on this post, it is noticeably absent in her story.  She continues,

“Let me explain… Before hearing of the World Race, I was headed to a bright and wonderful future… (she goes on to give details of life) “I read the word daily and even gave the due 10% to the church of my bi-monthly checks. My life was easy because I kept the compartments of my life neat and tidy. Friends and family did not mix, School stayed in its box and above all God stayed in his compartment.”…

Then one day, I was pointed to the World Race website. I found myself intrigued by countless stories of people all around the world and I felt this uncontrollable desire to meet these same people. I tried to suppress these feelings, but your vicious website with all of the blogs kept pulling me in. I began to spend all my free time, reading blogs only feeding the desire to go even more. I couldn’t stop it. I soon found myself signed up and heading for LA to launch on the next available trip in September.”

Though the desire to meet people around the world isn’t necessarily a bad desire, we would hope that the desire to proclaim the true Gospel would be the primary motivation towards a mission trip (Mark 16:15).  Refer to our post qualifications of a missionary for further information on this.

“Every month was a battle to keep my compartments tidy, and every month you and your organization’s policies of feedback and not sitting on your bucket was making my life more and more dirty and destroyed.

I write to you now, after I am able to finally shed light in month 11 on how deeply you have really screwed up my life here on this earth. There is no order anymore, especially with the God compartment, which is actually more of a sea that swallows up all other areas in my life.”

Again, the focus seems to be on the people and the organization itself rather than on the Lord.  We have repeatedly seen that AIM values a “messy” life.  Unfortunately this is not a biblical concept and seems to be born more out of the idea of being “radical” than with serving the Lord Jesus, terms such as “destroyed” and “wrecked” are never used in Scripture to refer to salvation or sanctification.

“I now can’t function without telling people about Jesus. I can’t form sentences that aren’t revolved around God. I am no longer able to have an enjoyable day to myself without praying for someone in my head or having a God encounter. My friends, instead of stickin to their own business, now challenge me to be a better person.  I can’t function as a normal person, and I have you to thank for that. I now make ridiculous decisions in the eyes of the world based on silly nudges from the Holy Spirit and believe that with God’s authority I can pray and people’s pains go away and food multiplies. I now no longer desire the things in this world like a job that pays and only ask for God’s will to be done. I have no money, no plans, and no worries, I am NUTS.”

Through her time with AIM she has been encouraged to order her life by “silly nudges” believing it is God’s will.  This is unbiblical, and most certainly unwise, but she has been taught that this is what a committed Christian life looks like.  We have deep concern about this practice.  Jonathan Edwards, a theologian and pastor during New England’s Great Awakening in the 1700’s said,

 “And yet some people actually imagine that the revelation in God’s Word is not enough to meet our needs. They think that God from time to time carries on an actual conversation with them, chatting with them, satisfying their doubts, testifying to His love for them, promising them support and blessings. As a result, their emotions soar; they are full of bubbling joy that is mixed with self-confidence and a high opinion of themselves.

The foundation for these feelings, however, does not lie within the Bible itself, but instead rests on the sudden creations of their imaginations. These people are clearly deluded. God’s Word is for all of us and each of us; He does not need to give particular messages to particular people.”

The rebellion against being tied down by a traditional job has been taught to the Racers by Seth Barnes.  In his younger years Seth decided that one of the things he had been taught incorrectly was to “Settle down and get a job”.   

Seth says, “Jesus didn’t set the example of settling down and getting a job. So, I followed Jesus’ example and left home and friends. When asked for advice, I suggest others do the same – go on a kingdom journey and dive into a world of possibilities. Become a vagabond for Christ as you practice ministry and discover your identity.”

Pointing to Jesus as the role model for this is twisting scripture.  Jesus had a specific purpose for the 3 years of His ministry, He came to offer Himself as as sacrifice for our sins.  He came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) calling us to repentance and faith in His sacrifice.  There could be no higher calling. 

In addition, Jesus worked  (“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary” Mark 6:3) with his father for about 30 years (Luke 3:19) before His ministry began.  Many of the disciples were fishermen and even the Apostle Paul worked as he ministered so as not to be a burden (2 Thess 3:8).  He rebuked those who would not work (2 Thess 3:10-12).  The self-centered practice of becoming a “vagabond” in order to “discover your identity” is not modeled in scripture.   There is no biblical precedent for this.

Seth is affirming what our sinful natures want: our own happiness as opposed to the glory of God through our life and ministry.

“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you.  It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.  For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.  For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.  Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” 2 Thess 3:6-12

The Racer’s letter continues,

“My future living the American Dream has been destroyed because of you. I no longer see it necessary to have yearly vacations and a priority to have nice clothes. I now want to adopt kids with having my own, and give away as much as I can instead of using it for myself. Mr. Perfect is now no longer luke-warm, but completely passionate not just about me like I wanted but more so about Jesus.”

Clearly this young woman has a tender heart and wants to live honorably for which we commend her.  We are concerned that all of her praise is directed to AIM rather than to the only One who is worthy of our praise.  It would be comforting if the Jesus she desires to emulate had been defined.  Is it truly the Jesus of the Bible, the second person in the Holy Trinity, deserving of worship and praise?

I am the LORD; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other. Isaiah 42:8

She goes on, “I have only you to thank for introducing me to the thing that would destroy my life. I only write you to warn yourselves and those like me that if you continue to show others the world around them in this same way that they also will be changed by being completely saturated in the Spirit and desiring God’s will above all else and their world’s will be likewise destroyed. I hope that you can live with your actions and their effect on those around you for all of eternity. We will all be there in eternity to remind you of the things that you have done.”


A concerned racer.

This young millennial generation needs to be sold out to one thing.  We are sinners. Jesus is the Savior. What blessed hope there is to offer this pagan world!

“Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation” Mark 16:15

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

Our service to Him comes out of a grateful heart in humble recognition that we have  a kind Savior who loved us enough to pay the due penalty for our sin (Rom 6:23).  We will continue to sin as we walk in this earthly flesh (1 John 1:8), but He gives grace to overcome the sinful flesh and continue to repent and turn from it (1 John 1:9).  We are confident in the once for all finished work of His on the Cross (1 Pet 3:18) and His power over death in the resurrection. Seth does not set an example in this regard as his blogs ignore these truths when they should be front and center.

Our complaint is that we want to see the millennial generation back on the narrow path, pointed toward the Lord Jesus, sharing the WHOLE Gospel.   This world desperately needs to hear of the eternal fate that awaits (Rom 1:18) because of their offense toward a Holy God and they need to hear the Good News of Christ’s sacrifice on their behalf.   This is the message that the world needs, but not one that we see AIM teaching.

Racer Testimony   “The key takeaway is that the leadership does not teach a saving gospel message, and the program is not set up to bring the gospel to anyone, and it is certainly not set up for discipleship. Gospel and discipleship are the key elements of mission, and since the WR lacks these it explains why it is not an effective mission trip.”

To share some good news. We found this to be a refreshing post from a former Racer. 

“John Piper says missions exists because worship doesn’t.

Paul Washer says that joy comes first, then obedience.

The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Enjoy Him. Forever.

I’ve been failing to enjoy God, to find my joy in him, to just worship and be in awe of him. 

In the difficult and struggle of life, if my solution is to serve others only to get my mind off myself and onto them, I’ve missed the main thing:

To get my mind on God: His character. His infinite goodness. His accomplished work in Christ on the cross. His indwelling Holy Spirit. Everything about Him that makes Him worthy of my love, affection, and worship for all eternity! Only then does it make sense to go love and serve others. Loving and serving others should be a manifestation of our worship. Worship is primary, supreme, ultimate. 



Unpopular the Movie   We share this beautiful, Gospel presentation again.  For any that may be confused about what the Gospel is and what they may have been taught.  This is a clear, heartfelt, compassionate, true explanation.

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