Thursday, April 10, 2008

NEW GENERATION VALUES

"And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified." - Acts 20:32
The Presbyterian Church is losing its young people over issues of authority. A recent interview by radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt with authors Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais (see link below for more information) tells how the changing values of the newest generation they call "Millennials" are negatively affecting the Presbyterian denomination. Millennials, who followed the "GenX'ers" and the "Baby Boomers", are said to be "highly socially tolerant" (homosexuality is a "non-issue"), are the "least bound by gender and role restrictions (whether you are male, female, shemale, or other-male is a non-issue to them), are ethnically diverse (40% black, hispanic, other), are pro-redistribution policies (the rich are made poorer, the poor are kept about the same), and they are "pro-environment" and "green". Liberal Millennials outnumber conservatives by 2 to 1. Interesting, according to the interview they are pro-military and respect their parents.

What interested me about the story (more at link below) is how the values held by the Milennials are a clear rejection of those held by previous generations, people the Millennials claim to respect: elders, parents, military. They "respect" these people even if they don't listen to them. And who are the Millennials listening to to form their opinions? The interview said the following: "Communication to this generation via text, online, etc. is how they make decisions, rather than listening to authority. They make decisions based on their connectivity network, rather than make decisions based on authority....The PC(USA) is a denomination based on decisions made by authority. But because of technology especially, Millenials bypass the decisions of authority and reach concensus within their own social circles." Traditional authority is not shaping this newest generations values. Instead, their values are coming from their peers.
This sounds like Rehobaom, who when faced with monumental issues,
"...forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him." - 1 Kings 12:8
There is nothing new under the sun! Rehoboam split the nation of Israel by his decision to follow his friends, rather than follow the wise counsel of the elders. The so called Millennials are doing the same. Parents, listen up and get a hold on your pre-teens and teens before their schoolmates and liberal teachers take them away from God before your very eyes.

What happened in Israel is happening in the denominations and it is threatening the Lord's Church. The question we have to ask is who is leading the Church? Is it the Elders who are informed by the changeless Word of God? Or is it the young people who are informed by television (that mocks the traditional, biological family), by academia (with its heavy liberal bias)? Who is leading the larger churches like Quail Springs that just recently added instruments into the worship? Is it the elders, or the preacher, or is it the young people, the Millennials, who threaten and leave the church in favor of modern, more entertaining music? It's the latter and now is the time for wise, strong, and loving Elderships to be ready and able to address these issues before the values of the Milennials become predominant.

What should the church do? First, we can't change the Bible without being condemned. We can't change the structure of the church: it's perfect as God designed it. The church cannot compromise. "Green" sermons, and lessons on "tolerance and diversity" are not going to build the church. It's not a question of whether Christians are good stewards, they are. It's not a question of whether Christians are prejudiced: they are not. The question is whether we are going to compromise God's values just so we can appeal to those who will not be converted? The values of the Millennials are not going to save souls. God's definition of sin is not theirs. This new generation is not only rejecting the Elders, it is rejecting the inspired Word of God and God Himself. To them, Jesus is not the only way. They need to come to Christ the Savior on His terms. There is no way to compromise God's values. Our message needs to be Bible. We need to preach the Gospel and repentance from sin. We need to preach that salvation of the soul, not saving the planet or eradicating hunger or disease, is our primary mission. We need to communicate that respect for authority takes more than just words, but it is seen in deeds. We need to be where people are to show how the Gospel of Christ is relevant to this generation. Now is the time for Elders to get back in their Bibles and ask that the Preachers and Teachers do also. Now is the time to act in the church to rescue the young before the Millennial values take hold.
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