Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Has the Church Lost a Generation?

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A new, in-depth study has found that 43% of millennials---born between 1984 and 2002---"don't know, don't care, and don't believe God exists."

Only 26% of Gen. X ---born between 1965 and 1983, and 16% of millennials believe that when they die, they will go to heaven if they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus as their Savior.

Has the biblical Christian Church lost this generation?

Absolutely not. Let me give you two examples of why I believe it has not. One is personal.

Be informed and inspired---not misled.

Some bad news for Christians who care about our kids and the culture.

The study is built around the various age groups that have been identified as millennials (born between 1984 and 2002), Gen X (born between 1965 and 1983), baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), and builders (born between 1927 and 1945).

The American Worldview Inventory 2021 study is a survey of the philosophy of people from four American generations. 

It was conducted by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, which has formed a partnership with Dr. George Barna, the widely published, influential researcher of American culture.

The study finds that among other recent generations, millennials have gone further in cutting ties with traditional Christian views and normative biblical teaching.

A social example is that while 90% of builders believe you should treat others as you want to be treated, less than half of millennials agree.

Additionally, 43% of those millennials say they don't know, don't care, and don't believe God exists, compared to 28% of boomers, but 44% of millennials believe Satan is real and influential, compared to 64% of boomers.

On spiritual matters, Americans younger than 55 are far more likely to distrust the Bible and to believe God is uninvolved in people's lives.

A majority of Americans call themselves Christian, ranging from 57% of millennials to 83% of builders.

Generally, researchers are warning us all that the beliefs and behaviors of younger Americans, especially millennials, "threaten to reshape the nation's religious parameters beyond recognition."

Dr. George Barna, now CRC director of research, says that Gen X and the millennials have "solidified dramatic changes in the nation's central beliefs and lifestyles." Adding that "the result is a culture in which core institutions, including churches, and basic ways of life are continually being radically redefined."

One of his greatest concerns is that an earlier Barna study found that two-thirds of teens and young adults (65%) agree that "many religions can lead to eternal life" compared to 58% of teens and young adults surveyed in 2018.

Equally concerning is that he also found 31% of teens and young adults "strongly agree" that what is "morally right and wrong changes over time," based on society, compared to just 25% in 2018.

Jacob Bland, the new president and CEO of Youth for Christ, told the Christian Post that despite the challenges facing today's young people, he looks toward the future with optimism. 

He says, "Teens are facing crises like never before, but it's often in the darkness that the light shines the brightest."

Here's why I believe the light is about to shine brightly in this present darkness.

I often mention in this Faith and Freedom Daily column that Christian schools and universities---calling them by name, are regularly caving to the pressures of the culture---particularly the LGBTQ+  activists. 

But there are schools and universities that are not caving. Arizona Christian University is certainly one of those. 

Their vision statement says in part, "America seems to be in a freefall---morally, politically, culturally---our founding values and the biblical world view seemingly fading forever... But we believe there's hope---that cultural transformation is possible."

So, how are they going to do this?

"Our mission starts with educating students with the biblical worldview, so they understand and live according to God's Truth. We believe the next generation, transformed and equipped, can influence every area of culture: business and education, government and politics, information and news media, science and technology, arts and entertainment, churches and families."

"This can be done," they claim, "by those who feel the call..."

Yes it can.

I have another example of why I know that this generation is not lost to the church and to the Kingdom of God. It's personal. I rarely talk about my family.

My oldest grandson has felt "the call" to transform the culture, by transforming the hearts of people through preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He graduated from university a few days ago, with two degrees and one singular mission--to preach the gospel to everyone and anyone who will listen. And to those who don't want to listen. 

He was well known in the Seattle area as an outstanding high school basketball player at one of the larger high schools in the Puget Sound area---went to college on a basketball scholarship. But is consumed with a singular mission. To preach the gospel.

I know what being consumed by that calling is like. I experienced it as a young man in a church in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. The calling is persistent because the message is eternal. I still feel the passion---and that was a while ago.

I was not the only one back then, and my grandson is not the only one now being led by God to bring a bright light to the darkness of our culture, but I was one, and he is one, among many.

All across this great nation, God is raising up those who, not because of extraordinary gifts, but because of an extraordinary commitment---and availability to His purposes, are stepping forward.

They know the fiery furnace fanned by the darkness of our times will attempt to silence or even destroy their voice. But they will carry on. I know they will--- because I understand why they will.

Be Informed. Be Hopeful. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.