Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lest we forget

Exodus 1:8 "Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph."

Judges 2:10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.

Sociologists say that a cultural shift takes place every four to five years, as a new generation comes along unexposed to the social forces of older adults. Many of the youngest adults can hardly remember when there were no cell phones, no cable companies, and no computers. They have lived under a president named Bush, Clinton, or Obama.

The preaching in churches of Christ has changed in the last generation. It has over time become afraid to say much of anything with conviction. Preachers preach much love but little truth, grace but little repentance, salvation but little obedience, and much on relationships but little on relating responsibly to God Himself. People speak much on believing and confuse their listeners by speaking little on what to believe.

It seems we have forgotten phrases like "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) and have substituted preach only "positive" messages. Such substitution is unfaithful. It seems we have forgotten the instruction to "reprove" and to "rebuke" (2 Tim. 4:2). Have we itching ears that call only for what we want and refuse what we need?

Our youngest adults in the church are confused by their leaders' constant apologizing, qualifying, and "dumbing down." Leaders speak what we believe unless someone gets offended, and then we don't believe it anymore (all of a sudden). No wonder they are confused. Young adults want conviction, and we give them apologies. Young adults aren't afraid of the truth, but some can't seem to bring themselves to admit what they believe. Our youngest adults are confused because their leaders have confused them with doublespeak and doubt in their own beliefs. Tragic.

Spineless leaders who will not speak their convictions have jettisoned their leadership to a chaotic culture. They have left a generation at the mercy of every wind that blows, because they remain untaught. Their preaching will never set this generation free from sin or error. Only the truth can do that.

I have watched a generation of our people lose its beliefs, questioning its most basic tenets. We can't say baptism is "for the remission of sins," because we know good immersed people who were saved before baptism. We can't say baptism is immersion because we know good sprinkled folks. We can't speak against women leading in worship because some good women do it. We can't speak against instruments in worship because some good people use them.

Isn't God also good? When did people count more than God? When did we feel permitted to hush God and the Scriptures so that we don't offend somebody? A new generation feels little hesitance to tell God to hush. He is utterly disrespected, made common, and demoted from His place as the one true and living God, so that we might not offend people. What if God is offended at our silence? Doesn't God matter?

How quickly a generation passes! So much change so fast is not new in history. I only pray that it will not so dilute our faith that we forget.

The Lord bless you,


Kevin W. Rhodes said...

Amen, brother. That was right on--but unfortunately so. I have seen many of my younger friends fall prey to the god of tolerance while thumbing their noses at Jehovah.

Terry said...

We don't agree on everything, but we agree on the need to hold on to well-founded convictions until proven wrong.

Bruce Ligon said...

Thanks for your insightful comments regarding some important aspects of the church today. Perhaps if we will recognize what is happening today, this can be the first step toward strengthening the church. May God help us to restore the urgency of pure New Testament Christianity.

Matthew said...


I had an interesting lunch this week. I had lunch with a young man who has completely grown up within the progressive churches of Christ. He stated that the church he attended always had a praise team, etc. He had no concept of anything other than his past experiences.

Matt Clifton said...


Beautiful post, and so true. The postmodern spirit has engulfed much of our culture, and so many Christians (including preachers) are buying into it. Thank you for your stand.

Some may want to see this article about postmodernism and salvation:

How pluralism distorts biblical salvation.

Thanks for the good work you do, Phil, and may God richly bless you in your new work for Him!

Matt Clifton