I will attempt in this post to outline the most dangerous part of the culture in America right now. We are in a crisis situation the likes of which we have yet to see in the good ol’ US of A. This crisis permeates and perverts every single nuance of culture and society today. This crisis, to steal the phrase of Dr. Voddie Baucham Jr., is the “loss of the local.”
What does this mean? We, in the American Christian Church, in our laxity in church discipline and membership requirements, have made it incredibly difficult to take a local church seriously, let alone membership in that church. Let me put it this way, if we look at the church today, there is great reason for the secular culture to laugh at us when we say that homosexuality is wrong or that abortion is murder. A great number of our church pastors are addicted to pornography and half of our members are divorcing and remarrying as though they are in junior high school. Youth groups are, by and large, the greatest instrument by which these infectious lines of thought have found their way into the church.
What do I mean? Youth groups are a very bad idea. On paper, they are wonderful things! However, the advent of youth groups has mirrored the decline of the attendance and membership in the local church. How? I am glad you asked! Youth groups, in and of themselves, are not necessarily bad, but, quite like communism, they look much better on paper than in practice. The truth is we, in an attempt to appease and please our immature youth, hire unqualified, unbiblical leaders and call them “pastors.” Thusly, we trust them with our children without much, if any, theological questioning or training in the great majority of cases. Now, we have, teaching our youth, young men who are much less mature than the most mature of the youth themselves. We expect of our children that they go forth with the scholastic fervor of a sixth year medical student, but we give the very same children a gospel that fifth-grade children ought to be offended by as it assumes a lack of intelligence in those to whom we witness.
Is this to say that there are no legitimate ways to teach the youth together in a classroom style setting? By no means! There are wonderful things that can come from these classes! However, there is no biblical foundation for youth groups and thusly have no basis by which they may be reformed. Because this is the case, and there is no way for us to ground an unbiblical institution consistently in the Bible, we must not perpetuate this institution, but must instead destroy our unthinking acceptance of this institution.
Because these unqualified “pastors” have not taught their youth to be mature Christians (Ephesians 4:13-15), defend their faith (1 Peter 3:15), or testify to the world of their Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19), they simply fall away from an ankle deep theology, choosing to dry their feet off rather than dive in to the deep end of the pool of the deeper things of God. Because the theology has never actually reached their hearts, they are not, and never have been, Christians (Romans 1:18). This explains the mass apostasy of the millennials from the visible church. We have told them that the Word of God is a two-edged sword (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12), but have not taught them to wield this sword so that they cannot defend themselves against the wolves of the world. Thusly, when the young person discovers that he or she does not need the church to have a good time, they drop the church and continue in the fun.
While I have a lot of problems with youth groups and think that many of the evangelical churches problems are directly attributable to them, there are other issues that we must consider along with this one. The most infectious disease that plagues Western culture as a whole is an inability to think (1 Corinthians 14:20). This has manifested itself in the left-winged politics of the likes of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Any surface-level Google search will display the fruits of socialism and communism, which is where left-winged politics always lead. Put simply, Hitler was a Socialist. Mao Zedong was a Communist. Vladimir Lennin was a Socialist. Fidel Castro was a Communist. See a pattern? Anywhere socialism goes, death and poverty follow. People in North Korea are being systematically starved to death as they were in the USSR under Stalin. My question is this, “Why did so many young people in America vote for the self-proclaimed Socialist, Bernie Sanders?” I think the answer lies squarely at the feet of the church. We have not taught them how to think. Theology matters and when our theology is effectively, “I like that because it sounds nice and niceness is the very foundation of my entire worldview or lack thereof,” then Houston, we have a problem.
There is only one legitimate defense against the evils of socialistic thought: Christianity. Capitalism is not enough to fend off the fiend. Buddhism all but invites the menace. Catholicism cannot consistently refute the brilliant deviance. Only consistent, biblical Christianity offers a view of man that accurately presents us as incapable of running or maintaining any sort of system of government akin to Socialism. The fact that so much ground has been gained by this enemy is quite telling. Given that consistent, biblical Christianity is the only defense against such, the fact that it has gained so much ground tells us the current state of the church in America. The church is not charging the gates of Hell though it is a defeated enemy lying dead at the feet of Christ (2 Timothy 1:10). We are not equipping people for the spiritual warfare that is life (Galatians 6). We are not teaching our congregations that there is no good in us, that there is none who is righteous or that none seek God (Romans 3). We instead teach them “they’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop.”
We, as the church, in the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, must, as the Reformers did, go back to the Scriptures and rediscover the biblical foundations of our faith. We must repent of our belligerent ignorance of the things of God. We must live our lives in continuous and continual belief in the propitiatory work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, in our place and rely fully upon him in all matters, trusting that the Scriptures he has given us are sufficient to guide us in these troubling times. We must reform ourselves according to the Scriptures. That Formal Principle of the Reformation, Sola Scriptura, or Scripture alone, must be reclaimed in a modern-day Reformation of the church. Let us not be a product of the culture around us. Let us go forth and wage war against the culture that wants to murder the unborn, allow for homosexual “marriage” and mock the Living God every chance they get with a fervor that can only be attributed to true haters of God.
I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
Jude 3b (ESV)
As in all things, Soli Deo Gloria.