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Young, Brazen, and Proud

YoungRestlessReformedMuch has been written and posted about being a young man in the landscape of fundamentalism.  I don’t remember anyone defining what “young” means in that context, but I would consider myself to be in that category, even though I am 38 years old.  Perhaps it is those who are in their 20’s-30’s that make up this group.  I have been in full-time ministry now for 11 years, but already I have noticed a sense of brazenness and pride amongst those who are near to me in age or younger.  This attitude is especially seen in how they relate to those men who have ministered before them, the “old guard” so to speak.  Perhaps this has been a problem as each generation succeeds the previous one, but if it has, I haven’t heard/read about it.

My concern is that my generation is cutting down the men upon whose shoulders they are standing.  Generations have gone before us, fighting battles that we may never have to fight again to the same degree, writing books that we don’t have to write, and taking stands on issues that we might not have to.  And yet, we cut those men down and seek to run from their influence, and out from their shadow, thinking that we must make a name for ourselves, and blaze our own trails (as if they are better).

Young men today are running to issues of trendy Christianity in various ways, seeking thrilling ministries, a pursuit of the “new,” and a forsaking of the Christian heritage which they once espoused and loved because “traditions” are Pharisaical.  In so doing they proclaim by their actions, if not in their words, that the men who served before them were in fact Pharisaical in their stands and pastoral ministries.  How dare they!

Standards once held as being trans-generationally biblical and right are being smashed today in the name of liberty, grace, and love.  Yet, the understanding of those terms is not fully in line with biblical teaching, nor is the implementation of those truths.  We are allowing the culture of our day to dictate truth, rather than the timeless truths of Scripture.

When the Bible is explicitly silent on a particular issue, we declare freedom and liberty, yet fail to understand that the Bible is applicable to every generation on every continent.  Biblical discernment is necessary, based on biblical truth and principles through the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God to apply God’s Word to every area of life, even using extra-biblical material to help understand modern issues more fully.

I call out to the “young, restless, and reformed” to put to death the pride, brazenness, and restlessness, and be sober-minded as Paul instructs the young men to be in Titus.  Take a huge dose of humility, realizing that the church age survived for 2000 years without us, and will survive for however long the Lord tarries after we are dead.  Be clothed with humility; be better listeners; learn from the men before you; and grow in the likeness of Christ, who is meek and lowly in heart.

About Guest Author

This guest article has been published because an editor has determined its contents to be supportive of the values of Religious Affections Ministries. Its publication does not imply full agreement between its author and RAM on other matters.

12 Responses to Young, Brazen, and Proud

  1. “…a forsaking of the Christian heritage which they once espoused and loved…”

    That’s a pretty bold presumption, Mr. Joos.

    With that being said, I will observe that someone could have legitimately held to a standard in the past and yet be “Pharisaical” about it today. Something as nondescript as facial hair on men is today, was not always so in the generation of our immediate predecessors. There are still those who sharply criticize those who grow beards, or pastors who wear polos rather than the standard coat and tie of generations past. I remember a living in a strain of cultural fundamentalism that frowned on denim as “worldly.”

    I think I understand where you are going, but in your desire to make a point, it is possible that the brush is applied too broadly. There are those who resist any degree of change whatsoever. That can be just as problematic as those who change for the sheer novelty of it.

  2. Scott Aniol Scott Aniol says:

    Hey, Greg. It is certainly true that Pastor Joos is generalizing here; there are always exceptions.

    Nevertheless, wouldn’t you agree that his characterization is indeed accurate? Is it not true of the “young” generation that we almost instinctively reject what has come before. Is it not also particularly true of the current generation that anything “new” is automatically considered good and anything “old” is automatically rejected?

    Pastor Joos is certainly not the first to make these observations.

  3. It depends on your tradition, though. There are those who would employ the argument Taigen has (hey, Taigen!), but would have in mind something like using a version other than the KJV. Some might apply his reasoning to a change in Sunday service times. Some might even employ his arguments to those who would drop a Fanny Crosby-heavy emphasis in favor of a more serious hymn tradition.

    Now, I don’t think that’s _his_ intent. But if you employ a brush like this, you have to use some precision and specifics, or it can end up saying something you don’t wish it to. Let’s face it- not all conservative ideas are applied in a preservationist kind of way. There are times when a sort of “retro-innovation” is implemented- while the ideas themselves may not be new, they might be new to those implementing them, or to the congregation they are being implemented onto. The young whippersnappers with their modern Bibles and their polo shirts and their beards and their “liturgy…” Could as easily be read into as the young whippersnappers with their guitars and their drums.

  4. Scott Aniol Scott Aniol says:

    I disagree. Even when changes are needed, I would suggest that they should be done slowly and not within a considerable amount of careful thought.

    Riley has a good post on this today, actually. Even when moving from Crosby to Cruger (Johann, not Freddy), our attitude should not be one of haste or pride, but one of care and humility.

  5. This has nothing to do with the speed of application. There are those who don’t like change no matter how slowly it’s applied, and will be critical of those who employ it. We’ve both seen it in others, and probably experienced it ourselves.

    I’m all for respecting age and experience, and I am not arguing at all that we unceremoniously bulldoze over the past just because it’s old. At the same time, there are times where innovation is needed, and applications that made sense in the past might need re-assessing.

    Example: we just moved our organ out of the auditorium. It had sat in our sanctuary for at least 6 years without being played on anything resembling a regular basis- because the only one in the congregation who could play it was also our only proficient pianist. The organ would have been nice if we had someone to play it, but left neglected, it had fallen into disrepair and was basically taking up space. I casually proposed getting rid of it a few times over, but most forcefully about 5 months ago. Even then, it wasn’t until 2 weeks ago, when we added 40 more chairs to accommodate our growing congregation, that we actually moved it- and even at that point, only into storage.

    Now, I am blessed not to have anyone too vocally displeased about the change. But I know they are there- and if we weren’t seeing the increases in attendance we are, I’d probably hear those voices a little louder.

    The point is, there are times changes need to be made, and sometimes you have to make them, even when there is resistance. You can be careful about how they’re made, but you still sometimes just have to bear down and make them, even as it might appear to the resistors that one is brazen and proud.

  6. Mark Olivero says:

    Pastor Joos,

    This is quite a broad statement: “My concern is that my generation is cutting down the men upon whose shoulders they are standing.” I think you will need to give examples of what this means to you. My observations on that question is quite the opposite.

    It has been refreshing to see the YRR catch the fire of men like Spurgeon, Calvin, Luther, DM Lloyd-Jones, Piper, Keller, Dever, Boice, Broadus, many Puritan preachers, Al Mohler, etc.

    I could go on. What a treasure these men are and so many more who have led the way. I see over and over YRR crowd paying due respect and giving an “listening ear” to the previous generations as worthy mentors. This trend is quite refreshing.

  7. Scott Aniol Scott Aniol says:

    Right, like I said, it’s all about attitude and inclination.

  8. Rod Salter says:

    Brother Joos, Great article! I think you’re right on.

  9. Ben says:

    If there is a generation of men in pastoral ministry that has not demonstrated a proclivity toward brazenness and pride, I surely have not encountered it. Perhaps one manifestation may be more common in one generation over another.

  10. Scott Aniol Scott Aniol says:

    Hmm. Valid point.

  11. By the way, when I said about this quote:
    ——————
    “…a forsaking of the Christian heritage which they once espoused and loved…”

    That’s a pretty bold presumption, Mr. Joos.

    ——————

    …I meant that saying that people _loved_ what they now abandon is rather presumptuous. I submit that many people now abandoning certain aspects or methods and embracing new ones often never really loved what they are now leaving- rather, many often conformed for reasons of conformity, grudging compliance, or what have you.

  12. Scott Aniol Scott Aniol says:

    Makes sense.

    I can’t speak for Taigen, but for me at least the issue has to do with what we’re abandoning. If what people are abandoning is innovation from 50 years ago, that’s one thing. But if what they are abandoning is biblical practice nurtured within the tradition of the church for hundreds of years, then quick abandonment is problematic.

    This is why the regulative principle and a deep knowledge of church history is so important, in my opinion.

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