Much 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.
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.