In this series thus far, we have explored Idols of Modern Culture, Secularism, Materialism, The vilification and marginalization of Evangelical Christianity, and the gutting of the middle class: Our subject in this “Facts”:
(6) The quest for spirituality/transcendence:
One writer defines this present generation as disenchanted, dissatisfied, disenfranchised, disgruntled, discomfited, and disconnected; 1 a generation trapped in the disillusioning muck and vacuum of a vapid pop culture that puts a premium on fast money, faster food, and turbocharged technology. Thus, they find themselves trapped in a society without a cause, identity or religion that they can rally behind to find solace. Little wonder then that many are on a search for a sense of purpose and spiritual peace in order to cope with their loneliness and anxiety in a secularized, materialistic world of disintegrating cultural values and broken family structures. Consequently, significant numbers are turning to postmodern cults, the occult, and drug abuse in their search for transcendent values or some unifying thread to explain the world in which they live.
Josh McDowell writes, “’We are the first generation in 300 years to go through a distinct cultural change.’ Francis Schaeffer once stated: ‘We no longer live in a Judeo-Christian culture; we live in post-Judeo-Christian culture.’ But we no longer live in a post-Judeo-Christian culture; we live in an anti-Judeo-Christian culture. In post-modernism there is no objective truth. And truth is not to be discovered; truth is to be created. Whatever you think is true, is true. It doesn’t matter what an author wrote in a book. Whatever it says to you is just as true as what the author wrote.” 2
If we are to reach this generation, they will be won not by shoving the truth into their face but by observing authentic Christianity in action. Consider Paul’s summation of what affected change in the lives of the Thessalonians: ” …We were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. Affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives ” (I Thess. 2:7, 8 -NKJV). It was primarily the witness of their lives, coupled with the presentation of the gospel that won them over.
With the Thessalonians in mind, may I suggest three things we must do to reach this generation:
#1 We need to demonstrate Christ – honoring communities: With this hurting generation from fractured homes and relationships, they need to see and experience a sense of community as demonstrated in John 13 – 16.
#2 We need to live lives of deep compassion to demonstrate the credibility of the Gospel. (See Hos. 11:8; Matt. 9:12, 13; Heb. 4:15, 16)
#3 We need to model strong marriages and families: The leading desire of young singles is a happy marriage and home life. Marriages that reproduce authentic biblical models serve as a powerful platform to influence young adults today. The role of the father and his healthy relationship with his spouse and children speaks loudly to youth who are in desperate need of credible examples to emulate.
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
1Douglas Coupland – 2This is an excerpt from a message Josh McDowell preached at the 1998 Ministerial Enrichment Conference at Central Assembly of God, Springfield, MissouriViews: 53