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Where will they go?

October 8, 2013

I was reading a fascinating article this week entitled The GOP is losing young Christians written by Matt Lewis, a conservative writer.  It was, for me, one of those eerie moments where it feels as if somebody wrote something they had plucked right out of my head.  The premise is that the current rancorous culture war is driving young Christians away.  Oddly enough, if that is the case, it appears that I am one of those rare young Christians eligible for Social Security.

The most telling line from Lewis’ article is where, talking about the political tactics of today, he says “…it’s harder and harder to be a devout Christian involved in politics these days – even conservative politics.”  I agree.  But my real concern is that as young evangelicals leave the GOP where will they go and what will they take with them?

There has been a quiet sea change in evangelicals in this generation.  Slowly but surely young evangelicals are leading the way in fights against AIDS, human trafficking, poverty and many other issues.  Most have not abandoned their beliefs on other traditional social issues, and certainly not given up their obedience to Jesus’ call to “follow me”, they just deem it more urgent to save lives than to make sure two guys across town that they never met are not allowed to marry.

They see an older generation’s call to cut back on government helping the poor as contrary to Mathew 25.  They listen to my generation say that we are not against the poor, only government involvement in serving them, and stare at us incredulously.  They hear our suggestion that “the church” needs to be doing this work and they know that we know the church is not doing it and never will on the scale the problem demands.  Is it any wonder that they see such calls as callous?

But where will they go?  Will they drift left and become Democrats or other liberals?  Will they grow discouraged and abandon politics and civic involvement altogether?  Will they form their own movement?  I really don’t know.

But most chilling to me is that they may actually believe what many in my generation are telling them; they may see the whole ball of wax – politics, the church, the culture war and Christianity itself as so integrated they must leave it all behind; that the only way they can shed strategies they despise is to shed their faith as well.

The young evangelicals I know are strongly committed to Christ, to being His ambassadors in the world, and to proclaiming the Gospel.  It bothers me that I hear voices in my generation saying that, if they don’t fight the fight in the same way on the same issues we do, that they are somehow failing or going over to “the other side.”

This should really be a time of great hope for the church.  There is a generation of evangelicals coming with the passion and energy to change our faith and our world for the better.  And, boy, are they ever needed!  Ideally we older Christians should give them our encouragement, our prayers, and the benefit of learning from both our successes and our failures.  Are too many of us giving them scolding and admonitions instead?

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From → Christianity

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