Falling away or Running away?
For the past week or so, there has been several sources of conversation concerning a concerting problem in the ranks of fundamental Baptists. The focused subject is the dissipation of younger generational turning away from our ranks. The first point of evidence is the declining enrollments of many fundamental, Bible believing Baptist colleges. Along with that, the various lists of churches seeking young associates, assistants and volunteers. Those lists seem longer than usual indicating that there are fewer candidates to fill the positions that younger generations of christian workers usually fill. sm
Topping the list of proposed causes of the exodus is that the younger generation have decided that some, if not most, of the standards and positions of the fundamentalists are no longer acceptable and must be abandoned by progressive and successful entrants into modern day ministry. They supposedly feel that the things emphasized by the older generation are no longer to be emphasized. Like the blue laws of public legalities, they can just fade away amongst the muffled sounds of ridicule.
Strangely, yet identified, is that the trend of attitudes of the younger generation of believers coinciding with the attitudes of the world. In other words, whatever the world picks out to reject from the Christian faith is also what the newer generation of christian adherents find to be unacceptable or at least questionable. Though not easily measured, it is evident that there is a dispersion between the older and younger generations. There always has been and there always will be a dispersion. That is life. Sometimes it seems that the younger generation rejects aspects of the the older generation just because thay want to be different. They follow a sense of exploration and discovery thinking that they are following a new uncharted course. If they would sit down and truly converse with the older generation, they would discover that the older generation did virtually the same thing when they were young.
But, lets get back to the subject at hand and the seriousness of the matter. The great problem in the matter is defined with one scriptural phrase in 1 Timothy 4:1, "departing from the faith..." referring to people who because of the lure of the world's ways, turn from the faith in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. Firstly and flatly, I do not believe that a saved person can lose their salvation. However, I do know that christians, even fervent christians, can depart from their ferventcy and return to a worldly life style. I have witnessed this first hand. I graduated from Bible college with several who disappeared back into the world. I am allowed to wonder if they were actually saved, but cannot make a final judgment. Each of us are led and influenced by our parents, peers and persuasions. Each of us are unique in our total demeanor. We choose our own course. As Joshua said, "choose ye this day..." There are collections and assemblies of human beings and each one of those are bent to mold their memberships into conformity and unity.
Finally, it has been my experience to note that when I have an argument to prove, I usually try to draw as many living proofs into the argument that I can. This is no different from anyone who uses others to prove their point. The gentlemen who refer to the innumerable list of young men who abandon the fundamental faith, are also trying to bolster their reason why they themselves are questioning some point of fundamentalism or the whole fundamental philosophy. It is like the timeless excuse for behavior, "everybody else is doing it!" It is scripturally true that many are turning from the faith and that it is becoming more difficult to win multitudes to Christ in most evangelized areas of this world. The scriptures warned us that this would happen. Most of us who cling to our Bibles and our Christ, are convinced that our time on this earth is short. We are looking up. We look at those who depart with sadness and sorrow. We try to snatch those who are tottering on the brink. But, we are more determined to remain true to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We believe what He said!