Is the 'Last Christian Generation' upon Us?
- Wednesday, September 20, 2006
RAJPUR, INDIA -- The crisis is feared by most Christian parents, analyzed within every Christian educational institution and being discussed at every Christian leadership conference. The crisis? There is a prevalent belief that this is the last Christian generation!
The question is posed, “Are our kids embracing true Christianity?” Josh McDowell expresses this concern in his latest book, The Last Christian Generation, “But most admit to a fear, deep down, that their kids, having been raised in Christian families and having spent their childhood and teenage years in the church, will, nonetheless, walk away unchanged. They fear that they are the last Christian generation and that their children will depart from the true faith. That fear has become a reality.”
There are two primary responses to this growing fear that Christianity is losing its youth. FIRST — The need for a true revelation. It’s as if somehow we might be able to rearticulate Christianity into a more palatable, more understandable belief system. I disagree with this as an effective answer. We don’t need another “Christianity 101” course. What is needed is a true revolution and this can only occur through a person — Jesus. SECOND — Proponents express the need to communicate with a different methodology in order to resonate with the postmodern youth. With this I do agree, but this is simply answered by practicing one thing — authenticity.
Unfortunately, I believe all attempts to save Christianity or to repackage it so that the youth or postmoderns will be able to resonate with it, tends to miss the point. The real resonating power that can and will transform lives — young and old, old-fashioned or postmodern — is Jesus, simply Jesus. I share the same fears of Paul when he said, “I am afraid, just as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, that your minds might be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” This is not a devotion to the theological systems that have been wrapped around the name of Jesus. This is a devotion that is focused on simply Jesus—Jesus plus nothing. To add on to Jesus makes Jesus something or someone else and drifts into the spirit of anti-Christ (literally, anything that is “instead of” Christ).
THE MENTORING MODEL
In the midst of all of the debate within Christianity, there is a greater generation on the horizon — pure, authentic and more powerful than Christianity could ever be. You see, on the positive side, the religious system of Christianity has reformed a lot of people and communities, but it has never been able to transform anyone.
This greater generation that is emerging while the “last Christian generation” is upon us is what I call the 21st Century Jesus movement. But more pointedly, it is a dramatic return to the first Jesus generation as Jesus taught those early disciples.
Two weeks ago we traveled into northern India. Mike Buskey (a businessman and friend) and I saw and experienced something more unique than we had ever imagined. We saw something you only read about in the Gospels. It was as if we had been parachuted into an “upper room” meeting with Jesus’ disciples in the first century and had the opportunity to interview them while Jesus was out of the room.
Now, picture this. We are having dinner with eight young men, all Buddhists, who are being mentored/discipled to follow Jesus. I’ve never seen anything like this. These young men are taught daily the principles and teachings of Jesus by their mentor in a family setting at the House of Peace where they live together. The difference in this setting is that they not only learn Jesus’ teachings, but also apply them in a most remarkable way.
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