Because of a recent interaction, I have decided write. I recently read a book on the topic of why many young people have left the church. In addition, I have read books on the theology of martyrdom over the past few years. I would like to put all of this together.
One of the many reasons mentioned as to why young people are leaving the church is the churches handling of the subject of homosexuality. While I have strong personal feeling on this issue, I am also subject to the scriptures.
Recently, I found myself counseling an individual. The person was defending their current lifestyle choice and were disturbed at the church’s stand and potential response the actions. The individual had trouble understanding why Christian friends, family and church might reject the person for their choices. In passing, this person mentioned the Church’s general stance over homosexuality and that it was troubling to them (their transgression was not homosexuality). This caught my ear. Although, I had read a book mentioning some of our youth’s reaction to the Church’s stance, I had never encountered it.
One could ask why homosexuality? Why is the church taking special issue with this sin? What about the other sins: drunkenness, drug use, adultery, sex outside of wedlock, lying, stealing and others? It is seen as simple bigotry against a group of innocent loving people. They are Americans and should have the right to live as they choose.
Today we discuss it because it is more prevalent. Moreover, it is unnaturally pushed on our culture as normal and good. Maybe we would talk about the perversions like bestiality or necrophilia if legislation were introduced to legalize them.
There are two things to mention: Biblical fidelity and culture/society. We as Christians are obligated to uphold Biblical orthopraxy. It is our duty to live to Biblical norms and avoid the norms of our culture when they contradict. At times it is also necessary to bring correction to one another.
In addition, the Church has the responsibility to be a vanguard for culture and society. We warn the culture of the destructive force of certain attitudes and actions. We try to use our numerical political force to keep destructive forces at bay, that work to destroy the family and culture. These are dirty jobs.
Corporately we act as a prophet. Like the prophets of the Old and New Testaments, we warn of the coming destruction. This is not an enviable job.
As the prophets, we shall be hated. Like Jesus we shall be misunderstood. Most of these messengers of the Bible suffered greatly for their fidelity to the Bible and for giving the loving warning of God’s coming wrath.
Martyrdom is what we suffer as a result of being this witness. I have read martyr means witness. We use the term martyrdom for those who suffer or are killed as a result of their witness.
Young people are easily swayed by the seductive power of pop-culture. If they want to fit in, feel liked and hip, they have no other choice but to surrender, abandoning the archaic countercultural dogma passed to them by their parents and pastors.
These young people are for the slaughter. They find themselves between two worlds: one requiring strength, self-restraint, and hard work, and the other is libertine. They have to choose between brocolli and ice cream; home work and video games: waiting and having it now.
To enter into the mainstream of this cultural-digression they feel they must make amends for their past sins by denouncing their faith. They are compelled to take up stones to prove they are worthy of this libertine cult’s praise. This is their initiation!
Their sin was being part of the Church, not having sex as a teen or not taking illicit drugs. They feel great contrition, shame and remorse—they were betrayed by their parents. Their penance: to stone their parents; indulge in the liberated lifestyle; and profane the sacred Church. There is no group more qualified to hurt the Church and be our persecutors. They were good, “holy” moles for so many years.
They are now freed of the cold, steal shackles of Jesus. Simultaneously, they enjoy the feeling, the immediately gratifying sensation, now embraced by those who seem victorious.
2 Tim 3:1-5 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”
It is no wonder that many youth leave the church…Martyrdom is not for everyone!
As Jesus asked ”…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”