One doesn't have to read statistics from a professionally conducted census to know that many young people who are "raised in the church" are being lost to the cause of Christ. What's happening to them?
Permissiveness is happening to youth. In many instances, parents have abdicated their God-given role. They set no firm guidelines, have no definite rules of the house and often allow themselves to be manipulated. Parents are often literally afraid to have firm rules, afraid of the child rebelling. They don't know that love is not some kind of' namby-pamby attitude, but that there must be a certain kind of toughness to love, amply shown in the book of Proverbs. It doesn't mean being roguish, tyrannical, or unmerciful in the demands it makes. But youth need guidance. They need someone to tell them "how far," some "cans" and "cant’s," with good sound "why's." And, in some instances, the "why" may be simply "because I said so."
Work is happening to youth. In many instances young people are pushed and shoved into the "job market" without any consideration as to how the job will interfere with their worship, study, or the influences they will face. None of us want our children to grow up to be lazy good-for-nothings. We want them to "learn the value of a dollar," to know that, at least for most of us, "money doesn't grow on trees." But often that part-time job, which may be taking far too much of their time, is during hours of worship on the Lord's Day or during mid-week Bible study and every night of a gospel meeting. And then the parents, having allowed, maybe even encouraged it, or in some instances demanded it, wonder why their child no longer is interested in spiritual things.
Materialism is happening to youth. Not only are they being shoved into the work arena to make their "spending money," or to "buy some wheels," but also they see parents who are often more committed to providing "things" than they are to living for the Lord. Frequently the parents are recreation crazed, and allow recreational activity to keep them from worship services and periods of Bible study, or they often put optional work ahead of worship, especially if "overtime pay" is involved.
Humanism is happening to youth. Like an octopus with its many tentacles, humanism is attacking from many directions, approaching from various sources. From very tender years, humanism's eroding influences bombard our young people incessantly; and often parents are unaware of it, and in many instances cannot be aroused to a sense of concern when told of those influences. Evolution is only one of humanism's tentacles, but it is a powerful one. How can one who is constantly told that he is but the higher form of a lower life, fail to ultimately act the part? It is bound to dilute or erode away spiritual influences unless strong teaching is given to the contrary. "Value clarification" advocates teach youth that there are no absolutes, no real definitive standard of right or wrong. This being true, what is to be expected, but that he should eventually cast aside the "old fogey" ideas of parents, preachers, Bible class teachers, and elders?
Hypocrisy is happening to youth. Children are very incisive, easily able to discern a sham. When they repeatedly see hypocritical behavior on the part of adults who are in some authority over them, it has its effect. Elders, preachers, parents, policemen, governmental officials advocating one thing while practicing another send forth uncertain sounds to youth. Especially in spiritual matters, if they see no real devotion, no depth of spiritual life, it affects them.
- by Norman E. Fultz
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