Studies indicate that many of today’s young people have little to no desire to adopt and embrace the faith of their parents. As a result, many of these same young people are also avoiding the political battles of their parents generation. They are increasingly apathetic toward politicians who campaign on hot-button cultural issues, especially when those politicians are not living consistently with their public personas. Young people are fleeing from the candidates they perceive as religious hypocrites.
However, the dwindling number of religious youths hasn’t been directly caused by hypocritical politicians. There is another, greater reason for the youth exodus from churches, namely postmodernism and a retreat from historical orthodoxy and Scriptural truth.
Many young people, including and especially young Christians, possess a postmodern worldview. Whether subconsciously or deliberately, these young people believe that all truth is relative. According to them, the belief that universal truth exists and must be taught is far too tough and uncaring for modern sensibilities. They’ve bought into the postmodern lie that no one has a right to judge anyone else for their personal, private behavior. Those people, young and old, who still dare to speak God’s truth on issues of morality are ridiculed as “bigots.”
Perhaps nowhere is this postmodern trend better demonstrated than by this generation’s aversion to moral issues like abortion and homosexuality. Apathy toward such moral issues is quickly spreading, even among young people who still identify as “Christian” and “evangelical.” These younger “evangelicals,” if they can be called such anymore, have no stomach for controversy. Statistics show that many seem far more interested in advocating for social issues with which the unbelieving world would gladly help (e.g., genocide, sex trafficking, global warming, etc.) rather than fighting on the unpopular side of social battles like abortion and homosexuality.
Granted, it is the Christian’s duty to fight against injustices like genocide and sex trafficking. But that same duty also compels every Christian to take a firm Biblical (and Gospel-centric) stand on cultural issues like abortion and homosexuality. Yet sadly, many younger Christians have been convinced by our post-modern culture that such stands on God’s truth don’t have authority outside of one’s own life. In other words, they’ve bought into the lie that truth can be different for everyone, which often means they become unwilling to tell their homosexual friend that his behavior is immoral, or their pregnant friend that an abortion would be sinful.
Make no mistake, any young “Christian” who rejects the authority of Scripture on all issues of life can no longer be seen as faithfully orthodox, much less evangelical.
Although it is a sad trend, we should not be surprised by the recent exodus of young people from the church. While God’s truth will never change and will never be in any real danger, Scripture teaches that many will be led astray (2 Tim 4:3). Biblical Christians, young and old, must continue to stand on God’s unchanging Word in the culture, no matter how unpopular it may be. After all, Christ and His Gospel are an offense to the unbelieving world (1 Cor. 1:23). Much of the time, His followers will be perceived no differently.