Keeping the Future

Note: This is the combined articles of Dec. 4th (Part One) and of Dec. 11 (Part Two)

Understanding the Problem

Rewriting History

In his acclaimed work Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell wrote “He who controls the past controls the future; he who controls the present controls the past.” These words, written to describe an oppressive dystopia have been proven by the propaganda efforts of several brutal regimes. The Nazis sought to rewrite German history as to control her future. Numerous efforts of agitprop within the Soviet Union sought to cover the atrocities of a very bloody past.

This principle has been used in large scale to help support tyranny and persecution, to the detriment of many. However, this principle can have harmful effect even on a minor scale, with a focus upon corrupting the next generation.

Necessary Instruction

In the church, it is necessary for her members to inculcate the teachings of Christ to her young, so as to ensure the future of the body of Christ on earth. However, sometimes this instruction lacks a focus upon a proper grounding, manifest many times in a cynical attitude that such grounding will come with adulthood. Many times Christian parents send their children off to institutions of higher learning, or into their secular lives assuming that experience itself will provide such grounding, when such grounding should have occurred in such formative years.

For those who wish to seed doubt or to bring change into the brotherhood of Christ, no more prime of a target exists but with young people. The argument is simple. They may not be able to change the minds of this generation, but if they change the minds of the next generation, the struggle becomes moot. This attempt to change minds always begins by attacking the past. A Christian young person may remember their early years in the body of Christ fondly, but soon they are told that such experiences were simply a forced “tradition” or an “outmoded” stylistic choice imposed by the cultural mores of their parents.

Changing Norms

In time, what was considered to be the “norm” for Christian worship and practice, based upon Biblical truth and inspiration, is instead “old fashioned” and not “contemporary.” With such a past unhinged, the future is open to new interpretations and post-modern equivocations. With such a future, the church of today will forever change. Is it any wonder that the present condition of the body of Christ is such as it is?

Dealing With the Problem


In this discussion, young people do not represent the sole targets for bringing about un-Biblical teaching and change, but they represent prime targets because the potential they have to affect the future. To combat this danger, here are some suggestions which will aid in the grounding of the next generation of church leaders:

Teach elementary principles and more

In many scenarios, congregations assume that young people will learn both the elementary and deeper parts of the Christian faith through osmosis. While this may seem an exaggeration, how many junior high, senior high, or college age classes focus upon topics such as Christian worship?

Teach instead of dictate

It is natural for every new generation (and new converts coming from the world) to have questions about Christian worship and practice. However, a common reaction to simple questioning is to state something similar to “because that is what we do here.” Simply saying Practice A is right because it is “what we do” does not provide any Scriptural basis to build upon, and therefore provides no foundation at all.

Teach and do not abdicate

Many times congregations entrust the care of the young people to a leader who is an “expert” with young people. While there are many good youth leaders in the body of Christ, it has become all too common to defer to the direction of the youth leader, even in spite of the reservations of leadership, because they are an “expert.” Bringing in someone to be “responsible” for the youth is not an excuse to merely let the youth “do their thing.”

Teaching begins at home

It is important to stress that the primary responsible party for the teaching of young people is their own parents. To assume that the church is responsible for the spiritual welfare of your child is to misunderstand the purpose of being a parent.

A Common Theme

As we look over each of these suggestions, you will note a similar theme: they all emphasize the importance of “teaching” the next generation. Ignorance is one of the greatest enemies of the body of Christ. It is our responsibility to teach the next generation. If we fail to do so, then who will?

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