Source: The Stream

March 25, 2015

How Many Millennials are Evangelical in Name Only?

Too many influential Evangelicals are willing to compromise anything that current culture dictates. This is cause for concern since the future of the family, missions, cultural health and success will be shaped by the worldview of Millennial Evangelicals. Current trends, unfortunately, suggest that much of the next generation of leaders is Evangelical in name only.

Liberal ideology under the cloak of Evangelicalism is a growing trend. Just this month, the Evangelical magazine Christianity Today founded by Rev. Billy Graham published a blog post whitewashing Margaret Sanger  —the infamous racist and eugenicist founder of Planned Parenthood. The article, “Contraception Saves Lives,” was written by Rachel Marie Stone, who also serves on Christianity Today’s editorial board, and champions Sanger as a women’s rights advocate while touting harmful hormonal contraceptives. Not exactly the Evangelical sentiments you’d expect for a flagship Evangelical magazine.

Also this month “Evangelical” writer Rachel Held Evans “defended” her “exit from Evangelicalism” in an interview with Religion News Service columnist Jonathan Merritt. While Evans resists characterizations that she has abandoned Evangelicalism, and talks about embracing the liturgical tradition of the Episcopal Church (her new home), she also indicates that that denomination’s evolving attitude on homosexuality was part of the reason for her move. In her book A Year of Biblical Womanhood, she had already distanced herself from Evangelical views of salvation and biblical authority.

Though she speaks as if she’s abandoning a sinking ship for the wave of the future, her new denomination has been in catastrophic decline because orthodox believers are abandoning it in droves.

Evans should be commended, however, for admitting her change of mind and heart. The real harm is done when liberal, heterodox Christians continue to masquerade as Evangelicals, a term traditionally used to refer to those who hold the Bible as inerrant and authoritative, accept the urgent need to share the gospel with sinners and seek to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

As I’ve warned many times, liberalism is alive and well within the Evangelical community. Taking cues from the political Left, what’s called the “Evangelical Left” is trying persuade the Millennial generation to compromise biblical commitment for the sake of political correctness. And when the Evangelical Left couches their liberal theology in buzzwords like “compassion,” “equality” and “co-exist,” Millennial Evangelicals are afraid to oppose.

Liberal Evangelical authors tell young Evangelicals that if they accept abortion and same-sex marriage, then the media, academia and Hollywood will finally accept Christians. Out of fear of being falsely dubbed intolerant or without compassionate, many young Christians are buying into theological falsehoods. Millennials are forgoing the authority of Scripture and embracing a cafeteria-style Christianity — all in the name of tolerance and compassion.

The danger is this distorted, liberal theology breaks down the moral values outlined in Scripture. It also encourages young Evangelicals to deny the Judeo-Christian principles our Founding Fathers used to establish a just, prosperous nation.

The millennial generation’s susceptibility to “feel-good” theology makes it difficult for them to take an uncomfortable stand. Millennials’ religious practices depend largely on how our actions make us and others feel, biblical or not.

So, for instance, many like to attend churches that leave us feeling good about our lifestyle choices, even if those conflict with God’s clear commandments. Or when the religious liberties of Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman and bakery owners Melissa and Aaron Klein were undercut after they declined to cater same-sex wedding ceremonies, the Evangelical Left and their young disciples, far from standing with them, were among the first calling for these business owners to suppress their convictions for the sake of so-called Christian compassion.

Being counter-cultural is hard. I know. While in college I dabbled in the Evangelical Left’s distorted gospel for a short time. I remember during that time, while traveling back from a family vacation, yelling at my parents because they would not endorse same-sex relationships. I had gay friends at my campus church, and no one was teaching me that homosexual activity was a sin. So in my mind, being compassionate like Christ meant affirming same-sex attractions and relationships. Thankfully, my parents never stopped praying for me and continued to speak God’s truths in a tone of love to me.

Right now America’s youth — in and outside of the church — need real Evangelical leadership. We need to hear from you what it means to accept the urgency of sharing the gospel, what it looks like to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and how necessary it is to accept Scripture as the divinely inspired and authoritative Word of God.

You can make a huge impact on the Millennial Evangelicals in your community. For example, start teaching Sunday school or leading youth group at your church. Then don’t be afraid to talk about what the Bible actually says about homosexuality and abortion. Don’t be afraid to tell the young Evangelicals you know that just as Christ was deemed offensive for standing for truth, so too will his followers.

The article originally appeared on The Stream 


4 Responses to How Many Millennials are Evangelical in Name Only?

  1. Namyriah says:

    The millennials, including the ones who tag themselves as “Christians,” can be summed up by the line from Wordsworth: “The world is too much with us.” So much stuff to fill up the brain, most of it fluff and garbage, 24/7, checking their messages first thing in the morning, last thing and night, and constantly in between, no substance, no meat. They have trouble grasping the Book of Acts references to Christianity as “the way,” as something that should fill all of life and not just be an add-on. Most millennials in the churches seem like happy, pleasant people – but not much else. They might take a short-term mission trip to Haiti (and spend most of it taking selfies), but they are not the sort of people who will suffer for their faith, or suffer for any reason. Their serial-divorced parents taught them that “emotional commitment” means “love until you get tired of that person,” and like their secular peers, they think sexual gratification is a sacred right, so no wonder they are OK with divorce, pre-marital sex,porn, and homosexuality. As Chelsen’s article points out, evangelicals’ stand for traditional marriage exists more on paper than in preaching.

    We need not worry about millennials ever being persecuted for their faith. They have nothing in common with the true believers throughout the world who suffer real persecution. Just the name “Christian,” nothing else.

    • Daniel says:

      As Christians, we need to frame the issue and establish the correct terms before we can have any serious or fruitful discussions with our homosexual brothers and sisters. I appreciate your analysis of millennials (in many ways it is spot on), but the debate over same-sex marriage needs to be one based on Christian presuppositions and doctrine rather than a genteel conceptualization of the “traditional” family life and marriage of the 1950’s. We run the threat of treating “traditional marriage” as the only method of a fulfilling Christian life. I am married and it is a wonderful and fruitful blessing, but it is not the end or goal of the Christian life. Repentance from sin and a belief in the Gospel of Christ is what saves, not a life of heterosexual marriage. Heterosexuals are not saved because they are married to a partner of the opposite sex, nor will homosexuals be saved if they marry a member of the opposite sex.

      We have to treat this issue on Biblical and doctrinal grounds and overcome the rhetoric of traditional family values v. cesspool culture. I fear that framing the issue as a war against traditional marriage further alienates our homosexual brothers and sisters and elevates marriage as a false idol of Christian practice. Paul reminds us that being single is preferable to marriage in advancing the gospel 1 Cor. 7.7-8.

      All that said, your comment about the selfie made me laugh extremely hard! I nearly peed myself.

      • Namyriah says:

        I re-read my post, and I see no hint of this “genteel conceptualization of the ‘traditional’ family life and marriage of the 1950s.”

        So I have no clue what you’re talking about, and I’m not sure you do either. I didn’t even mention the 1950s. Or “genteel conceptualization.” Respond to things I said, not things I didn’t say.

        If you enjoy using polysyllabic words to impress people, go for it. That’s usually the tactic of people who suffer from the delusion that more words and more syllables equals more intelligence.

  2. yolo says:

    You have to ask why feminists are more pro-homosexual marriage than anyone else. They hate marriage. To them, marriage is an abomination. They would prefer that marriage be homosexual. I know, crazy stuff. But that is exactly what they are after. They hate marriage. It is also why they prefer single parenting over family, even though the outcomes are horrible.

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