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Friday, June 21, 2013

Climate Change as the Latest Gimmick to Lure Youth to Church

It is no secret that young people are leaving the visible church in droves. This reality ultimately refutes the notion that the church must be hip, relevant and "missional," ever-changing to accommodate the culture. After all, if that was the key, the number of young, professing evangelicals would not be dwindling.
photo: Big Grey Mare via photopin cc
Still, the discussion surrounding this conundrum rarely wanders in the direction it should. What is the key to keeping young people—or people of any age—in the church? Preach the Gospel. Preach the Word, the whole counsel of God. True, it may be controversial to speak of sin, repentance, and faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Few like to hear that there is nothing that they can do to save themselves from eternal wrath. But those who have been drawn, or are being drawn, by God the Father, will remain. They will long to hear more. They will hunger and thirst for truth and righteousness. Those who hate God, regardless of what they profess with their lips, will leave and never look back.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19)
Unfortunately, this answer never seems to be sufficient for today's evangelicals. Instead, Christians and churches are urged to find new and interesting ways to "engage" the youth. How sad it is that salvation and a gracious, righteous Savior is not enough!

A recent article in The Christian Post (CP) demonstrates one of the latest pious-sounding gimmicks being proposed as a way to "reverse the trend" of teens leaving the church:
Climate change is the perfect place to start. A large majority of young Americans view climate change as a serious problem facing their generation. And to date, American evangelicals have been among the slowest to recognize the problem. Far from compromising our values, helping to address the world's changing climate - which the United Nations Development Program says "will reverse decades worth of human development gains" - would help us fulfill Christ's command to care for the poor in a way that unites our faith tradition with America's youth and the broader society. (Source)
Yes, climate change. When one considers the author of this particular CP article, however, its premise is not so surprising. The author is Deborah Fikes and Stand Up for the Truth reveals that
Photo: Wikimedia
her esteemed title is Representative to the United Nations and Executive Advisor for the World Evangelical Alliance. She is also an Ambassador for The Climate Group’s Clean Revolution campaign – which mobilizes leaders to address climate change in a way that promotes economic growth and improves quality of life. (Source)
It seems as though Ms. Fikes may have her own agenda, then. An entire post could be written merely about the obvious absurdity of appealing to a liberal agenda as a means of drawing the youth into a church building, so that point will not be labored here. Suffice it to say that, while men should indeed be good stewards of God's creation, they have absolutely no control over the ultimate future for this planet (2 Pet 3:10Rev 21:1–8).

The CP article continues:
Of course, reengaging our youth transcends any one issue. But, as with immigration, where we can find common ground, we must. By doing so, not only can we start to reverse the current trend of church flight, but we can do our part to address one of the world's greatest challenges in the process. (Source)
Are Christians merely to be content with luring young people back into a building under the guise of a worldly agenda? Is climate change a greater challenge than the world's truly greatest need, namely, the problem of sin and each man's need of a Savior? It does not matter how many teenagers fill a church's pews, if they are not there so that they may learn of their hopeless, sinful condition, then they will remain dead. If they do not hear the good news that Jesus Christ lived the perfect life they could not, that He died as a perfect, unblemished sacrifice for the sins of all who belong to Him, and that He rose on the third day and now sits at the right hand of God (Rom 8:34), then they will never be born again. Is this truly acceptable to the church? How dare it be proposed that the planet be saved at the expense of souls.