Young believers, who are earnest and sincere in their desire to walk with God, are facing hard times. The world is a hostile place for young Christians. It’s awash with vile temptation, aggressive ungodliness and a mindset that is not only immoral but amoral. But sadly the difficulties facing young Christians are not only found in the world, they are also found in the church. Writing as someone in their mid-40’s it seems to me that things were somewhat simpler in the past. It was relatively easy to discern between a ‘good’ church and a ‘bad’ church. The lines between orthodoxy and apostasy appeared clear and well defined. There were not the same controversies regarding music, separation or Christian standards. I understand that this may just be a perception and I am sure that there were troubles in the early 60’s and 70’s also, but be that as it may, things seemed simpler. However that has changed. New groups (and new descriptions of old groups), within Christianity have emerged in recent times and this has led to bewilderment for some young Christians. They must discern between radical non–orthodoxy on one side and hyper fundamentalism on the other and everything else in between. It can be challenging and confusing. Some of these groups are so far to the left, or so far to the right that it is relatively easy to see the errors and avoid them. However there are other things happening that are not so clear and therefore not so simple to deal with. For example, what of those who are careful with doctrine but careless in practice? What of those who are sound in the gospel but who associate with those who are not? What of the situation where contemporary Christian music dominates the worship service but the preaching is reasonably acceptable? What of those who use Christian liberty as a reason to discard what others describe as Christian standards? And what of the case where ‘good men’ support ‘bad things’ and find themselves at odds with ‘good’ brethren? These scenarios present searching questions. It is difficult to keep abreast with movements and especially when they change, divide and then re-group under another name. But however confusing and challenging this situation is it requires comment. Older Christians owe it to younger believers to help them negotiate this ecclesiastical maze. I don’t think it is enough just to say, ‘it’s black and white, so do what’s right’. It many cases it is not black and white and therefore we must turn to the Scriptures and pray for the wisdom of the Holy Ghost to give us understanding in those Scriptures. If young believers are asking questions in order to understand and not undermine, then we have a duty to take them seriously and offer what spiritual help we can.
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