Are pious pastors preparing young Christians to defend their moral values?

Younger evangelicals more liberal than older evangelicals... is it just ignorance?
Voting for Obama means abortion, gay marriage and end of religious liberty

You might expect Christians to advocate for values like chastity, life-long natural marriage, protection for unborn and born children, right to work, low taxes, limited government, free speech, religious liberty, and so on. But today, many young evangelicals are embracing  higher taxes, more spending, socialism, retreat from just wars against evil forces, abortion, gay marriage, global warming alarmism, etc.

Why is this happening?

Christianity should make me feel happy and be liked by others?

Here is the first problem. When you advocate for moral causes like protecting the unborn, or school choice, or freeing the slaves, a bunch of people are not going to like you. Christians in the time of Jesus knew that being bold about their Christian convictions would make a lot of people think bad things about them – they expected it. But young evangelicals have gotten the idea that being a Christian should not involve any sort of unhappiness and unpopularity. They’ve been told that God has a wonderful plan for their lives, and that plan involves happiness, fulfillment, travel and adventure. They wouldn’t have learned this from the Bible, because the Bible emphasizes suffering and unpopularity as part of the normal Christian life. Christianity has always been opposed to abortion and homosexuality, but these things are not fun and popular today. Since these young Christians believe in a God of love – a cosmic butler who leads them to happiness through their feelings – of course they are going to find defending traditional Christian values too difficult.

Christianity should be about my private experience of belief?

What young evangelicals learn in many churches is that religion is something that is centered on the Bible and the church building – it is not something that flows into real life. This is actually the goal of the most pious, orthodox pastors, with the exception of people like Pastor Wayne Grudem or Pastor Matt Rawlings who can integrate the Bible with real-world how-to knowledge. Pastors want to protect God from being “judged” by evidence, because they regard evidence as dirty, and unworthy of being allowed to confirm or deny blind faith / tradition. Pastors instead teach young people that you can’t find out anything about God from things like the Big Bang, the DNA, the fossil record, or even from the peer-reviewed research on abortion, divorce, or gay marriage. And they don’t respond to arguments and evidence from non-Christian skeptics, either. Their goal is to insulate belief from evidence. If the Bible says “do this” then they don’t even want to study the way the world works in order to know the best way to do what the Bible asks.

For example, when it comes to politics and social activism, young evangelicals learn in church about helping the poor. But pastors never tell them anything about economics, which shows that the free enterprise system is the best at helping the poor. (Just compare the USA to North Korea or Venezuela or Argentina). Instead, young evangelicals blissfully accept the left’s narrative that free markets and charity don’t work, and that  government must step in to redistribute wealth. Most pastors never pick up an economic textbook to see which economic system really helps the poor. And that ignorance is passed on to gullible and sentimental young people, who jump on any slick politician who promises to help the poor through redistribution rather than economic growth and innovation. What you learn about in church is that religion is private and has no connection to reality whatsoever., so there is no point in learning anything – science, economics, philosophy. Pious pastors put Christianity outside the realm of truth.

The (young) people perish for lack of knowledge

What follows from having a view that Christianity only lives in the Bible and church, and not out there in the real world of telescopes and microscopes? Well, most young evangelicals will interpret what their pastor is telling them as “our flavor of ice cream” or “our cultural custom”. They don’t link Christianity to the real world, they don’t think that it’s true for everyone. They think that “people in church” just accept what the Bible says on faith, and that’s all. So what happens when topics like abortion, marrige, economics, war, etc. come up in their daily conversations? Well, all the pastors have equipped them with is “the Bible says”, and that’s not enough to be persuasive with non-Christians. They have no way of speaking about their beliefs and values with anyone who doesn’t already believe in the Bible. And that’s why they go left… it’s much easier to just go along with their secular left peers, professors and cultural heroes. And that’s exactly what they do. Without facts and evidence – which they never taught  or even mentioned in church – how can they be expected to stand up for Biblical Christianity? They can’t.

If young Christians never learn how to present a case for traditional values and beliefs apart from the Bible for concepts like pro-life or natural marriage or religious liberty, then they will cave to the secular left culture. And this is exactly what the pious pastors have facilitated by “rescuing” the God and the Bible and the historical Jesus from evidence and knowledge. Young people lack courage to take Biblical positions, because they first lack knowledge. They don’t know how to make the case using evidence that their opponents will accept – mainstream evidence from publicly accessible sources. And that’s how the pastors want it – piety, not evidence.

Christianity is a knowledge tradition

No young evangelical is going to lift a finger to take bold moral stands if they think their worldview is just one option among many – like the flavors of ice cream in the frozen section of the grocery store. They have to know that what they are saying is true – then they will be bold. Boldness is easy when you are aware of facts and evidence for your view. Not just what the pastors and choirs accept, but facts and evidence that are widely accepted.

UPDATE: A friend just sent me this series by a pious pastor named Andy Stanley. My goodness, he is doing well with apologetics. I’m listening to #2 in the series now and it’s just really honest talk about atheism and Christianity.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

12 thoughts on “Are pious pastors preparing young Christians to defend their moral values?”

  1. Christians are divided and so judgemental that we would have to have twice the numbers we do have just to be even. As one of the early fathers said, we are the only army that kills our own wounded. Wait till they finish with the supreme court.

  2. Excellent! Sharing. Double check your sentence that starts with, ” Most pastors they never….”

  3. “Well, all the pastors have equipped them with is ‘the Bible says’, and that’s not enough to be persuasive with non-Christians.”

    If only churches would actually equip them with ‘the Bible says x’ minimally! In my experience the majority of churches are unwilling to teach their congregants about what the Bible teaches with regard to sensitive or complicated issues (social or theological). Its far easier for them to just avoid these topics and concentrate on emotion – more music and social groups. If only exegesis of the text was a priority, then a lot of what we’re seeing right now might be mitigated somewhat.

  4. It’s a lot worse than you think, WK: 3 times in the last month or so, we have been approached by “Christians” on the sidewalk in front of our abortion mill to be told that what we are doing (offering real choices for women, saving babies, sharing the Gospel, and protesting abortion) is “un-Christ-like.” So, my standard follow-up question is “If they were whipping black people inside of that building, and it were legal, would you protest with us?” All three answered “no.”

    Two of the three were black.

    Read that last sentence again.

    My friend, American Churchianity is alive and well, but, as in the “Church” of England times of Wilberforce just prior to his submitting his abolition of the slave trade bills, the “Church” is not much more than a social club.

    Over half of “Catholics” are about to vote Hillary in the upcoming election, despite the fact that the Catholic Church is categorically explicit in its doctrines regarding the Sanctity of Life and Marriage. It is arguably worse in the non-Catholic churches.

    This is why I could never have been saved in a church: the only major difference between me as an atheist and the churchgoers of this age was that I had an extra hour free on Sunday mornings. The other difference between me as an atheist and the “church” is that I was pro-life.

    I write this from the Bible Belt, where I still rarely attend church – even here, it is wussified.

    The Western Church is dead, but the Lord Jesus Christ is alive. It is high time we spread His Gospel to the churches in the West.

      1. No I think these “christians” have bought the entire self-refuting bullet: if all judging is wrong, then how could it possibly be wrong for us to be on the sidewalk – aren’t THEY judging US?!?

        This is an absurdism-based faith, really not different from atheist-absurdists, and you are correct to point at the pastors. They are following the money, not God.

          1. I LOVE Frank Turek! I have a couple of his books – he is such a great apologist.

            Thanks for that link, KP – it had a couple of references that I had forgotten about, including John 7:24. I really appreciate this and can use this – even on the sidewalk! God bless you!!!

  5. Pastor Stanley, I think, represents the danger of knowing some apologetics, but badly utilizing the information (probably unintentionally). If what he meant to say by “Before you abandon your faith, it’s worth exploring this question: What if the Bible isn’t the foundation of the Christian faith?” etc. was actually “You can trust the historicity of the gospels and therefore know that the Tanach and New Testament are inerrant.” He kinda dropped the ball on that one and gave the impression that, historically-speaking, some parts of the Bible could be ahistorical and thus dismissible (but you still have the Resurrection). :\

  6. “So what happens when topics like abortion, marriage, economics, war, etc. come up in their daily conversations? Well, all the pastors have equipped them with is “the Bible says”,”

    I did not even get any information about abortion, marriage, economics, war, self-defense, having children, etc from my church. I grew up in Protestant churches and they did not even discuss these things. As a teenager I had questions about practical issues like the ones listed above, but got nothing current or practical from my church. Week after week just sermons on salvation and love. There were a few kids at my high school that opposed abortion but they were all Roman Catholic. Nothing pro or con from my Protestant church. I thought it was a Catholic issue only.

    1. Bee, I hate to say it, but your experience makes me glad that I was not raised in a church and that I was an atheist. I had a better shot at finding Christ elsewhere, through apologetics and reasoning and, of course through the authentic Christian homeschool families God put me in close contact with. All Glory to God!

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