Recently I was asked to summarize my ministry.
When I think about my ministry these words come to mind:
–World View Centered/Culturally Relevant
–Home school friendly
–Culture Changing (not Retreating or Assimilating into)
This author is profoundly, enthusiastically about the future. Not only do I trust in our Mighty God, I am greatly encouraged by what I see in this generation. God is doing great things in your midst.
There is much need. Social critic Os Guinness in his seminal work The Dust of Death (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1973) prophetically argues that â€œwestern culture is marked . . . by a distinct slowing of momentum . . . a decline in purposefulness . . . Guinness implies that the ideals and traditions that have been central to the American civilization are losing their compelling cultural authority.& nbsp; There is, in short, no corpus of universally accepted morality that Americans follow. As Dallas Willard in The Divine Conspiracy (San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997) states â€œ . . . there is no recognized moral knowledge upon which projects of fostering moral development could be based.â€
In his poem â€œThe Second Comingâ€ William Butler Yeats writes
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity
Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
The falcon cannot hear the falconer.
America in the beginning of the 21st century is spinning out of control. America is stretching its wings adventurously, but drifting farther away from its God. America is in trouble. How do we know?
Whatever needs to be done, you are probably going to have to do it. You are first generation to grow up when wholesale murder is legal; the first generation to access 130 channels and at the same time to access almost nothing of value. In 1993, James Patterson and Peter Kim in their book The Day America Told the Truth (NY: Simon & Schuster Publishers, Inc., 1993) warns that 87% of Americans do not believe that the Ten Commandments should be obeyed and 91% of them tell at least one lie a day. Unfortunately I doubt things are any better today than they were over 10 years ago. This is a time when outrage is dead. This is the challenge, the bad news.
The good news is that I think we are turning a corner. It is my belief that Americans in the near future will be looking to places of stability and strength for direction. Besides, by default, those people whose lives are in reasonable good shape, who have some reason to live beyond the next paycheck will have almost an inexorably appeal. Those who walk in the light will draw others into the very-same light. My prayer is that this curricula, in a modest way, will help you walk in the light.
At the very time that 21st century Americans are searching for truth, at the very time they are hungry for things of the Lord God is raising a mighty generation! You will be the culture-creators of the next century. You are a special generation, a special people.
Young people, it is my strong belief that you are the generation God has called for such a time as this to bring a Spirit-inspired revival. At the beginning of this century God is stirring the water again. He is offering a new beginning for a new nation. I believe, you are the personification of that new beginning.
You are part of one of the most critical generations in the history of Western culture. Indeed, only the generation of which Augustine was a part comes close in importance to your generation. In both casesâ€”today and during the life of Augustine, Bishop of Hippoâ€civilizations were in decline. Young Augustine lived through the decline of the Roman world; you are living through the decline of American cultural superiority. However, the barbarians conquered Rome; the Christians conquered the barbarians.
As did Anne Bradstreet and other young Puritans who settled in 1630 Boston, you will need to replace this old, tired culture with a new God-centered, God-breathed society, or our nation may not survive another century.
While a graduate student at Harvard University in the mid-1970s, I attended a chapel service where the presenter self-righteously proclaimed that we Harvard students were the next generation of culture creators. Indeed. Perhaps he was rightâ€”look at the moral mess my geneeration created!
Evangelical scholars Nathan Hatch and George Marsden argue, and I think persuasively, that you, young people, will be the next generation of elites. You will be the next generation of important politicians, inspired playwrights, and presidents of Fortune 500 companies.
It is my profound belief, and fervent hope, that you young people will be the new elite, the next culture creators. I define â€œelitismâ€ as the ability and propensity of an individual or group to assume leadership and culture-creation in a given society. Theologian Walter Bruggemann in his essay â€œBlessed Are th e History-Makersâ€ reminds us that culture iscreated, history is made, by those who are radically committed to obeying God at all costs.
Will you be counted among that number? Be smart, but above all, be obedient to the Word of God. In American cultural history, for the first time in 300 years, in your generation, I observe the marriage of smart minds and born-again hearts. This combination is potent indeed and has revolutionary implications for 21st century cultural American. Now, as only once before (i.e., during the Puritan era), this generation is both smart and saved, in other words, it is a spirit-filled elite, and the ramifications are exciting to say the least.
To that end, this book is dedicated to the ambitious goal of preparing you to be 21st century world changers for the Christ whom John Milton in Paradise Lost called â€œthe countenance too severe to be beheld.â€ (VI, 825)