By all reports, the Christian faith is not doing well in the Western world. In just the last generation, “more than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion—or no religion at all.” And 25% of young adults (ages 18-29) are unaffiliated with any particular religion, compared to 8% among those 70 and older. Regular church attendance in the UK dropped from 12% to 5% between 1970 and 2012, while the average age of the church attendee rose from 38 to 58. The church is graying and dying in the West. At the same time, the dominant Christian denomination in the UK is considering endorsing homosexual weddings and the ordination of female bishops. Church attendance in America has dropped off from 55% for the Silent Generation to 18% for the Millennial Generation, according to Pew Research. A recent poll conducted by The Barna Group found that only 0.5% of American young people (ages 18-25) hold a Christian worldview, as compared to 14% in the previous generation. Incredibly, this amounts to a 96% apostasy rate in a single generation, assuming that a belief in absolutes is fundamental to a Christian orthodoxy. This severe apostasy is producing a dramatic change in the cultural, social, and political landscapes of Europe and North America. We are witnessing the indisputable signs of the dying of the faith in the West. While the European apostasy has reached full maturity, the American apostasy is just now coming of age.
The faith in the West is dying. 75% of the youth are walking away from the faith, if leaving the church has anything to do with leaving the faith. Among the homeschool population, the numbers may be somewhat lower. We should soon see the results of our Gen 2 Survey.
Faith and repentance are at a premium amongst the Christian audience. Much of what presents itself as Christianity is a facade, and this is obvious to the younger generation. They are leaving the faith, because their parents’ generation already left the faith.
There has been no revival in America since the Jesus movement of the 1970s. Disappointingly, there has been no significant generational continuity emerging out of the Jesus movement (outside of a very small remnant). For the most part, the hearts of the children are rejecting whatever little faith existed in the previous generation. At least that’s what the data is telling us.
What does this mean for the future?
1. Prepare for American church attendance to drop by 75% over the next 30 years. Three-quarters of the churches in America will be empty, short of a true revival in heart.
2. Prepare for scores of ministries and “Christian” leaders to compromise everything away to retain whatever paltry numbers they can hang onto. They will endorse homosexual marriage, certain forms of abortion, the most aggressive form of feminism, socialism, the evolution of man, and fill in the blank. The highest evil for these men will be the loss of influence or the loss of favor in the eyes of mass media.
What does this mean for us?
1. We engage a salvage operation. It will be essential to map out the apostasy routes, and identify essentials to the faith. Where there is an unwillingness to repentance (change of mind), concerning worldview issues particularly, where the world best expresses its pride and lust, and where the devil most ferociously attacks the truth, there is apostasy. Without solid roots in Scripture and church history, it will be impossible to salvage the faith. That’s why we are printing our “Keep the Faith” series of hardbacks. As we study history, we discover that we stand with the greatest Christian leaders of the first 1900 years of the church. Our position on Christian education, the Christian family, and a Christian view of sexuality has been upheld by the greatest Christians who ever lived for the last two millennia. It has only been the last 50 years, that we have seen an erosion of Christian life, education, and culture.
2. Authentic faith will be cultivated by authentic discipleship, in authentic relationships, where the Spirit of God has truly brought about authentic life. Local, relational discipleship will form Christian communities. The large national ministries, the mega-churches, and the media-driven ministry will go by the wayside. Intensive, daily discipleship will salvage something. My interview with Josh McDowell last week was instructive on this matter. Life apologetics will trump other forms with the Millennial generation.
3. As the worldview differences between the secular classroom and the Christian school or homeschool classroom disappear, there will be less reason for the Millennial generation to seek out Christian education.
Christian schools are pressured to give way to materialistic evolutionary doctrinaire. They seldom speak of the fear of God or insist upon it in the Chemistry classroom. They shy away from teaching Christian character and faith in the history class. They see no need to oppose academic pride. They refuse to critique the virulent humanist forms of literature and mass media. They see no “War against Boys,” that comes about via egalitarian systems. They reject a discipleship approach to education as too humble. . .too anti-secular. . .too Christian. They are embarrassed to speak against the Marxist line in the Communist Manifesto: “Replace Home Education with Social.” To condemn socialist funding of education would be far too radical for them. So for lack of faith, for lack of a willingness to take on the antithesis, their brave agenda for Christian education melts away. For cowardice, for an unwillingness to take on the antithesis, they render their privatized, Christian form of education irrelevant. Why not just endorse the public schools and be done with it?
Their movements will dry up. But those who fear God and teach the fear of God will yield good fruit, and their seed will be mighty in the earth!
If we’ve learned anything over the last several elections, it is that the essential battles are not political. The real battles are waged in education and culture. We give these up, we lose the faith, family, freedom. . . everything.
There will be some stalwarts still standing, when the dust clears on the greatest apostasy (numbers wise) in the history of the Christian church.
The verse I read in church yesterday applies here. . .
1Co 11:19 For there must be also heresies [scandals, compromise, schism] among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
I am not a patriarchal-ist.
I have never been a patriarchal-ist, and I’ve never called myself a patriarchal-ist, and here are a few reasons:
1. The Bible employs the Greek word “patriarchy” to refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Acts 2:29; 7:8,9;, Heb. 7:4), and I’m not Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. I’m some guy named Kevin Swanson. It would be arrogant for me to assume that I will bear the influence of men like this over the next 2000 years.
2. Actually, the Bible calls the husband (me), the “head” as Christ is head of the church (Eph. 5:23). This is clear biblical language, and for those still out there who believe the Bible, it’s okay to use biblical language.
The modern expressions of both patriarchy and feminism (in the form of individualism) discount the biblical idea of corporeality in the family. Husband and wife are connected in a special oneness in the biblical metaphysic, and this idea has been anathematized by the American religion.
Those who have heard me speak know that I prefer using clear biblical terms such as “help meet,” or “oikos-despoteo,” or “covenant head” in these discussions, because that is the clear biblical language relating to roles. For a reasonably balanced statement on male and female roles, reference http://cbmw.org/core-beliefs. For my July 7th, 2010 interview with Randy Stinson, click here.
3. I don’t like movements that narrow applications and tout highly niched agendas. However I still cotton to any true Spirit-filled movement of God where there is a revival of biblical principles like fearing God and loving God with heart, soul, mind, and strength (and sincerely endeavoring to learn and apply the commandments of God).
4. It also seems that the word “Patriarchy” is used as a handy pejorative for anybody who says they believe Ephesians 5 to be ethically normative. Based on my limited observations, the word has become another suitable synonym for “*****in’ Idiot” – helpful for those who are working to expand their vocabulary while decrying our fundamental view of epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. Protesting those who are incorrigibly attached to hollow ad hominems, straw man manufacturing, and guilt-by-association arguments is supremely useless.
5. In the present social context, the word “Patriarchy” has come to describe the angry, licentious, porn-habituated, abusive, control-freak dad. And if there are sufficient numbers of these twice dead trees, I guess there should be a word to denote the phenomenon. Where love and honor break down between the generations, there is no telling what dysfunctionalities will come about.
Obviously, this discussion is not for those who do not like to think through the finer distinctions or attenuate the arguments. Long conversations don’t always produce much when we disagree on basic worldview issues. Does God exist? Is He the source of ethics? etc.
Here are a few clarifying points that I have made many times in church, in media, and in conferences around the country:
It is no sin for a woman to take college level classes.
It is no sin for a woman to obtain an M.D. degree. One of our favorite presenters at our Family Economics conferences is a family whose mom is a dermatologist. And, I’ve referred to my daughter operating on her brother’s appendix (perhaps a hundred times on the conference tours across the nation).
It is no sin for my 20-year-old daughter to take to the mission field in Uganda as she has done this year.
Also, I have never believed it to be a sin for a woman to lead in civil government. I cannot believe that Deborah was sinful in her work. Nonetheless, I distinguish between de-ontological ethics and teleological ethics. This is a highly critical distinction in a hundred separate discussions.
I advocate the recently-abandoned, age-old concept of the family-based economy.
I still like the 5th commandment.
I advocate Eph. 5:22-33, and suggest that modern husbands and wives have a hard time keeping these commands. That’s why the divorce rate stands at record levels, a thousand times higher than it was in 1668.
I also like to point out that the nuclear family is weaker than it has ever been, because Betty Friedan and a million of her friends hate Ephesians 5:22-33. They will tell you this.
Obviously, this is a longer discussion, so anybody sincerely interested in digging into it should email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give you my phone number for the longer conversation, or just come to my home For the record, I don’t believe that Christians have done well working out disagreements in the de-personalized, de-relationalized world of the internet.
I have taken a great deal of criticism for my criticism of the Disney movie, Frozen. While the heavily-adapted Hans Christian Andersen story may have some merit, let me say it is possible to ruin a film by a single scene and a single line.
I have called parents to a high level of discernment when it comes to the things their children watch, and the same thing applies to me.
I haven’t called for a boycott of Disney, but I’m not a big fan of an organization that denies funding for the Boy Scouts in that they have not done enough for the homosexual agenda. I don’t think anybody’s debating that Disney is one of the most pro-homosexual media organizations in the country.
Especially problematic in Frozen, are the lyrics to “Fixer Upper.” Speaking of Kristoff, the trolls tell us,
“So he’s a bit of a fixer upper
So he’s got a few flaws
His peculiar brain, dear, his thing for the reindeer
That’s outside a few of nature’s laws. ..”
If it is a double entendre, I’m not sure what the “other” rendering would be. An adult with an average intelligence would take unnatural relations with a reindeer to be. . .well. . . unnatural relations with a reindeer. To violate nature’s laws in regards to a relationship with a reindeer is typically rendered as something you’ll find in Lev. 18:23.
While most children would not understand these lyrics, as they grow older they would come to realize the obvious meaning of phrases (found in their favorite movies). This then becomes part of the narrative in which they are raised.
I take the position that the light treatment of an abominable sin like this in a child’s film (however brief), is inappropriate. I would be similarly offended to watch 5-second nude scene tucked into a Veggie Tales feature.
Wherever our readers come down on the sin of unnatural relations with reindeer, I hope we can agree on one thing:
As parents we need to be discerning with the stuff our children watch.
If you are sensing a general squishiness in the macro church and a dwindling with the old churches known for “holding the line,” could it be that we are losing the faith?
There is a battle waging fiercely for the faith in the 21st century. Those intrepid few still fighting are identifying the battle ground, and taking a stand in the field of lentils. But we do not stand alone. By God’s grace, we have a host of courageous men, leaders of the church who have fought for this same faith for 2000 years. That’s why I have initiated a new series of books called “Keep the Faith.” This series will lay out the battle lines, hard and true. This series is meant to identify the points at which the Enemy is attacking the church and ripping it to shreds.
Our First Offering
Many of you know that I have worked hard to develop a Christian view on education over the years. It turns out that this approach is worlds apart from that espoused by humanists, the Greeks, the Unitarians, Rousseau’s socialists, the Marxists, and John Dewey. This theory has precedent in the Bible, and it the wisdom applications of 2000 years of godly men.
My conclusion is that if we don’t win the education battle, at least here and there, we will lose the faith. This is an essential element for salvaging the faith in the 21st century.
Because of this essential battle, we have recently completed our first volume in the “Keep the Faith” series. Every Christian parent with children, every Christian pastor, every Christian elder, and every Christian deacon should obtain a copy of this book. I believe that this compendium of knowledge found in this little book is essential for every leader in the church (who wants to salvage the Christian faith in the west).
As I review the history of faith over 2,000 years. . . especially on the topic of education, discipleship of children, seminary training, and college education. . . I wonder. . .
If they won’t listen to. . .
J. Gresham Machen
. . .are they still part of this church?
Those Christians who support the murder of children in the uterus, and promote sexual decadence, and work to undermine the biblical order of the family and oppose our efforts are on the increase. Will they persuade me to recant? Not in this millennium. If they take me out of context, create straw men caricatures, and generally make me look like a fool (along with Huffington Post and the most liberal media sources in the country), it makes me wonder whose side they are on. When the last few Christians have their backs against Helms Deep, fighting to defend the last few Christian values in the twilight years of the Christian West against 100,000 orcs, faithlessness and treachery prevail. Wormtongue is effectual in his influence on Theoden. Actually, yes. Right now, oppression comes from three corners - homosexuals who don’t particularly like Rom. 1:28ff and 1 Cor. 6:9-11; feminists who don’t particularly like 1 Tim. 3:9ff; and Christians who support abortion and abortifacients, homosexuality and feminism (or don’t want to offend those who espouse these things). That’s pretty much it.
I know that my reputation is shot with the world. But, I don’t really care. I’m not the first one to be falsely accused and falsely represented “in the world.” What matters to me is that more of our listeners humble themselves, repent of their sins, and turn to Christ for salvation from their sins. If they don’t repent of their materialism and existentialist me-centeredness, they’ll never give up on the abortifacients (and a hundre
d other corrupting forms), and they won’t be saved. “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” If fathers don’t repent of their porn habits, and daughters don’t repent of their lesbianism and proud feminism, and sons don’t repent of their homosexuality and turn to Christ, they have no part in the kingdom of God. This is the message we repeat again and again on our radio program. I pray that some will listen, while the others take us out of context and mock.
Any Christian leader worth his salt needs to find something for people to repent of, and tell them to repent and come to Christ. If you’re in America and you can’t find something for people to repent of (besides recycling aluminum cans), you need to get back into the Word of God and ask for a little Spirit-filled discernment. Granted, telling people to repent of popular sins is not always fun. For one thing, you have to repent of these sins first yourself (and that’s the most painful part of it!) Then, once you’ve repented of your sins and gouged out your right eye, the world will hate you for it. They’ll take out your left eye for you.
Of all times, this is NOT the time for mealy-mouthed capitulation to the powerful, politically-correct systems of humanism, existentialism, materialism, evolutionism, etc. Trillions of dollars are spent in media and academia to form an “apologetic” for homosexuality, abortifacient birth control pills, feminism, evolution, etc. All we have are five smooth stones and a radio program generated in my basement (with a little help from my children who edit and post the program). We are in the battle of the millennium here in the West. And we launch our smooth stones hard and fast. The giants scream “bloody murder” at us. I say, let the “Christians” who kowtow to the status quo mock at us. We won’t stop until we’re dead. If we are a little inaccurate in the delivery (and caring Christians want to help us improve our aim), we’ll take that in a heartbeat. We need all the help we can get down here.
We do appreciate the hundreds of notes received from humble dads, moms, and young people around the world who have been blessed by the program. Lives are changing. God is working – softening hearts and restoring relationships.
Do you have a children’s book concept that you would love to publish?
Nurture Little Hearts Book Contest
Christian families want more nurturing, helpful picture books for children. . . something besides Curious George, Dr. Seuss, Meatballs Raining from the Sky, Wild Kids Doing Wild Things Where the Wild Things Are, and Cookies for Ungrateful Mice. Christian parents tell us they have the hardest time finding nutritious, nurturing, fun books for their little tots and totettes. There are not enough solid, biblically-based, family-oriented picture books for children. That is why Generations with Vision is launching a Christian Children’s Picture Book Contest for 2014.
Nurture Little Hearts Book Contest
Contest Guidelines and Submission Requirements:
All submissions must be made by July 31st, 2014.
Book submission must target 2-8 year old children.
Book length must be 25-50 pages.
Book size is variable.
Book submission must be based upon biblical principles and must self-consciously recognize God.
Book submission must include full text and a mock-up of at least 75% of pictures.
Generations will provide the winner with a $2000 prize and will publish your book. Generations will provide you with royalties of 10% of sales.
Winner will be announced by August 31st, 2014.
Please send submission to:
Generations with Vision Publishing
10461 South Parker Road
Parker, CO 80134
1. Author’s name.
2. Author’s address, phone number, and e-mail address.
3. Illustrator’s name (if different from author).
4. Parent’s signature approving of submission, if author is under 18 years of age.
5. A brief explanation of the theme or message contained in the story.
6. Any other expectations for the book on the part of the author.
Duck Dynasty and the Most Famous Family Economy in America
Phil Robertson stepped in the deep doodoo, when he took on the holiest of holies, the sacredest of the sacred cows of the apostate, w.a.s.p.y world .. . homosexuality. Welcome to our club, Phil. The metro-sexual meets the “bitter clingers,” and the explosions are interesting to watch.
But what we really like about Phil and the Ducks are the family relationships, the generational continuity, and the family economy. There is something that will remain of the old order. There is something healthy still hanging around in this country and other countries around the globe. Healthy Family Economies!
That’s why we have invited Phil Robertson of the Duck Dynasty fame to speak at our Denver Family Economics Conference. The Duck Dynasty reality program has taken the concept of the Multi-Generational Family Economy to a broad, popular audience.
It isn’t just the beards, although we’re not against beards here!
It is the family economy that enables cross-generational connections, and cross-generational discipleship in the Psalm 78 pattern.
It is the family economy that provides for a healthy sustenance of biblical values from generation to generation.
Our goal is to make the family economy accessible to hundreds of thousands of families.