"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 14:12).
One of the objectives of the Generations ministry is to fight to retain generational faith, especially as generational apostasy becomes the norm. We want our children to walk in faith, and to keep the faith of Jesus. As children, my siblings and I would listen over and over again to an old Negro Spiritual which spoke of generational faith:
"Will the circle be unbroken, by and by, Lord, by and by? There's a better home awaiting in the sky, Lord, in the sky."
This is the heart-cry of every Christian parent who fears God, loves his kids, and understands the reality of heaven and hell.
While millennial church attendance is already down to 18% (it was 55% for the Silent Generation), concerned parents are paying attention. They prioritize discipleship in their homes. They emulate the life of faith and repentance. They rely on the grace of God and cry out for mercy for the souls of their children. They watch out for the many exit ramps off the highway of orthodoxy, and fortify their children against false worldviews.
What constitutes the exit ramps in the 21st century may not be the same thing that constituted the exit ramps in the 16th century or the 4th century. Truth decay is the problem, and the attacks come from various sources. The early attacks on the faith involved an erosion of Christian beliefs concerning the nature of God. Thus, the church was pressed to address the doctrine of the Trinity and the two natures of Christ. Then, as church authority displaced the authority of Scripture, another reformation formed around the doctrine "Sola Scriptura" in the 16th century.
Today, the attack is full-orbed. Scientific knowledge displaces the authority of Scripture. Man's ethics have displaced God's ethics. The secular government schools teach naturalism and, with all of the force of the modern state, oppose a God-centered, supernatural worldview.
We want our children to believe in Christ who died on the cross for their sins and rose again on the third day. This is the fundamental Gospel message. But if the message of sin is compromised, the law of God is degraded and ignored, then there is no definition of sin. If our churches and governments approve of sinful practices and make monuments to them, then Christ's death is obsolete. The definition of sin has died the death of a thousand qualifications, and the atonement of Christ is meaningless.
Without question, the battleground today is education and the enemy is godless secularism. If education is the means of passing on a belief system to the next generation, secular education has accomplished its goal! The Millennials are leaving the Christian church in droves, and a twenty-minute Sunday School lesson once a week will not salvage the faith.
How do we best educate our children? Obviously, it's an important question. Every parent should be concerned about it. This year, I felt it was important to ask that question of the most godly men who have lived over the last 2000 years. Our team researched thousands of ancient writings, and compiled a treasure trove of wisdom for modern parents and pastors who are in the middle of this gigantic war of ideas. What we found was astounding to me. The early church particularly understood the sharp line of antithesis between pagan education (in the old Roman world) and Christian education. In sum, the church fathers call for an education that is rooted in the fear of God, that is provided by parental oversight, and that always prefers Christian writers over non-Christian.
Our passion for Christian education and Christian curriculum here at Generations with Vision is not without precedent. In fact, we stand with the Christian church fathers over 2000 years.
When it comes to education, if Christians would rather stand with secularists John Dewey, Horace Mann, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, than they would stand with Charles Hodge, J. Gresham Machen, Richard Baxter, Increase Mather, George Whitefield, John Wesley, Martin Luther, Chrysostom, Bede, Augustine, Jerome, Eusebius, Polycarp, Clement, Barnabas, the authors of the Didache and the Didascalia, I wonder if they are still a part of the church. My goal is to get these volumes of Keep the Faith into the hands of every orthodox Christian pastor or elder in America. This is critical research if we are going to frame a distinctively Christian education in an (almost) thoroughly secular age.
A.A. Hodge was the president of Princeton University, and I think he would agree. Hodge issued this severe warning concerning the rising secular school in the 1880s:
“I am as sure as I am of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of anti-social nihilistic ethics, individual, social and political, which this sin-rent world has never seen.”
The battle extends beyond education to the Christian family itself. The modern attempts to legitimize homosexual marriage, to make divorce convenient, and the using of birth control with abortifacients has resulted in the most devastating attack on the Christian family in history. Christian denominations are falling over themselves to affirm all of these perversions, including abortion, egalitarianism, incest, and even polygamy. If there was ever a time to put a stake in the ground for the biblical family and sexuality, it is now. Again, we have asked the question: what did 2000 years of the godliest men in history think about abortion, homosexuality, role egalitarianism, birth control, and divorce? Certainly the wisdom of the millennia would be better than what we have received over the last few decades, which have contained the decline and apostasy of the Christian church in the West. That is why we have assembled Keep the Faith, Volume II, on Christian marriage, sexuality, and abortion.
The secularists have done their worst, and they have destroyed the family. Single parenthood is a preferred status, even in many churches. Emancipation from the household prior to marriage is practically universal. Divorce has devastated three generations and continues to erode the family everywhere. Family inheritance is an anomaly, where it does exist. Euthanasia for the elderly will be all but a given by the year 2030.
Those who will retain a functional nuclear family will be considered odd and may receive persecution at the hands of the state and the mainstream church (at least for a while). But, these are the ones who will keep the faith and keep the commandments of God, and pass the vision on to the next generation. I hope this resource will be an encouragement to that band of believers who want to keep the faith and pass the faith on to their children and their grandchildren.
We have bound both volumes in a handsome faux-leather cover that is stamped “Keep the Faith, A.D. 33 - A.D. 2100." It is our hope that this book will be passed along to your children and grandchildren well into the 22nd century, should Christ tarry.