The Lost Generation
by Rayola Kelley
For the past couple of months we have been considering the vain wayward way the visible Church and this nation have been going. I made mention of how the Church will challenge, inspire and/or reflect the true spiritual environment of a nation. Obviously, our present nation’s leadership reveals a totally corrupt and tyrannical environment.
We know that judgment begins in the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). As we consider what the judgment might reveal about the condition of the Church, perhaps we need to consider the fruits that are apparent in this environment. How much of the corrupt leadership in Washington D.C. represents the visible leadership of the Church? What percentage of the dirty deals and the back door agreements that have enabled the present government to gain power have also occurred between the wolves and heretics of the wicked system that operates behind the visible Church, which likewise appears to dominate much of our TV and radio airwaves with error and lies? It is clear that much of the Church has become soft on sin, creating an environment where corruption against truth and righteousness can create its own propaganda machine and indoctrinate and delude followers.
Clearly, idolatry reigns on both the political and religious fronts. When idolatry becomes rampant, especially among God’s people, it will not only signal a massive breakdown in every area of a society, but it will often mark what we consider the “lost generation.”
A generation that is considered lost in this text did not just happen overnight. Such a generation is the result of prior generations moving away from the center of what is true and right. Even though this shifting away from true righteousness is not obvious at the start, it will sow destructive seeds that will become more visible in the following generation. As each generation gets further from the center, it will sow greater seeds of destruction. This form of destruction is much like the waves of the ocean ebbing away the shoreline.
As each generation succumbs to its particular age of darkness, it will produce not only a lost generation which has less of a sense of character, responsibilities or the seriousness to soberly consider or discern its present state, but such a generation will often prove to be the last generation for that nation or country.
As Christians, we know the last generation in the Bible will signal the countdown to the great battle of Armageddon. However, what kind of judgment would the last generation signal for this nation? Perhaps we can get a small glimpse into the judgment this nation could be presently facing. When asked what he thought of our country’s present situation, a WWII veteran described America as being nothing more than a “gulag.” For those who do not know this term, a “gulag” is a prison or labor camp in which the former Soviet Union placed all political prisoners. This description of America could very well explain the treacherous attitude of some of the leaders in Washington D.C. towards the opposition against present policies that are sweeping the country.
As I consider the condition of America, I can see that many in America are prisoners. I don’t know if we are political prisoners right now, but many are prisoners to the idols of this nation. Sadly, those who are part of the professing church are also enslaved to these same idols. Granted, these idols may be clothed in doctrines or titles such as “Positive Confession”, “Word of Faith”, “Kingdom Dominion” and the “Emergent Church” but they all represent worldly false ways that are leading people down the idolatrous path of destruction.
Before we can consider the idols, we must consider the environment that has produced the present atmosphere in our country, and how it is manifesting in this generation. The first fruit of this environment is indifference. I have mentioned this before, but indifference exists because there is a mixture present. A mixture simply means the things of God and the world have been combined, leaving no contrast or distinction. Without the contrast, anything goes or can be redefined or adjusted to personal preferences.
Indifference expresses itself in a lack of love. How many people, especially in the younger generations, understand what real love is? It is hard to find unfeigned love that is untainted by the lust and sentimental hogwash put forth by Hollywood and the heretical Church system. As a result, the love of some people has become very cold indeed. In this cold state, people will have the tendency to pursue any selfish desire without consideration for others. There is no sense of personal responsibility or sacrifice. Hearts that prove to be hard end up being filled with dissatisfaction that eventually turns into anger. This anger will rage and mock anything that dares to hinder or question selfish people’s self-serving pursuits. The altar that is erected by such indifference is self-esteem. On this altar, all will be offered up that will not regard the selfish designs of such an individual, regardless of how right or wrong it may be.
Perversion is another fruit of idolatry. God’s truth has been clearly perverted among His people. Perversion simply means people add or take away from the truth, thereby, compromising its integrity by adjusting it to their tarnished take on a matter. Perversion is out of control in our society. It is also rampant in the professing Church as many people chase after so-called “doctrines” that have been twisted to fit someone’s evil agendas and pursuits.
This perversion is also rampant in homes. Often hidden behind closed doors, people’s practices and the imagination of the thoughts of their hearts are proving to be “evil continually” as they were in Noah’s day. Partaking of gross fornication through adulterous affairs, pornography, homosexuality, incest, as well as other sex crimes against children, and so forth is the way that wickedness offers that which is pure to God on the altar of spiritual harlotry. Children, holy marriage, truth, and righteousness are just a few examples of what is being offered up to feed the profane appetites of those who use their bodies to come into an agreement with the unholy (1 Corinthians 6:13-18 refer to 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). For our young people this perversion has caused an identity crisis. They do not know what is true or where to turn to find something that has real substance and purpose.
Worldly entertainment is also a big part of this idolatrous environment. Some of the professing Church has become a place of entertainment, rather than a place of prayer and sacrificial worship. This reminds me of the unexpected tornado that hit the facilities where a popular church denomination was meeting to vote on accepting homosexuality as the norm. The tornado not only toppled the cross from the steeple of the old church building, but the tables and chairs were also overthrown. It reminded me of when Jesus went into the temple and knocked over the moneychangers’ tables, stating that they had made the house of God into a den of thieves. I wonder how many of our churches would be considered dens of iniquity.
Entertainment appeals to the flesh. It encourages show rather than sincerity. It produces indifference to reality, while promoting emotional sentimentality or a Hollywood mentality towards God. It is divorced from reality that brings us to the altar of entertainment: that of fantasy. Since entertainment is divorced from reality, it has made people desensitized to what is real. In fact, reality is often ignored, criticized and rejected. For our young people it has destroyed imagination and made them complacent and lazy. They expect to be entertained, and become easily “bored” if the entertainment does not catch and hold their attention.
Now that we have set up the environment of idolatry, let us now consider the idols that have been erected in this environment. Once again, these idols can be found in churches where some Christians appear to stand between two opinions and two distinct ways.
Greed: The biggest idol for most Americans is greed. Greed justifies pursuing the “good life.” However, the lifestyle greed offers is not beneficial or lasting. It is an image or illusion of happiness and fulfillment that down the line will prove to be vanity. Christians, who put much of their energy and time into pursuing the god of greed, will end up throwing bones or offering leftovers to God. Such offerings are considered strange and unacceptable to Him, even though they may be capable of soothing people’s conscience while they pursue their gluttonous ways.
Our young people are not impressed with this idol because their relationship with the family has been offered up on the altars of the world. Previous generations have sacrificed their relationship with their children in the name of giving them the material things they never had. However, this excuse simply covers up their personal selfish pursuits. The dominating presence and influence of greed in this nation has killed initiative in many of our young people. They do not see the need to earn what has been readily handed to them by their families and society.
Pleasure: Pleasure is another god many Americans pursue. Pleasure can also include entertainment. The Apostle Paul warned that in the end days pleasure would become an idol. The usual thinking behind people embracing this idol is that they have worked hard; therefore, they have a right to enjoy or take pleasure in their labor. I have no problem with people having pleasure, but when it becomes a god that is pursued, no matter the cost, then it is just plain wrong. Christians who seek after the god of pleasure will either tack Jesus on to activities or they will integrate their religious life into their brand of pleasure to justify their idolatrous pursuit.
Since young people realize that greed proves to be empty, their pleasure-seeking ways have caused many of them to fall into other destructive lures. Because young people are indifferent to reality and disillusioned with greed, they often become bored with entertainment. This causes them to seek acceptance, purpose or sensationalism elsewhere. Hence, they fall into the destructive traps of such things as addictions and gangs.
Security: Many Americans work all their life so that they can retire while maintaining their American lifestyle. However, the recent crash of the market proves that the world cannot offer any real lasting security. In fact, everything in America is like a house of cards. Winds of judgment can make it all collapse in a matter of seconds, leaving us with nothing.
The reality of the false god of security is that it is people’s way of avoiding putting their trust in God. This can apply to Christians who are trying to secure some kind of future in this present world for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I do not have a problem with people being wise about their future, but there will be no display of wisdom or vision when idolatry is present. These same people often put their confidence in the world’s system rather than in God. From this premise, these people’s idea of security is based on the world and not on God. Gambling or investing in the future of the economic system is a risky business. Granted, it might work out, and then again, it might prove to be sand caught up in the waves and winds of change.
Many of our young people have no vision. They are wandering in a sea of confusion, fear and uncertainty. They do not know where the waves or currents of life will take them. They have no purpose because they are lost, they have no vision because their worlds are consumed with selfishness, and they have no direction because there is no contrast with which to recognize that there are choices, opportunities and possibilities.
Organizations: When people went to the polls to vote for change in the last presidential election, many were putting their confidence into a man or the government to solve the problems of this nation. Many who voted did not understand the power that can be welded by leaders. If such leaders do not have maturity, character and integrity, this power will become abusive in their hands. We see the abuse of this power among those in Washington D.C. In fact, abusive power becomes cruel, indifferent and tyrannical.
This same abuse can be witnessed among those who call themselves Christians. Cult leaders, false apostles, prophets, and heretical shepherds and ministers abuse power given to them by their innocent and deluded followers. These leaders often become a substitute for God and His salvation.
These are just a few examples of the idols that have proudly stood even where the altar of God was once exalted. This brings us back to Christians. I have clearly been guilty of idolatry. The inward environment it set up in me caused me to fall into ruin. It was not until I cried out to God that I was delivered from this pit.
Clearly, the visible American Church is best represented by the lukewarm, idolatrous environment of the Laodiocean Church described in Revelation 3:14-22. The question that echoes through centuries of Church history and from the founding fathers of this nation is basically the same, “Will we step over the complacency of compromise and stand up for what is right and decent for all? Will we cease from being heavy with sleep because we have been drunk on the world for so long that we are now fighting addiction to it; and, will we begin to withstand with truth when opposed? When all is said and done to discourage and weary us, will we continue to stand because ultimately, it is the only right and sane thing to do?”
The indictment presented against this nation and the visible Church is overwhelming. As a nation founded upon God and His principles, and as a Church who proclaims the name of Jesus, is there any real hope in our dire situation to stay the judgment? Should we just quietly sit back and accept our fate because we are well deserving of it?
In the next and final article to this series, I will answer this question. It is vital as Christians that we cease to be divided as to what our response should be, and not only agree with God’s evaluation and instruction to us, but come into agreement about what is the godly and right response.