Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The coming crunch: will younger Christians have the stomach ...?

Pastor Kevin DeYoung at University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, MI, offers "Three More [interesting] Thoughts on the Gay Marriage Debate" on his blog (DeYoung, Restless & Reformed, April 4, 2013), with good, well-though-out replies to questions like (1) "Why don’t we just separate the religious and civil dimensions of marriage?" or (2) "As long as we, as Christians, can have our view of marriage, what’s the big deal if the government allows for other kinds of marriage?" and (3) "Will all of this spell disaster for the church?"

In response to the last question, he replies:
That depends. It could mean marginalization, name calling, and worse. But that’s no disaster. That may be the signs of faithfulness. The church is sometimes the most vibrant, the most articulate, and the most holy when the world presses down on her most. But only sometimes. I care about the decisions of the Supreme Court and the laws our politicians put in place. But what’s much more important to me—because I believe it’s more crucial to the spread of the gospel, the growth of the church, and the honor of Christ—what happens in our churches, our mission agencies, our denominations, our parachurch organizations, and in our educational institutions. I fear that younger Christians may not have the stomach for disagreement or the critical mind for careful reasoning. We’re going to need a good dose of the fundamentalist obstinacy that most evangelicals love to lampoon.... (emphasis added)
At this point, the reader who sent me the link to DeYoung's article appends a comment, right after the word "lampoon":
... the same way Nouvelle theologians loved to lampoon pre-conciliar Cathoicism? Why indeed, YES! And the irony is this: in Fundamentalism and Catholicism both, as the progressives dismiss the old guard, they claim the theological high ground while all the soil of faithful followers lives disintegrates beneath them. I have watched it at [an evangelical university], where they are far too cultured to foreswear dancing now, but also as a population far too theologically unversed to discuss most any contemporary issue from anything but emotional turf. If you can't imagine the result of that, just picture -- ahem -- any modern suburban Catholic parish!
"The challenge before the church," says DeYoung, "is to convince ourselves, as much as anyone, that believing the Bible [and, we would add, the Magisterium] does not make us bigots, just as reflecting the times does not make us relevant."

[Hat tip to J.M.]


Ruth Lapeyre


Oh I think there will be young Christians who have the stomach for it but the Church will become smaller and even more marginalized than it already is. The new priests coming out of the seminaries have a very big job ahead of them and all of us who adhere to our faith will have to grow very thick skins.