By Irven Lee
Preachers are very human so that some of our observations are not accurate. It is possible to listen to some specific remarks and check them out for their accuracy. In this article we desire to have your attention and honest evaluation of some statements that might be true. If the statements we have in mind are true, they point to a sad day. Many will not believe them nor will they even stop to consider them. This kind will not likely read the article for they are too busy with “cares, riches, and pleasures” (Luke 8:14).
A very large percentage of the young men and women in high school who are free to swim at the beach or in the public pools and who enter freely into the high school dances will not attend services regularly when they are twenty-five years of age even though their parents are now members of the church. Half of these young people will be divorced or unhappily married when they are in their mid-twenties. Some may be resentful of these remarks and say that rating is no better than worldly people have. That is true. Are these young people not worldly and sowing to the flesh? Parents, it will not take you long to wait and see. Friends, we may all observe to see if this sad prediction comes true.
Those of us who have been in the church for ten or more years may check it out at this time for those who were in high school ten years ago. Many no longer attend. How many of those who had no convictions against dancing and mixed bathing ten years ago are now faithful Christians? What about divorces among these young people?
Repentance is always possible and very desirable. A few who were immoral in their teenage are now wonderful characters. We can be thankful to God for His mercy and for the great power of the gospel. You will notice that we did not say that all will divorce and ignore the church. Some will learn for themselves that which their parents did not teach them.
There were many worldly people in the church when the decade of the 50s came. In fact, worldliness was one of the most destructive forces that led to the division that came to the churches in that decade. Good moral people were to be found on both sides, but the most arrogant and bitter cries against those called “antis” were not from people who were so interested in the work done by the central agencies in benevolence and in evangelism. Those most bitter cries of hate were from the immodest social drinkers who copied the world and not Christ. I can well remember this.
More and more of the parents of teenage children among churches that were very strict twenty years ago when they were started at great sacrifice now tolerate the very behavior we are discussing. We need to awake out of sleep (Rom. 13:11-14; Eph. 5:14-18). Did you read these passages?
Some say that preachers should preach more on petting and “making out” for this is more dangerous. Yes, there is very serious danger in this very common practice. If a young person is eager to dance and to dress in beach wear there could be no question about the petting in the parked car. The willingness for the immodesty and lewd handling has been publicly advertised near the water and on the dance floor.
If the majority of the young people in a church partake of the things discussed in this article, those young people who do not commit these sins can be frozen out socially and be made very uncomfortable. The godly and the ungodly do not mix any better than oil and water. This is true for the younger and the older. It is time for alarm. Wonderful young people can be found. They shine as lights. Let us pray for them and help them all that we can. The more difficult aspect of the problem is the worldliness among the parents.
It would be good if the more devout young people began sitting near the front in the auditorium at worship time. This is not meant to be a law that all must follow but a suggestion that could be helpful. It is easier to keep your mind on the worship if there are fewer things in front of you to detract. If there is a group of young people that crowd the back seat, it is likely the worldly crowd that is bored by sermons and spiritual songs. The more devout are not so welcome in this company. Sit near the front and you may find that others who have been made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome will form the habit of sitting near you and will help establish a place for a more devout band of worshipers. Let friendliness, reverence, and good will abound among these who have assembled to worship. We are not suggesting a division of the young people into two groups, we are just recognizing the division that already exists.
Guardian of Truth XXVI: 5, p. 74
February 4, 1982