By Eric Norford
Gospel preachers in the 1990s will be faced with some unique challenges as well as some tremendous opportunities. Let us consider these things in this article.
The world markets are opening up more. We saw, in 1989, the Communist bloc in eastern Europe open up. The fences that separated these countries from the rest of the world came tumbling down. This opened the doors of opportunity to preach the gospel to that section of the world. The few Christians in China need to be built up and the gospel message needs to be carried to the billions of Chinese. The doors are opening up all over the world and our challenge is to take advantage of this wonderful blessing. Will we do it?
Doctrinal issues will continue to be a great challenge to our faith. We will continue to have to deal with our brethren and insist on doctrinal soundness. Abortion, which kills over 2 million babies a year, will be a volatile subject. The marriage-divorce-remarriage issue will not get better, as long as brethren continue to misinterpret and pervert Matthew 19:1-9 and 1 Corinthians 7. The social gospel will become more and more prevalent. World religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Janism, etc., will become more and more popular. These lifestyles are what people often want because of the allure of worldly pleasure. This will be difficult to deal with, but God’s word can put these doctrines to flight.
What will become of our children in the 1990s? Mothers will not be around the home, if present trends continue. In 1989, 51 percent of mothers worked outside the home. Children are often coming home to empty houses and finding themselves lonely and depressed. Empty moments cry out to be filled. Sooner or later television, drugs, ungodly music, or alcohol, become the parental crutch to the child and rebellion and anarchy become a lifestyle.
Our children will not be our children in school. Humanistic teaching is in the majority in every classroom. Situation ethics is the rule rather than the exception and the evidence for this is very clear. Rape, drugs, alcohol, premarital sex ‘ murder, rebellion, and suicide are all on the rise. What used to be unheard of, years ago, is even now, the status quo. Parental neglect and humanism can be the death of this nation. Parents must raise godly daughters. They must prepare them to be wives of elders and preachers and godly young men. They will raise sons who will proclaim the gospel. The schools will not do this, the home must fulfill its God-given roll. It is no wonder our nation is in a turmoil, we are often at fault for letting it happen by being silent and refusing to let our lights shine (Matt. 5:13-16). Children must be raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).
Technology has really taken off since the invention of the computer and now one can purchase one about the size of a small book. You can get the Bible on computer now. Many helps are available but we must guard against becoming lazy in our study. Another concern with technology is the possibility of altering the Bible more easily. The excuse many give is that times have changed and the Bible has become old-fashioned. The fact is that times will change but the Bible will always be the same. God’s law will always be true!
The greatest need of the 1990s will be to get back to old time preaching – preaching that rocked the hills and valleys of Kentucky and Ohio and rolled across the Roman Empire, preaching that convicts sinners to change their lives, preaching that will convict Christians to live godly lives and be separate from the world. If we can achieve this again the majority of problems among us can cease because we will want to serve God rather than man.
The great challenge of the 1990s can be overcome and the opportunities can be wonderful. But we will need faithful men who will stand on the grand word of God and roll up their sleeves and preach the word to dying men, without fear or favor.
May God give me strength to do his will.
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 21, p. 647
November 1, 1990