Last night we had the sixth worship service for Kainos, a group in my church for people 18–25. Johnny and I have started a new series called Owning the Faith, based on The Book of Galatians. Good stuff.
Last night we looked at Galatians 1:1–10 and introduced the topic of Owning the Faith. People 18–25 are leaving the church in droves. As soon as people leave home, it seems like they do one of three things: (1) they continue to believe everything that their parents told them, (2) they hold on to some of their parents’ beliefs but adapt their faith to “own” it themselves, or (3) they abandon the faith altogether.
The problem with option (1) is that if you uncritically accept everything your parents taught you, you will always associate Christianity with your parents. You will never grow up in your faith. Jesus will always make you feel like a kid. The problem with option (3) is that, well, it leads to a rough life. You may be more “self-empowered” by rejecting your parents’ faith, but you’re not better off. I think option (2) is the best way to go. Maintain what works for you, but make your faith your own. That’s the only way that your faith will be personally meaningful.
Galatians 1:1–10 (NET) reads:
From Paul, an apostle (not from men, nor by human agency, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead) and all the brothers with me, to the churches of Galatia. Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever! Amen.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel-- not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell! As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell! Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ!
Paul was accused of preaching a different Gospel depending on what was convenient to the audience (see 1 Cor 9:20). However, he adamantly denied that he did this, claiming that it wouldn’t make sense. There is only one Gospel! Why would he preach something he didn’t believe? That wouldn’t do anybody any good.
In the same way, it doesn’t do us any good to go along with a faith that we don’t really believe. We need to make our faith our own, so that Jesus is our Lord, that the mission of God is our mission, that the community of faith is our community.
Why are so many young people walking away from the church? What are some of the major obstacles to “owning” the faith of our parents?
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