There is no doubt in my mind as to whether a generation gap exists in this country among the children of the world. Anyone can see quite plainly that parents and their children, particularly the teenaged ones, are drifting apart in their opinions as well as in their moral standards. Rebellion against parents and other types of authority is being manifested by teenagers all over, in the form of rioting, civil disobedience, and other uprisings. This should be very little of a surprise to the Christian, for Christ Himself has told us that in the world “the children shall rise up against their parents.” The question of whether the world has been affected by a generation gap is answered in an obvious way, but another question remains yet to be answered. I have chosen to answer the question “is there a generation gap in the church?” because I think that very few people ever stop to think about the true meaning of a generation gap and the effect one would have on our churches if there were a generation gap.
One of the most important reasons behind the rebellion of today’s teenagers is their opinion that they need not be brought up under the same set of rules that their parents grew up under. They argue that the world has changed a lot since “way back then,” and because of this, the same outdated set of rules should not be applied to them. We, the children of God should not believe this way. Almost every one of us is being brought u by parents who use the Bible as their Guide. This Guide has passed through the hands of many a God-fearing parent in the line of covenant generations. It is unchangeable, no matter how much the world around us changes; it is infallible, and though other rules may become outdated or be proven wrong in some way, “His truth endureth to all generations.” Rejection of this set of guidelines our parents have set before us, would be a sin against God, for then we are rejecting His Word and God Himself by it.
There are other reasons for the generation gap being a sin also. In the fifth commandment we are admonished to honor our father and our mother. Disobedience of this is also a sin. God has placed those in authority over us in order that we might obey His commandments through them. The rebellion of this day and age is a very clear example of disobedience to this command of God. God has also placed us here for a reason, that He might gather from among the world, a Church unto Himself. We are therefore only pilgrims and strangers here, looking forward to another kingdom. Young people and their parents argue most of all over the state of the world. Young people of the world are becoming too concerned over the state of the world. Constant arguments are arising over who is responsible for the problems of wars, pollution, and racial conflicts. We should never let the arguments between us and our parents become so involved with world problems that we forget our calling here. Our first concern should be the furthering of God’s Kingdom, and not Utopia.
I do not believe there is a generation gap in our churches. I have not been persuaded of this because I see young people of our churches respecting their parents so perfectly or never rebelling or becoming very involved in affairs not of the churches’ concern, but because when I see young people I know falling short of perfection I also see the repentance God places in our hearts. But most important of all is the fact that both parents and children have the love of God in their hearts. How, then can there be a generation gap between them when they are so strongly joined by an everlasting bond?
Originally published in:
Vol. 30 No. 1 March 1970