Barna’s millennial report is shocking, but God brings hope
Studying the sobering results of Dr. George Barna’s research, “Millennials in America,” I felt fear for the future of the largest generation in our history.
I listened intently as he shared some of his key findings. Here are some of the startling discoveries:
- Almost one-half of young adults prefer socialism to capitalism.
- A foundation of absolute truth has been replaced by relativism with feelings and friends forming one’s worldview.
- 9 of 10 are syncretists picking a mixture of beliefs from different religions so as not to appear “intolerant.”
- Being “born again” doesn’t result from repentance and faith in Christ’s sacrificial, substitutionary death and resurrection but refers to being a good person, doing good deeds to merit one's salvation.
- Only 28% believe the Bible is the Word of God.
- The overwhelming majority reject the concept of an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator and do not accept the biblical/historical view of scripture, sin, and salvation.
Similar times in Scripture
Two portions of scripture come to mind when the younger generation drifted dramatically from God.
“That entire generation passed away, and after them grew up a generation who did not know the Lord or the deeds that He had done …” (Judges 2:10).
“Moreover, in those days I also saw Jews who had married the women of Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. Half of their children spoke in the language of Ashdod, yet none of them could recognize the language of the Jews” (Neh.13:23-24).
Upon assessing the situation in his day, Nehemiah was definitely not complacent in confronting some of them with righteous anger. He “cursed” … “beat”… and “plucked out the hair”… of those responsible for “doing all this great evil who are behaving unfaithfully against our God …” (Neh.13:25-7).
Scripture does not rejoice over Nehemiah's actions but does record them! In our day of comfortable, compromising and cowardly Christianity, it’s refreshing to see a leader not being silent and submitting to the fear of man.
A defining moment in my life
Years ago when Obama and LGBTQ activists were aggressively pushing for gay marriage, I partnered with a professional videographer on a biblical instructional video entitled “Is Gay OK?” From a Biblically informed worldview, it addressed questions like “Is a person born gay? Can someone be a Christian and practice homosexuality? Is same-sex marriage allowed by God?”
I was subsequently let go by the church where I served in leadership for five years being told by the leader to “just go and don’t come back.” Previously he'd warned me in no uncertain terms that to continue the project was a “deal-breaker” and “we don’t want to go there because we could incur death threats.”
A primary reason I worked on the resource video was to help rescue millennials being bombarded by an avalanche of deceitful propaganda on this and other cultural hot button issues. Because many pastors decided to be “seeker sensitive” and play it safe, steering clear of controversy, we now have a generation like in the time of Judges. “We don’t get into areas like abortion, living together, homosexuality, transgender stuff, voting, elections … you know, anything political.”
More sobering data
Apart from deception assaulting the younger generation in the area of morality, Dr. Barna’s research reveals chilling beliefs in the realm of spirituality:
- Two out of three millennials believe they are “Christians,” yet their responses indicate they are not true disciples following Jesus as Lord.
- Three out of four believe all religious faiths are of equal value.
- 56% reject the existence of absolute truth.
- A scant 4% of millennials hold to a biblical worldview regarding God, life, and morality.
- Only one in four millennials believe they can trust Christian pastors.
- A high percentage identify themselves as "DONTS" meaning they don’t know or even care if God exists.
Inspiration from 5 past divine interventions
Before anyone succumbs to cynicism and pessimism concerning the future of the millennial generation, let’s remind ourselves of God’s sovereign intervention in similar seasons of history where outpourings of His Spirit broke through the darkness.
•First Great Awakening. I’ve been to Northampton, Massachusetts, where Jonathan Edwards helped ignite God’s miraculous intervention in the darkest period of the 1700s that resulted in unbelievable societal transformation.
• Azusa Street Revival. I’ve been to Bonnie Brae Street with revivalist Lou Engle where at the turn of the 20th century a handful of people gathered and soon God poured out His Spirit in an unprecedented way in Los Angeles birthing the Pentecostal movement that today has reached almost a half billion people worldwide!
•The Jesus movement. In one of the most turbulent times in America’s history, God rescued me from the 60s “Lost Souls” rock band and swept me into a revolutionary youth-centered Jesus revolution that saw millions of sons and daughters converted and changed by the power of the living God. I joined with Dr. Michael Brown, Mike Bickle, Greg Laurie, Keith Green and others in a Heaven-sent move of God that birthed Calvary Chapel, The Vineyard, contemporary Christian music and a cover story on Time magazine!
•Brownsville Revival. Revival broke out in Pensacola, Florida, and providentially God planted me in the midst of a divinely orchestrated move of His Spirit where in a five-year period 2 million came from across the world and 200,000 were converted to the glory of God!
7 Common denominators
Dr. George Barna’s excellent research revealed sobering data. It’s our time to seize the opportunity, remembering God's sovereignty and the church's responsibility. Historically we find common denominators to guide us.
1. Passionate and prevailing prayer.
2. Genuine repentance and living lives of happy holiness.
3. Freedom for the Holy Spirit to move in spontaneity under godly oversight.
4. Rekindling lifestyle evangelism and consistent, compassionate outreach to the lost and those suffering in poverty, persecution, and exploitation.
5. Rediscovering the passionate preaching of the Word of God.
6. Restoring a healthy fear of the Lord through a revelation of divine judgment and experience of Holy Spirit conviction.
7. Most importantly, rekindling the fire of first love zeal and simple devotion to Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Here’s the deal: “In the last days it shall be, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17).
The time has come — let's respond and see revival come.