Christian, although we find ourselves living in different times than we did twenty years ago, the Christian’s job description remains the same: keep poised, keep persevering, keep proclaiming, and keep performing the duties that God has prepared in advance for you to do.
This year I am working with a committee from my high school in planning our twenty-year reunion. I am looking forward to seeing people I have not seen in a long time. It will be a joy to hear about their families, where they are living, and what they are doing with their lives. One thing will be certain: changes have occurred. A lot happens in twenty years.
I have the privilege of serving at a church in my hometown where I graduated. As I have been reflecting on the past twenty years, I have noticed there has been a major change in the spiritual landscape of my community. Many churches that were once thriving are now struggling. Even though there has been a significant population increase, churches have not seen growth. As I talk to other pastor friends around the country, I am hearing the same things. What has changed in the last twenty years?
When the twenty-first century began, our society entered the Innovation Era, a new technological, digital age. I distinctly remember sitting in my dorm room working on my large computer and waiting minutes for my internet to dial up. Now, I can connect online in a second. This digital world enables us to talk to almost anyone anywhere at any time.
The Innovation Era has brought about a lot of good. Technology has played a role in the growth of the kingdom of God by making it possible to reach many people with the gospel who were previously unreached. Christian colleges and seminaries that provide online learning are educating the masses. Along with all the progress this age has brought, there has also been great harm. Pornography has ruined marriages and ministries. Work is much more difficult to turn off. Countless worldviews are being shared as anyone who can get online has a public platform to discuss their ideas. Unfortunately, many in our society are buying into these opposing worldviews and are drifting from the Lord and His church.
The world I find myself living in is a world like Timothy’s, where “people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim. 4:3–4).
In 1 and 2 Timothy, Paul warned Timothy about false teachers who were coming from inside and outside the church (1 Tim. 1:6, 19; 4:1; 6:10, 21; 2 Tim. 2:18). There were four issues that kept coming up in the church from their teachings:
- Myths that referred to Old Testament figures from extrabiblical writings would excuse immoral behavior (1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4).
- The Jewish law was wrongly interpreted, and heresy was being taught (1 Tim. 1:7; 2 Tim. 2:18).