“...there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord...Judges 2:10
God has no grandchildren. Either you are a child of God or you are not. There is no generational guarantee. Even though the word expressly offers a benefit and definite opportunity, each one has to find their way to the foot of the cross.
Through the years I have heard people declare they have been Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist all their lives. They comment how their family is third generation Lutheran, or as far back as they can remember, their family was Catholic. Really, what has happened is the religion became a culture and not an experience with God. The problem with enculturation is that it carries all the outward appearances of reality; yet inside there is no transformation. Jesus made comment in very direct and even harsh was when he declared the most religious group to be white washed tombstones with dead men’s bones inside.
It is easy to take shots at formal religion and criticize the obvious formalities with little or no life in them. However, I would like to state that I have met people in all those traditions who have a vibrant relationship with Jesus. So, dead religion is a cultural phenomenon and can be found many places.
Even in Scripture we find the kings of Judah reflecting the see-saw commitment to God. One king serves the Lord and the next one serves Baal. Why? The Book of Judges tells of a generation that knew not the works of God. Why? Well, it is true, “God has no grandchildren.”
So, this brings me to my concern. The moves of God that took place in the 20th century including the Pentecostal revivals, the Latter Reign movement, and the Charismatic Renewal are fading in their impact. Probably all of the Pentecostal revivalists are gone, most of the Latter Reign folks are gone, and the Charismatic Renewal folks are aging. The families and churches that were impacted by those movements are now into their 2nd and 3rd generation of descendants.
Just in the short span of my life, I am watching churches close that once were power houses of the Spirit. Another one we know of closed in the Cleveland area. Many churches are on the verge of closing. Why? Other churches in an effort to survive are re-inventing themselves and morphing into something that does not even resemble their roots or the move that birthed them. Historic Pentecostal churches are moving to the middle of the road and relegating the Holy Spirit to the sidelines. One of the brothers told me that a Pentecostal church of some size has a special room for those who want to speak in tongues. So, if you feel you want to pray in tongues, you leave the service and go to a room designated for speaking in tongues. Wow, how the mighty have fallen. Another account was related to me that a historic Pentecostal church pastor in the Chicago area told his church, after a message in tongues, that would be the last of that display. There would be no more messages in tongues in that church. Wow, how the mighty have fallen.
But to bring it closer to home, we have children in our churches whose parents are spirit filled, love the Lord, pursue the things of God; yet their children do not know if they are born again, do not know of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and generally are lost. There has been a disconnect between parents and their children spiritually.
One of the causes of the disconnect is the lack of emphasis and teaching on the responsibility of family, of parents and children, and fathers to their children.
The emphasis on separating kids from the flow of the Spirit has resulted in a lost, churched youth. While parents have been in services hearing the word of God and worshipping, kids have been shipped off to rooms for entertainment and baby sitting. Parents are abdicating their God-given responsibility. One of the hallmarks of the Charismatic Renewal was a renewal in family and parent-child relations. Homeschooling became important, discipline was meted out in godly fashion, kids were in service with their parents, a biblical approach to family was sought, these all were marks of a movement that was deeper than just a worship form.
There is a need to return to biblical standards. There is a need for the resurgence of godly fathers. There is need for parents who seek to follow the dictates of Scripture. Let’s not lose this generation. It is not too late to change, to turn.