A NECESSARY FOLLOW-UP
Recently, I submitted an article on this forum regarding good listening skills and good communications skills. I referred to the methods used in professional sales, investigative reporting, and investigative police work to give the readers some tools to use in order to better engage those with whom we differ. The goal of that article was to branch out beyond the few who have studied apologetics as a discipline and who work in that area. If the average Christian will learn how to be a better listener and communicate with smart questions instead of either remaining on the sidelines in silence or engaging in a fruitless back and forth of settled opinions, we will be better able to respond in discussions we have with those we are trying to reach. This has the advantage of increasing the numbers of people who will be able to both promote and defend the faith. It will also strengthen those who may be a little reserved, or even timid, in engaging those who are opposed to the Christian message.
This article is a necessary follow-up to the first one, because we need also to better understand the culture in which we find ourselves. I want to introduce you to three separate things: (1) the rise of the “nones;” (2) the problem of the “unchristians;” and (2) the rapid “dropout” problem faced by churches from the “Mosaics” (also called the “millenials” or “Gen X”). I have been greatly helped by several books, a few of which I want to acquaint you with in this essay. There is an excellent little book entitled, Meet the Skeptic, written by Bill Foster. He mentions four types which he identifies as: (1) spiritual skepticism; (2) moral skepticism; (3) scientific skepticism; and (4) Biblical skepticism. There is some very useful information on how to understand the issues in each area, how to test their positions, and how to respond. Another book is entitled, The Rise of the Nones, written by James Emery White. He documents the extent of the issue and how to distinguish them from the hardened skeptic (like the atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, naturalist, etc.). Included also is much helpful information in how to both understand and reach the religiously unaffiliated. One of the single most helpful books to me was authored by Nancy Pearcey, which is called Finding Truth. The book promises to set forth five principles for unmasking atheism, secularism, and other God substitutes. This is truly a refreshing and helpful document. From the position of the social sciences, I recommend two books by David Kinnaman who is the majority owner and President of the Barna Group, which is a privately held research and resource group working primarily in Christendom to uncover the myriad challenges faced by those seeking the take the message of Christ to the world, particularly that part of the world which we presently occupy (the United States). The first of these is UnChristian, which seeks to aid the reader in understanding what the new generation thinks about Christianity and why it matters. Though they are not technically atheists or agnostics, the “unchristian” is not drawn to the current crop of those who claim to be Christians either. The reasons for this apparent turning away from Christendom without ever becoming involved in it is explained in detail. The next is an extremely helpful book by Kinnaman entitled, You Lost Me. Subtitled Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church . . . And Rethinking Faith, this book purports to help the reader understand the dropout problem of those who actually have become involved in an established religious group, but who have become disenchanted and who are either contemplating leaving organized religion or have already left. The final book that I will mention here on my abbreviated list is Greg Koukl’s, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions. There is a lot of very useful information in this document, but far and away the most important is a reminder of the communication and investigative strategy employed by the sloppily dressed and eccentric TV detective Columbo, played by Peter Falk. Many of the readers of this essay will remember how effective Columbo was, and although it was not the story of a real detective, the tactics used by Columbo were used to teach important principles that could be used to reach those with whom we have significant differences. Of the huge number of books dealing with apologetics today, this one needs to be on your list.
I also hope that the readers are familiar with two books that I have written that may prove to be helpful as well. The first is Graceful Reason, which is currently being revised and expanded, and the second is shorter and is entitled, Is Worldview Only a Buzzword? Both of these are more in the vein of classical apologetics treatments, but they are also helpful in giving the students some foundational reasoning tools to aid in defending the faith.
THE RISE OF THE NONES
Those who presently make up the religiously unaffiliated in our country are collectively known by many as the “nones.” That is, when they are asked about their religious leanings, they no longer answer “Catholic,” “Jewish,” “Baptist,” or whatever other designation they could choose. Instead, they refer to themselves in a new and different way. They choose “none,” or “no religious preference.” I was asking a man who was attending regularly with his wife (who was indeed a member of the Lord’s church) about his background, and I was completely startled by his answer. I said: “______, what is your religious background.” I was hoping to get him to agree to a Bible study. His answer was surprising; he said, “I’m spiritual!” At the time, I had never heard that expression before and I didn’t have enough sense to probe more deeply, so, we went on to other topics. I have since learned that he answered me in a typical way that many of the “nones” use to refer to themselves. In the 1990’s when it was first noticed that the religiously unaffiliated comprised more than 8 percent of the population, many began taking notice of the phenomenon. From 1990-2008, this percentage nearly doubled, going from 8 percent to 15 percent. But then, in just the next four years (2012), it went from 15 to 20 percent. That is one out of every five people in our country who now identify themselves as the “nones.” Among those under 30, it is one out of every three! These are truly startling figures, especially when you understand what is meant by the expression.
James White made use of a grid that sets out the alternative logically, with four possible pairings, between “religious” and “spiritual.” I will make use of that same grid in the following remarks. But first, let me explain the meaning of those two words. The term “religious” refers to “how you have aligned your spirituality.” White says that “means how you have brought your spirituality into alignment with a set of beliefs, a particular faith tradition, a set of Scriptures revealed by a God.” (196) Consequently, one may refer to herself as a Methodist, a Mormon, or the like when described in this way. White says that
Spirituality has to do with what you’re open to, sensitive toward, in your inner world. If you ask someone, “Would you consider yourself spiritual?” Most would say yes. Because they believe in God, they pray, and they consider that part of their inner world important–so they want it open to being alive and real. (196)
Thus, there are, in point of fact, four logical possibilities. A person can be religious, but not spiritual; not religious and not spiritual; not religious, but spiritual; or religious and spiritual!
Let’s consider these one at a time. A person who identifies himself as “Not Religious and Not Spiritual” is a person who would likely describe themselves as an atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, or some similar designation. In this country the estimates are that between 3 and 6 percent of the entire U.S. Population fit into this classification. That is somewhere between 9.9 million and 19.8 million people. Current estimates are in excess of 13 million adherents.
Next, consider the person who is “Religious, but Not Spiritual.” They would generally not describe themselves in this way, but Jesus did. These are individuals who would be classified as religious hypocrites, who perhaps have the right form and function, rules and ritual, dogma and doctrine, but not much else. Jesus spoke of such religious Pharisees in a couple of passages. Consider:
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'(Matt. 7:21-23)
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 “You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matt. 23:25-28)
It would be foolish to suggest that there are no such people who belong to various religious organizations today. In fact, almost everyone of us could point to several examples of such behavior. But, it was behavior that was never accepted by the Lord.
We should also consider those who claim to be “Spiritual, but Not Religious.” This is, by far, the fastest growing religious demographic in the nation today. It is called “The Rise of the Nones.” People who cling to this concept want to be spiritual but they also want to avoid hypocrisy, empty ritual, to give up on God, or to appear to be something they are not. White says:
The nones now make up the nation’s fastest-growing religious category. If you’re spiritual, but not religious,
You’re not an atheist,
You still believe in God,
You still whisper a prayer every now and then,
You’re spiritual–or at least open to spirituality,
You just don’t want to be tied to anything specific.
When it comes to content, dogma, orthodoxy–anything spelled out or offering a system of beliefs or membership–that’s what you’ve rejected. When pressed as to what you hold to, you say, “Nothing in particular.” You don’t want the label. (201)
Finally, there are those who are both “Spiritual and Religious.” This is, of course, the only correct posture according to Biblical teaching. This person has everything aligned–both head and heart. She is a person who has the right doctrine and the right spirit. They believe and practice their beliefs. It is lips and lives, preach and practice, talk and walk for these completely faithful followers of Jesus. See how He describes them while, at the same time, contrasting them with those who do not live according to truth:
46 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:
48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 “But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Obviously, there is a sharp contrast between those who hear but don’t act accordingly, and those who both hear and act upon what they have heard.
Since this is a major emphasis of the Warren Center, it seems that I do not need to cover this book thoroughly, as that would prove to be somewhat the same as much of the published work from the Center that is already available. The “drop out” problem, however, is a different matter. Once we have had young people under our influence, and then they leave the church, it seems that we need to learn how to more effectively “close the back door.” That is also the somewhat surprising discovery made by Kinnaman in his research. He said:
[I]n 2007, Gabe Lyons and I released a book called unChristian, which explores how young non-Christians perceived Christianity. In addition to realizing the extraordinarily negative views of the Christian faith that young outsiders held, I was shocked that the data also revealed the frustrations of young Christians. Millions of young Christians were also describing Christianity as hypocritical, judgmental, too political, and out of touch with reality. (20)
As a result, I have made a conscious decision to focus the remainder of this article on the “drop out” problem as described and discussed in Kinnaman’s more recent book, You Lost Me.
THE RAPID “DROP OUT” PROBLEM
This very important book written by David Kinnaman, documents a problem that is faced by virtually every group within Christendom today, and that is the “drop out” problem. This is what is happening to the age group between 18-29. The stark reality is that: (1) teenagers are some of the most active American Christians; and (2) American twentysomethings are among the least religiously active. There is little doubt that we have serious inter-generational challenges to good working relationships in today’s churches. This is due to the fact that the generations think so differently that it is sometimes difficult to get all on the “same page.” I refer to the generation who were born from 1920-1945 as the Builders, because they effectively built our nation into what it was during the majority of the 20th century, Common expressions heard among those from that generation were “World War II and the Depression,” “smarter,” “work ethic,” “honest” and “values and morals.” The next generation was typically called the “Baby Boomers” or “Boomers” for short. This generation lasted essentially from 1946 to 1964, and they used terms like “work ethic,” “respectful,” “values and morals” and “smarter.” They were followed by the “Busters,” sometimes also called “Gen X,” which lasted from 1965 to 1983. They commonly used expressions like “technology use,” “work ethic,” “conservative/traditional,” “smarter,” and “respectful.” Millenials (also called “Mosaics,” a term invented by George Barna) use terms such as “technology use,” “music and pop culture,” “liberal/tolerant,” “smarter,” and “clothes.” Missing are the highly significant words, “respectful,” and “work ethic.” These individuals were born between 1984 and 1998. Kinnaman says that this represents, not just a different generation than the previous ones, but one that is discontinuously different, which reflects a culture that is also discontinuously different! By this he means that no generation of people (Christians or non-Christians) has lived through such a set of cultural challenges so profoundly powerful and which has occurred with such lightning speed. Kinnaman uses three words to describe what has happened to this “Mosaic” culture that makes it so different. The words are: “Access;” “Alienation;” and “Authority.”
1. Access. Access to new tools of communication and learning is what makes this generation so incredibly different than all those which preceded it. When I was very young, my mother was a telephone operator, and she used to plug these cords into a panel in front of her to enable phone calls to be made and received. There was often a “party line,” where more than one (sometimes several) family could listen in on others conversations. Rotary dial phones were a yet undiscovered invention, as our phones were mounted on the walls. There was no such thing as DVD’s, CD’s, netflix, downloadable movies, and the like. In fact, even during the 1970’s, these things were not available. The Internet was not even in existence, and computers (let alone smart phones, laptops, or I-pads) had never seen the light of day. As a matter of fact, my first computer had a CPM operating system (this is before DOS programs and Apple or Microsoft Windows programs). To our Mosaics, this is all ancient history! They know very little about any of this.
Kinnaman tells us:
The heightened level of access provided by these tools is changing the way young adults think about and relate to the world. For better and worse, they are sensing, perceiving, and interpreting the world–and their faith and spirituality–through screens. . . .
Simply put, technology is fueling the rapid pace of change and the disconnection between the past and the future. The Internet and digital tools are at the root of a massive disruption between how previous generations relate, work, think, and worship and how Mosaics (and, to some extent, Busters) do these activities. Mosaics and Busters . . . understand technology as part of their generational self-identity. (41)
Busters learned to use technology as a defense mechanism against Boomer’s influence and control, whereas Mosaics have been raised with this technology in full bloom and are using it as a primary tool for virtually every form of communication in which they are engaged. I must hasten to add, though, that such access is not all negative. With this level of technology comes new opportunities to advance and defend the message of the gospel.
2. Alienation. Alienation has occurred in the midst of all this access, and surfaces in three different areas: (1) an isolation from family; (2) an isolation from community; and (3) an alienation from institutions. I have often referred to the 1960’s as that bombastic “tidal wave” from which we have still not recovered. It was truly a monumental shift in culture that is difficult to explain accurately without sounding extremist. Kinnaman tried his hand at it, though, and I thought that he did a good job of demonstrating how formative to modern culture this decade turned out to be. He said:
If ever there was a decade when the earth seemed to tilt on its axis, the 1960s certainly qualifies, with all that happened during those years: the civil rights movement, student riots and unrest, Vietnam was, hippie culture, rock ‘n’ roll, women’s liberation, birth control and the sexual revolution, new mainframe computer technologies, the moon landing, Watergate, FM radio, Woodstock, the Cold War, the burgeoning charismatic and Pentecostal movement, the Catholic transition to the English Mass. In many ways, what we now know as “youth culture” was born during that era, as young people embraced new forms of music and art, unprecedented lifestyles, and anti-establishment thinking; the phrase “generation gap” was first used during this period. When it comes to the church and Christianity, the Boomer generation must have seemed the most ominous threats. John Lennon, one of the central icons of cultural change during that era, famously remarked, “Christianity will end. It will disappear.” (45)
With reference to alienation from families, the most profound social change, introduced during the 1960s but much more common today, is the percentage of live births to unmarried women, currently 42 percent as compared to 5 percent in the 1960s. In blunt terms, today’s young people are 8 times more likely to have come into this world without married parents than were Baby Boomers. And generally, along with this is the “absent father” phenomenon. Surely this is have a profound effect on our culture!
Each generation since the Boomers has also taken a much longer path to adulthood.
This being the case, there is an adverse and dramatic effect on community, since the settled families and homes, financial independence, finishing school, etc., are all delayed. “‘Settled by thirty’ used to be the normative, typical pattern for young adults in the 1960s. Now that path represents a minority of today’s young adults.” (47)
A third mark of alienation is skepticism about our institutions, whether education, in economics, government, and culture itself. We often speak, somewhat jokingly (or, “tongue in cheek”) about the fact that many graduates seldom, if ever, have a career in the field they selected at the University. It is often radically different from their chosen field of study. But, the Universities are only a part of the picture of modern culture.
The Mosaic generation is skeptical, even cynical, about the institutions that have shaped our society, and while they retain an undiminished optimism about the future, they see themselves creating that future mostly disengaged from (or at least reinventing) the institutions that have defined our culture thus far. (49)
3. Authority. A skepticism of authority characterizes the attitude of Mosaics as a result of the twin forces of “access” that leads inevitably to “alienation.” Briefly put, Mosaics no longer know who to believe, why they should believe it, and why they should even bother to rise above and/or beyond the purely subjective! Our culture has been described as “Postmodernistic” and “PostChristian” by many observers. Kinnaman observed:
The cultural structures that carved deep channels for the faith formation of young people are no longer available to the church. Even though they may bear the Christian label, many families don’t embody faith. The culture doesn’t model or esteem it. Pop entertainment rails against faith in general and Christianity in particular. The education system does its best to be neutral religiously and to instill “values” but not biblical morality.
The next generation is growing up in a culture in which the authority of the Christian community and obedience to Scripture are much less present in their developmental experiences. Mosaic Christians face an environment in which Christianity’s authority has been greatly diminished in both obvious and subtle ways. (51)
The result has been a slow, steady but undiminished march toward secularism and away from Spirituality. A Mosaic is more likely to plead the rightness of his/her involvement in things on the basis of “access” (why would they make it so available if I’m not supposed to get it?) than they ever do on the basis of Scripture. They make their religious influencers well-known cultural figures more than well-known “Christian” leaders. Those listed, as a contrast to “Christian” leaders, include Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Faith Hill, George Clooney, Bill Clinton, Bono, Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton, all of which have a greater impact on the average Mosaic than prominent Christian representatives in society. (54) The silver lining in all of this is the fact that a culture of skepticism is also a culture of questions. Questions lead to conversations, and conversations can lead to the formation of relationships and also a teaching of truth. In other words, questions about the Bible’s transmission through the centuries, the various translations available, and whether or not it truly is inspired, are not bad! These should be welcomed by any and all who want to both proclaim and defend the faith! Hence, the value of my previous article where I sought to discuss better communication and listening skills.
Kinnaman makes use of three terms that actually describe different types of “drop outs.” There are the nomads who walk away from church relationships but still consider themselves Christians. Then, there are the prodigals who lose their faith and therefore depict themselves as no longer Christians. Finally, there are the exiles who are still involved in church activities but feel stuck (or lost) between their culture and the church. They will quickly move away from their Christian convictions altogether if the culture’s influence overwhelms that of the church (which it almost always does). This is depicted as a spiritual journey away from the church and away from faith. (24)
Now, let’s shift our attention from the diagnosis of the problem to a couple of areas where we need to focus greater attention. I have tried for years to communicate to our brethren that we don’t really have just a preacher shortage; we have a “Christian in the marketplace” shortage. What exactly is meant by this statement? What I mean to suggest is that we need good, faithful Christians in virtually every field of influence (except those that are wrong, of course) in our society. This would allow the influence of those who make their Christianity known (so that they are not “camouflaged” Christians) and who are not shy about engaging others in conversation about their faith, to make a powerful impact on advancing the gospel of Christ. Too many Christians, however, are silent as a tomb when they are outside the meeting houses and immersed in the culture around them. We need gospel preachers. But, we also need Christian policemen, Christian doctors, Christian lawyers, Christian plumbers, etc. Therefore, anything that we can do to encourage young people to be involved in being a positive influence for Christ, we ought to be doing!
The biggest problem is that, once objectivity has been surrendered, and absolutes are no longer accepted, subjectivity is the standard by which most of these people use. This means that there are as many different perceptions of what is wrong with churches and Christianity as there are young people who drop out. Many others who have not yet dropped out accept the same positions. Even though there are broad categories into which these people fit, we must guard against a one size fits all approach to dealing with them. I will simply mention a couple of the issues with which we need to be concerned:
First, Mosaics say that churches do not allow them to express their doubts or to feel safe to voice their sincere questions. Many of these questions, of course, have to do with the Bible’s truthfulness, or the question of God’s existence, the problem of evil or suffering, questions about eternal punishment, etc. These are intellectual doubts. There are also institutional doubts having to do with the church. Negative feelings about how the churches act and what they expect are widespread. Too, there are unexpressed doubts, some of which have to do with what to expect and how to handle death and the afterlife. We need to have strategies to bring these doubts out into the open, or we will never be viewed as a solution for Mosaics. Rather than running away from a person’s doubts, well placed questions can bring these doubts out into the open. There are resources to provide help for the youth workers and Bible class teachers in this area. And, we must expend the energy and time necessary to deal with these issues.
Second, our culture is thoroughly “naturalistic.” I mean that the Natural Sciences (and their success in many areas) has led most to think that science and scientists have answers to all he major questions we humans ask. Many have concluded that science and religion are at war with one another, and that there is no possible harmony between them. Kinnaman says:
Science has come to dominate and define our collective culture. . . .
Today’s teens and twentysomethings have been even more profoundly influenced by these developments than previous generations. From their earliest days, science and technology have had a hand in nearly every area of their lives–from food production and distribution to medical treatment, from computers at home and in the classroom to easy and affordable air travel. Think about this–American teens and young adults have always lived in a world with email, cell phones, fast food, plastic surgery, cars with airbags and antilock brakes, and digital music, video, and photography. I could go on, but you get the idea. (133)
Let me go on the record to say that Christianity and science are not at war with one another! The idea that they area comes, not from “science” but rather, from “scientism.” “Scientism” is the view that all knowledge is found in scientific studies and that there is nothing beyond the natural environment. Everything is a product of physics and chemistry (with a little Biology thrown into the mix). Bertrand Russell famously asserted: “Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be attained by scientific methods, and what science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.” (243) Russell’s “scientistic” assertion was not derived from any discovery of science. Thus, the truth of this assertion is unknowable, given Russell’s own statement. It is self-contradictory!
We need legitimate science and scientific discoveries and we need faithful Christians to aspire to scientific disciplines. Science tells us nothing about things that go beyond the natural world, but, at the same time, science does not and cannot prohibit or negate the reality of a supernatural reality. Science enables us to understand and to exercise dominion over our environment, which is in complete harmony with what God told the original pair (see Gen. 1:26f.; Ps. 8:4-9; etc.). Rather than warring against Christianity, science is a necessary support to the faith, and we should do whatever we can to lend our influence to genuine science. We should also do whatever we can do to expose and refute the false philosophy of “scientism.” Sadly, this is not an emphasis of most of our churches. Many of our young people aspire to science-related careers or studies in College (52%). But, as Kinnaman shows, this aspiration seldom comes up when those who have such great influence with their youth groups could actually help to steer these aspirations in the right direction. Actually, though 52% of young people aspire to careers in scientific fields, only 1% of their group leaders have even discussed it in the last year. (140) Perhaps it would be helpful to bring Christian scientists into some of the meetings to speak about what challenges they have faced and what opportunities they have discovered. Please remember that both Moses and Daniel were thoroughly educated in the secular culture in which they found themselves!
Third, not surprisingly, Mosaics think that the more traditional views of Builders and Boomers about sexuality, are completely antiquated and simplistic. One young person who was interviewed for Kinnaman’s book wondered about the big deal in all of this, because, as he said, “it’s just sex.” Kinnaman said:
The changing nature of sexuality . . . in the next generation has been shaped by the three A’s. . . . Young people have grown up with unprecedented access to sexual content via the Internet, television, movies, music, and video games, which have brought sexuality into their lives earlier and more easily than was true for previous generations. Their alienation from formative relationships (especially from absent fathers) has created a host of emotional issues, many of which are manifested in the sexual decision making. And their suspicion of authority, inherited from their Boomer predecessors, invites them to dismiss “old fashioned” traditions without wondering first whether they might be healthy and life-giving. (156-157)
I have long believed that, if the Bible discusses the subject, we should not be afraid of discussing it as well. Human sexuality is covered in great detail in Scripture, and before our young people learn their sexual ethics from their friends of from some form of persuasion from the entertainment industry, we should discuss the subject with them. But, we also need to be sensitive to the extra pressure put on young people be our Postmodern culture today, and we need to adopt creative ways to help them understand the importance of human relationships, especially in marriage and the family, as well as the church family. There are plenty of recent resources that address this subject responsibly and I would recommend that one seek out the advice of experts in this area.
Fourth, a truly challenging issue for heirs of the movement to restore New Testament Christianity is the problem of exclusivity. Mosaics have a strong attachment to open- mindedness, tolerance, and acceptance. Christianity appears to them to be very exclusive at its core, and with the Lord’s church, that tendency would be more greatly exacerbated, thus intensifying the perceived problem. Perhaps this is one reason that the Community churches are experiencing rapid growth, since they typically accept virtually anyone and everyone regardless of their previous connections. With those who are anti-denominationalists, this could be a great difficulty. I am of the conviction, however, that New Testament Christianity is both exclusive and inclusive. We need to have creative ways to enhance the inclusive nature of the truth of the gospel, without downplaying the exclusive nature of the New Testament church. No doubt this will prove to be a challenge, but a necessary one to be met in order to more effectively reach the Mosaic generation.
I view this article as a necessary follow-up to the one that I submitted a few weeks ago covering important communication and listening strategies. These skills are indispensable to aid us in effectively meeting the challenges faced in today’s cultural environment. This article was my attempt to more clearly explain the generational differences between today’s “Mosaics” (a term invented by George Barna to express the multifaceted and highly subjective views of “Millenials”), and was aimed at helping us to close the back door used to escape from involvement in our churches. We not only face challenges from the skeptical community, but also from the “Nones” and the “Mosaics.” Such challenges could be viewed as daunting and impossible to meet, however, I think that we should view them as opportunities to reach and subsequently train a new cadre of workers to help us in both promoting and defending the message of Jesus Christ. Remember, Apologetics is “pre-evangelistic” which means that it should be viewed as “clearing the way,” or removing the obstacles to faith. It should never be seen as an end itself, but rather, as an important means to an end. As such, we want to be (in the words of our Lord) “as wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (see Matt. 10:16)
Foster, Bill. Meet the Skeptic: A Field Guide to Faith Conversations. Green Forest: Master Books, 2012.
Kinnaman, David. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church . . . And Rethinking Faith. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2011. Paper Edition, 2016.
Kinnaman, David, and Lyons, Gabe. Unchurched: What the New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity . . . And Why It Matters. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2007.
Koukl, Gregory. Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.
Pearcey, Nancy. Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2015.
Russell, Bertrand. Religions and Science. 1925. London: Oxford University Press, 1980.
Sztanyo, Dick. Graceful Reason: Studies in Christian Apologetics. Vienna: Warren Christian Apologetics Center, 2012.
________. Is Worldview Only a Buzzword? Vienna: Warren Christian Apologetics Center, 2016.
White, James Emery. The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2014.