Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The pressure's on

Yesterday I read a study from the Barna Group that was very encouraging. For those of you who don't know, this research organization specializes in doing studies on trends among people of faith, with a special emphasis on the millennial generation. In this study, the main focus was the way technology was changing the way Millennials interact with their faith. You can read the whole study here. I encourage you too.

There's a lot in the study about how this generation is using the internet and their mobile devices to read Scripture, as opposed to just using books or the Bible in book form. That didn't surprise me - I've done a lot of that myself. But the cool part was the way they are using technology tools to check up on their preachers. Here's an excerpt:
Now with the ability to fact-check at their fingertips, Millennials aren’t taking the teaching of faith leaders for granted. In fact, 14% of Millennials say they search to verify something a faith leader has said. A striking 38% of practicing Christian Millennials say the same.
Wow! Preachers can't just assume their congregations are sitting there passively, believing everything they say.

And that's a good thing.

It reminds of the Christians at Berea, as told in Acts 17. When Paul and Silas were there preaching, we are told that the people of Berea "received the word with eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11, NASB, emphasis mine)

There is way too much blind acceptance of stuff that comes out of the pulpit. I won't even go into examples of false teaching, but it is all over the place. But it's not just in the 21st century - it was true in the first century as well. John wrote about testing doctrine (1 John 4:1), Paul about avoiding false teachers (1 Timothy 1:3-4). And Jesus said it was coming, and would mislead many (Matthew 24:11).

So how do we avoid getting caught in the trap? By doing what they did in Berea. And this is exactly what we see a large number of Millennials doing!

When I see that they are using technology for real time fact-checking, that is good news. It is my prayer that they are "fact-checking" what preachers are saying about the Bible, to make sure it's true. "Examining the Scriptures daily..." - no, not just daily but immediately! - ..."to see whether these things are so."

Technology can be a trap. But it can be a blessing. Watch out preachers, the pressure's on. May God use this trend to seed out false teachers and point a generation toward the awesome truth of the gospel.

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