Hoobastank, Hostility, and Truth

  This summer, my granddaughter Caroline graduated from high school, and she introduced the speaker -- me -- to her class. The occasion was the baccalaureate service for the graduates at a secular high school in an Atlanta suburb. It was for me a grand opportunity -- and a challenge -- to talk to six hundred 18-year-olds. To help me identify with the kids, I watched some current films, and I studied the lyrics of popular songs. (Have you heard of Hoobastank?) To my delight, the talk, however, resonated with the graduates. But as I looked over the sea of bright young faces, I was filled with apprehension. I knew that soon most would be heading off to college. And I knew what most of them would find: politically correct professors and postmodernism run amok. They would be taught by teachers who believe there is no Truth and that life arose by cosmic accident. I realized these kids were ill-prepared to challenge these teachings. On the surface, their future seems very bright. Recent Barna studies indicate an amazing 86 percent of teenagers claim to be Christians. "In a typical week," Barna writes, "nearly six out of ten attend worship services; one out of three attend a youth group; and three out of ten participate in a small group meeting." Good news, right? Not so fast. Barna's studies also reveal an alarming fall-off when teens leave home. Only one out of three teens say they plan to continue participating in church life when they're on their own. The reason? I believe it's a failure to establish a basic doctrinal understanding and a poor grounding in the fundamentals of a Christian worldview. If they understood these basics, they wouldn't believe, as do 65 percent of them, that if people are "generally good," they'll earn a place in heaven. And 53 percent wouldn't believe that when Jesus lived on earth, "He committed sins just like other people." Clearly, something is wrong. "If biblical truth is going to prevail in American society," George Barna says, "it will require a long-term, coordinated effort to convey God's truth in ways that shake young people from their theological complacency." Barna is right, and we need to expose the distortions of today's culture -- the hollow and deceptive philosophies kids will encounter in college. And we need to offer them solid, scriptural answers. We must remind them, their professors notwithstanding, that there is Truth, and we can know it -- that, as Romans teaches, the knowledge of right and wrong is written on our hearts. To survive in a hostile campus culture, our kids ought to be reading books like Lee Strobel's THE CASE FOR FAITH and J. Budziszewski's HOW TO STAY CHRISTIAN IN COLLEGE. The Wilberforce Forum offers excellent resources, including "A Christian View of the World," our online worldview course that can be taken for college credit. These materials will ground kids in Truth and prepare them to deal with the skepticism of friends and professors. Our kids need to know Christian doctrine and Truth. If they don't -- and research indicates they don't -- then we can expect many of our kids to fall away from the faith. If that happens, it will be our fault, not theirs. The world of academia is a hazardous place. To survive, our kids are going to need more than bright young faces. They need solid grounding in good theology and a Christian worldview.


Chuck Colson


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