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Janet's Weekly Commentary

Going the Wrong Way

Psalm 105:1 says, “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done.” This one verse, and there are so many more like it, gives us the mandate to go and tell the Good News—to evangelize! For centuries, Christians have understood this to be part of living out our faith in Christ. But a new survey reveals that an up and coming generation no longer holds to this tenet.

Barna has released a report entitled Reviving Evangelism. The study was designed to examine the faith-sharing experiences of Christians and non-Christians alike, and the results were disturbing.

Among all generational groups, faith means being a witness about Jesus. Barna found that in terms of who is most prepared for that task, “Millennials in particular feel equipped to share their faith with others. For instance, almost three-quarters say they know how to respond when someone raises questions about faith (73%), and that they are gifted at sharing their faith with other people (73%). This is higher than any other generational group: Gen X (66%), Boomers (59%) and Elders (56%).”

But despite that sense of confidence, Barna’s study revealed almost half of Millennials (47%) agree at least somewhat that it is wrong—WRONG—to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith. This is compared to a little over one-quarter of Gen X (27%), and one in five Boomers (19%) and Elders (20%).

Millennials appear to know more non-Christians than previous generations, so having faith-sharing conversations may lead them to believe this topic will divide people more than ever. Barna’s research also says, “three out of five Christian Millennials believe that people today are more likely than in the past to take offense if they share their faith (65%)—that’s far higher than among Boomer Christians (28%). Millennials are also either two (Gen X) or three times more likely (Boomers and Elders) than any other generational group to believe that disagreement means judgment.” In fact, Barna found that 40 percent of Christian millennials agree with the statement, “If someone disagrees with you, it means they’re judging you”—this is two and three times more than those in Gen X, Baby Boomers, and elders.

If a Christian is more fearful of judgement than the consequence of someone stepping into eternity without Christ, what does that mean for the Church going forward?

David Kinnaman, President of the Barna Group, responded to this study, saying:

“Cultivating deep, steady, resilient Christian conviction is difficult in a world of ‘you do you’ and ‘don’t criticize anyone’s life choices’ and emotivism, the feelings-first priority that our culture makes a way of life. As much as ever, evangelism isn’t just about saving the unsaved, but reminding ourselves that this stuff matters, that the Bible is trustworthy and that Jesus changes everything.”

Evangelism is about the willingness to go and share the Good News. Isaiah said, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!”

Hudson Taylor, missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission summed up the call to evangelize perfectly when he said,

The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.”

May we all be obedient to that command.

That’s my opinion. I’m Janet Parshall.

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Janet Parshall

Janet Parshall has been broadcasting from the nation's capital for over two decades. Her passion is to "equip the saints" through intelligent conversation based on biblical truth. When she is not behind her microphone, Janet is speaking across the country on issues impacting Christians. She has authored several books, including her latest, Buyer Beware: Finding Truth in the Marketplace of Ideas. Parshall and her husband, Craig, live in Virginia, and have four children and six grandchildren.

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