Dedicated especially to the coming generation in our ecclesias
We live at a paradoxical time in the history of civilization. On the one hand, never has the cumulative evidence in favour of the Bible's truth spoken with greater force. On the other hand, never have there been more sources raising doubts about the truth of the word of God.
Most youth today rely heavily on electronic media as their source of information about the world. They are not avid readers of books, newspapers, and newsmagazines, as the ongoing decline in circulation of many iconic publications attests. They rely instead on new information sources like Facebook and Wikipedia that are easily accessible. The traditional learning hierarchy in which wisdom is passed down from one generation to the next is being replaced by peer-based learning. Peer-based learning means that the primary sources of knowledge are peers of one's own generation rather than elders of the previous generation. In passing down the Truth, it is necessary to follow the traditional learning hierarchy counseled in the writings of Solomon: My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck (Proverbs 1:8-9). In this issue, a number of the contributors are brethren of retirement age whose wisdom and learning are provided for the benefit of the next generation.
Electronic media enable young people, even as children, to search out many sources of information from which they will be informed about the world. This abundance of choices includes sites that are highly critical of Christadelphians, sites in which other young people openly share their own doubts, and sites which treat skeptically everything which we believe. In addition, the tendency to rely on frequent, short snippets of information, such as those sent by text messaging, leads to highly abbreviated expressions of thought. A full understanding of the precious truths of Scripture cannot be gained from such contemporary methods of instant and condensed communication. Application to the wisdom of the Word requires thoughtful reading, study and prayer.
The upshot is that there is a great battle raging for the hearts and minds of Christadelphian young people. Will the next generation, like Timothy in the apostolic age, take hold of the faith which dwelt first in his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice? Or will drawing misleading and biased information from Internet sources, coupled with life-changing experiences like going to college, where the true principles of the Bible are anything but reinforced both in the lecture hall and in the dormitory, turn the tender hearts of the young away from that which is true? The battlefield on which this war is fought is information-based. We must join the battle. We must not cease to provide compelling reasons for that which we believe. We must provide answers to the challenges brought against our faith. We need not fear what the skeptic may allege because he that is in us is greater than he which is in the world (1 John 4:4). Saturation of the coming generation of believers with God's truth must be our goal: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Godly instruction is given today only in the home and the ecclesia. We encourage our subscribers to share this issue and use these articles to open active discussion with their children, grandchildren and young people in the ecclesia. The subjects under discussion are ones that have the ability to enlighten and motivate the coming generation. While this issue is intended to provide information that all ages in our ecclesias can use to combat unbelief and strengthen faith, it has been prepared especially with the needs of our youth in mind. Should it come into the hands of any of those who have drifted from the faith, may it serve for them as a thoughtful call to return to the precious Truth of the living God.
The Christadelphian Advocate Publishing Committee