By All Means let’s Coddle the Millennials
There was a day when young men obeyed the Holy Scriptures and sought the approval and guidance of older men. Thank the Lord there are still some who do seek guidance from the older men. They talk to me and other older men often and we to them. Apparently though, in some circles it has changed because almost every article I read from certain individuals discussing the young generation, or the Millennials as they are referred to, is the opposite.
It appears to me that some older men are chasing after younger men. It is as though they want them to like them so they say everything they think that the rebel Millennials are thinking. I cringe when I read their articles. Apparently these authors feel the Millennials need to be coddled, like children, rather than exhorted like men. I don’t remember the older men coddling me when I was a young preacher. No, they told it like it was not like I wanted to hear it.
I am going to make several observations regarding these articles I have read and appeal to the Millennials to reconsider the direction they are taking. Not all of those middle-aged millennials are of this mind-set. Thank the Lord for the ones who have enough sense to listen and heed what the older generation has to say. This is directed toward those who are throwing both baby and wash out together.
1. The way some men defend the younger men is to find ways to attack the older men. I read articles that’s ridiculed Lee Roberson, Lester Roloff and questioned the integrity of Jack Hyles and in general cast derision on the heroes of the past. I can only surmise it as their way of justifying how the younger men are thinking. If you want to appeal to the Millennials I guess you must find fault in the older generation on subjects that appeal to them. That’s what’s being done. This middle aged generation is scolding the former generation of greats for the sake of the younger generation and that is ludicrous.
2. It is interesting that the men who are coddling the Millennial’s are men who have come on the coattails of the giants of the past and are seeking to find an audience. Apparently they are looking to lure the Millennials by saying what they think they want to hear. Their predecessors did not say what the younger generation wanted to hear. They said what they needed to hear. It seems to me that these men writing these articles are looking for an audience they can win over to themselves. The very giants they criticize were men who sought after the generation before them because they wanted what they had.
3. The middle-aged generation who are writing these coddling articles do not speak for their generation. My own son, Bob would disagree strongly and even resents their representations. Bob did not look down his nose at the men before him but rather learned to respect them. He is his own man. He makes changes. These changes are based upon decisions he makes not criticisms he has of those before him. He changed the Sunday evening service from 7:00 to 6:00 and did not have to criticize me (or Lee Roberson) to excuse himself. It was a choice he made that did not need to be defended by wimpy excuses.
He chooses to do things the way God leads and not the way some disgruntled leader tells him too. He doesn’t March to the drumbeat of his generation or the one behind him. He learned the principles of the generation before him and he applies them as he believes he ought for his generation. He does not spend his time nitpicking to make excuses for why he is doing things the way he thinks he should. He is not changing things because they are the “in thing,” but because they are the thing he feels he should do. There is no threat on his part nor do I feel an attack from him. He is truly a secure man who doesn’t have to coddle the generation behind him so that they will like him for what he’s doing, nor criticize the generation before him to help justify his decisions.
4. These coddlers who say what they think the Millennials want to hear are being self-serving. Perhaps what they are attempting to do is to use them to gain a crowd. We better be careful that in coddling this younger generation we do not damn them to destruction. The men in the Emerging Church movement of whom many of these guys are studying, are not us or anything like us. This is not a change of methods, this is a change of doctrine and theology.
I hear Millennials’ quotes and how they call their names. Many of the men they are reading and studying are Calvinists, charismatics and in many cases liberal in their politics and theology. Hear me and mark my words. We are letting these young guys get away with playing footsie with the crowd that is going to take them down the wrong road and we will rue the day that we did not speak out. When I hear these young men talk about some of those they admire it scares me to death. They are admiring men who link themselves with all types of characters that are doctrinally heretical. I am absolutely frightened by the direction in which these young men are heading and what it is eventually going to bring.
5. The BIBLICAL principle of separation and standards are being criticized by these authors. Why are they calling men legalistic because they have and preach standards? Because the Millennials don’t like the standards. The Jesus movement of the 60’s has reappeared in some of these Millennials that came from our independent Baptist churches. That’s right, the Jesus movement that created nothing but more liberal theology, is exactly what we’re seeing today and these writers are defending them so they can win these Millennials over. They don’t want standards…period! Thank the Lord not all young men are this way, but the ones who scream the loudest and write about it in their blogs are dangerous!
They don’t want someone to tell them what kind of music they should listen to and use in their churches. They want to look like the liberal churches. They want worship teams that wiggle while singing their spiritual rock music. They want to lose the pure sound doctrine of great hymns and replace it with repetitive jingles, that could’ve been written by an ad agency on Madison Avenue. I am not going to apologize for the standards of our heritage. I am going to double down on them. If we do not call them out on their compromise we are going to lose a generation who think that it doesn’t matter how you dress or what kind of music you listen to it. We don’t need to coddle these Millennials we need to preach to them and teach them what’s right.
The mentors I admired, preached with, preached for, and had them preach in my church were extra rough on the liberals and the Jesus movement. They did not coddle them they preached to them. It is the same play just different actors with some attempting to rewrite the script.
I was preaching in New Orleans years ago. Mrs. G was with me and we had to park a good distance from the tent I was preaching under. On our way I noticed some young men across the street. I told my wife that I was going to take a minute and go to them and attempt to win them to Christ. I walked over and introduced myself and began presenting the Gospel. One young man stopped me as I was presenting the Gospel and said, “Hey man. We already have Jesus! Hey man just because we have long hair doesn’t mean we don’t have Jesus.” He continued, “Man that’s what’s wrong with you fundamentalists. You are always judging from the outside!” I said, “How did you know I was a fundamentalist? That’s whats wrong with you hippy’s you are always judging from the outside!”
6. These writers talk like the Millennials discovered grace as though the older men lost it. Why do we let them act as though they discovered Grace. Brother, I knew about Grace before my wife delivered our children to this earth. We’ve been preaching salvation by Grace and teaching the doctrine of Grace way before these Millennials. What they discovered was an excuse to compromise under the guise of Grace. They want the Grace without the truth. They desire the mercy without the accompanying truth. They are like little children who are upset because their parents became upset with their wrong. They do not want to admit their wrong and therefore blame the parents for being rough on their wrong.
7. They act like being labeled as a fundamental independent Baptist is not necessary. They want Baptist off their names. By the way while I’m at it, what is wrong with being a fundamentalist? Nothing. Fundamentalism is still a term that I am proud to use because of what it stands for. I don’t recoil from it because some people don’t like it. People don’t like Christians and I don’t recoil from that either. People don’t like republican conservatives and I don’t recoil to that either. I am not going to take away my pride in being a fundamentalist. We have a lot of independent Baptist who are not fundamentalist and cringe at being called such.
8. These men write about how these Millennials don’t want confrontation and they don’t want to fight. They lied to you! I have not had liberals treat me with any more contempt and disrespect than have some of these young Millennials who are nothing more than independent Baptist rebels. Young men in their early 20’s have scolded me, reprimanded me, slandered me and fought me with absolute contempt. They want to have Grace towards those who agree with them and coddle them.
Many of these who have attacked me have last names that you would recognize because their daddies are independent fundamental Baptist pastors. They went to some Christian school and did not have to fight their way to where they are because everything was handed to them by their daddies, who work hard to give them a better opportunity. Instead they have decided they don’t want to be that way. They don’t like those rules anymore. They don’t want to be so strict. They don’t want to have standards. They want their wives to wear pants. They want their rock music. They want to excuse the fact that they are worldly. The pictures of the pastor and their families make them look like liberals. Some remind me of Charismatics and Emerging church dress.
I grew up as a Christian in a public school. I know what it is like to fight for right. I know what it is like to be ridiculed for going to Wednesday night prayer meeting. Some of our own Christian schools have produced coddled, panty waist, wimpy, girly, worldly, young men who are mounting independent Baptist pulpits ashamed of their heritage, while mocking those who made it possible for them to be in the ministry.
I am not going to sit back and allow a few middle aged men to tell us what’s wrong with us and what’s right with the Millennials. You’re out of your mind if you think that you’re doing any good. You’re just trying to build something for yourself. You’re the one who has an ego problem and is trying to build your kingdom. That’s your market and that’s the only market you can gain because the older men and some younger men with sense have the market of true conservatives cornered. You could either become a conservative and help our cause or you can be a turncoat and try to build a new market, which is exactly what some of you men are doing.
When I read the things you’re writing I don’t know if it’s Rick Warren writing or Joel O’Steen. Your approach to this Millennial group is absolutely nothing more than their garbage revised to sound a little bit more like an independent Baptist. The title of independent Baptist doesn’t make you fundamental. I dare you, as I have done, to read Warrens’ writings next to some of these guys. It should be no surprise. They went to Warren’s conference and copied his methods while criticizing the Robersons, Malones and Hyles. With cowardice they sent secretly send staff to find out what methods Warren and others are using. They bring them and then teach them in their Leadership Conferences. One man polly-parroted and almost word for word taught one of Warren’s books to his delegates in a national conference.
They love to accuse us of not liking change. I love change. I just don’t want to change so that I can fit into a new culture by compromising. It’s not about change. it’s about standards, convictions, old fashioned soul winning and standing for the faith which is what we are and have always been. I don’t plan to change that anytime soon.
I love the Millennial generation just like I love the generation before it and the one before it and one before it. I hope the Millennials will step up to the plate and salvage what we can in this country for the Lord. I love you guys enough to tell you you’re wrong. I know there are many in your ranks who already agree with me. I hear from them every day. I love you, don’t expect Bob Gray to ever coddle you. I don’t coddle because if I coddle I compromise. My hero told me to cut the word “compromise” out of my dictionary. I can’t compromise but I tell you what I can do…
I can tell you how to be an independent Baptist.
I can tell you how to be a fundamentalist.
I can love you enough to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
I can help tell you how to take a stand for right.
I can tell you how to do what the great men of the past have done.
I can tell you how to go out and win souls.
I can tell you how to take a stand for convictions.
I can help you when you’re attacked for taking a stand and doing what’s right.
I can teach you the truth about those great men that are being criticized to you.
I can teach you how to love your friends and your enemies.
I nor my precious wife coddled our children. Right was right and wrong was wrong! We have two boys, Bob and Scott, who are successful pastors. We have two daughters, Kim and Karen, who are faithful wives and mothers. All of them are soul winners in their 40’s. Not because their mother and I coddled them, but because we loved them. Maybe they did not see the Grace when they were young, but they sure do now that they have ministries and children of their own. I was not coddled by Jack Hyles, Lester Roloff, Tom Malone, Lee Roberson, or Curtis Hutson. They loved me and our ministry became vibrant and productive because they did NOT coddle me.
I know you didn’t know the greats of yesterday and I am so sad for you. You missed out on being able to know true greatness. They were not perfect men, but they were God’s men. God chose for some reason to “magnify” these men in order for them to “magnify” God. When we attack them we are attacking greatness and their God.
Stop allowing the generation ahead of you to criticize those giants behind us in order to lure you into their fold. I have an idea for you Millennials. Bypass them. Ignore them. Learn all you can about the old Giants because when you do you’ll find out they had substance, courage and heart. You’ll find out they knew what Grace was because they learned it in the trenches. You’ll find out that they were men’s men, leaders, lovers of people and passionate for God, You will find out they had a passion to reach the world for Christ.
So burn the books and ignore the articles of these coddlers. Jump on board with some of us old fashioned fundamentalists. We can learn from you, but you can learn FAR more from us if you will be teachable. Help us save this nation and to keep it as righteous as possible. I welcome you to our ranks, but one promise I will make you is this. I won’t coddle you.