Millennials and the Bible: ‘Not What You Think’

There’s so much talk these days about so-called “Millennials.” Millennials are the generation born between 1980 and 2000. They are “digital natives,” and the defining events of their lives include the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, the War on Terror, Harry Potter, the Great Recession, and the birth of social media. Oh, and by the way, they love avocado toast.

They are also the “biggest” generation: Some 78 million strong. In the next five or six years, they will comprise 75 percent of the American workforce.

On the whole, Millennials tend to be skeptical of absolutes, and anyone or anything claiming to be the authority on life and the world. Thus, they tend to be skeptical about the Bible. Only 9 percent of Millennials claim to read the Bible on a daily basis, and only 30 percent believe that the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God.

All of this leads to an acute challenge for many in older generations: How to pass on the faith to their children and grandchildren. I’m happy to tell you there’s a new book that can really help.

Two Millennial Christian thought leaders, Michael and Lauren Green McAfee, seeking to overcome the skepticism of their peers about the Bible, have written a new and engaging book, “Not What You Think: Why the Bible Might Be Nothing We Expected but Everything We Need.”

Michael is director of community initiatives at the Museum of the Bible. His wife Lauren, who now works at the Hobby Lobby corporate offices, helped get the museum up and running. So they both have a deep, sincere passion to share their love for the Bible.

The first part of “Not What You Think” is devoted to explaining exactly who Millennials are: their demographics, aspirations, preferences, etc. One of the key characteristics we must understand is that Millennials came of age at a time when the very notion of truth was, well, fuzzy at best.

“Our era is one in which truth has moved from objective reality to personal response,” they write. “Our generation generally hesitates to accept truth outside of personal experience and opinion.”

This is the first huge obstacle for approaching Millennials with traditional Christian apologetics, which depends on the absolute and objective Truth claims revealed in the Bible. And yet, this is where these millennial authors succeed as they invite their fellow Millennials to engage Scripture. While being upfront and honest about the truth claims of the Bible, they make the case that the Old and New Testaments, unlike other religious holy books and texts, are not primarily a set of rules. Instead, they present a grand Story woven together by God through various authors over a millennium and a half. It’s a story that God invites us all to join.

Throughout their book, the McAfees argue convincingly—and in detail—that both Testaments, from Genesis through Revelation, point to the God-Man, Jesus. Thus, the Bible not only invites us into God’s cosmic drama, it invites us into a relationship with the Creator of the universe.

“What if,” they write, “truth is not just a point of view . . . not just a list of rules—yours, ours, or anyone else’s? What if truth is not the ever-changing consensus of the crowd but instead is a person whom you get to know and who knows you. This person’s story is told in the Bible. His name is Jesus.”

This is exactly the kind of book that will not only help you communicate the importance of Scripture to younger generations, it’s a book you can actually give to younger generations. And, it’s a great resource for Sunday School classes and small groups to learn more about the “biggest” generation, while also learning about how to better reach them.

Source:
https://www.christianheadlines.com/columnists/breakpoint/millennials-and-the-bible-not-what-you-think.html

THREE LIES ABOUT PREMARITAL SEX

Is Scripture becoming outdated and archaic in light of today’s cultural views concerning premarital sex? Here are three important things to consider when making a decision about sex and marriage.

When Cindy met Rob, she knew that even though he attended church, he didn’t share her convictions about premarital sex. Rob thought it was OK — and even good for dating couples to engage in — and Cindy believed it was wrong from a Christian perspective. As their friendship progressed, Cindy and Rob’s opposing viewpoints caused some hot debates. It also forced them both to take a second look at their convictions. As a result, Cindy developed a deeper understanding of truth, and Rob was forced to face the lies he’d always believed. If you’re like Cindy or Rob, and you’ve taken a stand for (or against) premarital sex, but you’re not sure why, here are some things to consider.

Scripture is outdated, right?

Like many singles, Rob thinks the scriptures on sexual purity are outdated and archaic. “Those parts of the Bible aren’t relevant to today,” he told Cindy. “After all, when the scriptures were written, the people during that time got married when they were teens; so they didn’t have to struggle with sexual temptation like we do now.” In response to Rob’s argument, Cindy found verses about sexual purity and showed them to him. When Cindy read 1 Corinthians 6:9, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Galatians 5:19, Hebrews 13:4 and Deuteronomy 22:13-28, all which condemn sex before marriage, she asked Rob, “Are these scriptures relevant to today?” “Nope,” Rob responded. “Do you have a pair of scissors?” Cindy asked. “Why? “Because I think we should cut those scriptures out. After all, if they’re not true because people can’t control their desires, why not completely eliminate them? After all, we can just pick and choose the parts the Bible that we want to believe on sexual purity, right? Give me your scissors,” she said. “You’re crazy,” Rob responded. Crazy or not, Cindy had made her point — there are holes in Rob’s it’s-not-true-because-people-can’t-control-their-desires theology. Why? Because, if his beliefs were based on truth, they would stand up in every circumstance, but they don’t.

For example, if sex before marriage is OK because people supposedly can’t control themselves, then it must be okay to engage in pornography, too, right? After all, the temptation to watch and participate in porn abounds like it didn’t in Bible times. Not surprisingly, when Cindy asked Rob if it was OK to engage in pornography, his theology changed. “Pornography isn’t OK because it’s damaging to the people who are doing it, and it’s not very Christian.” Why does Rob have a schizophrenic view of purity and of the Bible’s commandments? Additionally, if scriptures in the Bible became untrue because people can’t control their desires, then we’d also have to cut out the commandments on stealing, lying, cheating and having affairs. Sure enough, there are holes in Rob’s sex-before-marriage theology, just like there would be holes in his Bible if Cindy cut it up.

Doesn’t sex produce intimacy?

During their discussions about premarital sex, Rob insisted that it was good to engage in sex with a dating partner because “it brings you closer.” Cindy believes that this is true, and not true. On one hand, the Bible says that sex causes “two people to become one.” Therefore, it’s more than just a physical act, it’s also a spiritual encounter (Mark 10:6-9). Additionally, Dr. Patricia Love, the author of The Truth About Love, writes that a feeling of intimacy is created by a “chemical cocktail” that is produced in the brain during sex and stays with each person for up to 24 hours after intercourse. Perhaps this physiological bonding is what Rob was referring to. On the flip side, having sex is no guarantee that the deep emotional intimacy that everyone longs for will develop. Alice Fryling, in an article titled, “Why Wait for Sex?” writes:
“Genital sex is an expression of intimacy, not the means to intimacy. True intimacy springs from verbal and emotional communion. True intimacy is built on a commitment to honesty, love and freedom. True intimacy is not primarily a sexual encounter.

Intimacy, in fact, has almost nothing to do with our sex organs. A prostitute may expose her body, but her relationships are hardly intimate.”
Some experts even report that premarital sex short circuits the emotional bonding process. Donald Joy, a writer for Christianity Today, cited a study of 100,000 women that linked “early sexual experience with dissatisfaction in their present marriages, unhappiness with the level of sexual intimacy and the prevalence of low self-esteem.” So what does this mean? If Rob tries to convince Cindy, or any woman, that sex will actually help their relationship, she might want to think again before consenting. While premarital sex does produce a short-lived chemical cocktail in the brain, there is no guarantee that it will produce long-term emotional closeness or relational satisfaction.

Can’t sex help you determine compatibility?

Rob told Cindy he felt it was unreasonable to expect him to abstain from sex before marriage because no one would buy a car without test driving it; so he couldn’t imagine committing to marriage without taking a “sex test drive.” When Cindy suggested to Rob that his “test drive” mentality could lead him to compare his wife’s sexual performance with his other partners, he denied it. “No, I wouldn’t,” he adamantly said. However, his logic is faulty. Here’s why: If it was true that Rob wouldn’t struggle with comparison, why would he need to “test drive” anything? After all, if he’d never had multiple partners, he would automatically think his wife the best. For example, the man who hasn’t ever seen or driven more than one car doesn’t know what other cars are like; therefore he would be satisfied with his automobile. Partners can also feel threatened if they think their mate could be comparing them with previous partners. When Cindy randomly asked 10 women at work if they would be worried that their husband was comparing them if he’d had intercourse with multiple women before marriage, 80 percent of them said yes. This provides a strong argument to abstain from sex before marriage to protect the emotional safety that your spouse will need to feel in marriage.

Hope and restoration after premarital sex:

Perhaps you’re asking, “What if, like Rob, I’m guilty of sexual sin?” The first thing to remember is that no sexual sin is beyond God’s forgiveness. Thankfully, He doesn’t withhold forgiveness or grace from those who ask for it. First John 1:9 promises that if you confess your sins, that He is faithful to forgive and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Note: This includes all sin, and does not exclude sexual sin. Psalm 103: 12 also promises, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions [sins] from us.” In addition to forgiveness, God wants you to embrace His grace that will help you move forward in life and embrace the promises He has for you with joy. In spite of your choices, God wants to bring you relational fulfillment.

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Source:
https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/three-lies-about-premarital-sex/

Chris Pratt Doesn’t Think Hollywood Is Anti-Christian

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People claim the entertainment industry opposes religion “but it’s just not the case,” the “Jurassic World” actor said.

As an actor who often speaks out about his Christian faith, Chris Pratt isn’t convinced that Hollywood is anti-religious.

“I think that there’s this narrative that exists out there that Hollywood is anti-Christian or anti-religious, but it’s just not the case,” the “Jurassic World” star told The Associated Press this week.

On the contrary, Pratt said, Hollywood’s culture encourages people to embrace whatever is authentic to them.

“They are kind of not anti-anything. They are kind of pro whatever is authentic to you. And I like that,” the actor said. “Because it’s authentic for me to be pro-Christian, pro-Jesus. That’s my thing. I like it.”

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Pratt said that no one in Hollywood has ever tried to shame him to his face about his faith. Even if they did it behind his back, he said, “I’m not going to change.”

The actor has often used his appearances on award shows to share his religious beliefs. In June, while accepting the Generation Award at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards, Pratt offered his listeners some spiritual advice.

“God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that. I do,” Pratt said while listing what he called nine essential life rules.

He also advised the audience to be careful with their souls, serve others and learn to pray.

“You are imperfect. You always will be. But there is a powerful force that designed you that way,” the actor said. “And if you’re willing to accept that, you will have grace. And grace is a gift.”

Pratt told AP that he knows this kind of message might not be for everybody. But he thinks there are people out there who are yearning to hear it.

“And nothing fills my soul more than to think that maybe some kid watching that would say, ‘Hey, I’ve been thinking about that. I’ve been thinking about praying. Let me try that out,’” he said.

Pratt, who was raised Lutheran, spoke about his Christian awakening in a January 2017 Vanity Fair article. As a struggling young actor, the Minnesota native moved to Maui, Hawaii. He lived in a van parked on the beach and worked as a waiter at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Though his surroundings were idyllic, Pratt recalled feeling lost.

One day, when he was sitting outside a grocery story, a stranger came up and invited him to church.

“He said, ‘Jesus told me to talk to you …’ At that moment I was like, I think I have to go with this guy,” Pratt told Vanity Fair. “He took me to church. Over the next few days I surprised my friends by declaring that I was going to change my life.”

Pratt said he became a committed Christian two days later and even helped the stranger, who apparently worked for a Messianic Jewish organization.

One month later, according to Esquire, Pratt was discovered by a director at Bubba Gump Shrimp. He was cast in a short film, which eventually led to bigger acting gigs.

Last year, Pratt was spotted in Los Angeles attending Hillsong Church, which is part of an evangelical Christian group of churches known for attracting quite a few celebrities, including Justin Bieber and Kourtney Kardashian.

He feels speaking publicly about his faith has become his calling, Pratt told AP.

“That’s like the only way I feel like I can repay what has essentially been a giant gift in my life,” he said.

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Source:
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/chris-pratt-hollywood-anti-christian-religion_n_5ba3e4d8e4b0181540db48c1