And I will make mere lads their princes, and capricious children will rule over them, and the people will be oppressed, each one by another, and each one by his neighbor; the youth will storm against the elder and the inferior against the honorable. (Isa 3:4-5)
Imagine Dragons has a song entitled, "Radioactive," where the singer relates a world devastated by the "new." The new has killed the old. The old is left to die unnoticed while the young have all spotlights shined brightly on them."Welcome to the new age," the singer laments, "the apocalypse."
The biblical model of society, especially the religious community, is founded upon the family. The father governs it. The mother manages it. The children follow in the steps of their parents. The adults set the pace.
Hence, elders (i.e., presbyteroi "older men") disciple younger men and set the pace for the church. Likewise, presbyterai "older women" set the pace for younger women. Everyone is to follow the older, more mature, and wiser generation.
In a similar vein, the church follows the pattern of the old, the traditional, and calls the newer ideas and traditions to bend to it, rather than vice versa.
But we have now entered into a culture that sees youth as the standard. It sees what is new as the desired norm, rather than a suggestion that needs to be scrutinized by the older norm. Our model for believing and living is upside down. We care more about what attracts the young than we do the old. We attempt to fill our pews with them, since that is supposedly where our future belongs. We watch and attempt to mimic whatever youth icons and trends have their fifteen minutes of fame in an effort to capture the minds and hearts of the young for ourselves.
In the meantime, the old are forgotten. Their advice discarded. Their wisdom seen as foolishness. And their traditions as staunch legalism to be avoided.
The church of yesteryear is seen as outdated in a young church. The great music, with all of its heavily theological musings, is set aside for more superficially laden techno that gets the youthful heart pumping. Most churches would rather have Justin Bieber than Justin Martyr share his testimony.
But what we lose is maturity. There is no standard of maturity anymore, since the young are always maturing or relishing immaturity, never coming to maturity, lest they be as outdated and irrelevant as those who came before them.
Welcome to the young church. We have no sense to ourselves. We have no direction. There is no marker ahead to set our sights upon. There is no mature voice to call us there. We are left with our own immature narcissism and a pop culture that is ever growing younger and more immature. Welcome to the new age, the apocalypse.