By Jay Rogers
Published December 22, 2007
As we enter the 1990s, a new generation is appearing on the horizon – and the whole world is taking notice.
- A Newsweek Special Edition declares: “The New Teens” and attempts to answer these questions: “What makes them different? Who are their heroes? What problems do they face?”
- An Ebony magazine cover heralds: “The New Generation of the ’90s” and describes a generation comprised of individuals with different ideas, who are “as equally bouyed by promising opportunities as they are weighted down with problems.”
- A Time magazine cover proclaims “Twenty-Something” and examines a generation with unique culture, with their own set of problems, possibilities, situations and circumstances.
What is it that makes this generation so distinct?
It is no coincidence that this generation has come on the scene at the present time. The whole world is in a state of transition. As we close out the millennium, entire nations are in a state of upheaval. The social, economic and political landscape of the world is fast changing. This is a generation that has come of age “for such a time as this.”
The most talked about, most written about generation of our time, which is described loosely as the “under 25 generation,” has been raised in a new and often bewildering world and has attitudes and ideas which are radically different from those who preceded them.
The “tribal” cultures of the late 60s and early 70s gave way to the self-gratifying “me-generation” of the late 70s and 80s, with the flower children trading in their youthful idealism of peace and love for a more materialistic “yuppie” lifestyle.
And now a new generation emerges. And everyone is asking, “What are they like?”
Author and youth specialist Winkie Pratney, a New Zealander who worked for a teen drug abuse program during the 1960s, now observes, “In my thirty years of ministry, I have never experienced a better time to work with young people.”
Rich Wilkerson, another veteran of the 60s era and founder of Mainstream, a youth ministry, comments on the coming of a new generation:
“What I see happening as I travel around this country is that the children of the so-called ‘yuppie generation’ are coming of age. The older generation, who were products of the hippie culture of the 1960s, championed themselves as the generation who were opposed to the Viet Nam war and materialism. Now they have become the most materialistic generation this nation has ever produced.
“This new generation,” according to Wilkerson, “struggles with trust and has a tendency to disbelieve authority. These offspring are being raised by the most bona fide group of hypocrites in American history. Because authority is so hypocritical, it is viewed by these young people as threatening.”
Yet, it is this generation, according to many youth experts, who have the greatest potential to attain greatness. One trend that contradicts all the trends of the past is that this generation has a deep desire to believe and hope and trust. In the midst of a spiritual vacuum that has been left by the selfishness and materialism of our society, young people have been asking questions in a search for meaning, love and purpose.
Historian Vincent Harding comments, “Parents are bankrupt spiritually. We have more technological advancement, more creature comforts, more opportunities than ever before, but no hope.”
Consequently, more young people than ever are turning to God in hope of making some sense out of a confusing and often threatening world. Dr. Frederick Price, a Los Angeles area pastor, estimates that that 70% of his Crenshaw Christian Center congregation are young people.
“I’ve seen this upsurge for several years,” claims Price. “As I travel around the country, I see young people coming forward, hungry to know about the things of God. They’re coming by the truck loads.”
One of the most obvious reasons for the spiritual hunger of this new generation of young people is the many new problems they face. These problems include the rapidly escalating threat of AIDS, the drug problem, and the pressure to succeed.
Threat of AIDS
Even with the threat of AIDS, the number of sexually active teens is significantly higher than ten years ago. According to Newsweek magazine, by March of 1990, the Centers for Disease Control had counted 1,429 cases of AIDS among teenagers, which is fewer than one percent of all AIDS cases.
Yet teenagers fear AIDS more than any other illness. There is, in fact, a need for concern. Although relatively few teens are diagnosed with AIDS, nearly a fifth of the people with AIDS are in their twenties. With a nearly ten year period between infection and the onset of symptoms, this would place many victims who contract the disease in their teenage years.
Drug Use Down
Although sexual activity is up, the use of illegal drugs is down among the “new teens.” Use of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine fell significantly in the last ten years. The greater dangers of the modern world are perceived by many of these young people. Drugs are scarier to them than the group who widely experimented with substance abuse in the 60s and 70s.
Part of the reason for this decline is that parents may be as likely, in some cases, to be substance abusers as their children. Among this new generation are many of the offspring of the 1960s psychedelic drug culture. With a dizzying array of frightening options, drug use is less appealing to them than the revolutionaries of 20 years ago. However, many of the new generation who use drugs, do so earlier, especially those who start because of a parent’s habit.
Pressure to Succeed
Life in the 1990s has become stressful to young people. As the percentage of the teenage population decreases relative to the adult world, the numbers of teenage pregnancies continue to rise; there are a growing number of minorities living at the poverty level; and there are a growing number of single parent households.
The most serious cause for concern, however, is the rise of suicide. The rate of 18 suicides per 100,000 teens in 1987, places this problem at an epidemic proportion. Social scientists, therefore, are studying teenagers more closely than ever in order to trace the problem to the source.
The pressure to succeed seems to be at the root of all of these problems. Pressure at a younger age to find a job, to choose a career, to do well at school, to have a good marriage and family life, to pay for college, and the fear of contracting AIDS are all concerns that plague the minds of young people.
A Quest for Purpose and Meaning
In their quest for finding a purpose and meaning in life, there is more of a thirst to tap into spiritual values than any of the previous generations. They hunger to fill spiritual voids and solve the problems of the world created by the apathy and self-centeredness of their parents.
It should not be surprising, therefore, when the current generation hits the college campuses and there is a social revolution that surpasses that of any generation of the modern times. The campuses will be the center of an outcry for peace of mind and stability that will ascend to the heavens. This will be a generation that calls on the name of God.
The campuses will become the subject of news reports. The growing consensus among the news media will be that a spiritual revival is occurring among university students. Daily reports of unprecedented numbers of students attending prayer rallies on campus will become commonplace.
For a period of time, it will be as if heaven had touched earth. It will become normal among students to talk about the experiences they have had in prayer. As they touch God, the answers to many of the problems that plague our world will be revealed to them. This is a generation of world changers. It is a generation that has come on the scene “for such a time as this.”
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Youth Culture
Your comments are welcome!
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the free Study Guide!
Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
$7.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)