An Antidote to the Modern Malaise

by Eric Malloy

A group leader of young adults in Ottawa searches for a suitable topic for his weekly study. In recent months the small group has explored the persecuted church and become involved in hands-on ministry for the homeless at a local drop-in centre. Several people from the group, which meets at Woodvale Pentecostal Church, have recently returned from a mission trip in Malawi, in central Africa.

bible-53753_640Serious about their faith in Christ, this group of twenty-somethings continues meeting together despite the pressures of busy schedules, time demands and the unending barrage of change—new ideas, methods, products, attitudes and philosophies. So what topic should they explore next?

They settled on a study of Ezra and Nehemiah, examining Israel’s return from captivity, and rebuilding the temple and walls of Jerusalem. They combined it with a study of Mark, focusing on Jesus the Servant, the Son of Man, which may seem an unlikely study for today’s generation—or is it? Here in Halifax, Christian university students often discover that Muslim students know more Bible than they do. As a result, Christian students are turning to the Scriptures to be better equipped in their environment.

Busyness, stretched resources and new ideas have forced Christian leaders and workers to approach the Scriptures differently. We tend to lean on popular writers and speakers, the Internet, favorite themes, comfort zones or inner feelings to guide us as we seek the truth. The Scriptures can become side notes rather than the central theme; an option rather than the answer; a blurred fax rather than the original letter.

How does the Christian respond as change impacts all aspects of our faith and practice: ministry, praise and worship; how we relate to spouse and family; how we entertain ourselves and dress; how we understand Christian stewardship and giving; how we view sin and holiness; and how we apply the Bible and prayer to daily living? Christians of all ages must address these issues and make choices based on the Word of God and guided by the Holy Spirit.

Many young adults, engulfed in the busyness and distractions of life, are embracing the ageless value of God’s Word to instruct and change us in the midst of a changing world. Every believer, from lay person to Christian leader, must examine himself in light of this reality. Remaining faithful to the Great Commission (Matt. 28: 18-20) and true Christian unity (John 17) require a commitment to the person of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit and the centrality of the Word of God.

Jesus Christ, the head of the church and personification of the Word of God, is the ultimate example. While on earth, Jesus respected the authority of Scripture, which for Him consisted of the Old Covenant Law and the prophets. With this in mind, every Christian must ask: Are my life and ministry consistent with the Scriptures, both the old and new covenants? Do I teach or study the Scriptures or do I use them to support my preferred themes? I’m not suggesting that we discard all our commentaries and supplementary sources. We must simply recognize them for what they are—supplemental. We also need discernment to distinguish those that are gifts from God and those that are deceptive, containing partial truth and partial error.

Have we forgotten that the Scriptures taught in their entirety cover every possible need of the human heart and condition even in the 21st century? Pastors and teachers need to systematically study and deliver the Scriptures rather than rely exclusively on thematic approaches. By using the Scripture-first approach, thematic issues can be introduced to a congregation to ensure that important issues are adequately covered within the wide scope of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation.

In these days of constant change, embattled families, religious pluralism, inconsistent church attendance and declining moral values, the example of these young adults is encouraging. The Holy Spirit will greatly increase His presence, power, passion and purity in His people as the Scriptures are combined with faithfulness in prayer, obedience and good works.

At the time of writing, Eric Malloy worked in the telecommunication industry. He was a deacon at Evangel Pentecostal Church, in Dartmouth (Cole Harbour), NS.

This article appeared in the January 2004 issue of testimony, the monthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. ©2004 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Read

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