Because we are living in the End Times, we should look at two of the Bible prophecies regarding the end times that have a direct impact on families. The two texts are Second Timothy 3:1-4 and Second Timothy 4:3-4. It would be wise to digest these two prophecies and determine how a family can be affected in these end times, as the world in which we live becomes more and more wicked and we are less and less able to recognize the subtle ways our families are being affected by it.
First, let’s look at Second Timothy 3:1-4: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” This clearly identifies the “ME” generation.
To deny that men are lovers of themselves is difficult to do. Today we have “My Space®,” Facebook, and there’s “You Tube®” which promotes itself as a place you can “post yourself” and that’s just what many people do. My Space® and Facebook allow a person the opportunity for the whole world to view them, and they post whatever they want to about themselves in many creative ways. There’s no limit as to what information you allow others to know about you. You can market yourself, touting all your good points. But that’s not the only evidence of this narcissistic trend.
Today’s generation has been labeled the “ME” generation. Another term used to describe the generation born between 1970 and 1990 is the “entitlement” generation. I, having been born in 1970, did harbor some of the sentiment that caused my generation to be labeled “narcissistic” and “entitled.” In an Associated Press article by Martha Irvine, we are described as people who seek high salaries for jobs with great flexibility with little to no grunt work and an unwillingness to remain loyal to a company. Because it’s all about us!
A pediatric professor at UNC Medical Center believes, “we are seeing an epidemic of people who are having a hard time making the transition to work…kids who had too much success early in life and who’ve become accustomed to instant gratification…many of the individuals we see are heavily committed to something we call FUN.” In other words, if it doesn’t please me (i.e. if it’s not fun) I don’t want to have to work to get it. The world offers much more to children today than it did 100 years ago, but parents have become more indulgent these days also.
I’ll admit that several years ago I truly wanted to be retired before I even started working at a career. I would see the fruits of somebody else’s labor and would want that for myself, but I wouldn’t want to do all that was needing to be done to earn those fruits from my own career. Instead, I’d be jealous of their lives and harbor great disdain for mine. Today there’s a sense of laziness and an unwillingness to wait on anything. We are too used to having everything we want immediately, and we carry that into our lives and our work ethic suffers.
Two cases demonstrate the point of where this generation is going in the workplace. A person by the name of Liz Ryan runs a company in Colorado. When she began working with twenty-somethings she found out that the best way to get productivity out of them was to appeal to them. Her company runs with “no set hours and a lot of latitude in how our work gets done.” She says that helps motivate her employees. Here’s a CEO bringing it down to the level of her employees on how to run her company. Another boss in a restaurant improved turnover rates by “loosening standards on piercings or allowing cooks to play music in the kitchen.”
I think if children were taught in the home how to be subject to rules, regulations, and order while they were growing up, we’d see less and less of this behavior in the workplace. And if you think I’m unjustly indicting parents as culprits for breeding this behavior, here’s proof that parents are the root cause of whether their children grow up narcissistic and entitled or not. In 2005 there were approximately 1.5 million children home-schooled. Of those, ten percent, or 150,000 children followed a movement known as “unschooling.”
In a CNN report, we hear of a typical child who is “unschooled.” This movement is characterized by CHILDREN, not parents and teachers, deciding what they will learn and when. A particular ten-year-old girl believes she is learning better by going at “HER own pace.” As CNN explains, this extension of home schooling is when parents give their children TOTAL FREEDOM to learn and explore whatever THEY choose. This method of education was first proposed in 1977 by a man named John Holt, who believed in an education more freewheeling in nature and one that depended on the child for direction. This ten-year-old girl said at the end of the interview, “I actually don’t know what I’m learning. I think I’m just having a good time.” So I ask you…is this child even being prepared for the way the traditional world works? No! And who started it? The parents who home schooled her.
There’s a rise in entitlement borne out of a rise in narcissism borne out of a parenting style outside the Will of God and the mandates of the Bible. But this is because of the second prophecy being fulfilled in today’s world. Parents and families are not in the right churches. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (Second Timothy 4:3-4). Now this isn’t about secular psychology vs. the Bible. No, it’s about fundamental Biblical Christianity vs. modern Christianity.
I praise God for a church that challenges the families of the church and holds parents and children accountable to the Word of God. That’s what this generation needs. Remember, I’m a member of the “me” generation (born in 1970) and if I don’t learn the truths and expectations for raising children, what generation are my two daughters going to be a part of? Can it get worse than it is today? If the answer is “yes,” then I shutter to think about the characteristics that will define that next generation. But parents, and today’s Christians to some degree, don’t want to be challenged…so they “turn away their ears.”
I’m a strong proponent of this mode of thinking with regard to the role church plays in my life. I want to leave church feeling worse about myself than when I came in. Here’s why. When I played competitive tennis and I lost a match, my coach could have done one of two things. He could have told me everything was all right and I tried hard and sometimes I’m just going to get beat. Or, he could come to me after the match and tell me everything I did wrong…point out all my weaknesses…and tell me how to improve myself to beat my foe the next time. Which is the more practical and effective coach? Obviously the one that exhorted me to get better.
Now here’s the crux of the matter about not enduring sound doctrine. Christians are running in droves to these churches to hear “cookies and ice cream” sermons. Behind those smiles and sermons is a coach telling you that it’s all right to be defeated now and then and that God’s happy with you as long as you’re in the game. But I suggest to you, in much the same way I would never improve under that coaching style and would be defeated time and again by my opponent, so to would moms, dads, and families be defeated each time they went up against a foe. And I ask you…are we any match for the devil? No!
I tell you, Christians are falling away from great fundamental Bible-believing churches and right into the padded pews of the emerging church with their entertainment center atmospheres having every possible amenity to offer its people. But if sound doctrine is missing, so too are the instructions for raising children right. So people who are either ignorant of the sound doctrine, or choose to ignore it, will raise children who may never learn it, and so the generational cycle goes.
Incidentally, if you’ve never heard the term emerging church, I’ll briefly explain to you that it is not a new denomination. It is a movement, a philosophy, a way of “doing church” that has abandoned the old ways and have decided to change because the times and society have changed. Some of the more well-known mega-churches, such as Saddleback Church and Willow Creek Church are examples of emerging churches. These churches are evangelical in nature, but are very liberal and open to new ideas such as denying the infallibility of Scripture, being non-dogmatic, and rejecting the Biblical teaching on the fate of Hell for the unsaved. As a rule, they deny the imminent return of Christ and have a heavy agenda of pushing ecumenism (the COEXIST bumper stickers) where Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and whomever wants to can find common ground where there is no room, or need, for proselytizing. One proponent of the emerging church is author Donald Miller who wrote the book about his coming of age in the emerging church movement. At a book signing, a girl told him that she was a “Jesus girl, but I like doing Tequila shots with my friends too.” Another person commented on why he liked Donald’s book, and it was because, “His book doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself.” If that isn’t indicative of Second Timothy 4:1-4…nothing is…
People today relish preaching that is neutral and non-offensive and offers little in the way of challenging and exhorting of any type. Some of these churches run tens-of-thousands strong and are led by pastors who give their flock weekly pep talks or lead them in hour-long exercises in positive affirmations. These families would rather have their ego stroked than have their conscience pricked.
So you see, in these latter days, men will be lovers of themselves and become more and more narcissistic in their dealings with their bosses, schools, and the rest of the world. But it all starts with moms, dads, and families running to any church to get whatever they need to make them feel good about themselves, in lieu of sound Biblical teaching. But unlike other Bible prophecies that we have no control over, these two we referenced in Second Timothy 3 and 4 don’t have to involve us in their fulfillment. But if you go to the wrong church and get the wrong teaching, it’s going to be a case of “garbage in…garbage out.” And if that’s the case, you WILL be involved in the fulfillment of end-time prophecies.