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Are Millennials Fleeing Evangelicalism?

"Which is more important, fidelity to historic Christian teaching or temporary political popularity?" -- Chelsen Vicari, Director of IRD's Evangelical Action Program

Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- In the wake of World Vision's effective same-sex "marriage" endorsement, subsequently followed by their reaffirmation of traditional marriage, figures in the "emergent church" movement and broader Religious Left such as Rachel Held Evans and Tony Jones claim that traditional Christian teachings on marriage and sexuality are driving the Millennial generation away from the church.

According to Jones, young evangelicals are "looking for -- even hoping for -- some advance on the issue of rights and love and equality for GLBT persons. That is why we will keep them in the Christian faith." He went on to declare, "What WV did yesterday … pushed scores of younger people out of the church and out of the faith."

This week and beyond, Millennials on IRD's staff will be addressing this issue in their own blog entries as part of a symposium series on young people and the church. Part 1 is viewable here: juicyecumenism.com/2014/03/31/symposium-what-does-liberal-christianity-offer-millennials/

IRD Evangelical Action Director Chelsen Vicari commented:

    "The Religious Left has a savvy way of convincing Millenials that to be compassionate and authentic, one must conform to popular culture by being 'missional.'

    "In declaring that World Vision's reaffirmation of traditional marriage pushed younger people out of the church, Jones made an exceptionally off base claim about Millenials like me.

    "Which is more important, fidelity to historic Christian teaching or temporary political popularity?

    "For many Millennials, evangelicalism is not an identity we slip on and off like a pair of shoes when it is comfortable. Evangelicalism characterizes our recognition of the inerrant authority of Scripture, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and determination to publically share the Good News without cultural compromise.

    "St. Paul's words come to mind: 'Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires...'"