If you talk to the average teen involved in school and church, you will usually hear about their interest and even passion for issues of social justice. Now back in your day, you may have been interested in some of the same problems of the world. You may even now volunteer in an attempt to make a positive difference. You in fact may actually be more passionate and knowledgable about some of the social justice issues than even the most passionate teen.
There is a generational difference though. Where previous generations addressed social issues within their churches and outside of them, Christian young people today expect churches to take the lead in all of these issues. If they feel their church is not only not leading in these areas, but also in their minds barely addressing them, they will often leave. Unfortunately, because many have little in the way of a strong biblical foundation, leaving often means rejecting not just their congregation, but the church as a whole and even their belief and faith in God.
Since their biblical foundations are often weak and their educations rarely include studying logic and logical fallacies, these young people are also very susceptible to false doctrine preached in the name of social justice, equality and “loving like Jesus”. Unfortunately, many more mature Christians have not kept up or stepped up in attempting to improve the world in areas like poverty and race relations. When they attempt to reach out to young people and address false doctrine, they haven’t earned the respect necessary for the young people to want to listen to another viewpoint.
Enter David Platt. Many of you have probably read his book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (which is also a great read for your teen). If your teen is at all interested in social justice or is accepting the world’s view on a variety of popular issues, you must give them Platt’s book Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography.
Platt does one of the best jobs I have seen in addressing issues of social justice and the false doctrines embraced by the world under the guise of social justice. He dissects each of the main issues of social justice most popular today. Within each issue he does a great job at explaining the depth of the problem (a must read for teens and adults who have no clue about social justice issues) and is honest about the failings of Christians and even himself to step up in meaningful ways to make change.
In almost every category, he also addresses misconceptions and outright false teachings often attached to the issue. He does so with an obvious compassion, yet unwavering obedience to God’s Words as written. His arguments are presented in a calm, logical fashion and make a lot more sense (and are more in line with the entire Bible) than most other authors, both Christian and non-Christian.
I would highly suggest you read this book with your teen or young adult child. Talk about the issues and the biblical truths Platt addresses. Admit your own failings in any areas. If you have avoided serving in these areas, ask your child to encourage you to get more involved. Find ways you can serve together and share your faith at the same time. Encourage your church to do more to be a visible light to the world. To me that kind of service and faith sharing is what “loving like Jesus” really is to the lost.
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