Clearly, the challenges of the postmodern era are growing before our eyes. Is there room for a biblical view of the postmodern era? Do we share their beliefs and values by answering logical responses to the challenges of the Church today and how to overcome them?
The challenge of the Adventist Church today
Broadly speaking, there are 3 of the most critical challenges that Adventist Christian youth have to face as follows:
The existence of a postmodern era in a new era that gave rise to new morality with personal standards, such as LGBT, homosexuality and polygamy. This personal standard has become the new religion to replace Christianity. This contradicts God's design in the creation of Man (Genesis 2:18).
Issues of religious radicalism, such as propaganda, terrorism and various movements carried out by a group of people who have the heart to act in extremes. This seems to be cornering every church. Not only that, this also raises symptoms of religious intolerance and fanaticism as well as excessive exclusivism in socio-religious relations in society. Today, many Christian youths are easily trapped by misinformation, provocation, and fake news that has gone viral on social media. So that they can become the main target for recruitment of radical groups that develop networks, as follows:
- The rise of various heresies and heretics that have heretical sects, such as Gnostics, Mormonism, Christian Science, Jehovah's Witnesses and so on. This contradicts Jesus' warning to His disciples (Matthew 24: 3-14; 1 Timothy 1: 3; Romans 16:17).
- The persecution of Christians was seen as antisocial and a cause of unrest. As is told about the persecution of Stephen (the Christian martyr) and a number of Jerusalem churches (Acts 7: 54-8: 3).
- Humans who are getting smarter and more alive feel as if they no longer need God. This is against the will of God (Romans 12:16 "but set yourselves up for simple things. Do not think yourself clever!").
- The emptiness of life often occurs, even though it is filled with various sophistication of world civilization. An example is that many churches reflect the world by pragmatically justifying all means. This contradicts the church at Sardis having maintained their reputation by compromise (Revelation 3: 4-6).
Church splits due to money problems, different interpretations, differences in group interests and so on (1 Corinthians 3: 3). A split has to occur to see who can stand the test. However, do not let us be the source of the division. We must remember that Jesus did not want division (Matthew 12:25). (Also read: The Lord Jesus' Promise for Believers)
The Challenge of Individualism
Super humans are busy with their respective worlds. An example is the millennial generation often relies on the most advanced gadget tools. So that the gadget has become a new model of 'idol' tool. It can be seen that every congregation rarely brings a printed Bible because the Bible has become a digital bible on their cellphone or Ipad. Even sadder during the service, they continued to play social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and so on. This was the beginning of the hedonism and materialism that Christians often practice (James 4: 1 - 5: 6; 1 John 2: 15-17).
There is no brotherly love which affects individual competition even between nations. Examples are adultery and divorce. Many do not care about others and are not committed to prioritizing the Bible as the main guide in their lives.
We as God's children must carry out a heart transformation in accordance with John Stott's view which contains "The heart of human problem is the problem of the human heart". The way to do a heart transformation, including:
- It takes a willingness to be re-formed by God even though the process is not easy. We need to stay silent before God to ask God to change our hearts. Even though we as a church have flaws, we will be reformed by the Holy Spirit when we come to God. Must pursue what brings peace and is useful for building one another (Romans 14:19).
- Preach the gospel to anyone who doesn't believe. Preaching the gospel is a must and a duty for believers for the glory of God, not for boasting (1 Corinthians 9:16) so that we can understand God's intentions and plans (Matthew 28: 19).
- Must be united and of one mind with the other ministers (1 Corinthians 1: 10-17; 1 Corinthians 3: 9). But use the gifts that we have to build up the body of Christ. To build up the church, we are the body of Christ and Christ is the head (1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 5:30; 2 Timothy 2:24).
The church must never be bored to keep reminding its congregation that every human being must behave properly with gadgets, that is, regularly and beautifully if we put away gadgets and communicate verbally with our families at home or with others in other places.
Despite the difficulties and challenges we often face, we must remain faithful in carrying out His commands by having a sensitive heart towards others and having a sincere soul so that anyone wants to repent and be saved and then get salvation, which is a gift of God (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2: 4; 2 Peter 3: 9).
In essence, we have to present and model a way of thinking about the challenges of today's church and how to overcome them by making it clear to their culture that the Christian faith (Romans 15: 6; 1 John 5: 4-5) must be relevant to all the questions on these challenges. Hopefully this article on the challenges of today's church and how to overcome them was helpful.