Photo Copyright: Cory Marchand
In 1992, British author P. D. James published a book entitled The Children of Men. The book is a dystopian vision of a world reeling from the effects of over a quarter century of infertility. Of the many fictional views of the end of humanity this may be the most chilling. Imagine a world in which no children had been born for the past 25 years. It is a world dying by degrees. Ending not with a bang, but the prospective death rattle of the last aged person. James speaks of a world in which there are no schools, no playgrounds, and no toys. It is world in which things are no longer preserved or guarded or treasured. If there is no coming generation, why bother? Why maintain? Why plant a tree or paint a building or preserve a library or museum? You get the idea.
Churches and religious movements have faced a similar crisis. Many churches die because they produced no offspring. Many do not think of the coming generation and for many there is no coming generation. It is a blessing to have grey hair in the church, but it is a curse if there is not a rising generation to take their place. Our confession of faith speaks of the several ways in which a church can die. Among these is what is called a ‘dearth of conversions’. We must look to God for a new generation of converts, a new generation of gospel preachers and missionaries. A new generation in which we can invest. A generation to whom we pass on the baton of biblical truth whole and intact.