Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 28, 1970

The Failures


For almost a decade now America has been plagued by a locust swarm of young failures — adolescents who have simply been unable to cope with modern life on any realistic basis, and have elected to become "drop outs." They are the ones who seek to make a public exhibition of their frustration by imitating as nearly as they can the dress, manners, customs, and smell of "Dogpatch" at its worst, adding to this miserable type of "non-existence" the drugs, promiscuity, violence and rebellion against "the establishment" which daily make the headlines. They form a particularly unattractive excrescence on the body politic of contemporary society, and become a barn-sized target for the wit and satire of conservatives like Al Capp, Max Rafferty, William F. Buckley, and Spiro Agnew.

There are undoubtedly many factors contributing to the present sad state of affairs. Psychologists and qualified psychiatrists have pin-pointed some of them — too much affluence, a permissive attitude on the part of parents (who are so preoccupied with their own mad pursuit of `the good life' that they simply can't be bothered with taking time out for their children), cynicism and irresponsibility among public officials, a general degradation of all those solid "virtues" of the past — honesty, thrift, veracity, industry, etc. The misguided efforts of many liberal "do-gooders" in promoting the aims of black militants; the incredible Supreme Court decisions in protecting the rights of criminals at the expense of their victims (and the general public); the world-weariness of wars, rebellions, insurrections, anarchies, and the lost list of public and individual misdeeds — all of these things have contributed to the current debacle.

But any student of history knows that the human race has always had its hippies and yippies, its sad-sack failures. And there have always been also a certain number of adults who, for one reason or another, champion the cause of the failures, blaming society, civilization, the past, or God himself for their failure — anything except the failures themselves! It has always been so; and probably always will be so. The thing that makes it more obvious now, of course, is the ability to give worldwide publicity to the antics and assertions of the failures. . . . behavior which in the past would have been largely localized and limited in its influence. No knowledgeable person questions at all but that the news media have contributed powerfully to the general deterioration in both public and private morals.

All of which is of interest, but does not deal with the duty and responsibility of the individual Christian parent. Except that it should serve to underline the immensity of the task before him. There was a time when society in general — schools, government, local customs, community behavior — were all on the side of the Christian parent, all contributing in a good way to the total impact on the developing mind of his child. This can no longer be taken for granted; it must now be accepted that a considerable portion of the "accepted" public and private behavior with which a growing child comes in contact is neither Christian nor moral. It is antagonistic to the principles which the Christian parent is hoping to instill into his child. It is based on and grows out of a basically atheistic concept of human existence.

What then is to be done? The answer is obvious. Christianity was "born and bred" for such a world. It is designed to help the individual live in the midst of an evil and adulterous generation, yet keep himself "unspotted" from it. And what he does for himself, he can do for his children. The true antidote to immoral and atheistic influence, of course, is teaching, teaching, and more teaching! We do not mean simply the imparting of information, but the development of attitudes, habits, and a way of life. Perhaps training is a better word than teaching; at least, it carries with it the idea of the development of certain traits and abilities. A forty-five minute Bible lesson on Sunday morning, and a sermon or two each week from the pulpit simply won't get the job done. There must be daily efforts to guide, teach, instruct, and encourage. It takes time, thought, study, work, — and prayer. The cause is not hopeless — as witness the scores of thousands of devout and faithful young people who are growing up into strong and dedicated Christian men and women. Some of them can be found in every church in the land. They are not failures; their lives are not bitter and frustrated; they do not "drop out." But, like Timothy of old, they have been instructed in 'the sacred writings' and that instruction has borne fruit. It always has; it always will. Take the time and trouble to sow the right kind of seed, and the harvest is certain — and rewarding.

— F. Y. T.