Vol.VI No.X Pg.2
December 1969

Rx For 3G Syndrome

Robert F. Turner

Sometimes we describe the periodic digressions that affect a church as Third Generation Syndrome. The first generation recognizes gross improprieties (though they may not, at first, grasp their full significance) and the noble ones make personal investigation into the scriptures. They learn the truth, and seek to teach others. (Gal. 6:1-f) Tradition — ridden majorities are adamant; and for conscience sake a faithful few are forced to begin anew at great personal sacrifice.

The second generation develops with the scars and smell of war about them, patriotic slogans ringing in their ears. They get the arguments down pat, in a second- handed sort of way, but they are wearied by talk of battle, and never really search out the fundamental principles for themselves. As a consequence, their teaching is superficial. prejudicial.

So, the third generation learns the right words to say, can make the arguments, but neither understands nor appreciates their importance. It is among such people that the constant factor drift produces disastrous results, and off we go again.

Members of the church are going to have children, and many of them will be brought up in the church. We can not eliminate the third generation by bringing up our children in a vacuum, nor can we expect new converts of the second and third generation to have the same appreciation for a specific problem as do those who have had direct experience with such. Some characteristics of the second and third generation can not be avoided; they are the normal problems of life. Lest we despair, remember that the noble first generation arises out of the third generation.

And, there are things we can do to combat the ravage of third generation disasters. (1) We can work hard to maintain a steady flow of new blood into the church. Converts from sin, rejoicing in their new—found salvation, are eager to learn and their zeal and enthusiasm is catching. No congregation can long survive if evangelism is neglected.

We must not neglect teaching issues to both new and old converts alike. If the issue did not involve essential principles of truth. it was wrong in the first place. If it did, the new convert needs to know the unvarnished truth, exactly as you would teach regarding mechanical music in the worship, or any other past issue.

The Lords Church Consists Of Taught, Faithful People, Of Any Generation.