“Already Gone” by Ham and Beemer is a devastating, but realistic account of the state of youth leaving the church. As these authors analyzed the data, they discovered that the youth don’t leave when they turn 18, they have already made up their minds when they are in middle school. And the point is not that churches don’t pump money into those programs. The point is that churches have left the foundation that gives young people a reason to want to stay.
“Already Gone” is another analysis of how the church has become just like the society around it. The church is really no different in the number of divorces, its stand on social problems or any other of a number of issues. The church has become just as PC as any other organization in society in desiring to “get along” and not “offend” anyone. The problem isn’t with the church, it’s with the church leadership and the people who sit in the pews. People have bought into the “dumbing-down” concept of standing on the Word, because leadership and parents do not want to bring young people to the standard of God’s holiness. They are so distracted by the things of this world, they have accepted what the world says about evolution, even if it is theistic evolution, which is really just another form of the wickedness of evolution.
The church tried a good thing in the 1800s when it started Sunday School for kids whose parents didn’t go to church. But then the churched parents thought it was a good idea, until they quit taking responsibility for teaching their children. Now, neither parents nor children are Biblically literate and cannot disciple the truth of God’s Word to their own flesh and blood or others. Now that the devil has convinced parents that it is the church’s responsibility to raise children in Scripture, parents go for one hour of numbing monotone and do not grow, even though they have been going to church for decades. It’s a disgrace. The church is quickly becoming irrelevant. Church buildings are being taken over by City Halls, bingo parlors and an assortment of other businesses.
Ham and Beemer explain well, the reason is because of a lack of understanding and submission to the authority of God’s Word. That erosion in thinking became pronounced as more people believed the evolution theories and rejected the facts of Scripture. Disgracefully, people have questioned the truths of God’s Word from the beginnings and therefore question the principles for daily living. Some young people today do not even know that pre-marital sex is sin!
Part Two, chapters five through seven, promote “Solutions within our Grasp.” The first issue Christians must be able to answer is “Did God really say…..?” Satan questioned the Word of God and the goodness of God in the Garden. Because Adam and Eve had no answers, they fell into sin. Today the same thing is happening in church-going families all over the United States, let alone those who do not go to church. The second issue is relevancy for today. Does Scripture apply to life? If Christians do not know it, because they are so distracted by other things, then they will not see the relevancy of it to life. Church leadership must continue to teach the authority of Scripture to life and not fall into tickling ears of listeners, just to get audiences. The third issue is to get into the revolution and wage good warfare for the truth. He gives several excellent action points to parents:
- Humble yourself before God: submit yourself to Him to be used as a tool in His hand for ministry in your own home.
- Make the Word of God a natural presence in your home.
- Evaluate your church.
The last point is crucial, because if your church does not stand on the authority of God’s Word, then your church is doing more harm to your family than good. Then he gives several action points to Christian leaders:
- Humble yourself before God.
- Make your own spiritual life a priority.
- Take responsibility.
- Get trained.
- Get armed to the hilt with solid curriculum.
- Teach Bible history, not Bible stories.
He also gives several action points to pastors:
- Reevaluate your call.
- Simplify and clarify your objectives.
- Draw some lines in the sand.
- Defend the Word.
- Teach the Word.
- Teach about the Word.
- Teach about the Church.
- Back off on the entertainment factor.
- Pass the torch.
His closing thought is a quote from Martin Luther and is especially poignant,
If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” (166)