Generational Passing of Principles

An evident phenomena within religious bodies in recent decades is that of a releasing of long-held common beliefs. Understandably, some issues are effected by time and culture, but for the most part, there is a cause for great concern regarding the willingness of some to so easily move away from an identity that has defined us for so long. Specifically speaking in the realm of holiness Pentecostals, there seems to be a trending among our current generation to dismiss the traditional beliefs on holiness principles in particular, and even core doctrinal tenets of our faith. The reasons for this are too numerous to pinpoint, and certainly more than can be contained here in this essay. However, one simple explanation can suffice for the most part. Following is a brief synopsis of what may be causing the face of our movement to change.

One generation finds a standard, and teaches that standard to the next generation.
That generation believes in the standard, but does not understand why it was instituted, and then teaches the same standard to the next generation.
The next generation questions why the standard exists, and the previous generation does not have a good answer for it.
At this point, one of three things will happen with the minister who received the standard without the knowledge…

  1. He will continue to teach the standard without reasons, causing the next generation to discredit not only that standard, but all other things they’ve been taught.
  2. He will find out the “why” and teach it with supporting biblical and practical evidence, causing the next generation to receive it with understanding, or
  3. He will decide the standard was not worth defending, and now both he and the next generation dismiss the standard.

Note that I use the term, “standard” here instead of “principle”, because I believe the issue lies more with taught standards as they are developed out of principles than it does with the principles themselves. We need to be careful that we do not let down on biblical principles, but that we are able to effectively teach them to this generation. When standards are created, they must be based on scriptural principles (even if there is not a specific scripture that defines the standard), and must be taught thoroughly, intelligently and with honesty. If we do not, we will all lose out.

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