Dwight Eisenhower was reported to have said, “Hindsight is always more accurate than foresight, but foresight is far more valuable.”
During the time that David was beginning to be recognized as king in Israel, the men of Issachar were reputed to have an unusual gift for grasping the significance of what was happening around the nation, providing the leaders of their tribe with success in much of what was needed during that era (1 Chronicles 12:32). Every Christian leader prays for such wisdom and insight—most certainly as they try to determine what the Lord of the Kingdom would impute as a strategic vision that will guide the ministry they hold in trust for the Kingdom. Christian leadership is a far-reaching responsibility.
Fortunately, we live in an era and in a country where broad-based social and demographic data are available to any who would take the time to look them up. The challenge is to understand what to do with the information—how to “unlock the times.”
The Pew Research Center has become one of the more widely known and statistically accurate information sources, covering a wide variety of data over the past decade that provide a clearer picture of perspectives than one might glean from the typical media and political pundits. Here are a few significant data points that are worth considering.
The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes survey conducted nearly 400,000 interviews in 63 countries. 78% of those surveyed said that it is “unacceptable” to have extramarital affairs. 62% found gambling unacceptable, 59% rejected homosexuality, and 56% found abortion unacceptable.1 These are world opinions, not religious or evangelical thoughts.
Romans 2:14-15 makes it clear that “Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.”
One would not get those impressions from the news channels or the movies.
Earlier in 2014, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey of 3,243 American adults on parenting responsibilities. One would glean from popular media that all of the old traditional values have long since been purged from society, but there was widespread agreement among parents about the traits that children should be taught. 94% (!) insist that it is important to teach children responsibility. “Hard work” was insisted on by 92%, and 91% demanded that “being well-mannered” was critical for teenagers. And although incorporating “religious faith” was only deemed important for 56% of respondents, some 31% insisted that passing on religious faith was the most important responsibility of a parent—making teaching religious faith the third-most important trait behind responsibility and hard work.2
One wonders if the misconceptions fostered by the media have not generated an effort on the part of the evangelical world to succumb to unreal expectations. Maybe the young folks in our world are still reachable with biblical truth.
There is ambivalence in young people. Even though a solid majority of Millennials (18–33 years old) believe in God (86%), the percentage plummets to only 58% who say that they are “absolutely certain” that God exists. Historical trends suggest, however, that the young adults will develop a stronger faith in God over the remaining course of their lives. Right now, however, some 29% say that they are not affiliated with any religion—the highest level of disaffiliation recorded for any generation.3
These young folks are the most racially diverse in American history—43% are non-white. Millennials possess very low levels of trust in other people (19%). Even so, they are more upbeat than older folks, with 49% expecting that the best years of our country are still ahead—in spite of the fact that this age group ranks highest in student loan debt, poverty, and unemployment, with lower levels of wealth and personal income than their predecessor generations, even though “they are the best-educated cohort of young adults in American history.”4
The Millennials remain the most conflicted, opinionated, optimistic, unsure, and unreached demographic in our lifetimes. They are “forging a distinctive path into adulthood....relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry—and [yet] optimistic about the future.”5
ICR feels a strong obligation to reach this age group because they will soon be national and world leaders.
The successful launch of our Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis DVD series has strengthened our resolve to do more to touch this group. We have received numerous unsolicited notes of thanks and praise from every facet of our ministry. Churches, Christian schools, homeschool families, Bible study groups, and individuals from every age group all across our ministry have verified that the stunning visual and informational quality of this 12-episode series is accomplishing much in the lives of those who have seen it.
If you have not yet purchased a set, please consider doing so—if not for your own edification, then possibly for the ministry you have with others in your family, church, or study group. You will not be disappointed.
ICR’s seminars and articles and books will continue. Our schedule is packed, and the Lord continues to open doors across the nation and in other countries. These videos, however, are a way to reach out far beyond the physical presence of our key science faculty. There are tens of thousands of evangelical churches, many more home Bible studies, and multiple thousands of homeschool families and Christian schools that we will never have the opportunity to reach directly. But we can provide excellent teaching materials they can use themselves.
ICR has just released the companion Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis Student Guide reinforcing the evidence presented in the series for homeschool and Christian school students. Initial interest in this Student Guide continues to verify that these types of materials are meeting a major need in the Christian community.
But Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis is only the beginning of this effort. Already we are receiving requests for more material and expanded subjects that can be used to reach the minds and hearts of the next generation. ICR is in the early stages of planning for the next DVD series—most probably one on the marvels of the human body.
Acts & Facts readers will be familiar with Dr. Randy Guliuzza’s articles, and many of you have read his books, Made in His Image: Examining the complexities of the human body and Clearly Seen: Constructing Solid Arguments for Design. His extensive knowledge as both an engineer and a medical doctor provides a unique perspective on the precise design features of the human body, the stunning display of God’s personal handiwork to fashion His “image” and His “likeness.” What a wonderful opportunity to honor our Creator!
But we need your help if these videos are to be made.
Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis involved nearly two years of ICR’s senior staff time, nearly $2 million in direct costs to develop, and an additional $300,000 to promote and produce. Were it not for faithful support and generous help, these videos would not be ministering to the thousands that they are currently reaching. If we are to generate more quality episodes like this, our Lord must impress that need on the hearts of some special donors to share their resources with us.
We are convinced that the need is real and enormous, but we cannot divert our normal activities for the sake of a special project for broader potential. If the same level of professional quality is to be achieved, even four new episodes will require in excess of $500,000. As faithful stewards ICR has never gone in debt for anything—we are firmly convicted that our operations must be in sync with the funds available and, therefore, in sync with the Lord’s will for the present processes and products.
Please pray about these future possibilities with us—help us unlock the times! If God has granted you resources to invest in His Kingdom, consider partnering with ICR to reach the young adults who will soon be leading our churches and our world.
- Caumont, A. 10 big questions the Pew Research Center has tackled in the past decade. Pew Research Center. Posted on pewresearch.org September 16, 2014.
- Parker, K. Families may differ, but they share common values on parenting. Pew Research Center. Posted on pewresearch.org September 18, 2014.
- Millennials in Adulthood. Pew Research Center. Posted on pewresearch.org March 7, 2014.
* Dr. Morris is Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research.