“20 reasons America has lost its soul and collapse is inevitable.”
“20 reasons America has lost its soul and collapse is inevitable.” Not exactly the sort of headline that CBS’s staid economic website, MarketWatch.com, is used to running. In a sobering, columnist Paul B. Farrell opens with the pronouncement, "We've lost 'America’s soul.' And worldwide, the consequences will be catastrophic." He suggests it’s a gut sense we all have: "You know something’s very wrong: A year ago, too-greedy-to-fail banks were insolvent, in a near-death experience. Now magically, they're back to business as usual, arrogant, pocketing outrageous bonuses while Main Street sacrifices, and unemployment and foreclosures continue rising as tight credit, inflation and skyrocketing federal debt are killing taxpayers." His indictment of Wall Street is biting. It "has lost its moral compass." Farrell outlines twenty top reasons why he believes American capitalism is doomed—from the life cycle of empires to today’s financial disparity (where "America’s top 1% own more than 90% of America’s wealth") to the explosion of the federal debt from $11.2 to $23.7 trillion. He concludes, “The coming collapse [with a “high probability by 2012”] is the end of an ‘inevitable’ historical cycle stalking all great empires to their graves. Downsize your lifestyle expectations, trust no one, not even media. . . . [T]here’s absolutely nothing you can do to hide from this unfolding reality or prevent the rush of the historical imperative.” (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/americas-soul-is-lost-and-collapse-is-inevitable-2009-10-20)
What a bleak prognosis! And yet, while this financial analyst may be right in his prognostication, he is wrong in his despair. I’ve invited two young adults to the Pioneer pulpit today. Why? Because I believe this new generation of young (from 18 to 30) represents the greatest potential for God’s kingdom in the history of earth. Farrell may be right—they have come on the scene in a time of great impending crisis. But that’s precisely the genius of divine timing. For here are young men and women—undaunted by statistical doom, unafraid of immense challenge, unashamed of the gospel—who are volunteering their lives in the mission of Christ!
And this year at Andrews University we are inviting them to focus first on their own peers on this campus. For the last two months a team of them has been in training, preparing to lead this campus this winter in a university-wide week of revival and reformation. Young adults ministering to young adults—there is no more effective combination for the Spirit of Christ. No wonder that great messianic prophecy predicts that it will be the young that flock into the Messiah’s army in the final battle: “Your troops [the Messiah’s army] will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendor your young will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb” (Psalm 110:3 TNIV). The commentator Derek Kidner describes these young warriors as “a splendid army silently and suddenly mobilized.”
And that is why I believe we can be unabashedly optimistic about earth’s future, no matter how economically doomed it turns out to be. For in the final battle it will be the young on Christ’s side through whom God will triumph! “With such an army of workers as our youth rightly trained might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Savior might be carried to the whole world! How soon might the end come—the end of suffering and sorrow and sin!” (Ed 271) Who needs twenty reasons for doom—when God has one reason for hope! No wonder he gave us the young.