The Spiritual Disaster of Young People in High School and College

Young people

The Spiritual Disaster of Young People in High School and College

Some 70 to 90% of young people go astray. Don’t let that describe you!

Richard Hollerman

Let me address those of you who are in your teens and twenties.  This is a warning, one prompted by both love and fear–a love for your soul as well as a fear in the face of countless temptations and dangers that are found on every hand.

You may be in high school, which means you may be fourteen to eighteen years of age.  Further, you may be in college or the university with your age being at least eighteen but on into your twenties. Let me speak heart-to-heart with you.

If you were entering a war-ravaged country of the world, it would only be reasonable for me to warn you of the dangers to your life. If you were going to visit an acquaintance in the Amazon jungle of the Brazilian wilds, again I would want to warn you of the diseases and wild beasts that would await you.  The danger that you face today and in your coming years is far worse than any earthly danger–for I am speaking of the spiritual danger to your soul!  You are at a point that could jeopardize your eternal life!

Few, if any, young person escapes unscathed from the dangers that plague life and are directed toward the young.  What are some of these perils?  If you are in high school or college (unless it would be a very unusual school), you must be taught from a humanistic perspective. In other words, you are being taught that you should make decisions that are based on human knowledge and worldly wisdom. You are taught pluralism–that all religions are equally valid and there is no one way to God. You are also taught from a relativistic viewpoint, with the thought that there is no one moral and spiritual truth.  You are being told that there is no absolute truth but all is relative to the situation, the culture, the country, and the age.

Beyond all of these threats to your faith in God, you are probably being told that the universe began about thirteen or fourteen billion years ago in a supposed “big bang” explosion. You are indoctrinated into a false evolutionary view that all living things had their origin in a single cell and the diversity of life forms are all related.   Further, all campuses are hotbeds of carnal pleasure.  Sex, drinking, drugs, sports, worldly music, and countless other temptations reach out to destroy your moral convictions and your spiritual zeal. Can you see what I mean when I say that most young people fall prey to these widespread threats?

I am not alone in issuing such a warning. Others have done so as well.  The following comes from Worldview Weekend:

1.    67% of college professors approve of homosexuality;

2.    84% of professors approve of abortion;

3.    65% embrace socialist and communist ideals;

4.    88% of students from “Christian” homes deny their faith before they graduate from college;

5.    91% of students from evangelical churches do not believe in absolute truth. ( conferences)

The same source states: “Recognizing the life-and-death nature of the issue, the Southern Baptist Convention, to its credit, has even done a self-study and found that 88% of young people from SBC homes deny their faith before they graduate from college” (Ibid.).  Other estimates have sometimes been given.  George Barna thinks it is not quite so high.  He states: “Overall, about three out of ten young people who grow up with a Christian background stay faithful to church and to faith throughout their transitions from the teen years through their twenties” ( articles/534-five-myths- about-young-adult-church- dropouts?q=young+people). Whether 88% of young people go astray or 70% do so, the statistics are high!

The Worldview Weekend source went on to say that “most students say they did not learn enough Bible content growing up to enable them to make biblical life decisions, let alone defend essential Christian doctrines in the face of vicious opposition.” Thus, some of the departure has to do with an ignorance of what the Bible actually says and how it is to be applied in modern life.

When asked why some of these young people drop out, young people give a number of responses ( winter/youngleavechurch. html).  We quote the report with our comments inserted within brackets after each point:

Isolationism. One-fourth of 18- to 29-year-olds say church demonizes everything outside church, including the music, movies, culture, and technology that define their generation. [We can see how young people would be “turned off” by this. Yet music, movies, culture, and much of technology is used by Satan to lead youth astray.  Because these young people may have been religious and church-going, probably many were not truly saved, thus they rebel against spiritual and moral standards.]

Shallowness. One-third call church boring, about one-fourth say faith is irrelevant and Bible teaching is unclear. One-fifth say God is absent from their church experience. [Some of these may actually be true. It is probably correct that their “church” experience was not truly a Christian experience. However, some of this objection may be a rebellion against Biblical teaching and standards as well. They may know secular subjects well but they are Biblical illiterates.]

Anti-science. Up to one-third say the church is out of step on scientific developments and debate. [Probably much of this would be the rebellion of students against the truths of Scripture concerning origins. Whereas the Bible teaches creation, students who go to secular high schools and universities are subject to the evil teaching of evolution that promotes the idea that we and all living things have descended from rocks! Further, probably a certain number have accepted the deceptive view of I.D. (Intelligent Design) that compromises the Biblical teaching of a recent creation, a worldwide flood, and other basic truths.]

Sex. The church is perceived as simplistic and judgmental. For a fifth or more, a “just say no” philosophy is insufficient in a techno-porno world. Young Christian singles are as sexually active as their non-churched friends, and many say they feel judged. [As this states, “church” young people are just as sexually immoral as non-religious young people. Instead of their observing strict chastity and celibacy, young people freely engage in kissing, petting, and even fornication. Christian restrictions are too much for their carnal thinking, especially since they are surrounded by pornography and sexual immorality on every hand. Statistics also show that young people especially are open to perverse and evil views, such as abortion (killing babies), sodomy or homosexuality, feminism, divorce and remarriage, and much more.]

Exclusivity. Three in 10 young people feel the church is too exclusive in this pluralistic and multi-cultural age. And the same number feel forced to choose between their faith and their friends. [It is true that a young person must choose between faith in Christ and their fellow-students. And this choice it too much for their carnal thinking to endure.  The exclusive nature of Christianity is the point of contention. But Jesus did say that He was the only way to heaven (John 14:6) regardless of what modern youth believe.]

Doubters. The church is not a safe place to express doubts say over one-third of young people, and one-fourth have serious doubts they’d like to discuss. [While adult Christians should be willing and eager to discuss doubts with young people, too many youth are unwilling to allow the Scriptures to be the final authority for every issue of life.] [Adopted from a list by David Kinnaman in You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church . . . and Rethinking Faith.]

Another study made these comments:

Two studies conducted by both the Barna Group and USA Today, found that nearly 75 percent of Christian young people leave the church after high school. One of the key reasons they do so is intellectual skepticism. This is a result of our youth not being taught the Bible in their homes or in church. Statistics show that our kids today spend an average of 30 hours per week in public schools where they are being taught ideas that are diametrically opposed to biblical truths, e.g., evolution, the acceptance of homosexuality, etc. Then they come home to another 30 hours per week in front of a TV bombarded by lewd commercials and raunchy sitcoms or “connecting” with friends on Facebook, staying online for hours, chatting with one another, or playing games.

Whereas the time spent weekly in the church Bible classroom is 45 minutes. It’s no wonder that our young people leave the home without a Christian worldview. Not only are they not being well-grounded in the faith, but they’re also not being taught to intelligently examine the views of the skeptics who will inevitably challenge their faith. Most of these students are not prepared to enter the college classroom where more than half of all college professors view Christians with hostility and take every opportunity to belittle them and their faith. (

Whether it is the college lifestyle, the courses that young people take in high school or college, the entertainment they are exposed to, the music they listen to, the movies and TV they watch, the friends they have, the false philosophies they have been led to embrace, these young people end up deserting a solid foundation of the Word of God.  If they remain church-going at all, they compromise the truth for the sake of the pleasure-seeking, worldly-loving, and hedonistic life of their friends and their instructors. If they continue in some church, generally it is not a small Biblically-oriented church group, but a mega church, with loud and worldly music, female leadership, entertainment orientation, immodest clothes, and so much more that is an abomination to God!

What can be some of the solutions to this disaster of youth?  A few suggestions and comments are in order:

1.    If at all possible, responsible parents must pull their children from the secular and worldly public schools and find some other alternative. This may be a Christian school of some kind, but probably 95-99% of these are problematic as well with numerous compromises. It could be home-schooling with the use of conservative Christian curricula. This may seem like an impossibility because of the expense and work, but the great motivation is to save your children from spiritual and moral compromise and eventual condemnation.

2.    The young person must make his home life as Christ-centered and Biblically-founded as possible. This will fortify him or her to face the many assaults of the world, including the academic world. Root your beliefs and lifestyle in the unchanging, inerrant, authoritative Word of the living God (Hebrews 4:12-13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17). Memorize and meditate on the Word of God so that your mind will be formed by God’s truth (see Psalm 1:1-3; Joshua 1:8; Romans 12:1-2).

3.    Earnestly abstain from the morally-corrupting influences of the world—including TV, music, smart phones, movies, the internet, and even often-overlooked compromises such as sports, dancing, dating, immodesty, and a dozen other influences. Paul warned the young man, Timothy, “Flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).

High school and college campuses are hotbeds of drugs, sports, immodest clothing, and materialism. Remember to “flee youthful lusts”!

4.    If at all possible, be in close relationship with true and devoted brothers and sisters in Christ–including those of an older generation. The scripture above states that Timothy was to pursue those virtues “with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”  We need spiritual friends who can encourage us to godliness.  We need to turn from close friendships with those who are part of the world. “Do not be deceived: ‘bad company corrupts good morals'” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Paul also warned, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). We also read, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20).  Whether it be at school or in the neighborhood or any other place, stay away from close association with worldly young people and stay close to devoted and pure brothers and sisters.

5.    If you do take courses at a college, you might be near a conservative “Christian” school of some kind. This also could be compromising but perhaps you would be spared from some of the humanistic and evolutionary influences found on 99% of campuses.  (Ken Ham and Greg Hall wrote Already Compromised [Master Books, Green Forest, AR: 2011] that documents how many higher institutions claim to be “Christian” but do compromise basic truths of Scripture. Even these can be dangerous to attend for young people tend to be impressed with and influenced by their professors.]

6.    Consider an occupation, such as a trade, that doesn’t require a college education. Yes, one’s income may be lower but seeking money in light of the many dangers may be a foolish decision. On the other hand, one could take a course of study that doesn’t place one in the worst courses, such as science, sociology, psychology, philosophy, religion, athletics, and other potentially-disastrous courses. Unfortunately some of these “danger” courses may be required for graduation. Another suggestion would be to stay at home and commute (if you have the benefit of a “Christian” home with devoted father and mother) instead of subjecting yourself to the hedonistic lifestyle and influences of the college campus.

Young person, Scripture counsels you: “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them'” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).   Now is the time to remember God and to surrender your heart to Him. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived by the many voices that would pull you away from His spiritual and moral ways!

But maybe it is too late and you haven’t “remembered” God during some or all of your youthful years.  Have you already compromised the truth of God or your own moral standing before Him? The psalmist may have felt that way: “Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Your lovingkindness remember me, for Your goodness say, O LORD” (Psalm 25:7). God is able and willing to forgive your sins and compromises if you sincerely repent of them (Acts 3:19), turn from them (Proverbs 28:13), and seek His forgiveness (1 John 1:7, 9).

Father or mother, won’t you settle in your heart that you will earnestly seek to establish your sons and daughters in the truth of God, without compromise!  Be willing to make the sacrifices to keep them from the evil influences of youth–whether in elementary school, middle school, high school, or college!  Make sure that they are true to the Lord, His Word, and His moral standards.

Young person, you only have one life! It will soon be past. Even though you think you have unlimited time, your years in the teens and twenties will soon be past. Don’t ruin them for they can’t be recalled. Millions of people later wish that they had made major corrections when they were 16, or 22 or 26! They may have married the wrong person. They may have wasted their life on foolish choices. They may have filled their minds with all kinds of humanistic and worldly garbage. Don’t make such a foolish choice! Come to the Lord now and serve Him with a true heart.  Eternity is in the balance and now is the time to decide!





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