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Daniel Darling, writing for Leadership, asks Don Carson, “You’ve often said that the Church is three generations from losing the gospel entirely. What advice would you give to pastors and church leaders to ensure that this doesn’t happen?” Here is his answer:

This question is an important one, but very difficult to answer in a few lines.

Read and meditate on the Scriptures constantly, and self-consciously place yourself under Scriptural authority.

Walk with epistemological humility—and that means carefully learning from Christian leaders in the past so we do not tumble into precisely the same mistakes.

Devote yourself to disciplined prayer. A prayerless person is a disaster waiting to happen.

Never stop evangelizing: it is much easier to get sloppy about the gospel if you are not proclaiming it and seeing men and women come to Christ.

Develop close attachments with a handful of trusted people who are experienced and discerning, and make time for edifying fellowship.

If you are a pastor, read widely—commentaries, theology, historical theology, devotional literature, and so forth. A pastor must be a general practitioner. One is far more likely to make mistakes of proportion and judgment where one sees oneself as a kind of specialist.

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6 thoughts on “On Not Losing the Gospel in the Next Generation”

  1. Bruce Russell says:

    If the third generation loses it, did the second generation even know it? (2 Tim 3:15)

  2. Mark Kelly says:

    how about ‘teach the next generation to love and obey God’? just a thought. not to disagree with Carson in any way.

  3. Bruce Russell says:

    It is not enough to agree with the Gospel. One must obey the Gospel.

  4. Beyond wanting my kids to know Christ, I want my grandkids to know Christ. That’s several years away, I pray. However, my goal now is to instruct my kids on discipling their future kids. Part of that discipleship is teaching disciples to raise up the next generation in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

    1. Bruce Russell says:

      My God bless you, your children and grand children.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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