The younger generation too often seems to be eager to learn the hard way. Too many of us act like we are the first to ever wrestle with the issues of life, theology, and ministry. How easy we forget ... or how ignorant of history we really are.
There is a generation who has been there and done that long before it was popular to have "been there, done that," and long before there was a T-shirt for it. But the voice of that generation has fallen on deaf ears. I was reminded of this phenomenon this morning while reading 2 Chronicles 10. Rehoboam sought advice from two generations. He took the advice of the younger because it indulged his personal preferences. In so doing, he split the kingdom. It was in God's providence to be sure, but it was a dumb thing to do.
Someone once said, "The problem with experience is that it is wasted on those who don't need it anymore." Such a conundrum need not exist. The wisdom of elders can and should be passed down to the younger generation. And the younger generation should learn in humility. The quest to reinvent the wheel is a useless quest that wastes time and energy only to learn that the wheel worked just fine to begin with.
In the current evangelical/fundamental landscape, there are many who want to ignore the lessons of history from the past fifty years. My theology professor, Dr. McCune, in his recent book title summed it up succinctly: Promise Unfulfilled. In other words, it didn't work the first time; why try it again? Other men inside the evangelical movement have begun to recognize the failures. We need not fight those battles again. Fundamentalism has its share of problems which should not be minimized. But evangelicalism has the same problems. While some complain about the breadth of fundamentalism (and I am troubled by the breadth of it), we must remember that Joel Osteen and John MacArthur are both "evangelicals." Our breadth is certainly not that wide.
My plea is that we not refight those battles. Let's be dumb enough to learn from those who have gone before.