Rarely do I send out an article by other authors on Hope Biblical Counseling Center. However, I occasionally find something that I think will benefit our readers. The following outstanding article was written by Dr. David Cloud called “Beware of the Teenager Concept”. For some time now I have wondered why churches and pastors cater to a group called teenagers. The Bible does not deal with teenagers, it deals with young men and young women. By trying to be cool and hip we are helping to have the world right in the church. We are teaching young men and ladies to live for the lust of the flesh right in the church, Romans 6:11-16. It would be well for us to understand I John 2:12-17. The goal of every parent is to get and keep the heart of their child. The world through the concept of the teenager, wants to steal the heart of the child. The church is to teach young men and young women how to be godly young men and women and to glorify God with their life so they will grow up to be godly men and women, I Corinthians 6:19-20. It is the parents and the church’s responsibility to teach them how to have an intimate, personal, and passionate relationship with the Saviour. Helping them to be “giddy and silly” teens is a sad commentary on the local church and the contemporary Christian home.
Dr. Terry L. Coomer
Director, Hope Biblical Counseling Center
Beware of the Teenager Concept
By Dr. David Cloud
January 14, 2010 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com;
We must resist the teenager concept, understanding that it doesn’t come from the Bible but from the rock & roll culture that began in the 1950s.
There was a baby boom in America following World War II. Whereas at the end of the war, there were about 5.6 million teens in U.S. high schools, by the time Elvis blasted on the scene in 1956 the number had almost tripled to 13 million (David Halberstam, The Fifties, p. 473). There was a corresponding increase in personal wealth and leisure. Between 1950 and 1960, per capita income increased from $1,500 to $2,788. Teens suddenly had free time and money, and a new music came along, preaching, Do you own thing; live your own life; you can be a cool dude, a rolling stone; throw off the shackles. The newly-invented, ultra-portable 45rpm record and the transistor radio enabled young people to have this exciting new music wherever they went. Radios were well entrenched in automobiles by 1956, so that the new teen class could tool around in their cars, listening to rock & roll and impressing one another with their coolness. Alan Freed, Dewey Daddy-O Phillips, and many other rock disc jockeys used the radio to help create a new teenage culture with its own music, language, and moral code.
In this new subculture of rock and roll the important figures of authority were no longer mayors or parents; they were disc jockeys, who reaffirmed the right to youthful independence and guided teenagers to their new rock heroes. THE YOUNG FORMED THEIR OWN COMMUNITY. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AMERICAN LIFE THEY WERE BECOMING A SEPARATE, DEFINED PART OF THE CULTURE (The Fifties, p. 474).
Television also helped create the teenager. By 1956 there were 37 million TV sets in America. This powerful new medium had a great influence in the spread of rock and roll. Elvis Presley’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 attracted 54 million viewers, which was a whopping 83% of the television audience. Dick Clark’s American Bandstand was inaugurated in 1957 and was watched by millions of teens. Every day nationwide, teenagers rushed home from school to watch their favorite singers, and learn new rock & roll dance steps. … As viewers watched them day after day, they got to know the dancers names; THEY COPIED THEIR CLOTHING AND HAIRSTYLES; THEY MIMICKED THEIR COOL BEHAVIOR… (Richard Aquila, That Old Time Rock & Roll, p. 10).
(For more about the history and influence and dangers of rock & roll see our 473-page book Rock Music vs. the God of the Bible, available from Way of Life Literature.)
The cool teenager was invented as a clever marketing tool, but it is a concept that appeals to the innate rebellion and pride of youth and was a grand satanic device.
Christian families and churches that cater to the world’s concept of the teenager are foolish and are not following the Bible. They are bowing to popular culture, and that is idolatry. God will not accept it. His Word is very clear in this matter, that we are not to be conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2) and that whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (James 4:4).
The goal of the pop culture is to alienate young people from parents and other authority figures, and wise Christian parents will do everything possible to protect their children from this evil influence and to keep the children’s hearts.