The New Conservatives – Profile of a Revival
The New Conservatives – Profile of a Revival
A summary of Melvin Lehman’s “New Conservatives” essay.
I feel quite privileged to have the opportunity to interact with some of the finest young people in the world.
I have found them to be young men and ladies of sterling character who truly seek a good path.
They are not rebels.
They have a deep desire to serve God in their communities in significant ways by building on the work of those who labored before them.
They respect their elders.
They are dismayed when they see the lack of genuine spirituality and frustrated when caught in the middle of petty “political” intrigues.
They are attracted to a vibrant, alive conservative way of life.
They come alive when presented with a compelling vision for how they can contribute to the cause
of the Kingdom in their home communities.
They want good things and solid leadership to lead in good directions.
What are the distinguishing marks of this New Conservative stream of thought and practice?
First, the New Conservative appreciates traditional practice.
Second, the New Conservative rejects authoritarianism without relationship
as a means of church discipline and maintenance of traditional practices.
Third, the New Conservative seeks to respect and honor other Bible-believing groups. He sees no reason to build unnecessary walls of exclusion because of differences in application and practice;
Fourth, the New Conservative values a Christian education; he encourages
focused training for the good of the Church.
Fifth, the New Conservative believes that separation from the world in thought and practice begins in the heart and affects every area of life not just arbitrarily selected areas.
Sixth, the New Conservative longs for meaningful Christian community as a basis for personal growth and effective mission activity. This is most clearly seen in “cell group” movements (or more generically “small groups”).
Cautions from Melvin Lehman
I have the growing sense that the jury is still out in respect to what I am calling the New Conservative perspective. These so-called New Conservatives have yet to demonstrate that they have adequate infrastructure to achieve sustainability over the long haul. For example, the second point made in this essay suggests that the New Conservatives view authority differently than did the Old Conservatives. But it is obvious that no movement has ever achieved sustainability over centuries without an adequate center of authority to give definition to its ideas. Personally, I think the New Conservatives have some work to do here both in thought and practice. Or one could look at point 3 on “respecting other Bible-believing groups” and note how this can quickly turn into a deadly ecumenism that assumes we will all get to heaven by and by somehow. This too must be understood and resisted steadfastly. And then too, I note that point 5 has often been used as a neat argument to open the way and even give credence to a crass worldliness. As much as I personally am in agreement with the New Conservative understanding, I feel compelled to put forth the warning that without careful thought and prayer coupled with the resolve to come to terms with the inherent weaknesses cited herein, this movement is not sustainable.
Frank Reed comments
Along with Melvin Lehman and many other teachers, I have been very blessed to work with and teach some of the finest young men and women in the world. Many of us have taken notice to the integrity of the New Conservative persons. These people are the nucleus of the Church of tomorrow and they are here today. We are preparing them for the future. They are our investment in the future. They are God’s gift to us.
Their new energy can easily be misunderstood as rebellion. They are not rebels. Their hearts are right. Their hearts are good. They are facing an uncertain future in ways we cannot imagine. They are prepared in ways we were not.
They have hungers. They are willing to seek God with all their heart and with whatever it costs. They hunger for worship, community, love, fellowship and authenticity.
They are standing on our shoulders. We have made life good for them in material ways. They are seeking more than matter in ways that matter because they know they matter and they want their lives to matter. They do not always feel like they matter because they do not always feel like they are fulfilling our ideals for them. That is a hurdle they struggle to overcome. We need to help them with that also. We need to see the heart of God in them. We need to be OK with them while guiding them.
Satan is busy. He hates revival. These good young people are fighting the good fight of faith in a world bent on destroying faith. They are resisting the wiles of the devil. They are choosing Jesus Christ as Lord. That means war.
God has given them to us as a gift. God has given us to them as a gift. God is preparing a whole new generation of believers who will lead the Church into the future. It will be costly. It will be wonderful. It is a revival. In a real revival – God is in charge. We need to stay out of God’s way. His Spirit leads revival. We are on the cusp of that revival. Here. Now.