Fortifying the Faith of Our Children
“My son was raised in the church. We taught him the Bible. As a youngster he sometimes helped to serve the Lord’s supper. He even gave talks occasionally. After he was in college a while, something changed. He began to question the teaching of the Scriptures. Now, he professes no faith at all. What happened?”
This is a story that I have heard over and over again across the years, Many of our youngsters are losing their faith? Why is this? Perhaps there is no simple, single reason; however, it may be sufficient to observe that one of the causes of this growing defection among our young adults is the fact that for years they were operating on a borrowed faith.
In too many instances they had superficial instruction from mediocre teachers in their church Bible classes. Added to this is the fact that they were given no substantial intellectual training at home. Accordingly, when they encountered the crass, humanistic environment of the university atmosphere, they were unable to survive.
It is time that we awaken to the reality that if we wish to preserve our children we must take more seriously our responsibility to educate them in the most important issues of life—that of the existence of our Creator and His inspired Word to humanity. Our work is cut out for us. Here is what we must do if we really care for our offspring—and the youth of the church in general.
Teach Them to Reason
First, we must teach our children how to logically reason. This will serve them all of their lives. For example, when they are asked as to why they believe in the existence of God, our youngsters should be able to call attention to the law of cause and effect. Wherever there is an effect (e.g., the Universe) there must be an adequate cause. Matter is not sufficient to explain itself. There is no known process by which matter can create itself. Thus, one must look for a non-material origin of the Universe.
Children can be taught early, and drilled with information, concerning the fact that where there is design, there must be a designer. If the universe bears the marks of design—and it surely does—then it must have had a designer. The entire realm of nature is a classroom for the teaching of these principles.
Teach Them Their Origin
Second, we must educate our youth in the factual matter of human origin. From the time they are able to sit up and watch television, they are brainwashed with the ideas of evolution. They are taught evolution from their earliest days in school. They are indoctrinated with evolution through their toys, tee-shirts, etc. (witness the dinosaur mania and the common propaganda line that the dinosaurs lived millions of years before man arrived on earth).
It is not enough to simply say, “evolution is wrong.” We must give them solid, factual data that expose the fallacy of evolutionary arguments (for example the false reasoning that simply because the human hand resembles the hand of a chimpanzee, this must indicate that we are related to the chimp! Similarities can as easily indicate a common designer, namely God.)
Teach Them to Revere the Bible
Third, it is imperative that our children be given mountains of evidence demonstrating that the Bible is a revelation from God. Its holy books were written by people whom Jehovah directed to reveal His message. The Bible’s instruction must be diligently sought and its authority respected. We must introduce to their thinking arguments like the phenomenal unity that is characteristic of the biblical documents. This argument will not carry much weight, however, unless they know the basic message of each of the sixty-six books of the sacred volume.
We must show that predictive prophecy (history revealed in advance) is testimony to the divine origin of the Bible. Since only God knows the future, if the Bible gives evidence that its writers spoke of future events, which they could not possibly have known by natural insight, that will constitute support for its heavenly origin. We must expose our children to the exciting discoveries in the field of archaeology which strengthen our faith in the reliability of the Holy Scriptures.
With the items suggested above as representative of the type of instruction that is so necessary, we would make the following practical suggestions as well.
We must take these truths, and others like them (e.g., the history concerning Christ, the rules of morality, etc.) and teach them emphatically and repeatedly to our children. We must be factual and firm. We must stop capitulating to false science and take a confident, dogmatic stand for biblical truth.
We must make our Bible school departments stronger. Elders must insist that the classes have a strong apologetic emphasis. Preachers must stress from the pulpit the urgency of these matters and bring thrilling lessons supporting these fundamental truths. Local churches should be encouraged to bring in guest speakers who are specialists in these areas. Their messages will ignite a flame of interest that could sweep through the church.
Parents must talk of these issues constantly with their children—when they bring school assignments home, while watching TV, when traveling on vacation, etc. We must return to the concept set forth in Deuteronomy 6:7. Someone is teaching your children; if not you, then who?
We must build reliable libraries for our children. Buy them good, professionally-done books on creation, Bible inspiration, etc., from a strong, conservative vantage point. Stay away from compromising materials which attempt to harmonize the Bible with evolutionary premises, e.g., the notion that the “days” of the creation week in Genesis might represent millions of years.
I can guarantee you this. If we do not do a better job of fortifying the faith of our children, we will lose them by the thousands.
Finally, and regrettably, I cannot avoid adding this notation. It once was the case that parents needed only to guard their youth’s education in secular environments. That is no longer the case.
Some schools that promote themselves as “Christian” institutions are as bad (or worse) than secular universities. They are perhaps even more dangerous because they operate under the guise of being “Christian” in character. Youngsters, therefore, are disarmed in advance. Some of these so-called centers of “Christian” education are hot-beds of the rankest form of anti-biblical ideology.
It is later than we think. Be careful where you send your children for their education.
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.