By Lane Noble
I’m going to be honest with you. I’m writing this article, not merely out of deep concern, but out of fear for future generations.
I’m no parent, but I do have a vested interest in making sure that future generations hear and be transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we do nothing else for future generations, we need to do everything that we can to help them to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8) We can never guarantee it, but we can sow as many seeds as we can and pray that God gives the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9; See also Matthew 13:1-23)
Now this is likely not new information for you, and, if so, I’m glad that it’s not new to you. What you may not be aware of is the new crisis that we find ourselves in.
Now let me be clear, I am not in any way suggesting that all hope is lost for future generations. To the contrary, so long as God is for us and not against us, hope is never lost. Study the cultures of generations past and you’ll see that Christians have faced unique challenges in every culture and time period, and many of those cultures would seem to us to look impossible to share the Gospel with. God still worked in those cultures, and God can still work in ours, but He calls us still to be the laborers in His field. (Matthew 28:19-20) This command is not merely given to us for current adults, but also for young people.
I along with many others have been sounding the alarms for awhile now, and this article is an attempt to turn the alarm’s volume up so that every Christian will know what is going on and what we need to do about it.
What’s Going On?
In generations past, typically, the time limit on being able to effectively train one’s children to defend their faith was about seventeen years. There were exceptions, of course, but generally it wasn’t until one’s children went off to college that parents need have any reason to fear that their child would walk away from the church. Indeed, many did. A lot of times this happened because parents didn’t do much for the spiritual welfare of their children, if at all. In many cases parents often meant well in what they did for their children but didn’t do what was necessary to train their child in the way they should go, and, some, to the dismay of the parents and the church, walked away with no fault of the parents or the church. Not everyone can be reasoned with, and some children just walked away from the church out of love for their own sin, with no rational backing behind it, even if the young person themselves thought that they had a good reason for doing so.
Whatever the case, parents typically had at least seventeen years to prepare their children from the inevitable assaults on their faith. However, as of the past few years, parents have had their time to do so dramatically cut short. Not only are we seeing an increase in middle and high schoolers walking away, but we’re watching the seeds of an anti-God worldview being planted in the minds of elementary schoolers.
False teachers across the country are breaking into the homes of godly families and attempting to indoctrinate your kids, that’s right, your kids, with a new worldview that is completely contrary to the Word of God.
Now the natural question then becomes, “How are these false teachers reaching my kids?” You’ve probably guessed it already. They’re primarily getting there in three places: (1.) The internet, (2.) schools, and (3.) the culture writ large.
I know about these becomes I was reached by false teachers through two of these mediums growing up. Thankfully, I went to a private Christian school growing up so there wasn’t much that was taught to me that was contrary to God’s Word there. However, even there, through my peers and through other mediums that I was introduced to at school, (not really the school’s fault that I was introduced to them), I was confronted with godless philosophies.
Subtly, but surely, false teachers are seizing every medium you can imagine to transform the culture into a more godless one, and they want your kids to come with them. Indeed, they know very well that the most effective way for them to transform the culture is through children. There are so many ways for them to access book loads of false teaching it is almost impossible to keep them away from it.
In light of this, we need a solution. Many would probably suggest that the logical way to go about this is to keep young people away from all of these mediums until their old enough. They would suggest that homeschooling with no unsupervised access to the internet or much contact with the larger culture is the only reasonable way to protect our future generations from corruption. While I understand where these people are coming from, I don’t think that is an effective way of solving the problem nor do I think that it’s healthy.
Let’s look at it the way. You can do all that you can to ensure that your child is never caught in an emergency situation without you before they’re an adult. However, you’re reasonable enough to know that you can never guarantee that. In light of this, you drill all of the wisdom that you possibly can into your child’s head regarding emergency situations. I can recall vividly my parents explaining to me what to do if the house had ever caught fire, or what to do if I were ever kidnapped, or what to do if I were ever lost. They did all that they could to make sure this never happened to me, but they knew that they couldn’t guarantee it, so they taught me what to do if I were ever I situations like the aforementioned.
Now, we know that our children are going to be put in emergency situations at some point in their lives, just as we know that they’re going to confront godless world views at some point in their lives. At some point they will have to dial the emergency number. At some point they will have to be the adult in the situation, and it’s very possible that it could happen when they are not adults.
The point is, in this situation, we need to train our kids to defend themselves against the godless moral revolutionaries that are seeking to bring them into their new anti-God religion. I’m going to be honest, it will be hard work. Raising children always is. However, you know that you would do all that you possibly could no matter how hard it is to protect your child physically. How much harder should be work to make sure that our children thrive spiritually!
This will include teaching them the basics of God’s Word. It will include taking them to church. It will include, as they grow, teaching them the kinds of things that they’re going to hear at school or possibly on TV or the internet. “You may hear someone say that girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys. Remember that God made marriage between a boy and a girl.” Or “Some of your classmates might not believe that God is real. Remember what the Bible says. Everything that is says is true.” As they grow older you should start teaching them how to defend it more thoroughly. Teach them the evidences for the death and resurrection of Jesus. Teach them how we can know the Bible is the Word of God. Teach them the answers to questions that they’re going to hear about the Bible and about Christianity. That means that you’re going to have to do some education yourself on this topic.
This doesn’t mean that you have to know the answer to every question or have to read every biblical commentary out there, but, as 1 Peter 3:15 indicates, we need to be ready to tell people why we believe what we believe. There’s plenty of websites, such as AnswersinGenesis.org and coldcasechristianity.com that are very helpful in informing you on what you’ll need to know for ministry in this current world and to prepare your kids for ministry in the current world. You can even take them to places like the Creation Museum, the Ark Encounter (a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark that defends the Noah’s Ark story), and the Museum of the Bible.
Consult your pastor about ways that you can learn to defend your faith and equip your kids to do so. It’s worth the work. I promise.
If you want some good books on the topic, here are some I suggest. You can pick just one or two to read or you can read all of them. They are all great, easy to read books to help you defend your faith and will be invaluable for you as you train your child to do so:
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
The Reason for God by Tim Keller
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler
Homosexuality: Speaking the Truth in Love by Edward T. Welch
A Pocket Guide to Logic and Faith: Discerning Truth in Logical Arguments by Jason Lisle
May Jesus be made much of in all generations!