A ‘no brainer’ test for measuring the faith of our young ones
Are your children (and grandchildren) asking the right questions?
Originally published in a CMI newsletter, July 2014
Published: 18 August 2016 (GMT+10)
One of the big challenges facing CMI, in addition to the task of producing high quality information to refute the godless philosophy of evolution masquerading as science, is to convince the majority of Christian families to use it.
To create awareness that acceptance of evolution has a corrosive effect on one’s faith, we often highlight the awful statistics of youth leaving the church, and that no denomination is exempt. Yet, surprising as it may seem for some, a major factor is that most parents don’t see the need to engage their children with creation information. And sadly they often approach our speakers after the presentation, when the penny has finally dropped as to why their beloved children have ditched the faith.
The #1 sign your children are borrowing your faith is if they are not asking questions
An impressive column from homeschool blogging mom, Natasha Crain, resonated with me. She told how she left the faith of her parents, but fortunately returned later in life. As such, she speaks with authority about the reasons for her departure. In essence, she says a key sign that your seemingly God-loving children might be headed for the exits is: “Are they asking you questions about the faith?”
“My faith was so shallow that the first exciting philosophy I encountered after high school swept me off my feet—without so much as an inkling that it was in conflict with everything I had been taught … despite the fact I had gone to church for 18 years and grew up surrounded by family members who deeply loved the Lord” (emphasis mine).1
In this context she was talking about a New Age philosophy she encountered (‘evolving spirituality’, as someone called it). But whether that or secular humanism, we know one of the major reasons for apostasy of all types is not being equipped with answers to the ever-present evolutionary story that infiltrates virtually every subject at high school and college (and the media).
Natasha also had some revealing things to say about her home faith involvement that I think is echoed in many Christian families. She notes that without deeper engagement and teaching critical thinking skills, children just tend to borrow from their parents’ faith and copy it. She says:
“Make no mistake: a borrowed faith leaving home can be just as dangerous as a broken faith. The result is often the same, just delayed … I left home with a completely borrowed faith. Many parents are brokenhearted when their kids reject Christianity in the teen years. I would suggest that many other parents are lulled into a false sense of security when their kids appear to toe the line of faith until they leave home. That faith often amounts to little more than borrowed beliefs which will soon be shattered.”
Why aren’t they asking questions?
This is a ‘heads up’ to all parents and leaders. If your children are not asking questions it is not because they have all the answers. It could well be for the following reasons. Natasha writes:
- “They may be just uninterested enough to not ask questions, but not so uninterested as to reject Christianity altogether. They’ll just borrow your faith for a while because that’s what’s in front of them on the buffet.
- They may not yet see the importance of Christian belief in their lives. It’s perceived as just another subject they’re learning about, like math. They’ll just borrow your faith for a while because they don’t think it’s important enough to think more deeply about.
- They may not have been exposed to enough non-Christian ideas yet. Their faith isn’t being challenged in preparation for the adult world. Challenge them. If you don’t, non-believers soon will.
- They may be scared or uncertain of your reaction. They’ll just borrow your faith for a while because that’s what they think is expected of them.
- They may be getting answers elsewhere—usually not the answers you’d like them to have. They’ll just borrow your faith for a while because they don’t want to rock the boat at home.”
Evangelism begins at home
This is not a cliché. If your family is not asking the right questions then we advise to start asking them questions now. Challenge them as to why they believe and ask them questions the way an evolutionist would, and you’ll soon start to see where they are on the ‘Christian-o-meter’. As they then start to see that Christianity is not a blind faith, they will become more committed to their own faith. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to families. It’s a great tool that pastors and youth leaders should use for measuring the faith of their youth groups.
We get constant feedback from parents telling us that Creation magazine has been a key resource for engaging young ones. Its attractive and easy-to-read articles help make sense of their world. Also, don’t forget that CMI has hundreds of other resources for families that you can use to sit down with your children and learn together.
But if you really want to get your church engaged then contact us to arrange a CMI speaker in your church.
References and notes
- Thanks to Natasha Crain and the article christianmomthoughts.com/the-number-one-sign-your-kids-are-just-borrowing-your-faith-and-not-developing-their-own, 3 March, 2014. Return to text.
Further to what Bridget says (and amen to what Gary and the rest of you have said):
It was training in apologetics by my Grade-9 Sunday School teacher (who was a secular high-school math teacher) that most greatly gave me not only confidence but also joy in standing up for and sharing my faith at my secular high school. (And I started off as a very, very shy introvert.) We need to encourage our churches to teach apologetics both to our youth groups AND to younger-grade Sunday-school children (and also have it modeled in the pulpit). Furthermore, that apologetics training needs to have practices: mock DEBATES with pretend 'unbelievers', done within the church environment. We need to have such SHOCK ENCOUNTERS (1) within a safe church environment, (2) where biblical rebuttals are immediately presented. Only through this practice, can PERSONAL CONVICTIONS (of biblical truth) be tested and found true. The contrast to these needed, grounded-in convictions is a parent-pleasing vulnerable acquiescence (that goes only skin deep) to creationist vital points. I know of at least 4 cases (including 2 personal acquaintances) where individuals grew up in creationist homes but had a shock encounter with an authority figure who rejected creationist truths. These 4 individuals were shocked out of creationist beliefs, exhibiting a sensed 'betrayal of trust' by creationist teachings. These individuals then radicalized to the opposite position: an actively hostile rejection of creationism.
Their earlier creationist 'convictions' were merely acquiescence, to please parents and pastors. Then--as other feedback-ers have pointed out--once out of a sheltered church environment... BOOM. Thus, we need to give debate-level creationist apologetics youth-training in our churches.
Pretty good article. I too struggled upon leaving home for college with my faith. The more I was challenged by alternate belief systems, the more I started to think that my faith didn't make any sense, but was just what most non-believers thought it was - stubborn, BLIND faith with little value. Thankfully, by God's grace, I no longer think that way. Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace was eye opening for me along with several books by Ken Ham and Jonathan Sarfati regarding creation. I think a lot of Christians have this idea that too many facts destroy faith, but the Bible never teaches this. Jesus regularly used evidence (miracles) to validate his claims when he told people to believe in him.
It's also really sad that so many lack true faith and leave the church. Jesus commanded us to make disciples and teach them everything he taught us. Failure to do that just gives a dead heart in the church pew plausible reason to express itself at the first convenient opportunity. That's not to say that God doesn't providentially work through apologetics, or lack of apologetics, to bring people to faith. He certainly does. Yet at the end of the day we are to be faithful to Christ, and if someone wants to reject the faith, it's our responsibility to ensure they are challenged with the fullest and truest expression of it we can muster. This is (spiritual) war after all. Don't go into the fight untrained and unarmed.
Above all, our confidence must be in the Lord. He has already brought his church through onslaughts of heresy and mystical nonsense in the past. Nothing should make us think he won't continue to do so.
Thanks for this article. I have been thinking over the past several months that it would be good to try to establish something like a discussion group for young people on my church in order to discuss big topics from a Christian worldview. My goal would be to try to get at what their current worldview looks like and examine how secular humanism and naturalistic philosophy have found their way into their worldview.
Sadly, even many of the people I went to Christian university with have walked away from their faith. I came to Christian university as a recent convert from a non-Christian home and I found that the courses helped establish a Biblical worldview for me. However, my school (in B.C.) did not strongly promote Biblical Creationism, but instead brought in people like Hugh Ross to muddy the waters. Even worse, some professors took on theistic evolution and old Earth philosophy. I thank God that he protected me from these confusing philosophies when I was really at an early stage in my faith not knowing anything other than naturalistic viewpoints from a scientific perspective. I studied chemistry and life sciences and am grateful for the few professors that did not compromise. I can only pray and hope that my old university will begin to bring in speakers from young Earth Biblical organizations such as CMI. Thanks for your ministry.
Mike, see the trailer for FALLOUT!, coming soon! A great tool to wake up those who are not convinced about the damage of not taking a stand on biblical creation.
Great Little Article. The opening paragraphs strike a BIG Chord with me.
I have been 'sharing' CMI articles in fb 'posts' for some time, and I am perplexed by the lack of response /engagement. My suspicion has been that some believers have been 'educated' to accept 'long age' supposition and have 'squeezed' it into their worldview; and so they are nervous about 'engaging' with detailed examination of the science, albeit while convincing themselves that they 'believe' the word of God. Sadly, I also suspect, many find it too fatiguing a prospect to engage intellectually with such material and so 'sail on' through life, gliding over the waves.
I have tried all sorts of 'eye-catching' headlines introducing 'shares' of your Magnificent Resources in order to engage readers curiosity, but so-far it seems hardly anyone seems to read these posts... or else there is a kind of 'conspiracy' of silence.... Perplexed....
Neil, as I said to an earlier commenter. Here's a heads up about an exciting new resource that you could use to wake people up. See FALLOUT!.
Regarding long ages. I've found that it is blindly accepted by Christians too, and as a result they often try to incorporate those ages into Scripture. While we usually first try to argue the semantics of the meaning of words in Genesis, I've changed tack in recent years. Most people do not know where the millions of years comes from. Of course it is an interpretation of the world's geology taking eons of time to form. But the problem is that the rock layers contain fossils. So, even if a Christian does not believe in evolution, but adds MOYs, they are unwittingly deferring to the geological column and putting 'death before the Fall'. That becomes a problem for the Gospel. A good article to explain this is Did God Create Over Billions of Years?
I'll add one more thing as well. I was raised in a fundamental, Biblically sound church and attended a school that was the same. But I attended a secular college. Now I never walked away from my faith, praise the Lord, but I can say that what probably went the furthest in keeping me in the faith, was Christian apologetics. This was about the time that Lee Strobel's Case for Christ came out, and I was curious enough that I bought it and read it. I was blown away by the contents of the book--never, in all my years in church and school, had I ever seen the historical and scientific evidences for Christianity! I bought many books on Christian apologetics after that, books that showed me how Christianity can be reasonable, how the Bible can be trusted to be truth, just what it was that the church historically believed, what exactly salvation was, and so forth. I fully believe that it was God's leading me to these kind of books that kept my faith strong in those early years when I first ventured out on my own into adulthood, and has kept me in the faith all these years following.
Sadly, when I'd talk to my mother about how much I was getting from those books, her response was "I know what I believe; I don't need to read books about it." And sadder still, in conversations with her now, there are still many things that she holds as truth that are obviously wrong, things that she's been taught erroneously and never thought to question. In my experience, a strong study in Christian apologetics is a much needed tool for deepening one's Christian faith. I didn't read such books so that I could argue with unbelievers; they were an immensely positive force in making my own foundations secure! I only wish that such teaching had been provided to me in my youth!
This is just the same warning I've been giving young mothers I've encountered in church for years. At one church I attended, I became friends with the pastor's wife. She had 3 little boys, and we were discussing raising families. I'm not married and don't have any children, but I had been raised in a Christian home, attended a Biblically sound church, and attended a Christian school k-12, and I had watched so many of the peers I had grown up with, attended school and church with leave home and leave their faith behind. I told this young mother based on my own experience that while yes, parents are most certainly to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, they most certainly are to take their children to church and ensure that they are raised in a Godly atmosphere, that there is a huge danger in that kind of child-rearing that is so often sadly not understood by Christian parents. Children who are raised from birth in a Christian atmosphere learn quite early on to "walk the walk" and "talk the talk" and to put on a mask of Christianity. They learn all the right words, and all the right actions, and they can be quite convincing, when in reality, as this article points out, they have never really understood what true Christianity is all about--they've never truly applied to to their own lives. I warned this young mother that she needed to do as much as she possibly could to make sure that her children were truly Christians and weren't just living the lifestyle they've been taught.
Even worse, so many parents today don't demonstrate to their children what a true, vibrant Christian faith is, and expect the church to do that for them, and so many are broken-hearted when their children leave home and the faith.
Bridget, click the link below to see snapshot of a campaign we are launching soon to help parents and leaders become aware what will happen if they don't do apologetics at home and in church. Particularly watch the video trailer on the page. See FALLOUT!
This is an interesting article to come to after searching out its secular equivalent, John Stuart Mill's "Brief for Freedom of Speech" just a few minutes ago. I noticed the Revelation 3:14-16 gauge at the top of the page and can't help but wonder if those verses might be referring to the sort of half-baked faith that comes when one's philosophy is not properly questioned and investigated. My church and school, Morning Star Ministries/Morning Star Christian Academy (Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum - no affiliation with Rick Joyner or his organization) in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, as well as quite a few others in this city, would love to have a speaker from CMI come over some day.
I could feel what Mrs. Crain had experienced. Although I had not drifted away from the Christian Faith (and I will NEVER do such thing, thanks to creation science.. :) ) Here in my country, I sense that either the faith of most people here is merely borrowed or lukewarm, considering that the pseudoscience of evolution is taught as a "scientific fact". Furthermore, they rarely hear arguments from unbelievers that challenge their faith, leaving them defenceless against the challenges of the postmodernist world. Please pray for me, for my family and for my country..
God bless your noble work!!