What percentage is acceptable to you?
Published: 16 January 2014 (GMT+10)
The average Christian family prays at the dinner table. They go to church together and the children are in Sunday school. Maybe they read Bible stories at bedtime and pray together when the children are tucked in. The children go to Christian camps each year, attend the youth group each week, and the family even attends the mid-week service at church. This is an active Christian family.
Whose youth are leaving the church?
You have likely heard the statistics, such as 2/3 of children raised in Christian homes are leaving the church1 and other ‘studies’ claiming a rate of exodus as high as 88%2. Regardless of the accuracy of these statistics, few Christians would deny the alarming departure rate they have witnessed not only in their churches, but in their own families. Yet the ‘active’ Christian families described above are exactly the ones that are dealing with the heart-wrenching loss of their young adult children departing the faith. And most times the parents are oblivious as to why this has happened.
So, here’s the rub. Are these statistics just about “somebody else’s” children? If this portrait reflects reality across the wider church, what percentage would be acceptable to you and your family? Would even 25% be acceptable?
When CMI speakers are on the road, it is common after the presentation for a Mom or Dad to approach us with a painful expression and tell us about how one, or more, of their children are part of the youth exodus statistics mentioned in our talks. It’s quite sobering to discuss. Even though this abandonment of faith comes as a surprise to many parents, it’s actually easier to understand when you consider what happens even before they leave the nest.
Many parents might think that college or other influences their children encounter when they leave home are the main culprits in this scenario. However, the process of this waning faith starts long before that, often times undetected by parents. Barna research says 2 out of 3 have already made their minds up before they leave home. And one of the major reasons is that all we ever hear is the evolutionary story of billions of years of deep time being presented as an accepted and irrefutable ‘fact’ of science. Whether TV programs, textbooks, magazines, school, books, documentaries, even Saturday morning cartoons, our children are saturated with a story that directly opposes the “Bible stories” they hear in church. The take home message the children actually hear is “The Bible is not true!” And the solution can’t merely be more “Bible stories”, church time, camps and youth groups to somehow drown out that worldly challenge. You see, our children are smart. If the science teacher presents the evolutionary story as the real history of the world supported by ‘science’, what would you reasonably expect if they are not adequately presented with the alternative explanation that better accounts for the facts and science supporting the Bible’s historical record? Unfortunately, this very important aspect in defending our faith is absent from the teaching presented in most churches and thus most homes.
So what can a parent do? We get constant reports that when a person is equipped with Creation magazine, our foundational resources and a consistent diet of our Bible-affirming resources, not only is their faith built up, but they become confident with a defense against the onslaught of evolutionary ideas. However, it might surprise you to learn that the best course of action is not for a parent to provide their children these resources. You see, while our children live under our roof, parents are the biggest influences in their lives. When parents commit to equip, even saturate themselves with those defenses that stand up against that ever-present challenge, then day by day they are able to pepper their children’s lives with consistent truth. As parents handle the truth and their children’s questions consistently, they will be able to discern how evolution is a counterfeit substitution of the truth.
The authority of the Bible trumps evolution
Yes, these statistics show how vitally important and powerful it is that we address this issue head on within our families. However, as you can see, this is not a matter of accumulating facts and evidence. Despite the consistent droning message of being told that ‘science’ has proven the Bible is wrong, it truly boils down to whether that authority trumps our faith, or if our ultimate authority comes from the Word of God.
So pray, go to church, study the Bible with your family, but today, commit to equip yourself and your family with the truth that will stand the challenges that we all face.
What should I do?
- There are a range of great resources that come with free study guides that refute evolution and provide biblical explanations such as Refuting Evolution, The Creation Answers Book, Creation not Confusion, and a great ‘big picture’ resource called Stranger on the Road to Emmaus which has a larger study guide for purchase.
- If you are serious about making a change in your family check out our Parent’s Corner for guides on how to get started with extra teaching at home.
- Why not introduce the rest of the families in your church to this important aspect of apologetics by having a CMI speaker in your church? It’s so much easier than most people think. Phone your local office to find out more. Contact details here.
References and notes
- Barna, G., State of the Church 2002, Issachar Resources, Ventura, California, p. 109. Return to text.
- Southern Baptist Council on Family Life Report, 2002, sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc02/newsroom/newspage.asp?ID=261, accessed 6 November, 2013. Return to text.
I've been doing research into apologetics because I find that it is not acceptable to me that any of my 3 children will be lost to the "Father of Lies."
I see the challenge that Naturalism is presenting, and it is daunting. I've found the blending of this Philosophy and Science is very subtle and can be extremely hard for many to distinguish, though they are very different. This is why it is ultimately this philosophy that will be used to peel away Gods children in this final hour. I guess it is to be expected... the Bible seems to guarantee that believers will "fall away", and will be under some manner of enormous pressure and persecution.
Anyhow, its a daunting task, so thanks for the info here.
Good article, good conclusion - that is precisely why I often expose to believers and unbelievers alike that before one can do science one has to hold many absolutes as true. These things can only be accounted for by the power and faithfulness of God. (and they are beyond the reach of science since science is done by scientists all of whom are fallen humans)
Evolutionists have an unresolvable problem. They can only posit their silly explanations if nature is uniform, future is like the past, laws of logic are universal and unchanging - etc.
Yet their theory requires that all of these necessary underpinnings are in flux or not constant. Anyone who starts from any point other than God's revealed truth necessarily destroys the possibility of knowledge - we must press them to expose this and in this way pull our kids out of the dragnet of deceit.
Not to mention unbelievers first have to attempt and negate God's clear revelation. As if He did not make knowledge known.
Kids need to be trained to think properly - that neutrality is impossible even when studying begonias and origin. And that possibility is limited by God and it is worse than folly to attempt to negate Him. (like Adam and Eve did)
Thanks for thought provoking article
This is a question but not requiring an answer - Is the issue *creation* apologetics or apologetics generally? I have worshipped in many churches over the years, but to learn apologetics one must go elsewhere. It has always seemed to me very odd to have an emphasis on evangelism but none on apologetics. I would have thought the two were inseparable.
We agree. Apologetics are rarely emphasized, but necessary if we are to "always be prepared with a defense" (1 Pt 3:15) for our faith. In particular, our apologetic must address the arena where the Bible's account is being attacked more than any other, namely, the origins debate.
"You see, our children are smart."
I feel like this phrase might sound a little like we are intentionally decieving them. Like we don't really believe the Bible is true, we just want to give them a better alternative to Evolution, much like how Evolutionists would rather teach Evolution because it's better than the children becoming Creationists.
Thank you Jay. We certainly understand your concern. Our intent in using that phrase in the context of this article was to merely state that if our children only hear the evolutionary story taught as fact, and the Bible is presented as mere stories, they will make the logical conclusion to believe the 'facts'. We were trying to point out the vital importance of parents being equipped and presenting to their children how the evidence makes sense of the biblical account of Creation. They are smart and will see the truth for themselves. Thanks again.