It finally happened. I was teaching a children’s Bible class of 3rd-5th graders, when one of the boys said something like, “I can’t be descended from Adam and Eve, because Adam and Eve were white.” I thanked him for bringing that up and used his comment as an opportunity to address the fact that although Bible story books almost always depict Adam and Eve as Caucasian, the books are simply wrong. I’ve been saying for years, we need to stop illustrating everyone in the Bible as white.Continue Reading...
Archives For Parenting
We often commend mothers by saying they have, “the most important job in the world.” While I will be the first to say mothers have an incredibly important – and difficult – job, I believe we need to rethink calling it, “the most important job in the world.” While this phrase is meant to be complimentary, I believe it has several unintended consequences.Continue Reading...
We live in an increasingly brutal and violent world. A world in which young men walk into movie theaters and schools and heartlessly gun down the precious souls in their paths. Whenever something like this occurs, cries of outrage can be heard across the land, saying, “Something has to be done to stop this!”
I agree! Something has to be done to stop this! But first, let’s examine the culture in which we live today. We live in a culture which…
- …glorifies gore and sensationalizes sin. Our television shows, movies, and video games have created young people who don’t blush or flinch. They have become so desensitized to sin that it does not bother them anymore. Why then, are we surprised when they involve themselves in horrific behavior?
- …does not recognize the authority of God and His Word. There is a whole generation of young people who do not believe there is absolute truth. They believe that all truth is relative; that they themselves are the only authority when it comes to deciding what is right and wrong “for them.” Why then, are we surprised when they rationalize their horrific behavior?
- …teaches children they are nothing more than apes, who are slightly more evolved. Our schools teach children they are not created in the image of God, but are simply the product of billions of years of random chance. Why then, are we surprised when they act like the animals our schools teach them that they are?
The violence we see is appalling, horrific, and heart-breaking. However, it is sadly not surprising. A culture will always behave in horrible ways when God is not their King.
In Judges 19, there is a horrible story about a Levite man who was spending the night in Gibeah, a Benjamite town. Like the Sodomites, the men of Gibeah were so wicked that they sought to rape the man. Instead, he allowed his wife to be thrown out to the vicious crowd to be violated and tortured. After a night of unbelievable brutality, the woman eventually died.
In order to have vengeance, the Levite incited the nation to war by cutting his wife’s body into pieces and sending her body parts throughout Israel. The other tribes of Israel rose up against the Benjamites and almost entirely annihilated the tribe. Thankfully, our nation hasn’t yet sunk to this level of immorality.
This story perfectly illustrates the verse that concludes the book, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). When a nation does not recognize God as their King, when they do what is right in their own eyes, it is only a matter of time until they sink to all levels of immoral and brutal behavior. In other words, when the only moral standard they recognize is their own feelings, there is little hope of maintaining a peaceful society.
The answer to our current dilemma is to declare war against the false thinking that has led to our current moral depravity. Paul writes this, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
We must declare war against false thinking in our minds, in the minds of our children, in the minds of our neighbors, and in the minds of our friends. We must fight the enemy at the schools, where children are being indoctrinated with Darwin’s lies. We must fight the enemy in the entertainment industry, where people are learning to laugh and be thrilled with immorality. We must put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) and fight the enemy at every turn by teaching, preaching, and persuading everyone with the Truth!
I love you and God loves you,
The SnapChat app is a new app for smartphones and it is something about which, I believe, parents need to be very concerned. This app allows users to take a picture of themselves, send it to friends, and have it disappear forever in a matter of seconds. I’m sure you can see the attraction this app has for those who might be tempted to use it for “sexting.”
You may not have heard about the SnapChat app yet, but if you haven’t, you’re one of the few. The people at SnapChat say they process more than 30 million messages a day. It is becoming quite the phenomenon.
I realize many are using this app in legitimate, non-sexual ways. However, if you are a parent, I think there is reason for concern, caution, and awareness. Especially when you consider the fact that several years ago 20% of teens and 33% of young adults have admitted to sending nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of themselves to others (Source: Sexting Survey). I can almost guarantee with this app in the hands of young people, those numbers are going to rise!
We live in a changing world. The sins have not changed, but the ways people invent to commit those sins are changing every day. As parents, and concerned Christians, we must remain vigilant!
Remember the words of Job, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin” (Job 31:1)?
The words of the Psalmist, “I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil” (Psalm 101:2b-4).
And the words of Christ Jesus, “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
I love you and God loves you,
Two of the best days of my life were the days my boys were born. Each time, I was in awe! The child that I had waited nine months to meet was finally here. I remember, when my wife was pregnant with our first, looking at the ultrasound and saying, “How could anyone say that’s not a person? That’s my son!”
I would never intentionally do anything to put my children in harm’s way. I would have never encouraged my wife to have taken something into her body which could potentially harm my children while she was carrying them. But, there’s a possibility that many of us have unintentionally put our children into harm’s way. In fact, there’s a possibility we may have done much worse.
I believe, because there is an overwhelming amount of evidence in Scripture, that life begins at conception. I do not believe life begins at birth. I do not believe life begins one day, two days, three weeks, or three months after conception, but at the moment an egg is fertilized by sperm. So, when I refer to a fertilized egg, I’m referring to a human child.
Before I delve any further into this very sensitive subject, I want to say a few things. First, I’m not a doctor (I don’t even play one on T.V.), I’m not a scientist, and I didn’t even do that well in college biology. I want to encourage you to investigate these issues for yourself. But do not write this issue off saying, “Wes has no idea what he’s talking about.” It very well might be, I don’t know what I’m talking about; but there are a lot of good doctors and scientist who say this is an issue that should concern every Christian who believes life begins at conception!
Second, I am just as guilty as anyone at being ignorant and misinformed. I am writing this article because I was outraged to find out there was even a possibility that something I encouraged my wife to put into her body could cause her to unknowingly abort our child! I am not writing this article to judge, condemn, or tell you what you ought to do. I’m writing this article because if you care about the sanctity of human life, you need to be informed.
Let me explain (as I understand it) how “the pill” and other hormone contraceptives work (their mechanism of action):
1. Inhibits ovulation. In other words, it keeps the egg from becoming available to be fertilized.
2. Thickens the cervical mucus. This mucus blocks the sperm, to keep the egg from being fertilized.
With both of these first points, I have no problem. All that is happening with these is that the life is being prevented, not terminated. It is with the third point, I have a huge problem.
3. Thins the lining of the uterus (endometrium), which “reduces the likelihood of implantation.”
In other words, if an egg is fertilized, it is (in theory) more likely to die because it cannot be implanted. Most women taking the pill believe all they are doing is preventing life from being formed. However, there is a very real possibility that life is not only being prevented, it is dying inside the woman’s body.
This information comes straight from the Physician’s Desk Reference. I would encourage you to visit the Physician’s Desk Reference website and check out what I’m telling you. Go to www.pdr.net, in the search box type in the brand name of a contraceptive. Then, click on “concise monograph.” Last, click on “mechanism of action.” If, for example, you look up the drug, “Ortho Tri-Cyclen” here’s what you’ll see:
It is the phrase, “reduces likelihood of implantation” which should concern you. It means there is (at least the possibility) that the pill creates an environment where a fertilized egg (a human child) has the “likelihood” of dying!
This information was recently brought to my attention by Dr. Brad Harrub. You can hear Dr. Harrub’s lesson on this subject by purchasing the mp3 download from Polishing the Pulpit. It is well worth the $1.99 price!
Also, read both sides of the “Oral Contraceptive Controversy” from the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The papers on both sides are laden with medical and scientific terminology. But to summarize, there are doctors on both ends of this debate. Some say that abortion does not and cannot occur. The other side says it absolutely can and does.
To me, the answer is simple; if a drug could possibly create an environment where my preborn child has the “likelihood” of dying, I’ll pass! I love life and I choose to do my best to protect life, before and after a child is born.
You must soberly and prayerfully consider this issue. Like me, you were probably unaware of this information. Now you are aware. I encourage you to dig deeper and see what else you find. If you uncover pertinent information, please consider sharing it with me and others. I believe we must make people aware of this issue. Friends, lives are at stake!
I love you and the God, who gives life, loves you,
I just read a story about a five year old child in Virginia, who apparently stabbed three people over a juice box yesterday afternoon. Two children and one adult were taken to an area hospital. Although their wounds were not life-threatening it makes you wonder, what’s going on in our world?!
I think there are at least a couple things, of which situations like this are symptomatic:
1. First, selfishness seems to be on the rise. I have no idea what the exact circumstances were in this specific incident, but selfishness seems to be at an all time high.
People are naturally selfish. And unless parents teach them otherwise, children will believe their needs and wants should be the number one priority. Anyone who has kids can tell you, it is not easy teaching children to think about others first. But we, as Christian parents, must teach our children, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Make it a priority to teach your children to consider other people “more significant” than themselves.
2) Second, the television is raising so many children today. So many parents have traded in their role of parent for the role of entertainment provider. It is no wonder that violence is on the increase, our children are consuming unhealthy amounts of television, and television is increasingly more violent. “It is estimated that by the time an average child leaves elementary school, he or she will have witnessed 8,000 murders and over 100,000 other acts of violence.”
Parents, it is becoming more and more difficult and, at the same time, more and more important that we guard the hearts of our children. As a father of two boys, I am getting closer and closer to getting rid of the television in our home. But regardless what you decide to do for your family, make sure you are guarding their hearts and minds, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
I love you and the God who made us guardians of our children loves you,
There are many Christian young people today honestly wondering, “Is sex before marriage a sin.” These young people have been confused by a culture that is absolutely saturated with sex. They hear things all the time like, “If two people love each other then it’s not wrong.” But, young people, your friends and the television are not the ultimate authority on what is right and wrong. Let’s see what God has to say about this issue.
1. God created the sexual relationship to be shared by a husband and a wife. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (NASB).
An adulterer is a married person who has sex with someone to whom he/she is not married. A fornicator is a broader term which includes anyone having any kind of sexual relationship outside of marriage. Both acts, adultery and fornication, are said to “defile” the marriage bed. These acts dishonor marriage.
2. Under the old law, those who had sex before marriage could be stoned. Thankfully, we are under a new covenant today; but in Deuteronomy 22:20-21, God says that if a man marries a woman and discovers that she was not a virgin on their wedding night and the charge is proved to be true, she should be stoned by the men of the city. If nothing else, this law teaches us that God’s will is for a man and woman not to engage in sexual relations until after they are married.
3. Sexual sin is devastating…and forgivable. Paul wrote to the Corinthians saying, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sina person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Sexual sin has so many spiritual, physical, and emotional consequences. Sex, as God planned it and designed is a wonderful gift. However, when people abuse God’s gift, the results are devastating.
Fortunately, we serve a gracious and loving God who is able to wash away our sins, no matter what they are. Paul said that there were Christians in Corinth who had been homosexuals, sexually immoral, thieves, and drunkards. But then he wrote, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
No matter who you are or what you have done, it is never too late to repent of your sins and appeal to God through Jesus Christ for salvation and a clean conscience (1 Peter 3:21). But please know, and tell others, that God absolutely considers sex before marriage sinful.
I love you and God loves you!
On Monday, November 7th RadicallyChristian.com will be turning one! I cannot believe it has been a year since this journey began. In some ways it seems much shorter and in other ways it seems much longer. Together in the last year, we have built a facebook fan page to nearly 300 fans, a twitter following of over 300, and published our first Radically Christian book. I cannot thank you all enough for your help spreading the Word of God through this website!
In order to thank you, I will be giving away a free copy of The Treasure Chest of Grace on Monday, November 7th. Here are the rules to the contest:
1. All you have to do to enter is write something on our facebook wall between now and the 7th. “Comments” on someone else’s posts do not count. Only things written directly on the wall.
2. You can enter once a day! Every day you write something on the wall your name will be put into the hat. On November 7th I will randomly select a name from the hat.
3. The more days you enter the better your chances will be for winning! You may only enter once a day, but if you enter every day between now and then, you’ll have a better chance of winning.
4. The drawing will be held on Monday, November 7th at Noon Central Time.
Thank you all again for making this year so wonderful! I love you all so much!
Parenting, like any other area of our life, should be done by faith. Meaning, we should listen to God’s instructions, believe and trust that He knows what He is talking about, and follow His instructions to the best of our ability! When we stray from biblical parenting and start following our own intuition, the opinions of friends, or the advice of experts we are no longer parenting by faith!
That is kind of a radical concept today! But when is walking by faith not a radical concept?! Here are a few principles to parenting by faith:
1. Love Your Children! Every parent claims to have love for his or her children, but many merely have a fond attachment. The difference between love and a fond attachment is laid out in 1 Corinthians 13. If you love your children you will be patient and kind, you will not be rude, and you will always seek what is best for your child! Giving your son what he wants may very well be unloving; if what he wants is not what is best for him.
2. Discipline Your Children! Often we quote, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” I’m not sure, that may be Shakespeare, but it is certainly not from the Bible. What the Bible says about sparing the rod is more serious than, “You’ll spoil your child.” God said, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” (Proverbs 13:24). If you are not diligent to discipline your child, by God’s definition you hate your child! Hey, I didn’t say it; God did!
That doesn’t necessarily mean that every time a child misbehaves he needs a spanking. It simply means that children need boundaries and parents to enforce those boundaries. If you are not establishing and enforcing biblical boundaries for your children start today! There is no better time to start loving your children than right now!
3. Train your children! On the link to Brad Harrub’s recent article someone commented, “Let them make up their own mind. Stop trying to force beliefs on them. Wait till they are mature enough to talk rationally about it, rather than young and underdeveloped mentally.” That sounds pretty consistent with conventional wisdom. But again, those who follow Christ cannot follow conventional wisdom; we must parent by faith!
The Word of God says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). God did not specify an age at which you start teaching your children how to be Christians. Begin immediately praying with them, reading the Bible to them, and talking to them about what God expects and how much He loves them. Like God commanded the Israelites, be constantly talking to your children about Him and His Word (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
It is fine to listen to the experts, as long as the experts are in-line with biblical principles. Whose instructions are you heeding? Remember, God created your child. He knows the best way to raise her!
I love you and God loves you! Have a wonderful day!
Special thanks to Brad Harrub, Ph.D. of Focus Press for this phenomenal article. Brother Harrub is an outstanding author, speaker, scientist, and defender of biblical truth. The battle for the hearts and minds of our children is raging, and this is a man who I am proud to have has an ally.
At 3:00 p.m., mom stops folding laundry and begins contemplating what to fix for dinner. Suddenly, she hears the unmistakable sound of little feet running down the sidewalk. Within seconds, the front door bangs open and little Johnny comes running down the hallway into a brightly lit kitchen. As mom frantically tries to keep the mud tracks off the floor, little Johnny circles round and round, shouting: “Guess what video we watched today at school!” With a dustpan in one hand, and an old wooden broom in the other, mom looks up and replies, “What Johnny?” Johnny lets out an ear-piercing scream and yells, “Dinosaurs!” And without taking another breath he begins rattling off the names of dinosaurs: “We saw a Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus, Deinonychus, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Spinosaurus, Tyrannosaurus rex, and a Velociraptor! Oh, mom you should have seen them. They were so cool. I want to get some books about them. Can we please? Can we mom?”
And so, without any advance notice, Mom is thrown into the realm of the dinosaurs. Only minutes ago she was folding laundry, wishing she were elsewhere. Now she would be content to wind back the hands of time and fold those clothes. No one warned her that motherhood included needing advanced degrees in dinosaur trivia. For the next several days, the questions continue. “When were the dinosaurs around? Why did they become extinct? Were they cold-blooded or warm-blooded?” Poor mom—she can cook dinner, wash clothes, clean the kitchen, watch the children, and talk on the phone all at the same time…but dinosaurs? All mom knows about dinosaurs can be summed up like this: They were big, and they were green. Aside from that, mom has to rely on books to provide Little Johnny with the answers that he so desperately seeks.
Within a week, their house has been turned into a virtual dinosaur hall of fame. Dinosaur books, puzzles, games, and action figures can be found in just about every room. Every dime Little Johnny had saved up has been spent on dinosaur books. You know the ones—the books with big colorful pictures on slick glossy paper. The same ones that usually somewhere around page one, paragraph one, say something like, “All life on our planet changes and develops over many millions of years. This is called evolution. Millions of years ago the dinosaurs roamed the Earth, long before man ever existed.” Even those “harmless” sticker books that she bought Little Johnny mention that dinosaurs roamed the Earth 225 million years ago. And so, within just a few weeks Little Johnny has filled his brain with dinosaur trivia; but he has also laid down the planks on which the evolutionary theory will one day be built in his belief system.
Ask yourself what normally is the first introduction most young people have into the humanistic, atheistic, Godless world of organic evolution. Dinosaurs! Once the stage has been set that the Earth is billions of years old, then it becomes easy to slip in evolutionary rationale for human existence. What better way to build a foundation than to get our children hooked on dinosaurs—something that is rarely dealt with in a religious setting, and something with which most parents are not all that familiar. First and foremost, we need to understand that this is a fight. It is a fight that most parents are losing—and that many do not even realize is taking place. We carry our children and grandchildren to Bible class and worship. We tuck them in at night, and one day we wake up, only to realize that they have lost their souls because someone out there did their job better than and before we did ours!
Ask an average 10-year-old child when the dinosaurs existed, and see what response you get. Then ask them about the men who lived with the dinosaurs. Chances are, those excited faces that were all ready to tell you every single fact you ever wanted to know about dinosaurs will immediately change into wrinkled brows and puzzling frowns. For, you see, we live in a world that has taught our children that dinosaurs existed many millions of years ago, prior to the existence of man. What happens, then, when our children try to reconcile this with the Genesis account of Creation? They begin to question the Bible, simply because the two cannot be harmonized, and most do not possess the evidence they need to defend God’s Word.
The word “creation” is never mentioned in biology classes in reference to the origin of life, and the Genesis account of creation is only mentioned sarcastically (if it is mentioned at all). By the time many individuals graduate from college, the Bible they grew up believing has been so ridiculed that it quickly becomes relegated to the bottom of a dusty old bookshelf—never to be opened again. Yet in Peter’s first epistle, he instructed: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). Statistics indicate that our young people are not properly prepared to give an answer or defense when their instructors begin to tear away at their faith. Professors categorize God’s Word as little more than a poorly written history book. These “highly educated” men no longer treat it as “God-breathed,” because to do so would be admitting there is a higher power. By declaring that “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psalm. 19:1), we are paying homage to Someone capable of more than mortal men—and that Someone rightly deserves our obedience and respect. Unfortunately many of our children are casting their Bibles aside in favor of science and the theories of men.
In the first chapter of the book of Genesis, Moses details for us the specific events that occurred during the six days of Creation. Exodus 20:11 states: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Question: What does that leave out? Answer: Nothing! It is totally comprehensive, and yet our children have been fed a steady diet of the early evolutionary appearance of dinosaurs and reptiles, with mammals and humans appearing millions of years later. We must wake up and get busy teaching our children the Truth. Most of us have seen the horrifying statistics—nationwide the churches of Christ are losing somewhere between 60-90% of our young people after we send them away from the home. How is it that Joseph at the age of 17, already had enough strength, courage, and conviction to get him through the rough trials that were to come (see Genesis 37,39-40)? It is because his parents instilled in him at a very young age the importance of God in such a way that he never forgot God—even during his darkest trials. Why is it we think that it is only after our children have grown up and started a family of their own that they can find the strength they need for their convictions?
Why Did Johnny Fall Away?
Why did Johnny fall away? What caused him to leave the Lord and His church, and instead turn his attention to worldly matters? Likely, of course, there are many possible answers. However, I would like to concentrate on only one answer. Something undermined Johnny’s commitment, and caused him to give up the ideals he once held dear. What persuaded this youngster to abandon his faith in God, his trust in Jesus, and his reliance upon the Bible? Perhaps Johnny lost his faith because he never knew the evidences upon which his faith should have rested in the first place. In other words, Johnny “believed,” but he did not know why he believed. He was living an “inherited” religion. Having, therefore, no good reason to keep on believing, when faced with the temptation to be free, he fell headlong into the trap set for him by the “roaring lion”—our adversary, the devil (1 Pet. 5:8). Satan was successful in his task because we failed in ours. Unfortunately Johnny, and many others like him, have been told that faith is a “blind leap.” We did not train Johnny “in the way he should go” (Pro. 22:6), because we did not show him the evidences upon which his faith should have been based. His faith was threatened, but he was not ready for battle, and so he surrendered.
We Are God’s Archers–Our Children Are God’s Arrows
The inspired writer of Psalm 127 made this observation in verse 4— “Children are like arrows in the hand of a mighty man.” Why do you think the writer chose this particular analogy? Do you think the inspired writer’s choice of words happened merely by chance? Or do you think that the writer realized what you and I know today—that long before the archer ever places an arrow between his fingers, and long before he ever pulls that bowstring taut, he already has sighted his target. He knows long before he ever releases that arrow where he wants it to go. There is forethought and planning involved in launching that arrow. It doesn’t occur haphazardly. We are God’s archers! Our children are God’s arrows! We must remember the goal on which we have our sights targeted, and then launch our children on their way with much forethought and planning toward that goal. Each step that we take in guiding and directing our children should be done with that target in mind—that big, red bulls-eye that we know as heaven.
The problem lies in the fact that many parents today lack the proper biblical knowledge and understanding to firmly send their children toward a heavenly goal. Sure, we know the steps of salvation, but what happens when our children ask us questions outside the realm of “hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized?” How can we accurately and firmly launch our children toward the goal of heaven if we ourselves are deficient in knowledge? When our children come to us with questions (and they will!) about the age of the Earth or about the dinosaurs, they expect answers. And rightly so! It is up to us to educate ourselves in such a way that those questions get answered.
The answers (and evidence) that we give our children and grandchildren should only further propel them toward that heavenly target. We must realize that if we don’t have an answer for our child or grandchild, someone out there does. And sooner or later, that person is going to teach our child “their” version of how the Universe came about or how humans evolved from ape-like creatures. Then they will show beautifully illustrated pictures printed on glossy paper to impress our child. And before we know it, our child has lost his or her soul, and we have lost our child. Thanks to the unbelievers who were willing to answer his question, “little Johnny” no longer holds the Bible as being the inspired Word of God. It has become just an antiquated history book—one not deserving his commitment and loyalty.
And then Johnny joins the workforce and does what he’s watched his parents do for years and years—strive for prosperity. But in doing so, he forgets about God. Recall what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 4: “And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (8-10).
We are God’s archers! Our children are God’s arrows. We must take our responsibility seriously and stop allowing other people to launch our children in any direction that they please. Our children should be sent on their way with such force and such strength that by the time they turn 17 or leave home, they possess strong convictions about their religious beliefs. Otherwise, the “church of tomorrow,” as so many like to call it, will continue walking out the doors of our church buildings, never to darken those doors again. But be forewarned: this kind of direction and guidance requires quantity (as well as quality) time and a Christian example.
Strengthening Our Children’s Faith
Oftentimes, we watch little children sing the song about the wise and the foolish builders. But sadly, some of those very children will one day find their own belief systems built on a sandy foundation. If we are going to protect our children’s faith when it is threatened, we must be ready to strengthen it through study. We are commanded to “contend earnestly for the faith, once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). With an increasing number of people doubting God’s existence, Jesus’ deity, and the inspiration of the Bible, Christian parents will find an increased demand upon them to be able to defend these things. Paul stressed that we should “prove all things,” and then having done so, “hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). It was Paul’s custom to teach the Gospel by presenting the evidences documenting the truthfulness of Christianity (see Acts 17:2-3; 19:8). That is, in fact, how Peter preached the first Gospel sermon—by presenting the evidence in a defense of Christ’s resurrection (Acts 2). We, too, can use evidences to strengthen our children’s faith.
Through a study of the evidences upon which Christianity is based, our children can come to see that Christianity is not a “pie in the sky” or an “I hope so by and by” kind of religion. On the contrary, Christianity is grounded in historical fact. Its roots are deep, and its precepts are provable. We must teach our young people that they can: (a) know God exists, (b) know Jesus is God’s Son; and (c) know the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant, authoritative Word. In so doing, we can give young people a clear view of their God, His Son, His church, and their future home of heaven.
Additionally, a study of the many evidences upon which Christianity is based demonstrates the validity of the Christian system. Truth does not shrink from exhaustive examination, for it has nothing to fear. Rather, truth welcomes the searchlight of the severest scrutiny—unfailingly confident that it cannot be disproved. A religion that discourages logical examination of its claims is tacitly admitting the doubtfulness of its position. Christianity has no fear of submitting its beliefs to the critical examination of skeptics. Nor does Christianity fear to have its proponents study the claims of other religions (or no religion at all). Truth will not bend or break beneath the onslaught. A faith that cannot withstand a terse, critical examination is a faith not worth having in the first place. As young people are shown the manifold evidences that prove God’s existence, Jesus’ Sonship, and the Bible’s inspiration—and as they examine other claims (atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, denominationalism, etc.) under the dissecting microscope of God’s Word—eventually they will come to accept, and be able to defend, the one true religion of the one true God.
Likewise, we must prepare our children and grandchildren so that they can properly defend Christianity against the attacks made upon it by its enemies. From the philosopher who claims it is impossible to know anything at all, to the scientist who claims that we are little more than “naked apes,” attacks upon Christianity are never-ending. The atheist says he knows God doesn’t exist, the agnostic says neither he nor anyone else can know God exists, the skeptic says he doubts that God exists, the infidel says that if God exists, it is not the God of the Bible, and so on. Various forms of these false philosophies have crept into the church in some places, and have caused the untaught and the unstable to fall away. Children are especially vulnerable to such false teachings, as often they are required to study under teachers or professors who openly are antagonistic to Christianity. A young person’s plastic, impressionable mind is a prime target for the devil’s ungodly schemes. It is our responsibility to fill the minds of our children with truth (and evidence for that truth) so they will be able to withstand the “fiery darts of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16). It has been said that a child’s mind is like Jell-O®—and that our job is to fill with all the “good stuff” before it “sets.” A study of the evidences supporting Christianity is a fine step in the right direction toward protecting both our children and the future of the church.
One thing is certain: we cannot teach what we do not know (Heb. 5:12). Our goal is heaven (Heb. 11:13-16). Our mission is not only to get there ourselves, but to take others with us as well (Matt. 28:18-20). It is our task to learn God’s Word (Psalm 119:11), and then to convey that Word to others for their ultimate salvation (Mark 16:15-16; John 3:16). Our society today is a questioning one. Rightly so! Religion cannot and must not rest on presumptive grounds or traditional heritage. People must investigate the claims of Christianity, and then see for themselves that those claims are both legitimate, factual, and above all, true.
Lastly, we must teach our children and grandchildren that God’s Word is more than just a “good book.” All too often, Christians relegate the early books of the Bible (i.e., Genesis) as mythological rather than historical. But consider what that is telling our children. We need to provide them with evidence that completely demonstrates the authority of the Bible as the only inspired book. This can be accomplished by studying the scientific foreknowledge found in Scripture, the prophetic accuracy of the Bible, the factual accuracy and overall unity of the Bible, etc. Such a study will impress on youngsters the importance and special nature of God’s Word.
All of this it must start at home—in homes like yours and mine. Every book that enters our homes should be examined for evolutionary falsehoods. We do not allow pornography into our homes, so why would we allow scientific foolishness that teaches our children to believe there is no God. Every television show that mentions those “million-year-old-fossils” should immediately be discussed with our children. If we don’t have the answers to their questions, then we must, as God’s archers, seek diligently to find the answers. It is our responsibility—not the preacher’s, not the elders’, and not the Sunday school teacher’s. We must seize every opportunity to guide, train, direct, strengthen, and lead our children (and grandchildren) so that once those arrows leave our hands, we have absolutely no doubt as to where they will land.
Find great resources from Brad Harrub, Ph.D. at FocusPress.org