“What if they don’t believe me? Why don’t more people believe? Why didn’t God make it more obvious?”
During my years teaching youth at both our church and the Christian school where I worked, I learned how prevalent questions like these are in the minds of our young people. The fear that their faith will crumble if they can’t respond to questions is a common obstacle to sharing the Gospel.
In my previous post, we looked at strategies for equipping your child to share their faith at different stages of life. But before we can SEND them to SHARE, we must prepare them to STAND. So, this is essentially the fourth strategy. Teaching your child about the evidence for their faith and the reasonableness of their beliefs is a crucial component to preparing them to engage in the Great Commission.
The technical term for this is apologetics, derived from the Greek word meaning “reasoned defense.” I love how Brandi Huerta characterized many Christians’ view of this:
"For many of us, to watch them (Christian apologists) in action is to be simultaneously astounded and humbled into silence, wondering if maybe finger painting, rather than defending the faith, is more suited to our intellectual capabilities."
If she’s talking about adults, can you imagine how our youth feel?
That’s why I created a resource to equip parents to empower their kids. In my course, “It’s Reasonable”, we look at questions to ask of those who don’t believe in a Creator-God, exposing many of the holes in the Big Bang Theory or the Theory of Evolution. We also look at the facts for the reliability of the New Testament. But before we ever dive into evidence, I lay a few ground rules about faith.
Here are three of the points I drive home as preparation for teaching kids to defend their faith, and thus further equipping them to share it with others.
1-All beliefs about the origin of life require faith.
At its core, faith is a trust in something you cannot prove. If you could prove it, faith would not be required to believe it.
Since it’s not possible to prove anything historical with 100 percent certainty, whatever we believe about how the universe and life began will require a measure of faith.
Even atheist scientists admit their Big Bang Theory doesn’t have a beginning and the simplest living cell could not have arisen by chance. 2,3
So everyone has faith in something. It’s not about whether or not you have faith, but about how trustworthy the object of your faith is. And that brings us to the second point.
2-Christianity is grounded in a REASONABLE faith.
God has given us so much information for His existence that He says no one has an excuse for not believing He exists.
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. … So they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:19-20, ESV)
When we study our world and the building blocks of life, we see design, planning, intelligence, and information. The science that tries to explain creation and life without a Creator-God leaves us full of questions. The accounts about Christ’s life, death, and resurrection were recorded by reliable authors soon after the events and the accounts were circulated among an informed audience who would have known if they were true. This is only a sampling of what I cover with kids, all to make this point:
There’s plenty of evidence, but there’s not going to be 100 percent evidence. Thus, we do take a step of faith at some point. However, God has shown us He wants our faith to be a reasonable faith, and thus He has given us a mountain of evidence for why we can trust Him and His word.
So when we take that step of faith, it is in the same direction that the evidence is pointing.
3-Know why others don’t believe.
In his book, Know Why You Believe, Paul Little said he was often asked this question: “If Christianity is rational and true, why don’t most educated people believe it?” This was his response:
“Well the answer is simple. Most educated people don’t believe it for the same reason most uneducated people don’t believe it. That’s because they don’t want to believe it. It’s not a matter of brain power, for there are outstanding Christians in every field of the arts and sciences. Belief is ultimately a matter of the will.” 4
Our kids are especially vulnerable to the “pack” mentality. The largest number and loudest voices must be right, right?
Thus, discussing with them why more people don’t believe is an important point in strengthening their stance.
For this, I use Romans 1, 2 Timothy 4, and a little logic.
There’s a chain of wickedness and foolish thinking described in Rom. 1:18-25 where we see that those who suppress the truth of God’s existence end up claiming to be wise — but are in reality — fools. Their thinking becomes so futile they cannot know what truth is. What’s worse: they think lies are truth.
I point out that simply believing something doesn’t make it true; and so refusing to believe it doesn’t make it false.
Beyond that, I explain that God is not surprised that more don’t believe and even warned us to expect it. Through Paul, he described the type of people who only want to hear from teachers who affirm their desires — or “itchy ears.”
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but have itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Tim. 4:3-4, ESV)
And finally, I explain that a belief in God leads to an accountability to that God. It’s not in our sin nature to want accountability. We want to do our own thing if we have not received a regenerated heart from the Holy Spirit.
Our job is obedience; God’s job is everything else
We teach our kids that sharing the Gospel is simply an act of obedience. We aren’t in charge of the results.
This same thought process applies to defending our faith. I remind kids over and over:
“You aren’t out to ‘win’ people to believing in God. Scripture doesn’t call you to win an argument.
And just because you can’t prove it absolutely doesn’t mean you can’t believe it absolutely.
You are called to know the reasonableness of your faith and be able to give an answer, and then you respond in faith to the things that God has chosen to leave unanswered.”
In the end, we do our part and leave the results up to God. But while we are here on this earth, we can answer with confidence as Paul did before he was put to death for his beliefs:
“But I am not ashamed. I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Tim. 1:12, ESV)
- It’s Reasonable (Christi Gee): this is the course mentioned in the article, designed for parents to use in teaching kids the evidence for their faith. Through 9/22/17, PTL readers can get 25% off the personal license (for home use) using this code at checkout: PTL25
- Ready Reference Guide (PTL): Includes verses on becoming a Christian, verses to help you answer objections to Christianity, verses to help strengthen Christians, major prophecies and their fulfillment, and much, much more.
- Fearless (PTL): This series is designed to teach older children – and adults – why we share and how we can share and be FEARLESS. Each lesson includes a short video to watch, a lesson to review and a challenge.
- 3 ways to help your child embrace the Great Commission (PTL): article with practical strategies for different ages and links to some of PTL’s great resources for kids.
1 Huerta, Brandi “Are You Intimidated About Sharing Your Faith?” RickThomas.net, The Counseling Solutions Group, 23 Feb 2017, Web. 16 Aug 2017.
2 Silk, Joseph, The Big Bang. (New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2001), xv.
3 McFadden, Johnjoe, Quantum Evolution. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2002), 85.
4 Little, Paul, Know Why You Believe. (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Victor-Cook Communications Ministries, 1999), 16.
Written by Christi Gee
Christi Gee is the author of Revival: 6 Steps to Reviving Your Heart and Rebuilding Your Prayer Life. She’s also the creator of It’s Reasonable: a series of guided courses designed to help parents and teachers answer common questions about the Christian faith. She writes on her blog (ChristiGee.com) about parenting, faith through the challenges in life, and seeking God’s will.