Jonathan De Beer | 23 June 2020 | 7 min read
We are living in interesting times. A world in which science and technology are exploding. Information is so accessible, it is at your fingertips. Because of this, children are being exposed to a lot more than previous generations. They are bombarded with mixed messages about God, religion, morality, and truth. Ideologies are embedded into TV shows, movies, music, podcasts and this is impacting what our children believe and how they see the world around them. In the article, A Practical Guide to Teaching Students Apologetics, Brett Kunkle says, “We need some major shifts in discipleship. Apologetics and worldview training for our students is no longer optional; rather, it’s essential to their discipleship under Jesus in the twenty-first century.” As Christians, whether we have our own children or not, we want to instill a solid foundation, on which they can stand, in the next generation. If we do not, they will be tossed to and fro by all the other competing worldviews.
I once heard this question posed to a room full of believers: Is Christianity true because you believe it? Or do you believe it because it is true? An Interesting questions that everyone needs to consider. Many people may say that faith is blind, that believing in God is like believing in fairy-tales. The Bible may be nice stories to tell children, but that’s where it ends.
Is our faith blind? Do we think Christianity is true just because we believe it?
If we want to give a solid foundation to the next generation, we need to understand that we believe Christianity because it is true and that there are good reasons why we can maintain this. It is the truth of who God is and what He has done through His Son, Jesus Christ that we impart to the next generation. I think there are two main areas where this needs to happen.
Firstly, parents need to teach their children. It is the duty of parents to train and equip their children to have a God-centered worldview. The Israelites were given exactly this instruction in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
“Israel, listen to me. The Lord is our God. The Lord is the one and only God. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength. The commandments I give you today must be in your hearts. Make sure your children learn them. Talk about them when you are at home. Talk about them when you walk along the road. Speak about them when you go to bed. And speak about them when you get up. Write them down and tie them on your hands as a reminder. Also tie them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses. Also write them on your gates.”
The biblical pattern is for parents to take ownership of teaching and shaping their children’s minds and hearts. It is up to us as parents to impart to our children a God-centered worldview. This is not because we want to brainwash them into believing what we believe. It is because it is true and want them to always seek out and follow the truth.
Secondly, the church plays a vital role through partnering with parents in laying that foundation. The beauty of being part of the church is that we are part of a community. Each person has something to offer. We all have different passions and skills and gifts. When we work together, we can use these to help build a solid foundation in the next generation.
The cold, hard truth is, sending our children to church once a week is never going to give them a deep understanding of Christianity. Remember the instruction about God’s law in Deuteronomy 6: “Make sure your children learn them. Talk about them when you are at home. Talk about them when you walk along the road. Speak about them when you go to bed. And speak about them when you get up.” This is much more than sending them somewhere for half an hour a week and thinking they will be good to go.
Academically we do our very best to instill a good foundation for our children so that they can read, write, and do maths. We send them to school five days a week for 12-14 years to help them get a good education. Yet, when it comes to teaching them about Christianity, we tend to think that half an hour a week will suffice. Building a solid foundation takes time and effort and the question is: Are we willing to put in the hard work of training and equipping the next generation to not just know what they believe, but why they believe it?
If Christianity is true, then it has eternal consequences. We want to obey our biblical responsibility of teaching and training the next generation so that they can have a God-centered worldview. Then, when they are faced with challenges to their faith, they have a solid foundation to stand on.
Crain, Natasha. Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help them Build a Lasting Faith. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2016.
Crain, Natasha. Talking with your Kids about God. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2017.
Ferer, Hilary Morgan. Mama Bear Apologetics. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2019.
McDowell, Sean & Wallace, J. Warner. So the Next Generation will Know: Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2019.
Wallace, J. Warner. Cold Case Christianity for Kids: Investigating Christianity with a Real Detective. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2016.
The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the employees and members of Ratio Christi South Africa.
 “A Practical Guide to Teaching Students Apologetics,” by Brett Kunkle, available at https://www.equip.org/article/a-practical-guide-to-teaching-students-apologetics/, accessed June 23, 2020.