It’s no secret that young people are leaving the church in droves and that the main reasons they give for why they’ve come to reject Christianity are intellectual barriers to faith.
It’s also no secret that the most effective way to address questions and objections to the faith is to answer those concerns head-on (cf. 2 Cor. 10:3-5).
But where should we start providing these answers? Through ministries like Ratio Christi on the college or university campus? At youth group? In Sunday school or the pastor’s sermon?
We absolutely do need ministries like Ratio Christi to help equip our young people. Youth leaders and Sunday school teachers should be teaching their students how to defend the faith. And pastors need to incorporate an apologetics element into their sermons.
However, the most fundamental place to ground our kids in Christian truth with credible answers to any questions or outright objections they may have concerning said truth is at home.
Training Up Our Children
As parents, it’s our job to raise up our children in the faith by teaching them the gospel and the rest of God’s Word. Instructing fathers on how to raise their children, the apostle Paul says to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). This is, of course, reminiscent of God’s words to his people which he delivered through Moses: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut. 6:6-7).
By way of encouragement, Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Of course, proverbs aren’t guarantees for life but are more like general observations about how things usually work out. But even with that qualification, this verse is still a huge encouragement to parents to put in the necessary work to raise their children “in the way they should go.”
But what if our children become unconvinced that Christianity is the right way? What if they have questions and even objections to the faith we’ve raised them in? Should it also be our job as parents to answer those questions and objections?
Grounding Them in the Truth
All Christians are called to have a reasonable faith and to engage in the reasoned defense of the faith, which naturally involves answering questions and objections about the faith (2 Cor. 10:3-5; Col. 4:6; 1 Pet. 3:15).
But a person won’t know how to effectively do so unless they’re taught. As the Ethiopian eunuch replied to Philip upon being asked if he understood the scriptures he was reading, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:31). And if one must be trained to understand the faith, how much more must one be trained to defend it?
So, just as it’s the pastor’s duty to ground his spiritual children in the truth by preaching and defending the word to the church (Titus 1:5, 7), so too is it our duty as parents to ground our actual children in the truth by teaching and defending the word in our homes.
And this is no task to shy away from but one to fully embrace, for just as it is a noble thing for our children to ask honest questions and seek out answers to determine whether or not Christianity is actually true (Acts 17:11), so too is it noble for us to walk alongside our sons and daughters as they do so and to help them find the answers they’re looking for.
Call to Parents
If we as parents put in the time and effort to couple solid Bible-teaching with quality Bible-defending in our own homes, then we might just make the crucial difference in whether our own children get firmly grounded in the truth, or else join the rest of those who have fallen away from the faith. The way I see it, we can’t afford not to do so, for we’re dealing with matters of eternal consequence.
What’s more, speaking from my own experience of regularly working with young people in virtually every age bracket, they want to have these conversations. They personally need to know why they should believe what we’re raising them to believe. They don’t want a blind faith, and we shouldn’t want that for them either. So, if you haven’t already started having those conversations with your kids, start having them now.
And as you begin doing so, remember that you’re not alone and that help is available. Quality apologetics resources have never been more accessible than they are today. Take advantage of those at your disposal, including right here at Ratio Christi Canada. Explore our blog posts, read our free e-books, watch our videos, and attend our events. We’re here to help equip you for the parenting task at hand.
We at Ratio Christi Canada want to see the reversal of the fall-away rate of young people from the church.
We want to see a revival where more and more young hearts and minds across our nation are dramatically transformed by the saving truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But grounding our kids in that truth begins in the home. It begins with you.