What Kids Need to Defend their Faith
by Bryan Osborne
For 13 years Bryan taught Bible history in a public school and for nearly 20 years he has been teaching Christians to defend their faith. Bryan's love of the Gospel and passion for revealing the truth of God's Word is contagious! You will love his practical, cutting-edge talks that reveal the importance of apologetics in evangelism and in equipping today's youth and families! Answersingenesis.org; facebook.com/aigBryanOsborne; Twitter, @aigBryanOsborne
Two-thirds. That’s the average percentage of church-going kids who walk away from the faith after graduating high school. Most of these kids begin their questioning and departure in their early teens and will not return (Already Gone, Answers in Genesis).
To say our culture is increasingly hostile towards Christianity, and our kids require equipping to defend their faith, is a colossal understatement. A mere glance at the pervasive confusion, aggression, and indoctrination brimming in our current society is enough to cause the average Christian leader/parent to spontaneously sing one of my favorite songs, “Even so come, Lord Jesus come!” But as we wait for the glorious return of our Savior, how do we equip our kids to obey 1 Peter 3:15 and effectively battle until that day?
Answer? In an age where seeing is believing, kids today need to see that God’s Word is real … that biblical truth is tangible, alive, and connects to the actual world (Proverbs 1:7, Colossians 2:3, Psalm 119:160).
For kids to be ready to share and defend their faith in this era, it is essential that they grasp the accuracy and authority of the Bible in all of reality: past, present, and future.
The Bible’s Past Reality
The first attack on God’s Word can be traced all the way back to Genesis 3. When Lucifer said to Eve, “Did God really say?” The apparent motive behind his subtle question was to encourage Eve to doubt God’s Word, leading her to deny and defy God’s Word. And that’s exactly what happened. The scheme was so successful; he’s used it ever since—different forms but the same basic attack. Thus the warning in 2 Corinthians 11:3 to be on the alert, that the ploy the devil used on Eve he will employ against us.
In this era of history, it would seem that biblical authority is under heaviest bombardment in regards to the Bible’s teachings about the past. “Did God really say” He created all things by His Word in six days and rested on the seventh (Genesis 1, Exodus 20:11, Hebrews 11:3)? “Did God really say” He created Adam from dust, Eve from his side, and marriage at the beginning (Genesis 2, Matthew 19: 4-6)? “Did God really say” His original creation was “very good” and man’s sin brought death and the enemy into this world (Genesis 1:31; Genesis 3, Romans 5, 1 Corinthians 15)? “Did God really say” He sent a global flood as judgement and only eight people survived (Genesis 6-9, 2 Peter 2:5)? And on the list could go.
Nowadays, evolution, ape-men, big bang, and millions of years are taught as historical fact. But if those things are true, the Bible’s history is false. If the Bible’s history is false, why would you trust what it says about marriage, gender, sanctity of life, or eternal salvation? Why trust any of the Bible’s doctrines since they’re all directly or indirectly rooted in the foundational history of Genesis?
And per the devil’s devious intent, two extraordinary things have taken place in the attack of this age. Most Christians haven’t recognized the onslaught and many have unwittingly aided the enemy.
You see, as the ideas of evolution and millions of years increased in popularity, many Christians quickly retreated from the clear history of Genesis. Genesis 1-11 became symbolic, allegorical, spiritualized. It became trendy to reinterpret Genesis in light of man’s “new” ideas. As a result, this mantra began to dominate Christianity. “It doesn’t matter what you believe about Genesis or how God created. You can reinterpret Genesis 1-11 with evolution and millions of years. What the Bible says about the beginning isn’t important and you don’t have to believe it; just be sure you believe the rest of it, especially that bit about Jesus!”
And of course trusting in Jesus is of utmost importance; but the enemy understands that the Gospel is rooted in the Word of God. And if he can get people to doubt and reject the beginning of the Bible, why would they trust anything else it says. If God’s Word is not the authority on all things, it’s not the authority on anything.
It was at that time that the Bible was detached from the real world and past reality. Sure it was given a “head nod” in spiritual things, but the material world and its history were handed over to man. And according to recent research, it’s this disconnect that’s the foremost cause for two-thirds exiting the church. Recent generations have logically concluded that if the Bible is wrong about the origin of the observed realities of this world, why on earth trust what it says about immaterial things like morality or salvation.
The incredible irony in all this is that science is only possible because the biblical worldview is true. On top of that, genuine “scientific knowledge” repudiates evolutionary doctrine and provides powerful confirmation of the Bible’s recorded history.
A few examples. In genetics, it is now recognized that all humans are 99.9% genetically identical. The 0.1% genetic difference is easily explained from two genetically diverse founders (Adam and Eve) of the human race.” We find huge fossil graveyards with billions of fossils. But as a general rule, for something to fossilize it must be buried rapidly, deeply, catastrophically, to protect it from scavengers, bacteria, oxygen, and overall decomposition. Also, the rock layers around the world are enormous; often covering one or even multiple continents. These rock layers are stacked on top of each other like pancakes with little to no evidence of slow erosion or bioturbation (organisms reworking the sediment). The rocks and fossils scream global flood. Numerous dinosaur bones have been discovered with soft tissue, blood vessels and red blood cells still intact. Fantastic forensic evidence tells us they’re at most thousands of years old. In biology, all that’s ever observed with natural selection and mutations is one kind producing variations of the same kind. Dogs make dogs and cats make cats, just like the Bible prescribes in Genesis 1.
Teaching these sorts of answers equips us and our kids to stand against the major assault of our day. They connect the Bible to the physical world, confirm the truth of its past reality and make Scripture come alive in the minds and hearts of all believers!
The Bible’s Present Reality
It would seem from research and general observation, that in America, although a vast majority claim Christianity, only a fraction consistently practice a biblical worldview.
How can this be? Without diving into a comprehensive treatise on soteriology or sanctification let’s simply say this: If Christ is Lord and the Bible is His revealed, eternal, perfect Word, then the Bible is to be the ultimate authority on everything. And Christians should joyfully strive to follow and obey it in every way. The Bible is to be an ever-present reality in our lives. Our views and practices on all facets of life are to bow to the surpassing glory and authority of God’s Word.
The youngsters in our homes and ministries today don’t care so much about what we say we believe, but they’re powerfully influenced by what they see we believe. What reality really is real to us? What is so genuinely true for us that we passionately invest our time, talents, and treasure for the sake of that truth?
As we journey with our kids, where do they see us turning for answers, instruction, guidance, direction, purpose, healing, joy, encouragement, wisdom, and truth? Is the Bible’s veracity so tangible to us that its fragrance is undeniable even in the nooks and crannies of our lives?
If we long to see the next generation exude a passionate commitment to the Word of God, ready and willing to stand against the blitzkrieg of this age, they must first see the Bible’s present reality in us!
The Bible’s Future Reality
Finally, for our kids to sell out for biblical truth and the Gospel, they need to see the authentic reality of the Bible’s future. How? In us. One convincing way to demonstrate this truth is the essence of our lives ought to reflect a real anticipation and preparation for the approaching eternity (Hebrews 13:14).
Where do the kids under our leadership observe us storing our treasures? On earth where moth and rust destroys? Or is eternity so real to us that we become “heavenly hoarders” (Matthew 6:19-21)? Are we joyfully consumed with living for Christ today in light of our eternity with Him tomorrow? Is there a seriousness in the allocation of life’s resources knowing that all will give an account for the “talents” assigned to us (Matthew 25:14-30)?
Does the attitude of our lives embody the glorious hope and truth of ultimate victory in Christ? Especially in this day and age, in a culture where our sins are bearing fruit, Christians are increasingly persecuted, outside threats to the country’s safety are growing, and our political system … let’s just say it’s hemorrhaging. It all looks bad, and it is. But we have a sovereign God who has overcome the world (John 16:33). He is directing all things to the perfect completion of His preordained, eternal will for His glory and our good (Psalm 103:19, Revelation 21-22)! Our victory is sure in Christ! Are we living like it?
And do our kids see us living with the weight that every human being has an eternal soul that will spend eternity somewhere? How can people repent and believe if they have not heard from one who has obeyed the call to deliver the message (Romans 10:14-15, 17)? Is that truth so vivid to us that above all things we are compelled to advance the Gospel for His glory?
Let’s Bring this Puppy Home
God’s Word warns against the captivation of our minds with earthly thinking and commands that Christians make every thought obedient to Christ (Colossians 2:8, 2 Corinthians 10:5). It has been the dismissing of these imperatives that has led to the injection of man’s ideas into God’s Word. Consequently, biblical authority has been abandoned in key areas and the Bible untethered from the real world. The ramifications are seen both in and outside the church.
For our kids to be emboldened to proclaim and defend their faith, they must recognize they serve a God who was and is and is to come … that our God is the Alpha and Omega and His Word is the key to the past, present, and future.
They need to see the reality of God’s Word in God’s world and in God’s people.
And for our kids, in such a time as this, seeing is believing is defending.