I’d been waiting to write a post about our youngest son going off to college, but because of a ridiculous overreaction to a certain virus he’s not going. Instead he’s taking a couple classes online from where he was supposed to go, Florida International University, and a few from the local community college, also online. For someone who’s majoring in music this whole online thing can only go so far. My principle contention still holds, though. He is now in college, will be getting the same vacuous secular drivel as he would if he were there, and his faith will indeed endure and thrive. Having written a book on building an enduring faith in our children, I’ve encountered Christians who think having such confidence is not warranted. As you can guess, I disagree.
I’ve thought a lot about this, and concluded that the reason they believe such confidence is not warranted is because some Christian young people from perfectly fine Christian homes have gone off to college and abandoned their faith. This of course happens, but that doesn’t mean it has to happen. The logic goes something like this: because some kids have, it’s possible that any kids can. The implication is that no matter what we do or teach our kids, we just have to send them to the wolves and hope and pray for the best. They might disagree with my caricature of their position, but I’m not sure how you escape the conclusion.
Since I’ve written a book about this (which is still not available because of my ongoing self-publishing nightmare), I’ve made an extensive case as to why I think that we can trust that our children will not leave home and shipwreck their faith the first time they encounter the latest secular fad. Or even the fads that go back to Spinoza (d. 1677) or Hume (d. 1776) or Rousseau (d. 1778) or Kant (d. 1804) or Hegel (d. 1831) or Schleiermacher (d. 1834) or Marx (d. 1883) or Nietzsche (c. 1900) or Freud (d. 1939) or Camus (d. 1960) or Sartre (d. 1980) or Foucault (d. 1984) or Derrida (d. 2004), or any of the fashionable isms that infect our college campuses. Here’s the message: We have to defend our faith to our children, all the time. In a suffocatingly secular culture we have no choice. This means, of course, that we have to defend our faith to ourselves! We have to know that what we believe is true, and why the alternatives are not. This takes work. We must know why Christianity is by far the most plausible and reasonable explanation for reality, and why any other alternative is not. We need to know this. Guess work, and playing amateur Christianity is no longer an option. It’s time to step up to the Big Leagues.
I also believe that confidence our children will endure in the faith is biblical, and lack of confidence is not. I encourage you to read through the 377 references to child or children in the Bible. It is exceedingly clear that God doesn’t see raising up children in the faith as a crap-shoot. In fact, the expectation is that the parent’s faith is generational by design. I could quote verses, but I’m sure that’s not necessary. All Christians know this, but not all Christians believe God has provided everything they need to build an unbreakable, unbending, enduring faith in their children. But he has, in massive, copious quantities! This is why I quote C.S. Lewis on the cover of my book:
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
It’s really so easy to prove to our children, to persuade, and convince them, that Christianity is the only view of reality that makes any sense at all! And it makes sense, a la Lewis, of it all! Just because some Christian parents haven’t been able to persuade their kids, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It must be done, it can be done, because there is no greater responsibility and honor a Christian parent has than to help make, with the power of God’s Holy Spirit, life-long disciples of our children. And boy is it fun!