I had a wonderful experience, and privilege, last week, of being on a podcast with a couple British lads discussing my international best seller, The Persuasive Christian Parent (I’ll do another post about the discussion, great fun). In the podcasts I do, I always point out that this is not a parenting book, but an apologetics book for parents. It is not do a, b, and c, and you can get results x, y, and z, or 10 steps to accomplish this or that with your kids, and so on. I’ve never been a fan of such books, on parenting or not. Thinking about this for the last several days, I realized I could boil the purpose of the book down to one. It came to me as I thought about my discussion with my two new British friends, Dan and Phil, and as I struggled to tell them what the book is really all about. This responsibility can be boiled down to this: We must teach our kids that Christianity is The Truth. Everything else is fluff. Of course the latter assertion is over the top hyperbole, but it makes my point. If we don’t major on the former, the latter might not matter. Why?

In my (very long) discussion with Dan and Phil, they asked in various ways and on various topics what parents can and should do to basically ensure to the best of their knowledge and ability their children stay firmly grounded in their Christian faith all their lives. I felt like I got to meandering a bit on this because most Christian parents pretty much all over the world are not fanatically engaged in apologetics like I am, or Dan and Phil. Do we insist these parents get on the ball and start studying C.S. Lewis, or Tim Keller, or J.P. Moreland, and William Lange Craig, et al, or study the history of philosophy and Western civilization, or listen to podcasts obsessively (like I do)? To put it simply, that ain’t gonna happen. I’d love it to. I wish God gave every Christian the intellectual curiosity and love for learning he, by his mercy and grace and goodness, gave me. This was the tension I was feeling as the guys probed for how all of this could apply to “average Christian parents” (a phrase they did not use). It got me thinking.

Dan pointed out that you have parents who don’t know the first thing about apologetics, raise their kids in a loving, committed, and faithful Christian household, and the kids remain faithful Christians all their lives. Indeed that is true. Or people like me who grew up in a home that was nominally Catholic, and I became a total Jesus freak. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not letting Christian parents off the hook because the Bible doesn’t let them, let us, off the hook. Raising our children to be faithful followers of Jesus is our number one priority in life, however that might be done. My struggle, though, and why I wrote the book, is how do we do that in an age that is so completely, suffocatingly secular? That’s why I think it’s helpful boiling it down to parents needing to teach, persuade, and convince their Children Christianity is true. That can be done in an infinite variety of ways, but when parents understand that, and raise their kids in light of that, doing it will become an priority. Looking back, I realize this is why when I started writing the book my first chapter was going to be, “It’s All About Truth.” The young lady who inspired the book was raised in what appeared a seriously committed Christian home, went off to college and abandoned her faith. In her reverse testimony, she never once indicated her Christian faith or her new faith (which she called agnosticism) had anything to do with truth.

I will mention one biblical imperative that highlights Christian parents’ responsibility to do what I am suggesting. We read this famous passage (especially to those “into” apologetics) from I Peter 3:15: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” And anyone who has kids knows they ask questions! Lots of them. We must, no qualifications, be prepared to answer them. That’s not me saying it; that’s God. Here’s the deal. If what we believe is not The Truth, then, as Paul says, our hope is in vain, worthless. In fact, we are to be pitied. The reason it is The Truth is because a man died on a Roman cross 2,000 years ago, and came back from the dead. C. S. Lewis in his book Miracles points out the centrality of the Resurrection to the early church and the subsequent growth of Christianity (into a world transforming religion I might add; lies do not do that). No actual, physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead, no Christianity. He says of the earliest Christians, “to preach Christianity  meant primarily to preach the Resurrection.” And, “The Resurrection is the central theme in every Christian sermon in Acts.”

That is a remarkable fact we don’t contemplate enough. It either happened, or it did not, and there is a remarkable amount of evidence to believe it beyond a shadow of a doubt. When we do, when we know it and the Christian faith upon which it is based is actually The Truth, it is far easier to pass that faith on to our children in a secular culture that constantly challenges that in innumerable ways. Once they buy that, I’m convinced the rest will follow.

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