After a church presentation recently where I talked about apologetics for children, a mom asked me a great question: “How soon should we start?”
“As early as possible,” was my answer.
I wish I had added, “And who better to take the lead on this than Mom?”
The hours Mom spends with children in car pool, at sports events, or helping with homework provide a natural environment in which to talk about apologetic issues. Worldview is an example.
Worldview is the set of basic beliefs an individual uses to process the most important questions of life: Who am I? How do I understand my world? Why are there so many problems in this world? What is the solution to those problems?
Worldview determines the actions we take, decisions we make, and the values we hold. Similar to a computer’s processing program, worldview hums in the background working to make sense of our life experiences.
A robust, consistent Christian worldview can stave off toxic cultural forces as a child grows. In a self-focused culture that devalues the unborn, blurs gender lines, and struggles to find principles worth living by, a robust Christian worldview is refreshing and holistic. In the Christian worldview, life has meaning because each of us is made in God’s image.
So, how can a mom help her child develop a strong Christian worldview?
The simple acroustic TEAM (no deep meaning—the word simply works) gives tips for laying in place the basic building blocks of a consistent worldview. Tips 1-3 help show children there is good reason to be confident in the Christian faith. Tip 4 underscores that the Christian worldview provides more satisfying answers than any other worldview.
- Trust. Use the word trust when talking to children. Tell them you trust the Bible because deep scholarship affirms it. Tell them you trust God because you have learned from experience that he directs, guides, and communicates. Culture misunderstands “faith” and wrongly defines it as believing in something without evidence. When we say trust, we recapture the word’s true meaning as something built on facts, proven relationships, and truth. Trust is a word culture and children understand.
- Evidence. Show children that the Christian faith is grounded in evidence. Unlike other religions, the Christian faith encourages its followers to think and investigate (I Thessalonians 5:21; Acts 17:11). Tell your children that you are a Christian because the evidence shows it to be true. Many good apologetic resources are available today to equip parents to defend the faith. J. Warner Wallace’s books are a great place to start.
- Ask. Allow your children to ask any question. Studies show that many who leave the faith do so because church leaders couldn’t answer their questions, or told them simply to “have faith.” The Christian faith is founded on fact. Answers are available. Help your children find them.
- Meaning. Today’s culture is starving for meaning. Show them how rich the Christian worldview is compared to other worldviews. Naturalism and evolution, for example, lead to a dead end. If humans are the result of blind evolutionary forces, the result of blind chance, then humans have no real value. Why sacrifice time and energy to help the difficult-to-love person if evolution is true? If this life is all there is, why not live only for self? Some have recognized this, and given in to despair. Naturalism cannot satisfy the human heart’s deepest longings. It cannot give meaning to life.
Facts alone are not enough to lead a child to Christ. God must do a work in the child’s heart. But, helping children see that the Christian faith is evidence-based and provides meaningful answers to life can quiet cultural voices and tune their hearts to God’s voice.
** This was originally carried at Geaux Therefore, the official blog of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, on Sept. 3, 2019.