Passing on Your Faith
|image courtesy of Philo Nordlund via flickr|
What does it look like to pass on our faith to our children? Of course we must teach them with our words, but there has to be more. Children see right through a shallow and empty faith; they might reject their parents’ “faith” in the short-term, but more definitely when they leave the home.
I’m not saying that parents have to be perfect (or my kids would have no hope at all!). The overall question to ask is whether the general direction in life is that which matches up with the gospel. Am I being changed (a work of the Spirit), am I trying to change myself (through my own power), or am I not changing at all though I say I am a Christian? The first is a what a Christ-follower looks like, but the last is the mark of a hypocrite.
Paul Martin gives an excerpt from a commentary on Hebrews. In this commentary by Rick Phillips, we see examples of how our kids can see Jesus’ work in our lives — repentance, forgiveness, giving, and graciousness. You can read the excerpt here.
This mindset is slightly different to others I’ve come across. For example, although I have not read Already Gone (by Ken Ham, Britt Beemer, and Todd Hillard), I’ve read some articles (like this one) and promotional material that has given me an understanding of the book’s premises. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the authors make a case that so many people “leave the faith” when they leave the home because parents and churches compromise on the topic of creation and evolution.
I don’t buy it.
Teaching that God’s word is inerrant, infallible, and inspired is important, and this applies in the areas of history, science, morals, sociology, and more. However, whether a church or parent spends a significant part of their time teaching Creationism is not the main factor of how strong a child’s faith remains. (For the record, I do believe that God created everything with His word, and that the earth is young, on the order of thousands of years.)
A student who appears to fall away from faith doesn’t do so because he is all of the sudden confronted with academics who present a compelling case against God. He “falls away” (if that can be done) because he never really owned the faith himself. While he went to church and did good deeds and learned the right things, there was no heart-level, inside-out life change.
A bigger issue than whether his parents taught him Creationism is if he saw his parents live sacrificially, committed to the gospel and the local church.
A bigger issue than whether his church had classes about “Why Evolution Is Not Biblical” is whether he had mentors who loved him, listened to him, and called him out to put Christ first.
A bigger issue than how evolution changes organisms over time is how the gospel changes you over time.
I remember inviting a college friend and teammate to a campus ministry event. He replied, “I spent 18 years of my parents making me go to church. Now that I’m out of the house, I’m never going to church again.” Without judging his parents, I wonder how much life change their son could see in them.
Our kids don’t just need our preaching. They need us to continually pursue and submit to Christ.
We don’t just need evidence for God. We need evidence of a life that has been changed by the Holy Spirit.
- “How Do We Know That God Is Real?”
- Biblical Parenting vs Gospel Parenting
- Postmodern Parent
- Don’t Be a Seasonal Christian Parent
- Love Jesus, Love Your Kids
- “Prayer Back in Schools” Is NOT the Answer
- The Head, Heart, and Hands of the Gospel
- Is It OK to “Accept Jesus in Your Heart”?
- Made in Your Image
- Big Truths: On a Mission Like Jesus
- How Would You Define a Perfect Parent?
- Write to Your Kids, in a Bible