According to William Wilberforce¹,
“authentic faith cannot be inherited”…
For more use the DOOR.
This means that we have to help our kids and grandkids “grow into full ownership of their faith,” especially in this post-Christian age.
According to Travis, in her excellent overview (which we’ll consider a practical “source,”), she presents 6 ways to go about this. We’ll quote several items from her article which we recommend.
“It’s not a question of if our children’s views will be challenged, but when. My kids both encountered objections from non-Christian peers before the age of 10, and they’re both homeschooled. I’m hearing from public-schooling families that kids tend to start talking to each other about religious beliefs somewhere between third and fifth grade. How should they respond when they encounter a skeptic who thinks the Bible is a collection of legends and fables? That the exclusivity of Christianity is intolerant? That Jesus never existed? Or that modern science has disproven Christianity once and for all? (Incidentally, my nine-year-old son heard one of these from a friend less than two weeks ago.)”
» “My older son was only seven years old the first time he questioned the truth of Christianity. Out of the blue one day he asked, “Mommy, how do we know all this stuff in the Bible isn’t just made up? How do we even know God is real?” In response, I gave him a simplified version of the kalam cosmological argument which explains that anything with a beginning must have a cause. Since the universe itself had a beginning and contains all matter and space-time, its cause must have been something immaterial, timeless, and very powerful—a characterization that fits beautifully with how Christianity defines God.”
» “…most preteen children can grasp basic apologetics.” [We should not underestimate that.]
» “…As you think about where to start, first prepare yourself. Look for beginner’s resources like Lee Strobel’s Case for Christianity Answer Book or Doug Groothuis’s Christian Apologetics, a textbook that covers a broad range of topics. However, don’t expect to buy age-appropriate books and let them do the job for you. It’s important that you as the parent or teacher have a broader understanding of the subject matter than what the books or curricula present so that you’re prepared to facilitate additional discussion.”
» “…anticipate the so-called ‘big questions’: How do we know that God exists? How do we know the Bible is trustworthy? How do we understand the problem of evil and suffering? Does science conflict with what the Bible teaches about Creation? Is it reasonable to believe that Jesus really rose from the dead? And what happens to people who die without ever hearing about Jesus? Those are some of the common questions that kids ask during the elementary school years.
» “…Recent studies indicate that this “borrowed faith” phenomenon has played a role in the alarming rate at which youth are leaving the church. However, the problem of borrowed faith isn’t new and nor are the solutions to it.
“How do we stop the gap? First, we need to equip our kids with extrabiblical evidence, including writings from antiquity, scientific evidence, and archaeological evidence. Second, we need to equip them with critical thinking skills, which will help our kids detect and avoid poor reasoning and be able to analyze claims made for and against Christianity. Third, we need to teach them the basics of logical argumentation, since some of the best arguments for and against Christian truth claims are philosophical and often presented in logical forms.
“If you’re looking for resources for home or classroom settings, I recommend Lee Strobel’s Case for a Creator and Case for Christ, which come in both kid and student editions; The Thinking Toolbox by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn; and William Lane Craig’s Learning Logic…”
There’s much more. You can read samples from CT for free. Getting an electronic or paper or paper/electronic subscription to CT is a smart investment.
¹All material in quotes is from Melissa Cain Travis’s article “Six Ways to Inspire Confident, Contagious Faith in Yours Kids” in the Sept. 2017 issue of Christianity Today.