The world has changed. Culture has shifted from operating by a Judeo-Christian worldview to operating by an anti-Christian worldview. The majority of our culture is starting to struggle with the unreasonable lengths that our anti-Christian worldview is leading us to such as trans surgeries for children and shutting down free speech, but we no longer have any moral basis to oppose these agendas. And in the midst of all of this, you are raising children!
It used to be that if you raised your children in church and they genuinely had a relationship with Jesus, loved the Bible, and believed it was God’s Word, you could be sure that they believed that abortion was wrong, any sex outside of the marriage of a man and a woman was wrong, and God created the world just like He said in Genesis. You can no longer bank on that. There have always been those inside Christian circles that tend to accommodate cultural views. However, as culture has moved completely away from Judeo-Christian ethics, the accommodations have become outlandish. Your children are growing up in a time where we have people standing in pulpits telling people that any form of “love” is good and God would endorse it. They are telling people that abortion is fine until the church gets serious about supporting these families “womb to tomb” (visit any Christian pregnancy center and you will be amazed at the long-term support they offer mothers and children). They are telling people that if they feel a certain way that’s how God made them, so they should pursue it. The concept that we are fallen and have deceitful hearts is absent. They are telling people that the Old Testament God was mean, Jesus brought a nicer way to connect with God. Anything He said that seemed harsh was just because He was dealing with that culture at that time, but now if He was here, He would be even more open to things He called wrong in the New Testament.
These are the kinds of reinterpretations of the Bible your kids are hearing. Your children live in the YouTube age. There may not be one preacher in your city who agrees with the things I just referenced, but there are a million of them on YouTube. Your bubble, whether that’s a conservative community or the decision to homeschool, is burst by the global influence of technology. So what’s my point? You have to talk to your kids constantly about cultural issues from a biblical perspective. You can’t just teach them the Bible and assume they will know how to apply it to cultural issues. There are too many people misusing the Bible and leading them to unbiblical conclusions to ignore these areas. So what do we do?
Talk about everyday situations and news in light of biblical principles.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” The same advice that God gave the people of Israel thousands of years ago is relevant to us today. We need to be having constant conversations about the issues our kids face and the issues going on in culture. Talk about what is happening on the news from a biblical perspective. Talk about how your children should deal with people who disagree with the Bible or live lifestyles that are contrary to the Bible. If your children do not interact much with the broader culture, you may need to be intentional about bringing up scenarios, discussing what you are facing in the work world, or watching the news together, so that you have the opportunity to instill this practical biblical information into their hearts. One of the worst things you can do is shelter them from everything and then let them just figure it out when they launch into the world at 18.
Bring up and analyze wrong biblical interpretations of cultural issues.
This will take some preparation on your part. However, you not only need to talk about the biblical worldview on cultural topics, but you also need to bring up the arguments that others are making against the biblical view and show the flaws in interpretation. You need to bring up the passages that some people are using to justify abortion and show why that interpretation is false. You need to walk your children through Romans 1 and explain why progressive reinterpretations of that passage do not match what is in the text. You need to break down the arguments that some are making for socialism and show them why the early church in Acts does not support it. You cannot launch your kids into the world without letting them hear and analyze these unbiblical arguments. If you do, you stand a very good chance of them hearing these arguments and wondering why their parents and their bible-thumping church never told them about these interpretations. They will assume that these facts were hidden from them and that they are now seeing it more clearly. This is becoming the #1 path leading young people from Christian backgrounds to walk away from their faith. The first step is to move toward a more progressive, open-minded form of “Christianity.” But the next step is usually walking away from Christianity altogether (technically they walked away from Christianity on the first step). There are several great resources to help you get equipped for these conversations. My book “Christ in Culture” is designed to be easy to read and understand. It might be a good starting point.
Make a plan for the College years
There are stages when parents should be on high alert and should be extremely intentional. High School and beginning to drive would be examples. But, the decision about where to go to College and how to navigate the worldviews they will be exposed to during that time is by far the biggest danger zone. I say “make a plan” for a reason. I’m not going to tell you what decisions you should make. We made our decisions with our children, and we have zero regrets about them. I don’t think you have to make the same decisions to get the same results. However, you need to have a clear plan. You need to think through the environments in which you are placing them, their abilities to stand on their faith in those situations, and how influenced they will be by their peers who may have an unbiblical perspective. You need to think through how you are going to check in on their hearts and see what they are thinking as they take that Philosophy class. You need to account for the two biggest threats to their faith in the College years - False teaching and groupthink. Unless they are in a conservative Christian College or University (you need to investigate to see if what they tell you on the website is what is happening in the classroom), all subjects will more than likely be taught from an unbiblical worldview. You and your kids will need to figure out how to navigate that. How will they keep a clear biblical view when history is laced with Marxism, Biology is laced with evolution, and Psychology is laced with humanism and gender identity? Many times these worldviews will not be stated, or may even be couched in what appears to be biblical values. “If you are a Christian, you should want equal outcomes for everyone.” “Love is love.” At times the lies will be hard to detect.
The other threat is groupthink. “Groupthink” is a term that was inspired by George Orwell’s novel “1984.” The term was coined by Irving Janis in 1971. The concept is that if enough people go along with an idea, it will be easy for others to ignore their concerns and reason and follow along. Creativity and personal responsibility are discouraged, thus leading entire groups of people to make destructive decisions. The College environment is a prime place for your children to be swept up into wrong thinking because it feels like the entire world around them is totally bought into that line of thought. You have to have a plan to combat that force. Where will your children find and fellowship with others who see the Bible accurately? Where will they have an escape from the echo chamber?
When I say that there needs to be a plan, I don’t mean that you should just come up with a plan and tell them to follow it. They should be a part of researching and designing that plan. When you visit a school, they should be a part of asking questions, investigating organizations they could join, and figuring out how to find roommates that are compatible with their views. This can’t be a hover parent project, where you do it all and then expect them to follow your plan. This needs to be their desire, and they need to participate in the plan. One thing is clear - sending your children off to a secular College without a plan often does not go well.
Teach your kids how to influence and lead others spiritually.
On the surface, this point seems out of place. I assure you it is not. It is a key component to raising kids who are solid in their biblical beliefs. Why? When children are all-in on connecting with and reaching others, it forces them to defend biblical views. It publicly declares which team they are on. If they are leading others, it forces them to dive deeper into why they believe what they believe.
Establishing a biblical worldview for your kids is one of the most powerful things you can do. It gives them an accurate road map to the world. God defines reality. When we look to the Bible to show us how things should work, we are seeing the world accurately, which allows us to navigate it wisely. The world continues to offer other maps, but, just as the Bible predicts, those maps all lead to destruction.