“Just have faith.”

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That’s the pat answer that a young man kept getting from his parents whenever he would ask questions concerning the Christian faith. But his parents, who were active leaders in their church, just kept on saying, “Just have faith.” Not satisfied with that answer, he turned to the Internet. Sadly, in his search for answers, he ended up with the wrong ones from the wrong sources. Now, he is an atheist. 

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What went wrong? Evangelical author Nancy Pearcey lamented, “It’s a familiar but tragic story that devout young people, raised in Christian homes, head off to college and abandon their faith. Why is this pattern so common? Largely because young believers have not been taught how to develop a Biblical worldview.” (As quoted in Ravi Zacharias’ “Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend”) To say “Just believe!” to a person who’s struggling with doubt about why we believe what we believe is a cop-out. It’s a wrong view of faith. Faith is not belief without reason. It may go beyond reason but it does not go against reason. We have reasons to believe. Our faith is reasonable. In fact 1 Peter 3:15 commanded us, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (NIV) However, it appears his parents were not that prepared. Pearcey added, “If all we give them is a ‘heart religion’ it will not be strong enough to counter the lure of attractive but dangerous ideas. Young believers also need a ‘brain’ religion… Training young people to develop a Christian mind is no longer an option; it is part of their necessary survival equipment.” (Ibid) 

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Doubts are not necessarily disagreements against faith but actually doorways towards faith. So, when our children ask us questions about our faith, please don’t even try to shut them off by saying, “Just have faith!” It is really a teaching moment. If you don’t know the answer, search for the answer with them. Dr. Richard Howe,  a writer in Christian apologetics and a former college professor, wrote in the “American Family Association Journal,” “Parents should try to make sure that their children are grounded in apologetics [defending the faith] before sending them off… This does not mean that the students would have to have all the answers before they go. But it does mean that if the need aries for an answer, they will know where to go and with whom to consult when the intellectual battle starts to rage. And it most certainly will rage.” (Ibid) It’s our responsibility as parents to teach the faith to our children (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). At best, the teaching ministries in our church will only supplement and complement what you are teaching your children.

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Brethren, let us give our children a “brain” faith as well as a “heart” faith.

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