Are We Scaring Our Kids into Leaving the Faith?

"We often teach our youth that the ‘outside world’ is full of reprobate, evil monsters, and that the moment you graduate from Christian school and step onto a college campus or into a workplace, you’re going to be attacked from all sides--persecuted, mocked and ostracized." - Pursuing the Pursuer

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Bert Perry's picture

If indeed a significant portion of Christians are teaching their children as Berry describes, and I believe that is exactly the fact, we ought to ask whether these families are actually raising their children in a Christian home or actually teaching them the faith at all.  And that ought to raise further questions, too. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

G. N. Barkman's picture

Those who are regenerated will be kept by the power of God.  Some who have an empty profession will leave the faith because they never truly had it.  Others who have an empty profession will be brought to genuine faith by God's Spirit, in some cases, using their young adult questions and disappointments to drive them to Christ.

G. N. Barkman

Aaron Berry's picture

Although it is reassuring that God is sovereign over the hearts of man, and that ultimately each individual is responsible for what he/she does with the Gospel, if a parent finds out that his child had an empty profession, he should be willing to examine himself and see if he taught his child God's Word accurately and faithfully. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Bro. Barkman's statement is so true, and so necessary. That doesn't mean we shouldn't teach our kids a robust, intellectual faith. It does mean there is no such thing as "losing your faith." It doesn't exist. Soteriology matters! 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Aaron Berry's picture

TylerR wrote:

Bro. Barkman's statement is so true, and so necessary. That doesn't mean we shouldn't teach our kids a robust, intellectual faith. It does mean there is no such thing as "losing your faith." It doesn't exist. Soteriology matters! 

I agree with you. That's why there's an important nuance between "losing your faith" and "leaving the faith." The former is impossible; the latter happens all the time. One cannot lose their salvation, but many young people decide to reject the faith of their parents and their churches. 

John E.'s picture

For what it's worth, I caught the distinction between "losing" and "leaving." I thought it was a well chosen use of a specific wording.   

Thank you for your article. 

G. N. Barkman's picture

Meaning.....what?  Leaving the Christian faith?  Leaving the Baptist faith?  What is the faith of their parents and their churches?  

If this is talking about young Baptist adults becoming orthodox Presbyterians, I don't see that as a serious problem.  (I'd prefer that they remain Baptists.)  If this is talking about their walking away from church and Christianity, I see that as a major problem.  I don't see any difference between this and "losing" your faith.

G. N. Barkman

Aaron Berry's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

Meaning.....what?  Leaving the Christian faith?  Leaving the Baptist faith?  What is the faith of their parents and their churches?  

If this is talking about young Baptist adults becoming orthodox Presbyterians, I don't see that as a serious problem.  (I'd prefer that they remain Baptists.)  If this is talking about their walking away from church and Christianity, I see that as a major problem.  I don't see any difference between this and "losing" your faith.

No, I'm not talking about changing denominations. When I talk about "leaving the faith," I'm referring to the seed sown among rocky or thorny ground. They are in a context where they hear the Word, and receive the word, and even look like they're growing. But soon it is revealed that they had no root in themselves. Kids "leave Christianity" when they go off to college. That doesn't mean they're losing their salvation; it means that, while they were in the church they may have looked like a Christian and maybe even thought themselves to be a Christian, but once they go off into the world, it is revealed that they had no true faith. Our teaching as parents can lend itself to producing "rootless believers" if we're not careful.

G. N. Barkman's picture

That's what I thought, originally, but some of the comments on this thread made me wonder if I misunderstood.  I understood you to say that "leaving the faith" meant leaving their profession of faith because they were never truly born again.  I agree 100% with your above clarification.

G. N. Barkman