Written By: Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School
Do you remember the Toys R Us commercial from the ‘80’s that featured child stars Jenny Lewis, Jaleel White, and Lindsay Price?
I can still hear the music in my head and recite the lines. They repeated over and over again, “I don’t want to grow up, I just want to be a Toys R Us kid!”
Have you ever felt that way? Do you feel that way about your own children? Tricia and I often talk about our fears and worries as we watch our kids grow up and enter a world that has so many challenges.
However, since growing up is inevitable, we have decided to be students of the culture and prepare our children for what they will be facing. Most importantly, we talk with each of them about the thought patterns of our culture and how they must strengthen their own minds and hearts to be able to withstand the pressures they will face.
Based on research from the Barna Group, I want to answer three questions that I think will help you engage and equip your children to understand an increasingly secular society.
Do Christians practice what they believe?
The research says that more than seven out of 10 adults describe themselves as “Christian” and more than six out of 10 Americans say they are “deeply spiritual.” However, when we look at the self-reported statistics related to beliefs and practices, we find that there is a significant disparity. One of the most striking areas of dissonance is the belief in absolute truth. A surprisingly large percentage of those who call themselves Christians don’t believe in absolute truth.
Those who call themselves Christ-followers must understand the dangers of moral relativism. Without an objective standard we are hopelessly lost. The Bible is the ultimate standard for right and wrong. Whether it makes us feel good or not, God’s Word teaches that adultery is sin, that cheating on our taxes is theft, and that the only way to get to heaven is through faith in Jesus Christ.
How secular is the younger generation?
Your kids and mine are part of the most secular generation on record. Almost half of Mosaics (school-age generation) qualify as post-Christian. While previous generations had some context for Christian teaching, and were easier to reach with the Gospel, the current generation has little to no Christian context. Our children will not be able to rely on the tools of the past to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ.
What steps can I take to prepare my child to live in a post-Christian culture?
First, engage with them around the Bible curriculum at The First Academy. Ask them to explain what they’re learning at school. Memorize the Bible verses with them and look up their meaning using an online resource like BibleStudyTools.com or BibleGateway.com.
Second, begin to read good material yourself. An easy-to-use resource for moms and dads is Breakpoint.org. This daily commentary is a tremendously useful tool in helping us explore how our faith interacts with the contemporary culture.
Third, get involved in a church that teaches the Bible. If you have a home church but haven’t been faithful in attending, renew your commitment today by going to church this week. If you don’t have a home church, then come visit us at First Baptist Church Orlando. You can find out more at firstorlando.com.
Steve D. Whitaker, Ph.D.
Head of School