Everyone in the family was asleep but me and my youngest daughter. We were driving home from a visit to my in-laws.
With a quick prayer, here’s how I answered my young teen:
- I believe the evidence for a Creator is clear. The creation is too complex, and living beings too complicated to be explained by evolution.
- If a Creator made the world out of nothing, then there is no other miracle that would be too difficult for that Creator. Thus, the Bible’s miracles are possible.
- If this Creator made me reasoning and curious, I believe He made me want to know about Him. Thus, we should have stories of His dealings with men down through the ages.
- Of all the stories (religions), only Christianity explains the world I see. I see horrible sin, so I know that sin exists. I see sin in myself, so I know that I am sinful. I see an amazing earth that spins just the right distance from the sun to make liquid water possible, and an atmosphere of just the right mixture to sustain life. Hundreds of other facts prove our Creator is good. But my sin has separated me from Him. I need a way to be reconciled to Him.
- The way of reconciliation is credibly supplied in Jesus. Because miracles are possible, I am willing to read the New Testament accounts of Jesus and consider them credible. Since the writers of the Gospels do not make themselves out to be superheroes, these writings ring true. Since the followers of Jesus claimed He rose from the grave, and were willing to die horrible deaths rather than recant, I believe they reported exactly what they saw.
- The New Testament books were written soon after Jesus’s resurrection and jealously guarded. They were written in Greek, a common language, and there is no controversy today over what the words mean. Many copies of these books survive today, so anyone can compare and determine if any changes had been made. The New Testament is both reliable and inspired.
- If Jesus is God and the New Testament is inspired, then whatever Jesus commands, I must do. I still sin, but I believe that the infinite value of Christ’s death paid for my sin.
- Jesus spoke of hell so I believe in it.
- Since I believe in hell, I take my parenting duties seriously.
Just because you have one conversation with your child, don’t think the matter is closed. Keep the spiritual dialogue going. And…teenagers have a keen eye for hypocrisy. Show your child your behavior matches your core beliefs.
…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts,
always being ready to make a defense to everyone
who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you,
yet with gentleness and reverence.
1 Peter 3:15
Can you explain your faith to your children? What would you say?
By James D. Dempsey, Ph.D.
Husband to Gail, Father of three
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Presenter for the National Center for Biblical Parenting