Have We Lost our Children Intellectually?
I taught a Junior High Sunday School class for a while, and on one particular Sunday the lesson was from the book of Genesis--the creation story. As we opened our Bibles to the first chapter of Genesis, I asked the kids to each throw out one fact they remembered about the creation of the world. One student promptly answered, “Evolution.” I asked if anyone else had a thought to share, and looked expectantly around the room. No answer. So I asked, “No one thinks the world could have been created in any other way?” To this question I received nothing but incredulous looks. Evolution was it—end of discussion. I admit I am not the type who enjoys intellectual arguments, but that morning, I was blown away that I didn’t even hear the pat Sunday School answer—“God”—from those kids. And, while I didn’t spend the rest of the Sunday School hour presenting alternative creation theories, I did emphasize over and over how the Genesis account points to a loving, involved, and personal God, who made each of us in His image.
The purpose of this article, however, is not to debate evolution or creation theories, but simply to point out the importance of teaching our children to think, to use their minds, to weigh what they are taught against biblical principles. From academics, to relationships, to priorities, the world will typically offer anything but a scriptural viewpoint, and our children need to learn to discern the errors and not fall prey to unbiblical ways of thinking and living (1 John 4:1; Eph. 5:10; 2 Pet. 3:17-18). Christianity, after all, is not about a “blind faith” approach to life. When Abraham, for instance, obeyed God in offering Isaac as a sacrifice, he “reasoned that God could even raise the dead… (Heb. 11:19, NIV, emphasis mine).” And when Rahab protected the Israelite spies as they scoped out Jericho, she did so because she heard how God had dried up the Red Sea and had already given his people total victory over two kings on the other side of the Jordan. It was this knowledge that prompted her to throw in her lot with the people of God and to choose to believe that “the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath (Josh. 2:10-11).”
Faith is not Unreasoning
While Christianity is not about blind faith, it is about faith. So this concept of teaching our children to weigh everything they hear against scripture necessarily goes hand-in-hand with instructing our children in spiritual matters, so that they first come to know Christ as their Savior and then begin to understand biblical principles and apply them to their lives (see my previous article on this subject-- Fight For Your Children’s Souls--HERE). Saul, for example, was an intellectual powerhouse. Educated under a well-known Rabbi of the day, Gamaliel, Saul not only knew God’s law, he adhered to it zealously (Acts 22:3). This zeal drove him to seek out and destroy Christians (Acts 9:1-2, Acts 22:4-5), until one day, Jesus literally stopped him in his tracks (Acts 9:3-6). Once Saul encountered the living Christ and began to follow Him, his zeal for persecuting Christians turned into zeal for proclaiming Christ. He used his knowledge of God’s law to reveal to the Jews that Christ was their long-awaited Messiah (Acts 17:1-3); he used his reasoning and debating skills to spread the Gospel to the Greeks (Acts 17:18-32). Thus, Saul (transformed into Paul) used both his faith and his intellect to impact the entire known world of that time for Christ.
What an end worth fighting for--to not only guide our children to faith in Christ and to give them the discipline to live the Christian life effectively (see my previous article on this subject—Fight For Your Child’s Obedience--HERE), but to equip them to discern truth from error and to use their intellect, in conjunction with their faith, to impact the world for Christ.
Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes (Neh. 4:14).
Fighting for Your Children Series