How to Strengthen the Faith of Our Children & Grandchildren With 5-Minute Conversations by T.A. McMahon is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The booklet is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are available. Our booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of this new booklet. To order copies of How to Strengthen the Faith of Our Children & Grandchildren With 5-Minute Conversations, click here.
Teaching children is more important today than it’s ever been in the history of the church. The Adversary of God, his demons, and his physical followers have targeted children as highly vulnerable in advancing their antichrist schemes.—T.A. McMahon
How to Strengthen the Faith of Our Children & Grandchildren
With 5-Minute Conversations
By T. A. McMahon
For of Such Is the Kingdom of God
The idea for this booklet came out of my love for and experience in teaching young people, which has included teaching children’s church, second and third grade Sunday school, middle-school Bible class, Vacation Bible School, and certainly my own five children.
My calling in the Lord, however, has been primarily apologetics (i.e., writing in defense of the faith—1 Peter 3:15). To that end, the Lord graciously enabled me to work with Dave Hunt until the Lord took him home. That was an outstanding privilege and continual learning experience throughout forty years of my life. Even so, the heartfelt joy of my life has been teaching young people. I particularly enjoy the early grades.
The thought of teaching second and third graders may seem for some to be intimidating. My response is this: “If you can teach that group, you can teach anyone.” I say that for reasons many might not understand. The most common reactions are that the kids can’t grasp the teachings, the doctrines are too complex, or they can’t relate to most of the religious concepts. Many think like that but could never get that idea from Scripture. Let me explain: First of all, a child can understand the simple Gospel. If that’s not the case as it relates to children, what then of Timothy who was taught by his grandmother Lois and by his mother Eunice?
And that from a child [Timothy] thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)
Second, the Gospel is presented in God’s Word in very clear and simple ways. Consider the experience of the Philippian jailer. He cried out in desperation to Paul and Silas:
What must I do to be saved? (Acts 16: 30)
Their response made it very understandable what the jailer was to do. It was hardly complex:
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (v. 31)
His being saved required his believing on the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We’re not given the specifics of the Gospel message presented to the jailer (which nevertheless is declared continually throughout God’s Word). Yet, the Gospel is certainly implied in the next verse:
And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. (v. 32)
We can be assured that nothing was omitted regarding the essential Gospel as it was presented to him and to each member of his household. Again, it was not complex.
Such reactions in avoiding teaching children can also stem from a lack of actual teaching experience. Not having done it can create false impressions about it. On the other hand, as you go about teaching children the Gospel, you soon realize just how easily they can grasp it, not to mention how excited they get when they learn of God’s love for them and what He has done for them! And that takes place very quickly.
[Jesus] said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:14)
As I said, one of my great joys is teaching children. And as you’ll read, I believe teaching them is more important today than it’s ever been in the history of the church. My compulsion to write this booklet was based upon my research and work in the area of biblical apologetics. I became acutely aware that the Adversary of God, his demons, and his physical followers have targeted children as highly vulnerable in advancing their antichrist schemes. In addition to the influences of the world, that has become apparent in our educational system all the way down to our preschool children.
What you’ll be reading is one of the ways to counteract the lies that are overtaking the hearts and minds of the upcoming generation. I am hopeful that the suggested discussions may be useful for a born-again grandparent and his or her grandchild or a believing parent and his child. What I’m sharing is not a classroom situation. It’s a teaching on the go, a “catch-as-catch-can” sort of endeavor, and it centers around conversation focused primarily on the Gospel.
Although the content of the conversation must be made easy to understand regarding the essential truths of the Gospel, it’s imperative that the adult involved understands what a child has to know and do in order to be saved. It should always be a one-on-one interaction between the adult and the child, the objective being that the adult can hear directly from the child what he or she personally believes. This one-on-one condition is recommended in order to avoid distractions for the child, whether they be from siblings or friends or from one child simply parroting what another says. The goal is to learn what the individual child truly believes.
Based upon my own experiences, the responses given by the child in this presentation are probable responses. My hope is that they provide opportunities to help the child clarify what he actually believes. The initial goal of the questioning is to help the child articulate what he or she understands about being a Christian. I recommend that the conversations take place often and, preferably, they shouldn’t last longer than five minutes. (The time, of course, can be adjusted according to the child’s ability to maintain concentration.) Repetition is encouraged! I try to engage my grandchild in a relatively brief conversation whenever we get together.
It starts with a “gimme five”—not as in a high five (which all kids love to do) but as “give me five minutes.” My own grandchildren range in age from two to fourteen. I get to see the ten-year-old boy and the thirteen-year-old girl every couple of weeks because they live in a nearby city. My two other grandsons live quite a distance from me, so I’m having my son carry out the conversation process with his boys. At times, I can even have this “strengthening” conversation with each grandchild by phone.
Since this is a work in progress, I tell them I need their help (which I really do!) in trying to understand what kids their age believe about Jesus, and I want to start with them. As I hope you will recognize, these conversations are first of all centered upon Jesus and His love for children. “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” and “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world” are terrific reminders of Christ’s love that should be talked about (and can even be sung at different times) throughout the ongoing conversations. A great question to start with is, “How do you know that Jesus loves you?” and the song/hymn provides the best and only true answer: the Bible tells me so.
What Jesus Wants Our Children to Know
At the beginning of the conversation, I explain that a Christian is someone who follows Jesus, which raises the question, “Are you a Christian?” Most of the children answer “yes.” I then ask the older ones, “What kind of Christian are you?” I briefly explain that there are many different kinds of Christians, and they do not all believe the same things. I encourage the older children to refer to themselves as “biblical Christians,” which means their Christianity is based on what is taught in the Bible rather than the religious ideas people make up.
Following the response that the child is “a Christian,” I then ask how he or she became a Christian. The most common answers I hear are, “Well, because my family is Christian,” “I go to a Christian school,” “My friends are Christians,” “I believe in God,” “I go to church,” or “I’m in a Christian youth group.” It’s really surprising how many of the answers fall short of the biblical teaching of how one becomes a Christian. Even so, no matter how erroneous their answers are, they provide great opportunities where the conversation can be used to introduce what the Bible teaches about how one becomes a born-again Christian. The conversation also presents a great opportunity to explain to the child that becoming a Christian has to do with what he or she believes, and it needs to begin with what he or she believes about Jesus.
So, my initial question is in regard to what he or she believes about Jesus Christ. Remember, this is a work in progress, and I never know what to expect, so I’m just giving you potential “for instances” here. The answers I receive nearly always further some great discussions and give me the opportunity to help the child articulate his beliefs by supplying biblical information. That, however, has to be done without putting words in the child’s mouth. The objective is to facilitate the child’s understanding.
Now the goal of these discussions will be to arrive at four biblical truths about Jesus that the child needs to understand: 1) Jesus is God. 2) Jesus became a Man in order to pay the eternal penalty for the sins of mankind. 3) Jesus loves everyone. 4) Jesus, who is sinless, is the only One who could pay the penalty for a person’s sins, which He did through His death, burial, and resurrection.
If the child’s answers are not true to the Word of God, or he’s a bit confused, or if he has no answers, the adult can introduce him to what he needs to believe about Jesus according to the Bible. The answers taught must be simple, and, as stated above, they must contain the four biblical truths about Jesus.
A Conversation About Sin
That conversation should lead to a discussion about whether or not the child recognizes his own condition as a sinner. That should be followed by whether or not he or she understands what sin is and what it means to sin. Have him give you an example of a sin that he’s committed. If he’s not sure, a good question to ask him is if he has ever disobeyed his mother or father.
Having established his condition as a sinner, the child now needs to understand his condition before God: that his sin has separated him from God and only Jesus can save him from the penalty for his sins. The next question for the child that I ask is, “Do you know what the penalty for sin is?” I explain, then, that the Bible says without Jesus paying the penalty, sin separates the sinner from God forever.
Inform the child that God is a holy God, and Heaven is a holy place where sin cannot enter. God cannot allow anyone with the stain of sin on his soul to be with Him in Heaven. The wages of sin is death, meaning separation, where our bodies die and we are separated from God for all eternity (Romans 6:23). Since every person has sinned, explain that our sins prevent us from ever entering Heaven and being with God. That everlasting separation from God is called Hell, a place of utter darkness and loneliness. That’s the punishment for sin.
In fact, all of humanity would therefore be without hope of ever being with God had God Himself not provided the solution. The next question you ask could be: “Do you know the solution that God has provided?” Some children may know, while others are not sure. This is another place where the conversation provides the opportunity to teach about the character of God, where justice is required, but His love has provided a solution.
Explain that God is not only holy, He is just, which means that entering Heaven can only take place when the penalty for sin is paid. That’s God’s justice. When a person breaks the law, justice requires that the law breaker has to pay the penalty required by the law. When a person sins against God, God’s perfect justice requires that the payment for his sin, again, must be made. Since the penalty for sin is separation from God forever, no human can fulfill what the law of God requires in order for him to be in the presence of God.
God Loves Those He Created
God, however, is also a loving God, meaning He does not want those whom He created to be separated from Him forever. In view of God being perfect in justice and love, ask the child what he believes was the solution that God provided in order to save mankind. If the child is still unsure of God’s solution, that presents a great opportunity to go through John 3:16 with him or her: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Explain that “perish” means never being able to be with God. This opens the conversation to some great things about God and His mercy, along with some other worthwhile questions. Encourage the child to recognize that God is a loving God who loves those whom He created. Then allow the discussion to provide the opportunity for the child to talk about some of the things from earlier conversations. Here’s where the child’s answers usually come together for him during the conversation, especially if he understands what his parent or grandparent has been revealing of what the Bible teaches.
I would expect him or her to respond that “Jesus is God who became a Man” and that “He died on the Cross in order to pay the penalty for mankind’s sins.” Remember, this is a conversation with your child or grandchild. It shouldn’t be perceived by the child as a pass-or-fail school test. The questions are for the purpose of seeing through the child’s eyes what he or she understands and supplying information that the child needs to know. Remember also that these conversations need to be of relatively short duration. Obviously, all the parent’s or grandparent’s questions and input cannot be covered in one or two “gimme 5-minutes” or so get-togethers. The goal is to increase the child’s knowledge of and relationship with the Lord gradually and cumulatively. Therefore, some repetition is encouraged from one session to another.
After talking about the character of Jesus and God the Father, a follow-up question might be, “What must you do in order to receive what Jesus did for you?” The child’s response must be that he simply believes that Jesus did what the Bible says He did: He paid the punishment for everyone’s sins and gives eternal life to all who believe on Him and put their trust in Him. This point needs to be made absolutely clear to the child. There is nothing that can be added by the child to what Jesus accomplished on the Cross in payment for the child’s sins. Salvation is received by faith alone in Jesus and belief that He did what the Bible says He did.
Sometimes we forget that the very terms we use may need to be explained to the child. “Salvation” and “being saved,” are good examples. Our conversation should have its share of what some of the words we use mean. “Being saved,” for example, can mean being saved physically such as saving someone from drowning. But in the conversation, it needs to be made clear that the Bible is talking about someone who has trusted in Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins.
The conversation should include not only what a believing child is saved from, but also what the child is saved for. Again, Romans 6:23:
[B]ut the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
That can be discussed by asking him if he understands what took place after he believed that Jesus saved him.
Information Through Conversation
Every time I get together with my kids, the biblical conversations, as I said, are of short duration.
Sometimes I go back over what we talked about in a previous get-together. What I’m encouraging is not a methodology or a technique, but simply a relationship-building time with our children. It has to be led of the Holy Spirit. After the “gimme five” session ends, I like to get on with “fun and games” with Pops (that’s what my grandchildren call me).
The relationship-building time should have both temporal and eternal significance. I’m getting to know my grandchild better, and we are both enjoying the experience. More importantly, as I’m talking to my grandchild, I’m having a conversation that has eternal value. Now, I’m aware that everybody doesn’t have the same opportunities to interact with their children or grandchildren, but where and when the opportunity is there, my prayer is that the parent or grandparent will seize that opportunity, with the help of the Lord. In addition to the emphasis on things the child needs to understand, the way the parent or grandparent goes about implementing the program must reflect his or her love of Jesus and thankfulness for all He has done for us.
Now, the significance of that impression upon a child cannot be overstated! In terms of the conversations being fun (perhaps maybe “joyful” is a better choice of words), the question related to what takes place after Jesus saves the child is nothing but good news! The child can draw upon what he knew prior to the conversations, add things that he may not have known (e.g., eternal life with Jesus), and the adult can add things for the child that the Bible says takes place once a child is saved. For example, once salvation has taken place, the child receives the free gift of eternal life. The child is born again and sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of eternal life. What could be more joyful than to be in that conversation!
All of the above constitutes much of the “what” that a child should know about being saved. Having an understanding and acceptance of the “what” of the Gospel is vital for the child. More often than not, a child has only heard that he must ask Jesus into his heart. That’s true, but it must be based upon the knowledge of who Jesus is and what He accomplished on the Cross. Although parents or grandparents cannot know the heart of a child regarding his or her belief, they can discern what the child understands, or misunderstands, about the Gospel.
Getting the “What” Right
This booklet is primarily about making sure the child’s understanding of the doctrine of salvation is true to the Scriptures. A false understanding of the Gospel can save no one. I believe this is of the utmost importance, given my experiences in talking to parents and grandparents about their offspring. Too often the parents or grandparents remark that the child gave his heart to Jesus in years past when he responded to a salvation invitation. They comfort themselves with hopeful guesses, “Well, I’m pretty sure he knew the Lord.” No true comfort there. The Scripture states clearly that “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16). That knowledge is between the person himself and the Holy Spirit. It is personal assurance. First John 5:13 declares as well that the child himself may “know” he has “eternal life.” So, rather than speculating on whether or not a child knows the Lord, we should engage our minds in making sure he knows and understands what he needs to know. As the conversations progress, both the child and parent/grandparent are establishing the “what” of the biblical Gospel that the child learns. Although that’s not absolute assurance that the child received salvation because, as noted, the heart of the child regarding believing the Gospel is beyond the knowledge of the parent and grandparent to know. Nevertheless, the parents and grandparents can know what the child learned and claimed to believe in order to be saved.
As the parent or grandparent is confident that the child understands the “what” that is necessary according to the Scriptures for the child to receive salvation, the strengthening process can continue on to the “why” the child believes “what” he or she believes.
I’m very thankful for parents and grandparents who have done their best to raise their children and grandchildren in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Stories abound of grandchildren who were drawn to Jesus, or drawn back to Him, through the loving influence of a grandmother or grandfather. That has supplied for multitudes of children the “what” necessary for their salvation. However, as I earlier mentioned, a serious condition has developed for many young Christians that has caused them to be shaken in their faith.
The “Why” of the What
Few young Christians today can explain why they believe what they believe. They are not able, as I mentioned, to satisfy 1 Peter 3:15:
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
Consequently, when they are asked about their beliefs, their responses are nearly always personal and subjective, lacking reasons that would refute the objections of others, or encourage others to believe what they believe.
How bad are things today? To borrow a phrase from 2 Timothy 3:1:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
Noah Webster defines “perilous” in his 1828 Bible-oriented dictionary as “Dangerous; hazardous; full of risk; as a perilous undertaking.” Our times are definitely that—and worse.
Satan is more than aware that children are terribly vulnerable; and that awareness is no secret among his minions—both spiritual entities and his human yet unwitting followers. As I’ve noted in some of my other writings, youth have been instrumental in initiating major revolutions throughout history. Hitler, Mao, and Stalin worked that angle with much success. One of the reasons, as the Scriptures refer to, is that zeal (which is common among youth) without biblical knowledge cannot end well.
Sadly, children today are not only lacking knowledge, but they are emotionally driven, making them ripe for being controlled by someone or something else. The fierce battle for the control of our children is clearly an undertaking of the times in which we live. Although this is a losing situation in a world in which we find ourselves, it should not take place among Bible-believing Christians. Why not? Because God has provided all true believers in Him with all they need in order to glorify Him and be victorious in standing against the deceptions of Satan (John 10:10; Matthew 16:18; 2 Peter 1:3). Yet, while we have all that we need at our disposal, too often we drop the ball regarding our responsibility.
Whose Responsibility Is It?
Does the Bible exhort us regarding our responsibility to teach our children the ways of the Lord? Yes—over and over again!:
That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. (Deuteronomy 6:2)
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. (2 John 1:4)
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. (Colossians 3:21)
And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. (Isaiah 54: 13)
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)
[T]he unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and thy mother Eunice. (2 Timothy 1:5)
And there are many more verses. The Word of God is God’s truth, and it gives believers hundreds of reasons to believe it is just that—God’s truth. Our biblical faith is founded on reasons to believe it! It’s not a leap in the dark. It isn’t based on, nor is it driven by, emotions or feelings. Committing one’s life to Christ involves solid reasons. Certainly, that’s indicated by Isaiah 1:18:
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Nevertheless, our believing children face challenges that are overtaking most of them. When they leave home, they have to contend with fellow students and teachers who are antagonistic toward their biblical beliefs. Very few are able to “give an answer” (defend) (1 Peter 3:15) their beliefs. That’s a major part of today’s tragedy, as our young people are being overwhelmed by the antichrist teachings of the world (many of which have slipped into the church), the devious devices of the devil, and their own lack of biblical knowledge and a lack of an enduring and anchored personal faith of their own. A shipwrecked faith is the terrible consequence. On the other hand, they may find new friends who are curious, even attracted to their beliefs. But they may not know how to explain why they believe what they believe, which may hinder their opportunities to effectively share the evidence of their faith.
Equipping Children to Both Defend and Share
The “knowing why” conversation process is similar to and built upon the foundation of the “knowing what” conversations. But this time, the emphasis is on apologetics (i.e., proofs for what the child believes). Are there proofs? Absolutely! However, some parents and grandparents may have their work cut out for them when it comes to supplying their children and grandchildren with biblical answers regarding the “why” of their beliefs. If you don’t think you’re up to the task and tend to shy away from it or push it off to the church and youth pastors, go over the verses on teaching your children/grandchildren that were just listed. It’s a responsibility, not an option. Not only that, but it provides a great opportunity for us adults as well to grow in our understanding of the faith “which was once delivered unto the saints” and for which we are to “earnestly contend” (Jude 1:3).
Your main resource is not what men have written but what God’s Word teaches. Other sources may be helpful, but they are not to displace the Scriptures as the authority of what is being taught. All conversations must ultimately point to Jesus Christ (who is called the Word of God in Revelation 19:13) as our authority.
It may seem that there is no end to the questions for the child to deal with—whether hostile or from friends truly interested. And if our children are leading godly lives, they will draw people who are interested in what they believe. Some of their friends may be genuinely interested in why they believe what they believe. Whatever the case, the conversation will be a very helpful exercise in getting the child accustomed to talking about his faith, especially, as I said, among his peers. Furthermore, the process of learning why he or she believes what the Bible teaches will build confidence in God’s instructions for his or her life.
Given that the days of apostasy are without doubt increasing exponentially, we need to encourage our children to grow in the faith and in biblical discernment, and that’s critical. How critical? As has been pointed out, children are a chief target of the Adversary in our day. One example (among hundreds I could give) is given by a friend of mine, Carl Teichrib, in his book, Game of Gods, regarding the promotion of “Earth Day.” Throughout the US, our school children, even preschool children, are taught that we are destroying our “Mother,” Gaia, a.k.a. Mother Earth. That’s taught to them continually with a special emphasis during the worldwide celebration of Earth Day. The children are told they are the only ones who can save “Her.” How is that to be accomplished? Numerous ways, some of which are: through worshipping the planet as divine (e.g., the New Age); through stopping overpopulation (e.g., abortion); and through conserving our natural resources (the Green movement). But primarily it happens through ending the belief in the teachings of Christianity, which are declared to be the main reasons for the besetting environmental problems of the Earth!
Strengthening the Faith of Our Upcoming Generation
Few Christian children are prepared to answer such false promotions and accusations. Most are intimidated, and consequently overwhelmed, by the lies thrown at them. I believe the approach I’m presenting, when the opportunity to implement it arises, will be helpful in strengthening our upcoming generation.
As you might suspect, the issues for the conversations are quite diverse, so where’s a good place to start? Youth who have left home (perhaps for college) quite likely receive an abundance of confrontational questions regarding their beliefs:
- How do you know there’s a God?
- Why do you believe that the Bible is God’s Word?
- How do you know that Jesus is God?
- With all the religions in the world, how can you be sure that your belief is the only true spiritual belief?
- Isn’t it arrogant to say that Jesus is the only way of salvation?
Sadly, such confrontations aren’t just in the secular schools anymore as many Christian colleges have now embraced worldly ideologies.
Again, the questions and topics are seemingly endless. Therefore, the goal in general is to get the young person accustomed to responding to different questions about his faith. Conversations can take place through e-mails, text messages, the telephone, or when they are home for visits.
But what then of the “why” conversations with a younger child? Where should one start the conversation? As one example, friends of mine whose ministries focus on creation versus evolution recommend giving the child a simple definition of evolution and creation such as: The theory of evolution declares that all living things evolved from simple forms to very complex forms over great periods of time. Mankind is said to have evolved from fishlike creatures to monkeylike animals to humans. It is said all that took place by chance, meaning no planning or design was involved. Creation is defined as everything that exists physically and spiritually and is the design of an all-knowing and all-powerful God who exists outside of what He created. Creation, not evolution, also aligns with scientifically proven laws of nature such as the law of biogenesis (life never develops from non-life) and the second law of thermodynamics, which states that matter started in a perfect state and deteriorates as time passes (evolution claims the very opposite even though science disproves that).
Another conversation would be one regarding Eastern mysticism which says man does not need a personal Savior because he already is God (pantheism) and God is in everything (panentheism). That is the lie Lucifer presented to Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is also the lie that is growing rapidly and will manifest itself fully in the religion and kingdom of the Antichrist. Since much New Age “doctrine” has entered the church, especially in the last few decades, it is essential for children to understand the differences so when they leave home and come across these ideas, they can identify them for what they really are.
You may be wondering, “How can I address all that in five minutes?” You can’t. But you can make a point or two and get a conversation going. And that can be picked up again in the next “gimme five” session. The child won’t be able to answer every question (I can’t!), but the more he can answer, the more confident he will become regarding truth and God’s Word.
Be encouraged! We as parents and grandparents can help strengthen the faith of the young people God has brought into our lives. We can’t do it alone, but if we are willing, He will provide the opportunities where much fruit can be had.
1 Peter 3:15 Sample Questions
Answers to the why of what a child believes also speaks to the readiness of the parent and grandparent to be able to supply biblical information for a certain belief. As mentioned, that is a responsibility, and it’s a great one. It’s the opportunity for parent, grandparent, and child to grow together in God’s Word (which is the framework of our faith).
It’s a good thing to be reminded that the child is responding from the high ground—God’s Word—which is the Truth. Nothing the Adversary can try to deceive a child with can stand up to the Truth. Here are some sample questions and responses—again, these are just things from my experience with my grandkids. As I’ve expressed in this booklet, I’m always trying to keep the conversations simple.
Question: How do you know there’s a God?
Response: Creation makes that absolutely clear. Just by considering our own bodies, there has to be a Creator! Our bodies contain about 100 trillion cells, each cell having its own special function. It’s a mathematical impossibility for that to have come about by chance. So, a human’s body must have been created by a Designer of incredible intellect and power! Only God fits that description.
Question: What makes you think the Bible is God’s communication to mankind?
Response: First, that’s what the Bible claims. Thousands of times we find verses such as “Thus saith the Lord,” or “The Word of the Lord came to me.” Second, if God is infinite (meaning unlimited, all knowing, all powerful) and we are finite (limited and lacking knowledge), no one can know God unless He reveals Himself to mankind. The Bible fills us in on the details about God—that can only come from God. All other ideas about God are speculations, nothing more than guesses.
Question: I’ve been told that the Bible is full of contradictions. What do you say to that?
Response: Do you believe everything you’ve been told? Have you read the Bible yourself? Give me an example of a biblical contradiction.
Question: Doesn’t evolution prove the Bible wrong? Aren’t the Bible’s teachings opposed to science?
Response: First, give me an example of just one thing that can be proven about evolution. Second, give me an example of a biblical teaching that is opposed to true science. Since God is the Creator of all things, and since true science came about by studying His design, then opposing true science would be a biblical contradiction. Many of the world’s greatest scientists, from Isaac Newton to Pasteur, to Faraday, to Lord Kelvin, to Kepler, Pascal, and many others, were Christians who believed the Bible was God’s Word.
For those who have little to no experience in ministering through biblical apologetics, The Berean Call offers materials such as Dave Hunt’s In Defense of the Faith that can be helpful regarding answering the why of what a follower of Jesus Christ believes.
Two of my good friends each lead a vital ministry: Carl Kerby of Reasons for Hope and Jay Seegert of The Starting Point Project, and both men share a similar concern to mine regarding today’s (and tomorrow’s) children. Their resource materials are tremendous, supplying content that enable our young (and old alike!) to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
Pray Without Ceasing
My prayer is that this 5-minute conversation approach to helping a child or grandchild obtain a life-long enduring faith in the Lord will strengthen the upcoming generation and encourage parents and grandparents to reach out in ministering the Word of God to their children and grandchildren. In loving them, we can do no better than to love them in the Lord—in word and in deed. May our witness to them reveal our love for them and reflect our love for Jesus Christ, who first loved us—a fact He made evident by paying the eternal penalty for our sins when He willingly went to the Cross.
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T.A. McMahon is the co-founder of The Berean Call. You may access an extensive collection of decades of research, books, films, lectures, articles, radio archives and more at www.thebereancall.org. Also, every year, The Berean Call presents a discernment conference in Bend, Oregon with outstanding and compelling speakers, addressing the issues that are affecting the church and the world today.
(Cover design by Lighthouse Trails; photo used from istock.com; used with permission.)