Teach Your Children the Fundamentals of Christianity

Hi, friends. This one goes out to Christian parents and Youth leaders. A lot of kids raised in church face crippling doubt once they go to college and have holes poked in their faith. I was raised in church and had a similar experience in college, though I never completely lost faith. I’ve realized recently a big factor in this is insufficient instruction during adolescence.

Last fall, I enrolled in a course called “Literary Study of the Bible” that changed my life. My professor was an expert in literary analysis and (lowkey) a devout Christian. In sixteen weeks, I read more of the Bible than I ever had, rigorously studying meanings, contexts, themes, etc.

I thought I was a lifelong Christian, but let me tell you–once I read a lot of and understood the Bible, I felt a spiritual awakening.

I realized that our youths are losing their faith upon entering a secular world because we are not equipping them with the tools to combat the hole-pokers. We take them on trips to spiritual retreats or take them to Christian concerts or make youth group fun, but that’s not enough to sustain their faith longterm. Those things are important, but they don’t substitute deep understanding.

Teach your children that God created Adam and Eve, but after Adam and Eve sinned, humanity was separated from Him by sin.

Teach your children that God chose Abraham and made his descendants His chosen people if they would trust Him and keep His commandments. 

Teach your children that the tribes of Israel were named for Jacob’s sons (still descendants of Abraham), though eventually, the only two left were Judah and Israel.

Teach your children how Jacob’s son Joseph became a member of the Egyptian royal palace, but many years later, the Egyptians enslaved the Israelites.

Teach your children how Moses returned to his people, the Israelites, and helped free them; teach your children how God led them through the desert to Canaan, the promised land.

Teach your children how God brought David to rule Israel; teach your children how King David relied on God; teach them how he wrote many Psalms.

Teach your children how God sent prophets to foretell the salvation God would send the world after the falls of Judah and Israel.

Teach your children how Jesus was sent by God during Roman rule; teach your children how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies. 

Teach your children that Jesus came to put the emphasis back on our love for God and others because respected religious leaders only cared about the physical rules and not the moral ones; teach your children that Jesus’ sacrifice was God’s new covenant with humanity to forgive people’s sins.

Teach your children how God spread the ministry of Jesus to the Israelites in the Gospels then Gentiles in Acts; teach your children that Jesus promised to send the disciples an advocate after He died, and that gift was the Holy Spirit, which enabled the church’s spread in Acts.

Teach your children how the covenants logically trace through the Old and New Testaments–how there’s a lot that DOESN’T contradict–the continuity may be supernatural, but there’s continuity nonetheless.

Teach your children that time and time again–Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, Paul, lots of minor players and women also–God equips highly unlikely heroes–in BOTH the Old and New Testaments. Teach your children that, from the beginning to the end, arrogance is punished while the humble are elevated. The life and ministry of Jesus embody that theme. The Israelites expected a warlord, but Jesus’ chariot was a donkey, and His mission was love.

Teach your children why a God of love and mercy was strange in the context of other ancient religions where gods were expected to toy with people for kicks. Teach your children that Christianity was and is radical, even if it’s been watered down by some modern Christians.

Teach your children that attending church or conceptually agreeing with Biblical teachings isn’t being a Christian; being a Christian means surrendering your heart to the Holy Spirit and letting it convict you to follow Jesus. Nodding along when the preacher says “Love your neighbor” isn’t being a Christian; inviting the neighbor to dinner or helping them weed-eat or listening to their problems because of that commandment is what being a Christian looks like.

Give your children’s religion a strong foundation. When your perspective is loose and vague, it’s easy to rip you apart. Whether your children stay devout or forsake religion, at least enable them to accurately explain the Christian faith from front to back so their decisions are informed.

The Word of God is the source of education.

Thanks for reading! How are you helping the children in your life understand faith?

31 comments

  1. It’s sad how Biblically illiterate we are as a society. Too much of earlier ‘Christian’ parents and grandparents are not solidly rooted, but they were just churchgoers who had responded to emotional appeals at a revival with no follow up. My faith never wavered or was heartily tested in undergrad. My Course or Study is a different story. It’s no coincidence that cemetery and seminary rhyme. One is where the body goes to die and the other is where faith goes to die. It’s a shame so much of Progressivism has invaded Christianity besides society. When Biblical scholars doubts the validity or reliability of Scripture, it’s time to question their scholarship and their influence over others. Okay rant over, blessings to you as you continue your walk and attempt to influence the next generation positively for Christ.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for your comment, Ryan! I agree that unfortunately, many churchgoers are not solidly rooted–as you say, they were convicted by emotional appeals without education as a follow up (or as a precursor). So true about Biblical scholars who doubt the validity of Scripture being worth questioning. We both know there’s some…err…issues in the United Methodist Church. I don’t want to over blow the concerns because God is still in control, but I do anticipate the future of doctrinal debate a bit warily.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Inspiring post. I have tried to give my daughters a good foundation in faith by educating them on the tenets of it–Adam and Eve, Abraham, King David, the birth of the Savior, his teachings and the function of the church. They are grown women now; I have taught them but God informs them. Their faith is their own. God’s blessings.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Thanks for such a good post, Lily! I’m not a parent (yet), but I want to have kids one day, and I never want them to be “sort of” Christians. I want them to be sold out believers of Christ!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yep! I wonder if it’s because some of the adults don’t know all the fundamentals either. I’m just thankful for this online community of Christians who constantly teach and challenge me. God bless! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. A bunch of people who cry “Lord, Lord” at the gates but He doesn’t know them because they attended church and parroted nice sayings but they didn’t read the Bible, pray, trust God, follow the footsteps of Jesus, or let the Holy Spirit guide their lives…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Preach! Very sound advice. My kids are 5 and 3 so lessons are bite-sized but frequent. Recently we’ve had cat drama and it’s been a good touch point. Everyday there are chances to teach the Gospel of Jesus if we are intentionally parenting.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. We are told it is because of a lack of knowledge that God’s people perish. Begin early for the world waits for no one.
    Also if you are interested in further study, I highly recommend Precept International Ministries precept upon precept studies of the word. You can check them out online.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Your first sentence reminds me of the brides parable and always being ready! We don’t know when the time will end, so there’s no use wasting it. Thanks for the book recommendation; I’ll look into it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “Bring up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Notice, it doesn’t say they won’t stray when they are YOUNG ( say teenager or college age). But I love this assurance that God will look out for them and bring them back into the fold. So important to give them that solid foundation.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I was raised in a preacher’s home and had never read the Bible until I was 28. I completely agree with you. It changed my whole world once I actually got in the Word and didn’t just repeat and coast off of sermon notes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for commenting this, Keysha! My story is similar, and I feel less embarrassed knowing others have gone through that experience of having a sort of Spiritual epiphany while you already called yourself a Christian. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Powerful points, Lily!!! I have been wanting to share a post on this because for my social theory class I took in college I wrote a paper explaining how many teenagers did not actually understand or know what they claimed to believe in. You’re right. Church can encourage and even “hype” the idea of the love of Christ but it is completely different to actually walk with Him and understand His truth while fully knowing just why we stand by it. 🙂

    I”m going to share this post on the community spotlight for Inside Cup 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true about a lot of teenagers not understanding what they are claiming to believe! As you say, many are simply enticed by the basic message “Jesus=Love.” Adults aren’t explaining the Christian religion from front to back because many of them may have the same shallow understanding. It all comes back to Biblical literacy as Ryan mentioned above. Of course, “believing in the Bible” yet not having an individual relationship with God and actively living in the Spirit isn’t true salvation either. As I type this comment, I’m realizing the tragedy of American Christianity is that many who claim the title are both Biblically illiterate AND lacking the personal relationship. Holy cow! God help us!

      I feel honored to be included in the spotlight! 🙂 I hope someone, even one person, reads it and uses it to better educate a child.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Truth! People do not have the right relationship and they do not read the Bible. I wrote a post talking about whether we are active believers or fallen believers and you have covered the core of what the issue is.

        You are so welcome! 🙂 I hope your post reaches others too, that’s the main purpose for the spotlight post anyways.

        Liked by 1 person

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