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This question highlights an unfortunate trend. As numerous recent books and studies have revealed, a large number of today's youth are becoming disenchanted with the church. As a result, they are e...
I have a PhD in medical science with over 40 years research experience and about 100 international publications. I was brought up a catholic and in higher learning institutions was taught evolution and long age creation as fact. So when I read the bible which said that God created in 6 days about 6,500 years ago I figured that the first few chapters of the bible could not be believed. Logically therefore one could not believe the rest of the bible. So I drifted from God. In my senior years I came back to God through a Pauline/Damascus experience and revisited the bible in a very probing way. I came to realize that evolution is scientifically impossible and that the whole biblical creation story made scientific sense. I am now a young earth creationist who is convinced without any doubt that the bible is absolute truth. The take home message is our young folk are leaving the church because they cant trust entirely God's holy scripture, just like me in the past. They must be told the bible is absolute truth and be instructed scientifically and properly in the first few chapters of the bible. The bible must not budge at all and try to incorporate evolution and long ages to appease the humanists and the "Christian" theistic evolutionists. Even the atheistic evolutionist Prof. Dawkins said Christians who tried to do that are "barking mad", that is illogical. Without a proper foundation the rest of scripture cant be trusted. In this area many Christian leaders have let our young folk down. This trend must be reversed.
That question presumes that those who are raised in a "faith" actually have faith in "the faith" in which he or she were indoctrinated. Webster gives the same meaning for "faith" that the scriptures offer, which is 'belief not based on proof'. At issue is whether or not the young people in question actually believe the gospel or have an affinity for "the faith" that played a major roll in their upbringing. The gospel is the refreshing good news that God The Father has shown His love for all of mankind by sending His Son Jesus The Christ to die the death man was rightly sentenced to when he sinned and turned away from The Father in rebellion. Do those who are raised in "the faith" believe that God sent Jesus and His death is sufficient to reconcile them to God? First, do children raised in "the faith" believe they need to be reconciled, that they were born in sin, a sinner, spiritually separated from The Lord? Do they believe their parents' faith is their faith by association or addendum? "Appendage Faith" is what many of us who were raised to believe the gospel have. Our parents believed the gospel and we were raised to believe our parents so in essence we are belivers, or, saved by association. John 6 begins by saying that Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and that 'a large crowd followed Him, and ends by saying that Jesus chose "the twelve" and one of them is a devil and would betray Him. Clearly, in this chapter we are told there are many who "follow" The Lord Jesus for various reasons that have little to do with the gospel, the good news that eternal life is available to those who believe on The Lord Jesus Christ. Those in the story were told by Jesus that they "seek me not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled". John 6:26 (referring to the feeding of the five thousand miraculously.) He goes on to warn them, and us by extension, to be sure to follow Him for the right reason, eternal life, and not for the temporal, to get our needs met in the here and now. Their response was to ask Him to let them in on His secret, tell them how to "work the works of God"John 6:27. Vs 28 (I'm paraphrasing) "God's job is to get you to believe in Him whom He has sent, Me. They then asked for ANOTHER sign and he goes into a long spill about the sign that their father's had of manna from heaven and how it didn't help anyone to come to the knowledge of the truth that He, Jesus, is the true bread that came down from heaven, and they needed to eat this bread, His flesh, and drink His blood to have eternal life. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, "This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it"? John 6:60. Translation: This doesn't make any sense at all, you just lost me. And that is exactly what He meant to do. He caused them to stumble purposely. John 6:61b "Does this [saying] cause you to stumble"? Vs 62 What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? Vs 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life John 6:63. "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to me unless it has been granted him from the Father." John 6:65, John 6:44. What was the prodigal son, who got his inheritance and left his father and his home, looking for out in the world he went to? Luke 15: 11-32. We weren't told his reason for leaving but we know why he went back. He could have gone deeper into sin the way "the world" does when they are at rock bottom but Jesus said he "came to his senses". Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6. Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matt 7:24 The prodigal had what he needed, a solid foundation. Give your young that. God has to do the rest, the drawing.
This will over simplify the answer but the Bible answers the question for us: Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Note that the verse does not say there won't be bumps along the way including falling away but that "when he is old, he will not depart from it". Foundation is the key. Jesus is the foundation, the rock upon which to train children up. Deut. 6: 6-7 is a good guideline for establishing that foundation as well "These words which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you rise up. " Even though this verse was written about the commandments, I believe it applies perfectly to the entire Bible.
How can we prevent our young people from losing faith? This is an important question that affects all members of the church family. It is especially important to the parents of children they love who later leave their family belief in God to pursue what are called “worldly interests.” Others have already commented on the sad statistics associated with the problem. One that impressed me was that apparently, when both parents are active in church, 93% of youngsters remain faithful in later life. That places a heavy responsibility on parents to follow the admonition about “training their children.” (Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 11:19-20) However, there is another area that also needs to be addressed because of its contribution to the problem, and that is science and the Bible. It is unfortunate that many in the church belief that there are irreconcilable problems in that area. In their zeal to protect, they sometimes create an extreme distrust in their children of anything scientific, especially as it pertains to the Bible. This is particularly true regarding the early chapters of Genesis dealing with creation. The children are often presented with the idea that there is only one way to “literally” interpret the Scriptures and anything else becomes ungodly. While this may satisfy a young child as it grows up, it often becomes untenable in later years as the scope of one’s education increases. The problem, in my opinion, appears to be with the way the evidence is presented. The straight forward explanations of the age of the earth and its history are simple to understand, while the counter measures offered that are said to be supporting the “Scriptural” view are often highly technical, convoluted, and boarder on the impossible. Because of the dogmatic emphasis placed on the necessity of believing such views or being rejected by God, many young people feel the Bible is just a myth much like other ancient writings. If they had been presented with alternate views of interpreting Genesis that are fully supported by science, such disillusionment may have never happened. That is my reason for encouraging Christian educators to offer alternate views of Genesis in order to lay a stable foundation for when children will enter the upper grades of their education. The difference between the various views of science and the Bible is only a matter of the interpretation of words. Because of its ancient origin, the Bible is difficult to prove beyond doubt by the science of archaeology or the science of linguistics. Due to changes in the idiomatic use of languages over time, it is also difficult to say absolutely what certain ancient phrases mean. That being said, there should never be a difference between what the Bible says with what has proven to be scientific fact. If that does happen, then maybe it is time to re-examine our interpretation of the Bible’s words. In my opinion, if young people are made to understand these differences from a early age they may not experience a loss of faith at an older age when exposed to many of the facts of science.
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