Thus far, I have addressed the importance of family, church leaders, and the struggles the second generation youth face. I discussed two competing worldviews that are at war within the minds of many of them. In my previous post , I showed the importance of the gospel and how grace should be the foundation for families and the church.
We now come to another major component, and that is to have and model a biblical worldview. A worldview is what we believe about the world. It is the “glasses” through which we see everything and encompasses the big questions of life. Everyone has one, but—Do we have a biblical worldview? At the core is sound doctrine.
Bobby Jamieson stated, “Sound doctrine summarizes and synthesizes the Bible’s teaching into a coherent whole. It tells us what God is like, what he loves and hates, what he’s done in the past, and what his plans are for the future.”1 Biblical doctrine is the foundation of a biblical worldview. It guides us in all of life.
Ten questions we base our worldview on are:
- Is there absolute truth?
- Does God exist?
- Can I know this God?
- Where did we come from?
- Why are we here?
- Why is there evil in the world?
- What happens when I die?
- Is the Bible accurate?
- Do the Bible and science contradict each other?
- What is sexuality?
We must have biblical answers to these, and pass them on to the following generations. One important component of this, is apologetics, which is a rational defense of the faith. Samuel Ling explained:
We need to equip our teenagers against the pagan ideas they will face in college. Teach them apologetics, ethics, literary and art criticism, and, social and political theory, from a Christian perspective. …The Chinese church has traditionally ignored the study of doctrine and apologetics. We are now reaping the fruit of decades of negligence and ignorance. It is not too late.2
The importance of connecting the Bible to life, decisions, and history is critical for the second generation. Parents need to embrace a biblical worldview before they can pass it along. When we do this, we help them make the faith their own. We help them to stand firm in God’s truth and deal with problems biblically. We help them learn how to have healthy relationships, be good stewards of money, learn the importance of hard work, and answer tough questions. We help them learn who they are in Christ.
The problem is when we assume “bringing them to church” is enough. It is good but consider this: children spend about 36 hours a week in school,3 in an environment often hostile to the Bible. These same kids or youth spend 2-4 hours a week in church. They hear a “story” about creation, Daniel and the lion’s den, or a moral message to become “a better person.” This lack of biblical teaching and being grounded in the Scripture is a major factor in youth questioning the Bible and the “silent exodus” of the second generation from the church.
The book Already Gone gives statistics regarding those who no longer believe the accounts in the Bible are true:
- 39.8% first had doubts in middle school
- 43.7% first had doubts in high school
- 10.6% had their first doubts during college4
A Barna study, states that 70-75% of youth leave the church after high school.5 Other research finds similar statistics. Though these are American statistics, they are similar to what is occurring with second generation Chinese Americans. For example, young people hear on television, in movies, and on social media that people are born homosexual and it must be accepted and celebrated. Then they come to church and may hear that God says it’s a sin. Who will they believe? If they understand the Bible in context, then they will know the answer, based on a biblical worldview.
Parents need to help the second generation find answers to their questions. The Bible gives true answers to questions about origins, purpose, science, history, geology and ethics. They need to understand that there is operational science and historical science,6 good science and bad science, and that everyone has a bias.7 This takes work, effort, and time. Parents must be intentional and involved in their kids’ lives to reach them. Church leaders must support parents.
A pastor can put together a special Sunday School class for the youth and parents to connect the Bible and science. A church can organize a special event or seminar where the youth learn about their identity in Christ. A Bible study teacher can create an open forum class for young people to ask questions about any topic. If there is no one in the church who feels qualified to do this, then bring in someone else.
If church leaders truly believe God’s word to be true, we should not shy away from letting the second generation and others ask questions. If students feel the freedom to ask questions in a safe environment, and are given Biblical answers, their faith will grow.8 Developing and passing along a biblical worldview is crucial in reaching the second generation.
Some Helpful Resources
“Developing a Biblical Worldview,” part 5 of Reaching the Second Generation for Christ.
The Answers Books, a four book series edited by Ken Ham
Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God by Bobby Jamieson
Biblical Theology: How the Church Faithfully Teaches the Gospel by Nick Roark and Robert Cline
- Bobby Jamieson, Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013), 30.
- Samuel Ling and Clarence Cheuk, The “Chinese” Way of Doing Things: Perspectives on American-Born Chinese and the Chinese Church in North America (New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 1999), 60-61.
- “A Day in the Life,” (2016) [online]; available from US Department of Health and Human Services, http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/americas-adolescents/day.html#.
- Ibid, 32.
- Cathy Lynn Grossman, “Young Adults aren’t Sticking with Church,” (2007) [journal online]; available from USA Today, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/printedition/life/20070807/d_churchdropout07.art.htm.
- Ken Ham, ed., The New Answers Book 4 (Green Forest: Master Books, 2013), 91-92.
- Elizabeth Mitchell, “Science Teacher Reveals Unscientific Bias, Blind Spot,” (2013) [online]; available from Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/what-is-science/science-teacher-reveals-unscientific-bias-blind-spot/.
- “How Religion Affects Teens: Communicating Christ to the Younger Generations,” (2006) [online]; available from Josh McDowell Ministries, https://s3.amazonaws.com/jmm.us.media/How+Religion+Affects+Teens+-+Research+2006+to+present.pdf, 1.
Image courtesy of the author.
Michael Weis was born in West Virginia, heard the gospel in upstate New York, and put his faith in Jesus as a young boy. Upon graduating from college with a Bachelor's degree in Technical Theatre, he moved to Florida to work in the entertainment industry and began studying Christian …View Full Bio
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