PHOENIX (BP)–While most parents are concerned about what their kids are tempted to do, their greater fear should be what they are being tempted to believe, Josh McDowell said June 15 during the SBC Pastors’ Conference in Phoenix.
Values drive a youngster’s behavior, but their beliefs form their values, McDowell explained, warning that when a child lacks a biblically based truth system to inform their beliefs, their behavior is negatively impacted.
Most evangelical Christian youth now deny the reality of absolute truth, the well-known author and lecturer lamented. “The very basis of what we must build our faith upon is truth,” he said. “When we allow truth to erode, we gut our faith.”
McDowell pointed to the 40 hours of “secular education” and 28 hours of “secular entertainment” youngsters are exposed to each week as contributing factors in this truth meltdown.
Most of what children hear during that time is “contrary to everything we believe in,” he said, further noting most evangelical youth receive less than an hour and a half of biblical instruction weekly. And the contemporary church is complicit in this sea change, he said.
“We have separated truth from relationships,” McDowell said, explaining that churches ask new members “truth-related questions,” such as if they have trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but few churches make inquiries about relationships between their faith in Christ and their behavior within their family and their community.
“All truth was given for the context of relationships,” he said. “Truth without relationship leads to rejection of the truth.”
The number one problem facing America in the 21st century centers on dads’ relationships with their children, said McDowell, whose most recent book is “Beyond Belief to Conviction: What You Need to Help Youth Stand Strong in the Face of Today’s Culture.”
“Daddies are not building intimate, caring, loving relationships with their children,” he said, noting that without these relationships with their children, children reject the faith of their fathers.
“We have failed to develop convictions in our children’s lives,” he continued. “Few church kids can give you an idea of why they believe what they believe.”
Parents must model truth before their family if they desire to have a Kingdom family, McDowell said. “If they don’t see truth in your life, they will walk away from it.”
In most homes, there are two generations and two cultures — a historical anomaly — McDowell said. Most evangelical adults process truth through the Scriptures and their minds, he said, noting younger people determine truth by using their feelings, emotions and relationships.
With parents: If it is true, it works; for youth: if it works, it is true, he said.
“It’s happening on our watch; we have a generation hanging in the balance,” McDowell insisted, calling on parents to help bring about a “spiritual revolution that will get kids to take a stand for Christ regardless of the consequences.”