The Importance of Teaching Youth

Who really needs apologetics training the most? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I got to do something that’s one of those privileges that I enjoy in the apologetics field and that’s teaching youth. At my church, I had been invited to speak to the youth group about the importance of Christian apologetics. I did it with the help of a friend of mine who I brought to the meeting with me. Since this friend didn’t go to my church, he played the role of an atheist asking the kids why they should be Christians. Unfortunately, our young Christians were flummoxed early on. That’s when we told the truth. My friend is also a Christian apologist and that led us into the discussion of how we can know that Christianity is true and what difference it makes and not only that, but how much fun it can be to discuss these matters.

In the end, one of the youth said a closing prayer and I think it showed that this was sinking in, at least I hope it was. The leaders at least certainly appreciated it. In fact, this is one of the events I consider the most important. It’s great to talk to adults often on topics such as the resurrection of Jesus. That needs to be done. Youth are our main group we should be trying to reach. The youth are the ones that are about to go into the furnace of college most often and have their faith tested by professors who will be more than happy to debunk Christianity and by moral challenges such as dealing with sexual temptation.

Ultimately, stressing to them that Christianity is true is what it’s all about and they need more than warm fuzzies to know that. They will face hard times eventually and a good feeling will not sustain them and we should all know we cannot produce feelings. If we all lived according to our feelings, our world would be chaos and most of living the good Christian life is learning to overcome wrong feelings and wrong thinking. (And despite this, how many Christians act or don’t act because of their feelings and even turn it into something supposed to be Biblical, like doing something because you “feel led” to do it?)

But what if you have something else that drives you? That will really come into play when those times of struggle come. “Wow. It feels like God is absent now, but I know because of XYZ that He exists and that He cares about me and I know because of this historical evidence that Jesus rose from the dead.” “Wow. My date is so hot and you know, I really would like to get to see all that she has right now and have some fun with her, but I know that that is not the right thing to do because of XYZ.” “Wow. My spouse is being a jerk today, but I know I am to be the better person and love (or respect) more because of XYZ.”

Those times will come, and those necessities will need to be there. You will need to know how to think properly about the issues.

When you do this, Christianity will become more real to you. Your worship will be better informed. You will get much more out of your Bible reading and study when you see it as a book that contains events that really took place in space and time. You will take your moral responsibility much more seriously when you realize that there truly is a good. Studying believe it or not can also be fun. Yes. There are times I don’t really want to do it, but I suppose for some people, it’s like working out. Many I understand don’t like to work out really but once they get started, they are enjoying it and want to finish. It’s just honestly fun to learn new things about Christianity.

There’s also great joy when you encounter someone who is rather a loudmouth atheist. Now of course not all atheists are like this, but those who are not will be the first to admit that there are too many atheists that they find frankly embarrassing for speaking on what they don’t know about. These kinds do not want to meet a Christian who knows what they’re talking about. Be that Christian.

Also, as my friend and my wife and I discussed afterwards, there will not be many times that you will find that the atheist you dialogue with is convinced. This is sadly par for the course. As I had said in the meeting, I don’t do it for the atheist most of the time. I do it for the people who are watching. Someone might see what is going on in that Facebook thread and really reconsider that there could be good evidence for Christianity and be strengthened in their faith by seeing how weak the opposition is. (This is not to say there are not opponents out there who really do think about the issues and know how to interact well with the arguments, but that for the most part, the objections you encounter are quite weak.)

Friends. The youth have to hear this. They have to. We who are the adults and able to teach are doing our youths a great wrong if we do not equip them with Christian apologetics and if they go to college and fall away or fall away morally through sexual sins or other sins because we have not equipped them, then just like in the book of Ezekiel, we will be accountable for that. Do you really want that on your head? If you still want to ignore teaching your youth what they believe and why, then the question that needs to be asked is not “Why are they not taking Christianity seriously?” but rather “Why are you not taking it seriously?”

We are at war friends and our youth are lined up to be the first casualties. We need for them to know that the life of joy and pleasure is found in more than just sex, music, video games, etc. It’s found first and foremost in knowing God and learning about Him. Christianity isn’t pie in the sky. It’s not wishful thinking. It’s an actual worldview that is meant to shape everything that you think and do. It has something to say about who you date, who you marry, how you behave, how you spend your time, how you spend your money, what you study in college, and every other aspect of your life.

Please be teaching young people at your church apologetics. You could make sure that they enter the blessed presence of God one day by doing so.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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