By Ryan Weber
Inerrancy and truth. When placed within the confines of our ideas of Scripture, they are two simple words loaded with potential. If we believe that the Bible is without error in all things, we can trust that what lies within it is absolutely true. And if the Bible is absolutely true, then the principles that lie within it are the key to unlocking a life of self-sacrificing excellence, a life that reflects the life of Christ.
On the surface, that sounds beautiful. Underneath that utopian view of biblical power lies a cultural reality which subversively argues that Scripture is an archaic and misogynistic collection of letters that are no longer relevant to a 21st century America. The issue begins when the barrage of influences in our students’ lives speak louder and more consistently than the Word of God. Our students are quicker (and if we’re honest with ourselves, we are too) to open up Instagram and Snapchat than they are to open up the Bible.
The Bible is more accessible than it has ever been, but the ironic tragedy is that our own access to the Bible has never been more limited. Why? Because we are a Golden Corral people.
We would much rather go to Golden Corral when it comes to our preferences and activity than anything else. I can pick and choose whatever I want whenever I want for anything that suits my own preferences and comfort. As long as I like it, I’ll make it a part of my worldview and thereby a part of my lifestyle.
Golden Corral is easy and cheap. We can go there to fill our bellies if we want. We should never go there (figuratively) to fill our lives. If I’m going to go anywhere to figuratively fill my life, I want it to be something special – think Chima’s Brazilian Steakhouse or Ruth’s Chris.
When you think of those places, you think of one thing: Steak! That’s the good stuff! When I go there, I know I’m going to get filled with something special. That’s why God sent us His Word, and it’s more important than ever (with so many Golden Corral selections out there competing for our minds, time and adoration) that we understand the priority and the superiority of the Bible. I don’t want cheap imitation, I want authentic revelation.
And the Bible is that. Even if you hold a PhD in History or Religious Studies from a liberal university, you cannot nor will not ever discredit the viability, historicity and inerrant truth of the Word of God. The Bible says of itself, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8 NIV). Translation: the Bible rules, always has, always will.
So, your unique challenge is this: convince your teenager that you are smarter and know more than the professors they are going to encounter in college (and possibly even high school) who are going to tell them that the Bible is nothing more than a collection of fairy tales written in the context of a misogynistic Hebrew culture.
Easy stuff, right? But it’s coming. They’ll be told their faith is a joke and Jesus was a failure. Believe me, I took that class. And our statistics tell us that our students believe them! 50% of committed students in church (meaning those kids who attend church every week, go on all the mission trips and events, serve in the kid’s ministry) fall away and will never attend church again. This is the urgency facing this generation. They need to know the truth of Isaiah 40:8.
But here’s the good thing: you don’t need a PhD to equip your student to withstand the coming onslaught. All you need is to know how to read and the Holy Spirit. There are hundreds of resources from smarter people than we’ll ever be who can attest to the reliability of the Scriptures. There are some wonderful and, better yet, not overly complicated resources to help you have informed conversations with your students:
- The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel
- I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler
- The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell
Just to name a couple. I would also encourage you to not be intimidated by these conversations. I just had an hour long conversation about these very topics with 5th and 6th graders, and they were enraptured the entire time. When the Holy Spirit enters a conversation and wants to penetrate hearts, He will use you to say what He wants and your students will listen. That’s how good the Holy Spirit is.
But it takes preparation on your part. This is the hard part of our parenting- to equip our students to survive when we are not around to save them. That’s why you need to make this a priority to learn and communicate the truths and facts of what we know of Scripture. Your student’s involvement in church as well as his/her adoration and worship of Jesus may depend on it. It’s that urgent. Join us in making sure these statistics change.