Mom, what are pronouns?” my 12-year-old daughter asked after accompanying me on a speaking engagement at a theologically conservative church. She had been invited to join some other students for their midweek service when a substitute youth leader asked her for her preferred pronouns.
Let that sink in. A Bible-believing, Jesus-loving church was simply one volunteer youth leader away from potentially indoctrinating their students with radical gender theory. This is why as Christian parents we must be vigilant to train and protect our kids in a culture that has lost its moral compass.
But this is not a call to fear. This is a call to action. Jesus is on His throne, and God is sovereign over creation. That should fill every parent’s heart with hope! Thankfully, we have guidance from God’s Word about how to train our kids to think clearly, engage their culture, and stand strong for Christ.
1. Speak truth into lies
The Bible has a lot to say about spiritual warfare. Although the phrase might conjure images of fighting demons, casting out devils and praying against spiritual attacks, the primary way Scripture speaks about it is in the realm of ideas. This makes perfect sense because the devil is the father of lies—false ideas. He’s been lying since the beginning, and he’s good at it. Today he has a virtual megaphone pointed at our children through vehicles like social media, movies, streaming platforms, video games, music, educational resources and, sadly, even churches.
The Apostle Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 that the weapons we fight with are not physical, but “have divine power to destroy strongholds.” He continues, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Notice the words being used in the context of warfare: arguments, opinion, knowledge, thought, obey. All of thesewords have to do with the realm of the mind.
2. Equip yourself
To speak truth into the lies, we must first know what is true. This may seem simple, but we are living in a culture that has largely rejected the idea that truth exists or can be known, especially when it comes to religion and morality. This is why many of our own Christian kids have been duped into believing that the Christian faith is merely a matter of personal preference rather than the explanation of all reality.
Think of it this way: Most people in our society would have no problem telling you to believe that 2+2=4. However, if you ask them about their spirituality, they wouldn’t dream of telling you what to believe. “What’s true for you is true for you, and what’s true for me is true for me,” is the common mantra.
Why is this the case? The late Francis Schaeffer explained the way truth is approached in contemporary culture. Imagine a two-story house. On the bottom floor are things like absolute truth, math, science, logic, and facts—things that are true for everyone everywhere. On the top floor are things like opinions and preferences—things that vary from person to person, like your favorite kind of cheese or which row you like to sit in at the movie theater. In this house, facts go downstairs, and opinions go upstairs.
In today’s culture, religion and morality are upstairs, right next to your favorite color. With this understanding, it’s not difficult to see why our kids are so confused. Equipping ourselves with some basic knowledge about how truth works will lay a great foundation for us to be able to train our kids to think clearly about their spiritual beliefs. It’s actually quite simple: Truth is a statement that lines up with what is real.
But our society is working from a different definition—that truth is something we create within ourselves. This might work fine if we’re simply talking about our favorite pizza toppings, but when it comes to what we believe about God and what is right and wrong, the stakes are much higher. As Christian parents, we need to start talking about spirituality and morality in the same way we talk about math. After all, Paul said that if Christ wasn’t raised from the dead, our faith is useless (see 1 Corinthians 15:14). There is no “my truth” when it comes to Jesus’ resurrection. It either happened or it didn’t.
3. Have tough conversations
It’s vital that we as Christian parents have conversations with our kids about cultural hot topics early and often. For example, one of the dominant worldviews today is radical gender theory, which undermines the beauty of God’s design for sex, marriage and gender. As Christian parents, we should be the ones introducing our kids to the truth that there are two genders, and one’s gender is determined by their biology, not their psychology. We have a tremendous opportunity to teach our kids the truth of Genesis 5:1-2: “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them.”
Gender is a conversation topic that can be introduced at the earliest stages. Simply reinforcing these truths by using words like boy, girl, woman, man, mommy and daddy is spiritual warfare: you’re speaking truth into lies.
Asking your children, “What’s your biggest question about God?” can seem daunting, especially if you aren’t sure you’ll know the answer. But that’s OK! If your kid asks an obscure question related to the reliability of the Bible or the historicity of an Old Testament character, it’s perfectly fine to say, “Hmmm. I don’t know. Let’s find out together.” You don’t have to be a scholar or seminary professor to engage your kids with their toughest questions. You just have to be curious and engaged enough to take them on that journey with you.
4. Pray and be consistent
Never underestimate the power of prayer! When we come to the Lord daily in prayer and make our requests known to God with thanksgiving, He promises to guard our hearts and minds with His unfathomable peace (see Philippians 4:6-7).
Consistency is also key. God commanded the Israelites to keep His law in their hearts daily: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:7).
The culture is attempting to indoctrinate our children at all times. Fighting for truth, equipping ourselves with knowledge, engaging our kids in discipleship and conversations, and praying for their protection and spiritual growth are steps we can and must take every single day to provide a healthy spiritual environment for our kids to flourish. Sometimes that means just putting a meal on the table and modeling family togetherness, gathering at the door to pray before leaving for school, or asking a thought-provoking question while driving to soccer practice. These are the small and consistent ways we can fight for our kids, speak truth into the lies, and train our children to stand strong in a chaotic culture. ©2023 Alisa Childers
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.
Alisa Childers is a wife, a mom, an author, a speaker and a worship leader. She is a former member of the award-winning CCM recording group ZOEgirl. You can connect with her online at alisachilders.com.
Photo: Adobe Stock