Metropolitan Bible Child Indoctrination

Metropolitan Bible Child Indoctrination

Question: Some people say children should be left to make up their own minds about religion. Do you agree?

Rev. RICK REED is senior pastor at the Metropolitan Bible Church in Ottawa.

Parents who adopt this approach are making a big mistake. They are inadvertently communicating two wrong messages to their kids: faith doesn’t really matter and faith is a matter of personal taste.

The first misguided message is that faith doesn’t really matter. In areas that really matter, responsible parents don’t take a laissez-faire attitude. For example, responsible parents don’t let their kids nix the veggies and binge on junk food. They don’t let younger children set their own bedtimes. They don’t shrug their shoulders when their teenagers choose friends who seem headed for early jail time.

Whenever parents take a hands-off approach toward faith, they communicate that faith is minimally important. And that’s tragically misguided. As C.S. Lewis once said, “Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance but, if true, is of ultimate importance. The one thing Christianity cannot be is moderately important.”

The second misguided message is that faith is a matter of personal taste. If all religions are equally valid, then faith becomes a matter of individual preference. Pick the one that suits you best. But since various religions vary in their understanding of spiritual realities, we must seek to pick the faith that best lines up with truth.

Christians believe that Jesus was telling the truth when He declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). That’s why Christian parents seek to bring up their children “in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). While it’s true our children will grow into adults and will ultimately choose their own paths through life, it’s also true that responsible parents will seek to start their kids out on the right path. And that includes the right spiritual path.

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