How To Respond When Your Child Questions Your Beliefs

Enjoy this guest post by ordained pastor Tim Williams. Tim studied at Dallas Theological Seminary and has a Bible degree from Biola University. Currently, he and his wife Jenny are expecting their first child as he serves as the Children’s Pastor at mega-church, Compass Church in Colleyville, Texas. Tim is my son and a mom couldn’t be more proud. This post has insightful information for parents and wisdom for all of us.

Is the Bible True? By Pastor Tim Williams

Tips for Parents

This is such a complex question, it’s hard to know where to start. Christians tend to use the Bible to “prove” that the Bible is true. When it comes to skeptical friends or curious kids with complex questions, we need to be prepared to have an honest answer, not a circular argument for what we believe.

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3 things to keep in mind when dealing with complex questions:

  1. It’s okay to not have the answer!

Sometimes your kids have some really difficult and strange questions. And you don’t have to have the answer! It’s okay to say “I don’t know,” and to discover the answer together. To give an answer just because we feel we should have one can push our kids away as they get older and as they realize the things we have been telling them aren’t exactly true.

  1. Make sure your kids know it’s okay to question biblical beliefs.

There will come a point in your kids’ lives when they will begin to question some of the basic truths of the Bible. This is okay and it is part of every young person accepting the truth of the Bible as a part of his or her own beliefs. Even John the Baptist had doubts to whether Jesus was the Christ (Luke 7:20)!

  1. Make sure your kids know YOU are the right person to talk to about these things.

As your kids get older, they’re going to start hearing from more and more outside influences that will steer them away from the truth of the Bible. Teachers and friends will say things that challenge the validity of the Bible.  Your kids need to know that you’re a safe place to come to and a safe person to question their beliefs with. Let them know it’s okay to question the truth of the Bible! If they’re not allowed to question their beliefs at a younger age with you there to help guide them, then they’re going to question their beliefs on their own when they get older without you. And you may not like their conclusions.

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Which of the following conversation would you rather have?

Kid: Dad, I don’t think a fish ever swallowed Jonah. That sounds impossible!

Dad: Why would you even say such a thing? Do you think you know better than God? Are you saying that the Bible is lying? If the Bible is lying then did Jesus not die on the cross for our sins?

Kid: Okay dad, you’re right…

OR

Kid: Dad, I don’t think a fish ever swallowed Jonah. That sounds impossible!

Dad: Why do you say that?

Kid: I learned in class today that no human could survive in the belly of the whale. My teacher said that the story of Jonah is nothing but a story to teach us to obey God.

Dad: She brings up a good point. It does seem impossible doesn’t it? But do you believe our God can do the impossible?

Kid: I mean, yeah. But how do we know this story isn’t just a lesson?

Now you can help guide their thinking and come to the conclusion together rather than lecture them for violating a basic Christian belief. You need to be a safe place to have these discussions because they’re going to happen with or without you.

At some point, your kids are probably going to need more than just the Sunday school answers. Below are 3 strong examples of extra-biblical evidence to support the validity of the Bible:

  1. The account of ancient historian Josephus

Josephus was an ancient historian who worked under the Roman Emperor during the first century.  In his writing, “Antiquities of the Jews,” Josephus recounts the story of Jesus, how he was the Christ, and how he died and resurrected. The story of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins isn’t just in the Bible. Look it up! Antiquities of the Jews Book 18, Chapter 3, 3

  1. Reliability of oral tradition

According to secular historian A.N. Sherwin-White, the validity of the oral tradition (stories passed down verbally) is reliable up to one or two generations after the events of the story.  The books of the New Testament were written down within the same generation in which Jesus lived. So, even though the Gospels were written down as early as 20 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, historically these accounts would have to have been completely accurate since many of the eye-witnesses were still alive.

  1. Gender roles in ancient society

During Jesus’ time, women held a low status in society (something Jesus himself spoke against). In the Gospels, Mary and Martha are credited with being the first individuals to see Jesus alive after his crucifixion. During this time, the testimony of women was not credible so if the “story” of Jesus’ resurrection was made up, men would have been named as the first to see Jesus since their testimony was credible. The only reason women saw him first is because Jesus truly did resurrect and Mary and Martha truly were the first ones to see him!

Believe me, there is so much more! We don’t have to believe in the truth of Bible without historical proof. There are extensive facts and details that back up its authenticity. We don’t have to continue telling our kids to just have “faith” and believe it is true; we can back it up with facts! At some point, typical “church answers” aren’t going to be good enough, and that’s okay! It may start now, or when they’re in Junior High, High School, even college. The important thing is to “always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have” (1 Peter 3:15)- especially your kids!

4 thoughts on “How To Respond When Your Child Questions Your Beliefs

  1. I love this topic, when I was asked these questions by my eldest daughter, I would not hesitate to allow her to pose her questions and allow her to articulate what her doubt’s were, shocked as I was that she was questioning these Biblical figures, I asked her to share her thoughts in light of what Scriptures actually say contextually, and allow her to run her own reasoning through to their logical conclusions, and because she really has the Spirit in her, He leads her to all truth without my help, sometimes she will realize what a cheap counterfeit is out there which is just the world doing its best to switch the Words of God around to fit their agendas, then she retracts to the Bible as being trustworthy and the only true source of all things and their origins, its really just admitting her pride blocked her view for a while.

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