the right way (part three)

June 24, 2016

balance

Appreciate all the feed back, yes, this is good for Sunday school, home school, at home and even for a new believer’s class. Thank you for all the questions and encouragement. (we’ve had four charter schools ask for this to be taught this summer before teachers head back into the class room. Thank you Karl for picking up the slack and helping out.)

Around fourth or fifth grade, a student’s mind grows significantly in its capacity for abstract thought. As their ability to reason grows, they begin to transition from what questions to why questions. Don’t be surprised if they begin to question you and challenge your answers at this stage. And don’t be threatened by it either. Instead, capitalize on it. They’ve reached the Logic Stage and are now ready for a good dose of apologetics.  5

This is the time for arguments for God’s existence, evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, and reasons why the Bible is not only historically reliable, but also divinely inspired. In addition, we must help them overcome objections to Christianity, such as the problem of evil and suffering, moral relativism, religious pluralism, and challenges to the Bible. When we equip them with “the reason for the hope” we have in Christ, we help secure the theological foundation of stage one and strengthen their confidence that Christianity is objectively true. Here are three practical steps for this stage.

  1. Ask them questions first.

Don’t wait for students to raise questions and challenges; be proactive and provoke their questions. Question the theological training you provided in stage one: “You believe God is all-powerful and all-loving, but how do you know He exists in the first place?” And then wait. Let them struggle to answer, and then question their answers. Struggling can create some healthy internal motivation for our students to care about the questions and seek out satisfying answers.

  1. Never shut down their questions.

Create a safe space for students’ doubts by allowing them to ask any and all questions. And when they ask, affirm them in their questioning. According to recent research by the Fuller Youth Institute, students who were free to express their doubts during high school showed greater faith maturity in college.  6 If you shut down their questions, they won’t stop questioning, they’ll just seek answers elsewhere—without you.

  1. Answer four key questions.

The case for Christianity is a cumulative one. That means there is no apologetic silver bullet, no single argument that establishes the entire case. Instead, we must help students identify the key components of our cumulative case and supply them with the supporting reasons and evidence. Have them answer these four key questions to establish the truthfulness of Christianity:

Does truth exist?

Does God exist?

Does God act (miracles)?

Does God speak (Scripture)?  7

By the time a student graduates from our home or our ministry, she must move beyond merely believing the truth to actually knowing the truth. What’s the difference? Philosophers generally define knowledge as justified true belief. If I know something, not only do I believe it to be true, but it’s supported by adequate reasons. The theological training of stage one supplies the true beliefs of Christian orthodoxy and the apologetic training of stage two provides the reasons and justification. Together they furnish our students with knowledge of the truth.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

A big thanks to Hyperion Publishing and Lighthouse press.

Prayer for Ann D, brain damage from a fall and hitting the curb and now pulmonary embolism.

Pray for Katherine her sister, totally unprepared to deal with this.

For Roger B, Tulsa ok, throat cancer

For Bonnie W, knee surgery next Monday

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