During the once-a-month Question & Answer session I organise at Sunday School, one boy asked: “What’s the difference between angels and us?”

That question triggered a loud and excited debate until a young girl said: “Wait, isn’t an angel what we become after we die?” Curious, I asked her where she got that idea from. She replied, “That’s what the cartoons always show.”

She was right: I can remember watching cartoon characters Sylvester, Tom, and Wile E. Coyote coming back as angels with harps every time their elaborate schemes against their prey disastrously backfired!

More recently, a young adult shared during his Bible study group meeting that he met a person who asserted that the Bible did not adequately deal with all of humanity.

This wasn’t an uncommon challenge to Christian beliefs and I waited to see how the rest of the group would respond. After a few moments, the same young man asked, “Is it true?”

This young man has been a Christian from childhood and I was surprised that his knowledge and faith could be so easily shaken. These incidents showed me the danger of falsehoods, and reminded me of the importance of correcting them as soon as possible.

When Lies Become Truths

In Amos 2:4, God pointed out exactly where the nation of Judah had gone wrong: “They have rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept his decrees, because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed.”

Judah’s rejection of God began when their ancestors started believing the lies of the surrounding Canaanite nations.

Each successive generation then inherited the lies passed down from their fathers, and continued in the foolishness of worshipping wooden idols and nature instead of the true and living God (Jeremiah 16:19, Romans 1:25).

Uncorrected lies are dangerous because they persist over time and condemn generations to foolishness.

I’d like to encourage you to sit down as a family and take turns to answer the question: “On what are you basing this confidence of yours?”

The girl’s remark about angels shows how easily truth can be compromised, and how a falsehood can become truth when it is repeated continually without being challenged.

It is just as easy for a Christian of any age to believe false claims or to develop doubts about his faith.

Without a firm grasp of biblical truth and a clear understanding of why we should trust the Bible, doubts can grow when we are unable to answer basic questions on our faith.

As parents, we have the responsibility of teaching the truth to the next generation.

Parents Are Guardians of The Truth

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul concluded with this instruction:

“Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.” (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

As parents, we are guardians of the truth of the gospel because we know it and have accepted it. Therefore, we have a responsibility to pass this truth to the next generation. Amid opposing ideas and false knowledge, we need to safeguard the truth for our children so that they will not be “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14).

To do so, we need to do three things:

1. Know What We Are Guarding

First, we need to know what we are guarding, so that we can speak the truth clearly and readily.

The truth of the gospel is simply this: We are created by a holy, loving, and just God. Our sinful and rebellious nature separated us from having an intimate relationship with Him. God loves us and provided a way of reconciliation by sending His Son Jesus to die for us. Whoever believes in Him will be forgiven, be reconciled with God and have eternal life with Him (John 3:16).

This is the truth concerning humanity’s origin, purpose, and destiny; this is the truth we are entrusted with.

John 17:17 says: “Your word is truth.” And Proverbs 30:5 declares: “Every word of God proves true (ESV).”

That’s why it is vital for parents to spend time reading, studying, and meditating on Scripture to know this truth we are safeguarding.

2. Know The Threats We Are Fighting

When I did my first guard duty in the army, my commander told me two things: One, know where the threat might come from—in other words, where the points of entry are; two, know how to identify the threat, because the bad guys won’t announce their arrival.

To pass the truth on to our children, we need to know where the falsehoods may come from, and how to prevent the truth from being compromised.

Know Where The Threat Might Come From

The internet is a great resource, but it can also do a lot of harm to young Christians (and I’m not referring only to age). Because this generation consumes almost all their information online, any false claim they encounter is likely to come through the internet.

The problem isn’t so much the articles, videos, or social media posts which offer alternative views that challenge biblical claims, for objections to Christianity have existed as long as Christianity itself, but that the readers’ faith may not be mature enough to handle the questions.

We need to help our children value and treasure the truth they receive, so that they, too, may stand strong in times of doubt and trials.

To address questions about Christianity, I have regular Q&A Sundays with my Sunday School class. It is healthy and normal for children to have questions about God and the Bible, and during these Q&A sessions, we explore the Bible together to find the answers.

It is dangerous to let children figure out the answers themselves, because the wrong answers can lead to wrong beliefs.

The only fool-proof way to detect a falsehood is by loving and knowing the truth.

I have seen many leave the church because of these false beliefs. When children, or even youths, come across articles or arguments that question Biblical beliefs or propose alternative ideas, we must journey with them to find a satisfactory response.

As parents, we must encourage our children to talk to us if they have questions. And we must also equip ourselves to answer them.

Some questions can be tricky and difficult—but be assured that the answers can be found.

Most questions concerning the Christian faith have been around for hundreds of years, and many of them have already been answered.

There are many great books and websites that can help you. Check out the children’s apologetics section in your local Christian bookshop.

Know How To Identify The Threat

In this age of “fake news”, it is important to verify what you hear or read. One way to determine the truthfulness of a claim is to trace its source.

For Christians, our ultimate source of truth is in the person of Jesus Christ—the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Since we have accepted Jesus, the Truth lives in us to guide us.

Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:14: “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

The Holy Spirit and the Bible are the Christian’s double-barrelled weapon against falsehoods.

Anything that claims to be the truth has to be checked against the Bible.

It must cohere and correspond to God’s Word, which is the unchanging, unerring gold standard by which we measure truth.

Just compare some of the falsehoods that many believe in with what the Bible says:

  • “I am such a bad person that I am unworthy of God’s forgiveness.”
    The Bible says: nothing is able to separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39).
  • “I have to do good to win God’s favour.”
    The Bible says: it is by grace we are saved, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • “If I obey God, everything will work out smoothly.”
    Jesus says: “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33).
  • I would be more popular if I was taller, slimmer, and more attractive.”
    God says: “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
  • “We must make as much money as we can to have security and live happily.”
    The Bible says: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5).

The only fool-proof way to detect a falsehood is by loving and knowing the truth. If we are armed with the truth, it is impossible to be deceived.

And the only way to know the truth is by conscientiously reading and studying the Bible.

3. Help Our Children Value The Truth

When the Assyrian king Sennacherib was threatening the nation of Judah, he tried to shake King Hezekiah’s confidence in God. He asked: “On what are you basing this confidence of yours?” (2 Kings 18:19)

Hezekiah’s faith was not based on long-ago stories about God, but on his personal experience and knowledge of God’s faithfulness. He chose to trust God, and as a result, experienced God’s blessings over his kingdom.

Anything that claims to be the truth has to be checked against the Bible.

Our confidence in God cannot be based on second-hand anecdotes and Bible stories alone. It must be based on a solid foundation of personal conviction.

Similarly, our children’s faith cannot be expected to grow if they have not experienced God personally. We need to help our children value and treasure the truth they receive, so that they, too, may stand strong in times of doubt and trials.

Some years ago, I taught a bright young boy in Sunday School. He knew the scriptures well and enjoyed church camps and worship songs.

As parents, we must encourage our children to talk to us if they have questions. And we must also equip ourselves to answer them.

Later, I found out that he had renounced his faith. This boy knew about God, but he did not know God. His faith was challenged when he started reading books that contradicted the Bible. Eventually, he rejected the notion of God altogether.

While it is good and encouraging to tell our children stories about God’s faithfulness, ultimately, second-hand faith is risky and does not have a deep enough foundation to withstand serious challenges.

In my own walk with God, I have experienced His rebuke when I drifted from Him, His tender compassion when I was distressed, His faithfulness when He answered my prayers, and His patience with my weakness.

Without a firm grasp of biblical truth and a clear understanding of why we should trust the Bible, doubts can grow when we are unable to answer basic questions on our faith.

Each of these experiences is a brick with which I have built my pillar of faith in God. Each brick is another reason for me to trust in Him.

I’d like to encourage you to sit down as a family and take turns to answer the question: “On what are you basing this confidence of yours?”

This conversation can help you share the bricks of your own faith pillar, and help your children build their own faith pillars by recognising and identifying the times when God rebuked, comforted, and helped them.

The gospel truth is the most important legacy we leave to our children.

To safeguard it for them, we need to be intimately acquainted with it. By showing our children the truth in our own lives, we show that the gospel is not just a feel-good story, but the foundation upon which we base our values, make our choices, and live our lives.