Having and living according to a biblical worldview really does matter. Researcher George Barna has lately been speaking quite bluntly about this issue and the importance of intentionally building a biblical worldview in the next generation.
Speaking recently at Family Research Council’s Pray Vote Stand event about his new book, Raising Spiritual Champions: Nurturing Your Child’s Heart, Mind, and Soul, Barna went so far as to attribute our societal problems to a transition from a biblical worldview to alternative philosophies.
Barna makes some stark distinctions between calling oneself a Christian and really being a disciple of Christ, someone as Barna says, “lives like Jesus because they think like Jesus.” Thinking like Jesus means developing a biblical worldview—seeing what’s happening around us through the lens of God’s Word.
When it comes to parents nurturing their child’s heart, mind, and soul, Barna contends that parents err in prioritizing “academic achievement, emotional happiness, and good health” over “worldview development” and wanting their children to be a “good person" as opposed to being a disciple of Christ. Currently, Barna says, “less than 1 percent of adolescents and teens are on track to have a biblical worldview." That goes back to parents.
It’s not wrong to want children to do well in school or to be emotionally and physically healthy, or to be a good person. But they should first and foremost be disciples who see the world through the lens of Scripture. Without a biblical worldview, children will ultimately struggle in every area because such a worldview grounds them and prepares them for discerning true from false, good from evil, and right from wrong. This calls for intentional, purposeful parenting.
Developing a biblical worldview in children is part of their education, which parents bear responsibility for even if they involve others. This is not something that can be totally relegated to others. Pastors, youth pastors, Sunday School teachers, Christian camp counselors, Christian school teachers and coaches can certainly support and help, but parents are the real difference makers in this effort. Parents should be the ones who establish the truths, which are then reinforced by others. Parents also need to be sure that others who are feeding into their children’s thinking are supporting them and what they are teaching and not undermining them.
How does a parent intentionally make disciples of their children, building in a working biblical worldview? This obviously begins with parents who are themselves committed disciples of Jesus Christ. They are students of God’s Word and seek prayerfully to live faithfully in accordance with His teachings. It’s nearly impossible to pass on to another what we don’t possess ourselves.
Modeling a godly life that regularly relies on a biblical worldview is one of the best ways to instill the same in one’s children. But there are other activities that also need to be incorporated. For instance, regularly reading and studying the Bible together as a family is essential. At a minimum, this practice says to children that dad and mom so highly value the Scripture that it has a place of preeminence in the family schedule.
Planned family discussions at dinner are also helpful. Parents posing questions such as, what does that Bible say about money or marriage or any number of topics can result in insightful and meaningful conversation that ultimately the parents conclude with a definitive biblical answer to the particular issue. Resources to assist parents with this are available online or certainly pastors should have ready recommendations.
Of course, when a child has a question or hears something in the news or somewhere else that prompts a question or encounters a situation where he or she is concerned about what is right or about how to deal with something, those are perfect times for worldview instruction and training. Turning to the Word of God first and recognizing it as the ultimate authority will speak volumes to the child seeking answers and direction both now and in the future.
Intentional parenting is demanding but if we are serious about raising a generation that not only know the Lord but are also sold out as His disciples because they have the mind of Christ, it’s essential. Worldview matters for all of us. A generation that is steeped in a biblical worldview will provide leadership that will change families, churches, communities, states, and nations now and for eternity.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council, reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
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