- God is
- The Bible is God’s Word
- People Are God’s Treasure
- Jesus is God and Savior
- The Holy Spirit is God, the Presence & Power
- Salvation is by faith alone
- The Church is God’s Plan
- God Holds the Future
One person’s truth is another’s heresy. (If someone famous didn’t say that already, I call dibs.) Even among Christians, it’s extremely difficult for everyone to agree upon what we all hold dear. (A new denomination’s probably forming right now because God obviously wants coffee served in the multi-purpose room, not the narthex.)
Not wishing to highlight differences or (gasp!) offend others, we often default to… silence. We adopt a don’t-ask-don’t-tell “theology” choosing to assume everyone knows the pillars of faith and happily move along. Ignorance equals bliss.
Ignorance also has dire, eternal ramifications. We MUST do the hard work of studying and understanding what we actually believe. (It’s flabbergasting how many profess willingness to die for Jesus without ever reading His book.) When we ignore or assume knowledge of the basics, fuzziness descends. Confusion overtakes clarity. Skewed doctrine and poisonous worldviews seep in, infecting and stunting a teen’s developing theology. Ignorance can potentially neuter and deaden authentic faith.
I might sound like a doom and gloom hysteric, but the research backs it up. The National Study on Youth and Religion found that 75 percent of American youth profess some form of Christianity, but only 10 percent actually internalize basic Christian beliefs. Ten percent! (Shaq – an abysmal free throw shooter – ended his career with a .527 percentage. He sank five times as many free throws as there are teens who know basic theology!)*
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. (Someone famous definitely said that one.) Teens must have a clear explanation of what Christians believe, what unites us throughout time around the world and what separates Christianity from all other religions. Without this foundation, we have no one to blame but ourselves for not properly teaching them when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up. (That last bit was penned by the Famous One. Deutoronomy 11:19)
Maybe we put off exploring God the Father because He is infinite, unknowable and completely holy. Why waste time talking about someone we can never fully “know?”
That attitude is foolishness.
We can never fully know another human being, but that doesn’t stop us from friending them on Facebook, hanging out at Starbucks or even marrying one. We bind ourselves FOR LIFE to a person we will NEVER fully know. Why would we not attempt relationship with our loving Creator God?
God reveals plenty of Himself in Scripture and through His Son. No, our picture of Him won’t be perfectly clear. (Want to serve a god you can completely figure out? Go look in a mirror.) Just as FBI agents study authentic bills so they can easily spot counterfeits, we must study the One True God daily – through prayer, His Word, and His Son – so we can easily spot posers trying to pass themselves off as Truth.
Getting to know God requires an eternity. That could easily overwhelm any discussion with teens, so start with the broad basics all orthodox Christians can agree upon:
We unequivocally believe that only one true and living God exists. He is the Creator of the universe, eternally existing in three Persons—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—each equally deserving of humanity’s worship and obedience. He is infinite and perfect in all His attributes.
GOD IS. Take this Essential Truth to heart. Share it with teens. Help it take root and grow into a firm faith that will never be swayed.
*I did not major in math.