What Do We Believe?

Douglas VanBronkhorst

READ : 1 Timothy 4:1-16

. . . trained in the words of the faith . . . (v. 6)

Last Christmas a friend's six-year-old surprised his mother, “Mom, is Santa Claus real? Just tell me the truth!” This reminded me of the December morning when our six-year-old excitedly announced he heard reindeer hooves on the roof. These boys were never taught Santa was real, but they “learned” this (and other things) from the world. Parents filter this as they're able, but it's impossible to totally isolate our children from the surrounding culture. Like Paul with Timothy, his son in the faith, Christians teach their children to compare the world's way with God's Word; making the Bible the final authority for what's true.

This aspect of parenting is the same in the United States or Uzbekistan. It may, in fact, be no more difficult to help a child living in Tashkent deal with Christ versus Mohammed, than to help one in Toledo sort out Santa versus Jesus. Every culture puts negative pressure on parents who want to train their children in Christian theology, values, and morals. The only difference is in the details. In a Muslim country girls are taught to cover up in public so men can't see them. In America they are taught to go as bare as possible so men will notice them. Neither culture honors Christ or the Bible's view about gender and sex. In teaching children to recognize error and believe the truth, parents everywhere have much to learn from one another.


Heavenly Father, help me teach your truth, especially to children.