Has your student ever questioned something that your family or church believes about the Bible? If so, it can be a daunting experience. You want to serve them well by sharing truth and steering them clear of false doctrine. You want them to trust you and you want them trust your church. When your student questions, it can become scary.
In that moment, there are three temptations:
- Take it personally – It’s not personal. Your student is most likely just asking a genuine question, something that is a normal part of growing and maturing.
- Feel like you must have the answers – You don’t have to know everything! In fact, your student isn’t expecting you to know everything. They are just asking.
- Doubt their faith – Sometimes, questions reveal a dark or bitter heart. Yet, if your student is asking, they most likely don’t have an ulterior motive. They’re just asking questions. In my experience, those who leave the faith were the ones who asked less questions.
But what do we do? What should you as a parent do when your child comes home with very hard or even troubling questions?
1. Become a student with your child
When your student asks questions, view it as an opportunity. It’s a chance for you to show your student that you are primarily not a parent, employee, or husband/wife; you are first and foremost a disciple of Jesus. This is opportunity to show your eagerness to submit to God as a student of his Word, and to do so alongside your child.
2. Welcome doubts
No, I’m not saying you should be okay with your student believing heresy. Rather, you can show your student that doubts and confusion about the Bible is not the breaking of their faith, or yours. If we teach students that everything is black and white, then they will believe that minor doctrines are essential for them to be a Christian. This is an opportunity for you to teach them theological triage. Help them understand which beliefs are essential, which are convictions, and which are preferences. Students would be so helped by this.
3. Reach out to pastors and Christians you trust
At College Park, part of our job is to help parents and students understand the Bible. I love meeting with parents to help them navigate the challenging but exciting role as the main discipler of their student. So, if your answer to your student’s question is “I don’t know,” reach out to a pastor or staff member at your church. The body of Christ is called to walk alongside each other. Let others live that out by supporting you as you support your student. We’re in this together for the glory of God and the good of our students’ faith.