Raising Children of Light in a Culture of Darkness

I do not want to drive across a bridge designed by an engineer who believed the numbers in structural stress models are relative truths.” – R.C. Sproul

I was delighted to speak on Sunday at Faith Christian Center in Arlington, Texas. I joined that community of believers in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the church’s affiliated school, St. Paul’s Preparatory Academy. The topic of my discussion was “How to Raise Christian Children in Today’s Culture.”

As I was preparing my remarks it occurred to me that raising children to both love and faithfully serve the Lord and Creator of the universe, Jesus Christ, is not unlike a primary goal of the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University.

In 1971, Dr. Falwell launched LU – now the world’s largest Christian university – and quickly got about the business of “training champions for Christ.”

I submit that “raising Christian children in today’s culture” and “training champions for Christ” are one in the same, and that both fruitful endeavors stem from the same rich soil.


But what is today’s culture exactly? What is a champion for Christ? And, perhaps most importantly, what – or Who – is truth?

Merriam Webster’s defines “champion” as “someone who fights or speaks publicly in support of a person, belief, cause, etc.” It is not merely a passing suggestion that Christian parents and educators train champions for Christ. It’s a command given us by God Himself: “Start children off on the way they should go (train them), and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

We faithful are additionally tasked with an unambiguous calling on the way we (and our children) should go: “[Jesus] said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned’” (Mark 16:15).

The Apostle Paul admonishes in Romans 1:16 that we should not be “ashamed of the gospel,” but, rather, should “Do [our]  best to present [ourselves] to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

In addition to leading by example, this means steeping Christian children and young people in the “word of truth” – the Holy Scriptures – and equipping them, in love, to champion (to “fight or speak publicly in support of”) the infallible, unchangeable and absolute truths found therein.

This is so even when the absolute truths of Scripture have become unpopular in a world that prefers the absolute lie of relativism.

Indeed, though some may wander the prodigal’s path for a time, and still others may remain lost, we can only then – having obeyed the command to train our children in the way they should go – release, hope, pray and have faith that the Holy Spirit will be that eternal light to illuminate temporal life’s perilous path – that Christ will be a lamp unto the feet of our beloved.

Jesus commands His followers to be His hands and feet – to be salt and light in a rotting world that loves darkness (Matthew 5:13-16).

True, salt preserves, but in an open wound, it also burns. Today’s relativist culture is an open wound.

True, light’s bright glare can be illuminating to those eager to see. But it is also blinding to those whose eyes have become adjusted to darkness.

When the light of Christ is shined, it sends lovers of evil scurrying for the shadows.

For this reason, Christ warned, “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).

In a culture that slaughters the unborn, mocks purity, celebrates sexual sin and makes a joke out of the institution of marriage by imagining sin-based counterfeits, it remains a daunting task for Christian parents to raise children with both the courage and conviction to stand unashamed for God’s truth. From an earthly standpoint, it seems counter-intuitive to both welcome and find joy in being hated by the world.

Even more, for young people who might prefer popularity over principle – at least for now – the prospect of being “hated by everyone” lacks a certain level of appeal.

That’s OK. Stand strong, parents. Persevere.

Because, ultimately, that’s the price of admission.

It boils down to instilling in our children a biblically orthodox Christian worldview – that is to say, absolute truth. Anything else is nothing at all. Anything else is relativism, which holds that there is no absolute truth and imagines, absolutely, that, as theological giant Francis Schaeffer often described, “Man is the measure of all things.”

As history has proven, when man is the measure of all things, all things can, and usually do, go horribly wrong. Consider, for example, the hundreds of millions killed under the relativist regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, et al.

Indeed, train your children in “the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” They will use God’s Word, the true measure of all things, as they endeavor to actually measure all things.

Funny thing, absolute truth. It’s absolute. It’s like a buoy pulled beneath the lake’s surface and fixed tight with rope. With time, and against the tide of Christ’s love, that rope – the lie of relativism – eventually rots. It snaps under its own weakness, hurling the buoy, truth, from cold darkness to warm sunlight.

If steeped in scripture, children – even the prodigal child – may be pulled under and tied down for a time by relativism’s glittery allure. But when the relativist rope rots, fear not, for those who have been fastened to “the way, the truth and the life” – who is Christ – will burst back into the light.

And then what champions they will be.

Image: Hitarth; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

About the author: Matt Barber

Matt Barber is founder and editor-in-chief of BarbWire.com and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. In addition to his law degree, Matt holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from Regent University. Matt is both an author and a popular columnist. He’s known for a unique writing style (an entertaining blend of thoughtful analysis and Swiftian satire, delivered with a rapier wit). Many newspapers and online publications run Matt’s columns, to include WND, TheBlaze, the Washington Times, TownHall and many more. Author of the book, “The Right Hook: From the Ring to the Culture War,” Matt is currently penning his first novel. In addition to frequent public speaking engagements, Matt has appeared as a cultural analyst on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN and is a regular guest on dozens of talk radio programs and networks including Michael Savage, the G. Gordon Liddy Show, Dennis Prager, the Michael Medved Show, the Janet Mefferd Show and others. Matt also co-hosts “Faith and Freedom” a daily legal and cultural issues talk radio program heard on about 90 stations across the country. Matt served twelve years in the Army National Guard, was a law enforcement officer for three years and a corporate fraud investigator for five years. Setting him apart from others in his various fields, Matt was an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer retiring in 2004. Prior to turning pro, he was a several time state and regional Golden Gloves champion, competing in the 1992 Western Olympic Trials and winning a Gold Medal in the 1993 Police and Fire World Games.

View all articles by Matt Barber

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