As parents, we know that most ideas are caught, not taught. It’s useless to teach our kids all the right things if we don’t embody those ideas ourselves. This means repenting when we miss the mark. It means reading the Bible and praying with them. And just like my daughter will never again fall for imposter waffles, our kids won’t settle for false gospels because they will be so well acquainted with the real thing.
When my daughter was young, I would make quinoa, oatmeal, and flax seed “waffles,” and she loved them. It wasn’t until we were visiting family in California that she experienced the hotel breakfast bar and loudly exclaimed, “Mom, these waffles are so much BETTER THAN YOURS.” The jig was up. The dry and grainy imposter waffles would no longer be tolerated. Now she had tasted the real thing and would never again be fooled by a counterfeit.
Likewise, one of the most effective ways to teach our kids to detect a false gospel is to be sure they are well acquainted with the real thing. That way, when they come across a false version of Christianity, they will recognize it immediately. Here are some ways we can teach our kids to spot a false gospel:
Teach Them to Love Truth
One of the most common ways Christian young people are tricked into bad ideas is through the vehicle of relativism. Relativism is the belief that absolute truth doesn’t exist or can’t be known. “What’s true for you is true for you” or “There is no truth” are common expressions lobbed at Christians to shut down their ideas and make them feel judgmental for simply claiming to know the truth.
However, Christianity is a belief system that stands or falls based on truth being absolute. God either exists, or he doesn’t. Jesus was resurrected, or he wasn’t. Jesus actually claimed to be Truth itself: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). The stakes are that high!
Teaching our kids to base their beliefs on what is true rather than what feels right will help keep them from walking away when their faith no longer “gives them the feels.”
Teach Them to be Biblically Literate
From the beginning, false ideas about God were being passed off as “Christian.” False teachers often twisted Scripture to trick Jesus’ followers into believing their teachings. Even today, some of the most deceptive ideas are the ones marketed as “biblical.”
The only way to know if an idea is biblical or not is to know what the Bible says.