Teaching Youth to Discern Truth in a Deceptive World

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The theme of this year’s Answers for Women conference is Discern: Engaging the Culture with Wisdom and Grace. As I explained in my earlier post on the conference, discernment is lacking in the church today. We have designed this conference to equip women to “[speak] the truth in love” and avoid being “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14–15).

Joining Erin Benziger and Corey Abney at this year’s conference will be Shyla Allard. Shyla has been teaching teens in her church’s worldview program for many years. Every year she brings a group of 9th graders all the way from Minnesota to the Creation Museum. They spend several days learning about the truth of God’s Word in Genesis. She then takes them to the Field Museum of Natural History where they apply what they’ve learned and discern truth from error as it relates to the issue of origins.

This is what Shyla had to say about her presentation at this year’s conference:

I had a captive audience in my minivan as I transported Julia* and Haley* (two thirteen-year-old girls) from the park to a friend’s house. I decided to probe on spiritual matters, hoping to open the opportunity to share the gospel with Julia since she was from an unbelieving family. “Have you ever attended a church event with Haley?” I asked Julia.

“No, I’m not into that stuff. And I really don’t like that church she goes to.”

“Really. Why not?” I probed.

“They hate gay people. I can’t believe they think gay people are going to hell. God would never send a gay person to hell. I could never go to a place like that!” she passionately exclaimed.

Wow! That put me in a spot. I blurted out what came to my mind next which, looking back, must have been from God. “Julia, do you believe the Bible is true?” What a silly question to ask a girl from an unbelieving family who already hated the church I attended and was defending homosexuality. Much to my surprise, she said yes! The problem was, she had no idea what was in the Bible. What an amazing opportunity to share with her what the Bible does say—about how God created everything very good in the beginning; how mankind sinned against God which changed everything from perfect to quite bad; how because of sin we are all separated from God, homosexual or not; and how God offers His grace and eternal life to us all through a saving relationship with Jesus. I gave it my best shot in the remaining 10 minutes of the car ride and fervently prayed for her after she left my vehicle.

Julia is not that different from a lot of young people in our American culture today. The fact is, our youth (whether Christian or not) are inundated with unbiblical views of the world all the time, and very few know what the Bible says, not to mention even believe what it says is true. Even when I teach Bible classes to high school students at church, I’ve learned to never be surprised at the non-Christian worldviews that have already been shaped in their young Christian lives. Several have been led to believe the creation account in Genesis is just a metaphor and have bought into the earth being millions of years old. Many struggle with understanding why bad things happen to seemingly innocent people, most are unsure when life begins, and many struggle with explaining why two people who love each other can’t be married if they are gay. Knowing this motivates me to diligently teach the truth of God’s Word to our youth, whether it is in the classroom, the kitchen, or the car.

I’m excited to share with you some practical ways that you can help the youth in your lives to discern the truth in the deceptive world we live in. My talk will include ideas for teaching the truth and reliability of the Scriptures, helping our youth to understand the biblical view of the nature of mankind, and helping young people to understand and articulate the big picture view of the world through the lens of the Bible. We can make an impact on our young people so they are not conformed to this world but are transformed by the renewal of their minds (Romans 12:2), and so they are like the Bereans because they receive the Word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if what they are told is true (Acts 17:11).

* The names have been changed to protect privacy.

It has been my privilege to get to know Shyla over the last several years, and I consider her a dear friend. She is an enthusiastic speaker who has a real heart for youth, and I know her message will be packed with many practical ideas!

Register today to take advantage of the early-bird price (hurry because this special price ends February 1st) and remember the price includes a two-day Creation Museum ticket for attendee, husband, and children. We’ve also added a poster, bulletin insert, and video promo on the event website that can be downloaded to advertise the conference at your church.

Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!

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