Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith (1 Pet. 5:8–9).
The family is under attack today like never before. Wise parents need to recognize this and develop their own strategy for protection and counter-attack. A generation is arising around us that knows not the things of God, allowing (and even encouraging) pre-marital sex, abortion, homosexuality, gay marriages, gay clergy, and easy divorce. By and large, they do not believe there is such a thing as absolute truth or absolute morality. Not only is this degenerate generation arising, it already has arisen. While a remnant of truth seekers remains, the attack on the family has the potential to eliminate Christian absolutes from our society.
The attack is coming from those who build their thinking on the anti-God beliefs that are destroying society. This attack on the Word of God has resulted in the demise of the family unit—the very unit God uses to transmit the knowledge of himself to each generation and the world around.
The central issue in the battle is what people believe about
origins, for these beliefs determine their worldview.
The attack on our kids is coming from several sources. Some of them are fairly obvious; others are right under your nose, and you probably don’t even know it. Let there be no doubt that behind every attack is an enemy who is doing everything he can to covertly or overtly “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). Satan is using a barrage of tactics to try to bring down your child and your family. Three of the most destructive are 1) secular humanism, 2) peer pressure, and 3) compromise.
“Secularism” is a philosophy that claims that there is no God—or that if there is a God, He is irrelevant. “Humanism” essentially says that in the absence of God, humans can and should act as gods by judging, choosing, and defining right and wrong for themselves. The philosophy pervading the public education system combines these two philosophies into one; one that teaches that there is no God, that there are no absolutes, and that anything pertaining to the Christian worldview from the Word of God cannot be tolerated.
The foundation of secular humanism in our modern age is Darwinian evolution. That is why evolution and dating the earth to be millions of years old is pushed so much in public schools and other educational institutions today. Darwinian evolution and claiming that the earth is millions of years old are more than just issues of biology and age dating. At their very core is the philosophy that man, by himself, determines truth about origins and therefore life. Many don’t understand this because they haven’t been taught the difference between observational science (what one can observe and repeat—the science that built our modern technology) and historical science (beliefs about the past that cannot be directly observed or repeated).
Secular humanist philosophy has also infiltrated Christian institutions — those that have compromised God’s Word with the world’s teachings. They are training generations of students to believe the Bible is not infallible and therefore cannot be the absolute authority of God. The result should not be surprising, but it is still staggering: Barna research found that of the teenagers today who call themselves born-again Christians, only nine percent believe there is such a thing as absolute moral truth!1
If you don’t think the pressure is intentional or strategic, consider this quote from an American humanist:
I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool day care or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.2
Whether in public schools, Christian schools, or home schools, parents must be aware of the influence teachers, textbooks, and other students have on their children. Non-Christian teachers without Christian convictions certainly cannot train their students in Christian truth. Because children under such teachers are trained with an anti-God and evolutionary framework, sinful temptations are often introduced through sex education, philosophy, and materialism. Because of their children’s inherent tendencies toward evil and away from God, parents must be even more diligent at home to refute the influences of secular humanism.
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor. 15:33 (NIV)).
I believe peer pressure is one of the most
effective weapons Satan aims at your children.
It’s a huge pressure on us as adults as well. The bad will influence the good more than the good will influence the bad: this is a scriptural principle and it makes obvious sense to anyone who understands the sinful tendencies of the fallen nature and the desires of the flesh.
Look at the example of Lot in Genesis 18 and 19. Did the evil in the city of Sodom influence Lot or did Lot influence Sodom for good? His sons-in-law didn’t even believe him concerning God’s warning that He was going to destroy the city! Even his wife looked back (longingly), contrary to God’s clear instruction and was turned into a pillar of salt. Think about it—who really influenced whom?
Let’s be honest. When in a pagan environment, do our children bring home swear words and “dirty” jokes or do the others take home the Bible verses? Which is more likely to occur? You know the answer—the former is much more likely to happen. This takes place on all levels, from individuals to entire nations. Remember what Jeremiah said to the people in Jeremiah 10:2:
This is what the Lord says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations” (NIV).
The Israelites were supposed to be influencing the nations, but instead they were constantly accepting the pagan ways of the nations around them, causing great problems and strife in their nation.
Over the years, we have sometimes been criticized as a family because we have been very cautious about who we let our children mix with. We have been as careful as we could be to choose the children and adults with whom our children associate.
Many years ago, a youth group leader in our church wanted our children to attend in order to be a good influence on the others (who didn’t have the same sort of biblical standards we did). The problem was we didn’t really want our children mixing with some of those others who might influence them for bad. We didn’t think at that stage our children were mature enough to handle the situation, and so we had to make some tough decisions and limit our children’s involvement in things that were even labeled “Christian.”
Just because something is supposedly “Christian” doesn’t mean it’s safe. Many times desperate parents will send a wayward child into a Christian school, or to camp, or to youth group, hoping that they will get “fixed.” Ignorant parents also send innocent, God-fearing kids into these same environments and forget about their responsibilities to protect and train their kids, thinking they will be “safe” because it’s a “Christian” environment. The mix can be dangerous, as it is much easier for our children to be dragged down than for them to drag the others up.
Mally and I had to deal with “peer pressure” issues on many occasions, and we always tried to do it in a way that would set a good example for our children to learn, for their future role as parents.
For example, our daughter (when about 12 years old) came home and said she was invited to a birthday party and a sleepover at the home where the party was to be held. She said a number of other young people would also be at the party and sleepover.
My wife and I were immediately concerned about who else would be at this sleepover, and who would be supervising the event. In such an environment, we realized that peer pressure from others could have a negative effect on our children—and could lead to all sorts of problems, depending on who was present, etc. We knew that young people who didn’t have the standards our family were used to could apply pressure to others to get involved in immoral activities, whether that be watching certain things on TV, viewing magazines, or certain immoral behaviors.
We told our daughter we needed to check things out carefully for her own protection. We called the family hosting the party and asked for more details about the event and the children who would be attending. We did not know this family well, but understood they were members of a church. We then called their pastor and explained the situation to him. The pastor did not divulge confidential information, but advised us to allow our daughter to go to the party, but certainly not to stay on for the sleepover. He had some serious reservations in regard to this.
Our daughter was told we would take her to the party and then pick her up at a particular time. I remember her being very disappointed. She tried to push us as parents to let her stay over—but we firmly and lovingly stood our ground. She went to the party and had an enjoyable time.
The next day, after she spoke to some of the others who stayed for the sleepover, she came and said to us, “I’m so glad I didn’t stay for the sleepover. From what the others have told me, it was not good at all—it would not have been right for me to be there.”
Lesson learned! And a child trained and protected as we believe should have happened in accord with our responsibilities before the Lord.
Remember also that children are not miniature adults. In this world of no absolutes, evolution, sex outside marriage, humanism, homosexual propaganda, and false religions—they will easily be tossed to and fro. They need to know how to recognize the difference between good and evil and choose the right way of thinking before being put under the pressure.
This creates a dilemma for those in charge of Christian schools, camps, and youth groups that involve non-Christians as well as Christians who have not been trained with a real biblical foundation. As a group, they seek to reach out to the lost, but the very people that they are trying to reach can put peer pressure on others to drag them down. This needs to be understood so systems can be put in place to deal with such a situation.
We should expect attacks from the world,
but often the attacks come at us from those who
should be upholding the Word of God, but are not.
That’s called compromise. Compromise produces people who do not see God’s Word as infallible. After generations of compromised teaching, many in the church end up not building their thinking on God’s Word, but form their worldviews on man’s opinions. Many in the church don’t understand the seriousness of this issue. Please understand this: Allowing a man-centered system (fallible, sinful man determines truth about origins) unlocks a door for others to consciously or unconsciously use a man-centered approach to the Scriptures in all areas. If man’s ideas in biology, cosmology, and geology in relation to the past can be used to interpret Scripture, then it follows that man’s ideas about morality can be used to interpret the Word of God in relation to the present. This is one of the reasons we see more and more churches agreeing with gay marriages, supporting the ordination of gay clergy, defending abortion, or agreeing with sex before marriage, etc.
It’s distressing that attitudes toward these and other unbiblical positions have softened to such an extent that many Christians don’t even seem to know what is right or wrong concerning such matters. How sad it is that some of the very things that destroy the basis of the family are being tolerated in many churches and Christian schools, and even parts of our Christian home-education movement.
Tolerance of man’s beliefs concerning origins and the age of the earth undermines Scripture, and is in itself an intolerance of the authority of God’s Word.
For example, the modern idea that the earth is millions of years old arose in the late 18th and early 19th centuries from the belief that the fossil layers had been laid down over a long period of time before man appeared. The fossil record is one of death (massive quantities of bones), disease (with evidence of cancer, brain tumors, abscesses, etc. in these bones), animals eating each other (with evidence of animal bones in the stomach contents of other animals), and thorns (supposedly 430 million years old). These beliefs are incompatible with the Bible’s obvious teaching that death is an “enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26), that animals were vegetarian before sin (Gen. 1:30), and that thorns came after sin and the curse (Gen. 3:18).
Darwinian evolution also teaches that humans arose from ape-like ancestors. However, this is incompatible with the Bible’s record that the first man was made from the dust and the first woman from his side.
Throughout the Scriptures we see God over and over again emphasizing the importance of accepting His Word as truth in passages such as Romans 3:4 which says, “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” To compromise the Bible’s clear historical account in Genesis with man’s beliefs about the past is to compromise the very foundation of biblical authority.
Many Christians don’t realize that they, their church, and the Christian colleges they support really are compromising and are thus tolerating destructive doctrine. It is very important to understand that Darwinian evolution and the popular belief that the earth is millions of years old grew out of philosophical naturalism. (I refer you to the publication The Great Turning Point, by Dr. Terry Mortenson, for more information on this subject.)
Once the door to undermine biblical authority has been unlocked at the beginning (particularly in the Book of Genesis which is foundational to the rest of the Bible, to the gospel, and to all doctrine), it puts people on a slippery slide that can (and usually does) lead to a loss of biblical authority through the rest of the Bible.
This brings up another very important factor to consider. Which college do you choose for your children? Perhaps a compromising Christian college may be more destructive in some ways than a secular college where students can more easily discern the anti-God secular philosophies that they are being instructed in!
A California college student recently told me she was going to a secular community college, but her science professor was an ardent biblical creationist. Also, she had been brought up on creation resources and had a solid stand on the authority of the Word, and could defend her faith. She told me she had a friend whose parents sent her to an expensive Christian college. She said all her friend’s professors at this Christian college believed in millions of years and evolutionary ideas—her friend was very confused and did not know what to believe about the Bible.
Even in “Christian” educational institutions, many do not accept God’s Word in Genesis as literal truth. Most educators have been trained in the secular education system and often compromise truth without even really thinking about it. Many doubt and disbelieve much of Genesis—the 24 hour days of creation, the global flood of Noah, the creation of Adam from dust, etc.—not because of what the Bible clearly teaches, but because of the acceptance of man’s fallible ideas about origins and the age of the earth and universe. A significant number of Christians, including many in leadership positions, compromise with evolutionary ideas/millions of years, and thus compromise with secular humanism as well—since secular humanism is a logical outworking of such a foundation in fallible man’s ideas. Because of this compromising contamination, the culture is not being built up, but is decaying instead.
It doesn’t take an architect or engineer to appreciate the necessity of providing strong and secure foundations under any structure. If the foundation is compromised, total collapse is inevitable. We can easily see the structure of society collapsing on every side (particularly in the once very Christianized West). The hapless politicians certainly don’t provide any long-term solutions. Sadly, and to our shame, much of the Church at large is also bereft of comfort and encouragement. The solutions offered by many seminaries have their basis not in the foundation of Genesis but in the humanistic, anti-God philosophy of Darwin and the atheists. Their philosophies have so permeated most churches (and therefore our society) that they are no longer good for much of anything.
If the Church does not emphasize this foundational aspect (teaching God as the Creator and the Bible’s account of origins as true and refuting the anti-God belief that everything can be explained without God), then non-Christians will not be challenged. As long as they don’t have to accept Genesis as true history, then they won’t accept God’s Word as the absolute authority—and ultimately they won’t have to accept any form of individual responsibility for their actions.
The compromise has actually trained generations in a philosophy like that of the Israelites in Judges 17:6. This was the result:
In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.
This condition logically follows from teaching that allows man’s fallible ideas to reinterpret the clear words in Genesis. When compromise occurs, man has authority over the Scripture instead of God’s Word being the absolute authority over man. It’s nothing more than humanism in “Christianized clothing.”
This man-centered philosophy is not something that occurred overnight. Generation after generation in the Church was permeated with these compromised positions. After years of indoctrination, each subsequent generation tended to have a lower view of Scripture, even though many did not realize this was happening. Great men of God who clearly were saved, sadly (and in many cases unwittingly) contributed to this lower view of Scripture because of their compromise with the world’s ideas. Such compromise did not affect the salvation of these leaders, but it did affect how the next generation approached Scripture—and the next—and the next—resulting in that slippery slide that undermines all biblical authority.
These compromises need to be condemned because they destroy a literal Genesis and the basis of the family unit (since it is in Genesis that the family is established). They also destroy the foundation of a complete Christian worldview that integrates geology, biology, astronomy, anthropology, etc., because a true, scripturally based Christian worldview depends on the history in Genesis.
God calls us to a higher standard in which compromise
cannot be tolerated.
There is no such thing as neutrality, as Jesus makes clear in Matthew 12:30:
He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
Scripture also makes it plain that if one is not walking in “light,” then the only other option is “darkness” (see 1 John 1).
When secular schools in the United States eliminated creation, the Bible, and prayer from the classroom, they didn’t eliminate religion; they eliminated Christianity and replaced it with the religion of naturalism. Such a religion is not “neutral,” it is anti-God. Millions of students are being trained to believe that humanity can explain every aspect of reality without God—this is “darkness,” not “light.”
In Revelation 3:15–16, the Lord told the Laodicean church that He would rather they be either hot or cold. Christ gives them this solemn warning: “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” If we are “cold,” we aren’t affecting anyone; if we are “hot,” and declaring biblical truth, then we are doing great things for the Lord. As soon as we compromise, we begin to cool, and then we begin to destroy; hence our Lord’s stern rebuke.
As we train our children, we must take a stand for the Word of God and condemn error when necessary. This is something our father was an expert at! I recall the time my father received a daily devotional book from his church. He read the devotion on Genesis 6, and found that it claimed Noah’s flood was just a local event. This made him very upset. He immediately sat down and wrote a letter to those responsible for the devotional and showed them clearly from the Scriptures that Noah’s flood was a global event. He then went to the deacons at church and challenged them to stand up for the Scriptures and to rebuke those who wrote the material that undermined the authority of the Word of God.
On another occasion, a pastor told us that the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 could be explained this way: The little boy took out his loaves and fishes and thus set an example for the crowd, causing others to take their food and share with others. I could feel the heat steaming out of my father while he sat in the pew. After the service, we immediately went up to the pastor and I watched my father show this church leader from the Bible that he had misled the congregation and had compromised the clear teaching of the Word of God.
On another occasion the same pastor was preaching again on the feeding of the 5,000 (maybe to get back at my father) and told the congregation there was a great contradiction in the Bible. In Matthew chapter 14 there is an account of the feeding of 5,000, but in Matthew chapter 15 it states there were only 4,000. I knew what was coming next! My father went up to the pastor once again and pointed at the Bible and then looked at the pastor saying, “Haven’t you read the Scriptures? These are two different events! In Matthew 16: 9–10 Jesus stated, ‘Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?’ ” (KJV). The pastor had no answer!
What an impression this made upon me. It was all a part of preparing me for the ministry of Answers in Genesis, for later I confronted the same pastor about the origins issue. He responded immediately by saying there was no problem accepting evolution and adding it to the Bible. He told me a Christian could believe in evolution, as long as they believed God created. He went on to warn me about taking the Bible at face value, claiming that there are lots of problems with the text—thus, one certainly can’t take Genesis as being literal.
As the pastor made these statements, I recalled the times my father had challenged him in regard to biblical authority. Seeing my father successfully defend the Christian faith against this pastor’s compromised positions instilled in me the fact that I needed to trust my father’s words rather than this pastor’s and take a stand myself. Boy, was that pastor relieved when the Ham family moved on!
Isn’t it interesting how certain matters become indelibly impressed on our minds—even from our childhood years? I believe that observing my father stand up for truth time and time again in my teenage years was essential to the journey that led me to what is now a worldwide ministry.
Yes, Mom and Dad, the war on the faith and the family continues, and there is no room for retreat.
When it comes to secular humanism, peer pressure,
and compromise, things are either for Christ or
against Him. There is no in-between.
“Protect and Serve”
Many local police departments in the United States have adopted the motto To Protect and Serve. The sad thing is that most fathers are neither protecting nor serving their families, and have not obeyed the Scripture’s command to be the spiritual head of the house. Fathers one day will stand before their Creator God and answer why they did not spend the time to ensure their family was built on the Word of God as it was meant to be.
Most parents have left the training of their children to churches, schools, or colleges. Many think that they can be absolved because they have spent much money sending their children to Christian institutions, but again, relegating responsibility is very unwise. More and more we see forces at work in our society that take our children at younger and younger ages to train them in anti-God philosophies. In effect, this is producing a non-God-fearing, anti-Christian nation.
Each of us should also ask ourselves whether we are among those who have compromised with the world, rejecting a literal Genesis, and thus helping to destroy the backbone of the nation—the Christian family. Each father needs to be obedient to the Scriptures and ensure that his children are trained in the truth of God’s infallible Word. I’m reminded of what the great reformer Martin Luther had to say:
Wherefore, see to it, that you cause your children first to be instructed in spiritual things, that you point them first to God, and, after that, to the world. But in these days, this order, sad to say, is inverted. . . . In my judgment there is no other outward offense that in the sight of God so heavily burdens the world, and deserves such heavy chastisement, as the neglect to educate children.3
Parents who are engaged and pro-active are highly important. I know this first hand. Beyond the sovereignty of God, the influence of my parents was the only thing that kept my faith alive during the years I was immersed in public education.
All of my “secular” elementary education was completed at schools where my father was the principal. In his day, there was almost complete freedom to promote Christian teaching. At the beginning of each day, the whole school would assemble. When we lined up and various announcements were given, my father made sure that we always started with a prayer. On entering the classroom, each class would have readings from the Bible. My father also employed discipline based upon biblical principles—and of course his Christian philosophy in every area pervaded his style of administration.
Because of my father’s Christian character, he had a restraining influence on the whole school, which in the smaller rural areas affected the culture in the community, too. He applied God’s principles in what he did as a school principal, and this permeated through the whole school, even though it was part of the secular education system.
Even under his leadership, students were really learning secular concepts in geography, history, science, etc. As committed as he was, my father did not have a fully developed Christian worldview based on Genesis and the rest of the Bible as we do today. Later in life, as more and more creationist resources were published, he began to clearly understand this. Years later, I too began to understand how secular I was in my thinking in many areas.
I firmly believe that the influence of my parents and the restraining influence of my father’s philosophy in elementary school greatly contributed to my spiritual survival. In regard to moral and spiritual matters, there is no doubt that many students, including myself, adhered to God’s principles.
When I began high school in grade eight, however, it was a very different situation. There was no Christian philosophy permeating the school. The new textbooks were becoming blatantly evolutionary and clearly atheistic. I had to cope with an increasing number of students mocking me because I went to church. In many ways I began to struggle. I began to hear students talking about parties where they were involved in sexual promiscuity. Others would tell off-color jokes. The peer pressure was enormous. I spiritually survived, but only just. College was difficult as well, but because I lived at home, I really wasn’t a part of the college environment. Still, there were a number of students who would attack my Christian stand on things.
My younger brothers will attest to the fact that when they went through public school (mostly after my father had retired due to ill health), there was no restraining influence as I had. They were also schooled in one of the bigger cities where things tended to be much less conservative than the more rural areas where I was brought up. (This is even true today in the United States or Australia—rural areas tend to be more conservative and sometimes there can be a good percentage of Christian teachers who can also have that restraining influence.)
My brother David tells of the immense struggles he had at school and how he succumbed to the peer pressure to be part of the crowd. What a blessing that years later he was able to put that behind him and rededicate his life to the Lord. Of course, such actions aren’t without their consequences, and to this day there is much regret.
Matthew 7:13–14 talks about there being a broad way to destruction and a narrow way to eternal life with God:
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (NIV).
I think most parents have a wrong understanding of this teaching. Many of us think of Christians being on one road that represents the narrow way, and that there’s a separate road representing a broad way that non-Christians are moving on. As Paul makes clear in passages such as Philippians 2:15, “. . . you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (NKJV).
The point is that Christians live in the same world as the non-Christian. In reality, the narrow way is within the broad way going in the opposite direction. Most are on the broad way to destruction, sweeping along everyone else with them.
It takes a lot of work to drag our children in the opposite direction against the tide, because we have to work hard against the sin nature, the natural desires of the flesh, secular humanism, peer pressure, and compromise. How successful we are at this very much depends on how much we have saturated our children’s souls with the truth of God’s Word and modeled for them an authentic relationship with Christ.
Hitler proved that if someone could control the children
for a generation that he would own the nation.
This should make fathers and mothers more diligent in ensuring that their children are trained totally in the Scriptures, recognizing it as the absolute authority in all matters of life and conduct.
The bottom line of course is that this is an ungodly world and there is no perfect situation in which to raise godly children. However, the more parents understand biblical principles and what constitutes a truly Christian worldview, the more they will be able to discern the best things to be done in particular situations.
Parents, and particularly fathers, must be diligent in carrying out their God-commanded responsibility to train their children. There is no question about that. Foremost in the parent’s mind must be that of creating an environment for sanctification that protects children from the immense pressures they face in the world. As you will see in the next chapter, that leads me to conclude that an excellent option for formal education takes place in the home, or at a carefully selected Christian school.
Key thoughts from this chapter:
- Our children obtain their worldviews from their belief about origins. Some of the most destructive teaching in this area is right under our noses.
- The teaching in our public school systems comes from an axiom of no absolutes and no ultimate truth. Teaching from this system has also infiltrated areas of the church, Christian school, and even home schooling materials.
- Just because something is labeled “Christian” doesn’t mean it is safe.
- Biblical discernment needs to be first taught to children as far away from an environment of ungodly peer pressure as possible. They need to know how to recognize the difference between good and evil and act upon the right way of thinking before being put under the pressure.
- Parents should never underestimate the damage that secular and humanistic teaching can have on our children despite the environment they are learning in.
- Be on the alert.
- Engage and get involved.
- Monitor carefully the environment and the material that is influencing your kids.
- Don’t assume that something “Christian” is safe.
- Condemn compromise.
Questions to consider:
- To what extent do you believe that Satan is behind the battles we face with secular humanism, peer pressure, and compromise? (Is that your opinion or can you back up your answer with Scripture?)
- What areas do you need to immediately investigate to monitor the influences on your child? Where has his or her environment been compromised? Does anything need to be confronted to defend the authority of God’s Word?
- Are there areas of compromise in your personal beliefs and actions that are having an ungodly impact on your children?
Resources and tools:
Ham, Lisle, Hodge, et al., The War of the Worldviews (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2006).
Terry Mortenson, Millions of Years: Where Did the Idea Come From? (Petersburg, KY: Answers in Genesis, 2005).
Terry Mortenson, The Great Turning Point (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004).