“That’s the way we’ve always done it.” That statement can be both reassuring and frustrating in Christian homes, depending on the context. Scripture tells us the church should have remained unchanged for nearly the last 2,000 years (Galatians 1:6-9; Jude 1:3; Rev. 22:18-19), and believers are charged with upholding the Lord’s Word despite the changes in culture and human tastes. In that sense, “the way” should be followed without alterations.
But what is that way? Why and how is it followed? When these inquiries stump Christians, it calls into question the sincerity of their faith. This is especially true when children are asking their parents. Failures in faithful homes are why critical thinking and Christianity are too seldom tied together these days. Culture often depicts Bible-believing followers as mindless zombies, walking in step with their upbringing and customs rather than being ready to give a full defense for their faith (I Peter 3:15). Scripture tells us the opposite should be true, as the Bereans demonstrated in Acts 17:11 when “they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
The first feet-to-the-fire conversation about faith usually occurs between a child and their parents. “Mom, why do we do this at church? Dad, why does this even matter? What’s the difference in churches?” Parents without sufficient answers might as well say, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Kids recognize ignorance, and they are wired by their Creator to search out truth when they come of age. Proverbs 14:15 tells us, “The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.”
Don’t misunderstand. Children are commanded to “obey your parents in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1), but adolescence and adulthood brings skepticism about everything, especially religion. Children at a certain maturity will and should question the faith of their parents. After all, the Lord directed us to “test everything” (I Thessalonians 5:21; I John 4:1) as our faith grows. A studious, critical-thinking Christian will either find their parents’ faith to be in step with scripture or steeped in ignorance. So rather than guiding our children to faith with “because I said so,” Christian parents should offer a well-studied, open Bible with “because He said so” (Proverbs 30:5-6).
– Adam Sparks (a belated Father’s Day message)