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Michael Kruger: Answering Teens’ Tough Questions

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
August 15, 2022 10:00 pm

Michael Kruger: Answering Teens’ Tough Questions

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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August 15, 2022 10:00 pm

Not sure how to answer? Michael Kruger, author of Surviving Religion 101 offers answers for tough questions.

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So term describing around a long time that I've just heard it articulated last for five years, deconstruction in some of people that I've known her for our sore celebrities and Christians are walking away from the faith is called their deconstructing what they had previously constructed. I don't know if it's a new term or not, but I've seen it more more as feels like a lot of people are deconstructing I think your parents that's really scary because I'm talking to so many parents that have adult children that are in college are behind and they have stopped going to church and so I think we don't know what to do list. Can we want to help our kids are not sure how welcome to family life today to help you pursue the relationship. Dave Wilson and you can find on our family life, family life today.

We get Dr. Mark Barak in the studio and we had a great conversation about kids really walk away from the faith yesterday. Welcome back for day two will thank you.

Great to be here again I me when you hear that term deconstruction. We got your books in here surviving religion 101 letters to a Christian student on keeping the faith in college and we talked yesterday you know about you, writing letters to your own daughter and Assad obviously brought her to college students about this topic really deconstruction it is a new term. I mean it was funny now that I think about it. I don't know if I use the term in the book.

I may use it once or twice, but certainly the book is about this whole idea of leaving the faith behind it.

Some attempted to do or what might be called de-converting is another term out there, but know the term deconstruction is not new. Historically, it's been used by philosophers for generations.

Jacques Derrida was probably the most famous person who coined the term release utilize the term, and he didn't use it positively as it pertains to Christianity.

Use it as a way of saying that we deconstruct something you you break it down to its most constituent parts so that you can expose its flaws and see what's wrong with it and a lot of people use the term deconstruction today is exactly what they're doing and we could talk about very famous deconstruction stories right or something to be very famous Christian thinker author Pastor deconstructs her faith and realize that I believe any to say more, so that's very common. Deconstruction is all around us and it seems like there's a whole industry built on it now is if you leave the faith you can become sort of famous for now. Not believing now in theological parlance as a word for that, that we don't use very often, but it captures is called apostasy right to be somebody's in a positive someone who was once in and now is out. Once inside the folds of the speaker now is left and repudiates all that they used to believe now to be fair, so use the term deconstruction differently, we should observe that there are some that use the term deconstruction and I might argue more positive way. What what that means is some say when you deconstruct your faith you're looking to strip away accretion's to the faith that are from the Bible.

So the deconstruct your faith is to say what sort of things.

If I sort of let seep into my Christian thinking that is cultural or external or man-made, and I want to strip those away so that I'm left with this is purely a biblical faith now is a term that we having goals that will that's good you want the Christian to be as biblical as possible to strip away these these bad things. So yeah, the term is used in different ways. I think generally speaking, is use negatively is used as a synonym for basically leaving Christianity behind. So is the president of a seminary reformed theological seminary. Are you seeing that prevalent where you working yet we are mean I don't have any hard stats for it, but I think everybody in ministry today feels the sense that people are kinda hanging by a thread and that their thinking in ways they never thought about before is what it is.

Think they're done with this Christianity thing so pastors report to me that people leaving their church and serve unprecedented numbers have a high profile deconstruction stories starting off their more numerous. Now, as we know more about them now because social media. I don't know the answer that I do think the last two years of COBIT haven't helped where we all know people already have a rough go of it and he put it in the bin to serve tough phase of COBIT I was looking to rethink their life from top to bottom. So that's part of it, but yeah this is a category ministry that we jaws don't talk about and this is part of the reason a Republic surviving religion 101. I think the church needs to start adjusting to the challenge of deconstruction in the other. We haven't mentioned yet is is the challenge of people's doubts and how do we handle those doubts people are tempted to deconstruct their faith in a week that we take in the right steps. I just think that's the thing we want talk about, like the crazy uncle in the attic.

Now this doesn't happen. I know you heard some some noises up there there it's okay all is perfect, no perfect. Let's be honest talk about problem.

It's interesting we have a son that is in ministry and was at our church and he came in youngest. 20 and he had this list. These are the things in my generation wants to talk about. Please address these topics because everybody else is addressing it.

We need to know what the Bible says about it. Yeah there is some pushback yeah honestly.

His idea was that he was a copastor with me so he was teaching on weekends and and he said, could we do a series on the big questions you that if you go on Facebook. Are you on Instagram there and twitter. There are battles back and forth nearing your book. I imagine literally of these and say they are, what you wrote about and there was pushback from our leadership like you know it's gonna get dicey. People are going to be mad that were taken of a stand on any one of these issues rather than let's have a conversation. He's like yeah they want to know what does God say about this.

It was early inching that our leadership is like. Let's not do, and he was saying Vasily Michael you great use in my generation is not, and if you're not willing to talk about what were wanting to talk about what to say, that which is it the church needs to make sure that it's not ducking the hard questions people have and honestly people feel like adults people for like when you go to church.

You get sometimes.

Pat answers you get tidied up boxed up answers to your questions and adjust the questions a romance novel is really in the whole thing seems a little overly manufactured to people like it's not really real and I think the church needs to rethink that.

I think there is a sense in which like look come one come all with your questions. Let's get them on the table 7 (conversation about it when I cannot pretend they're not there when I can adopt the hard stuff to tackle it head on. Maybe the answer will be satisfying to you maybe going to have an answer some your questions. Police were honest that there's no questions and that we do recognize that you're not wrestling with myths in mysterious things that don't matter. These things matter when he wrestled with them why that posture isn't there, without finishing conversation half was going on with the defensiveness of the church were the insecurity or this goes back to her prior episode on the bubble mentality the church. Okay, fair enough.

I hope we can get to a point we can get those doubts over tables. I would encourage churches or listen to this look finein your church to do this doesn't need to be from the pulpit, necessarily, but that's fine if it can be that give your people chance asked more questions. Don't act like you are afraid of it.

Will you write about your dimension to doubts. Yes, I group you know with a single mom sort of drag me to church when I was a kid. But one thing I do remember is you weren't allowed to doubt. Doubt was lack of faith that was almost equated the sin that was really hard for you to now is a struggle because I had questions and I felt like I could ask him outside the church that I could ask him with Christian people less to let you know help us understand is doubt okay is it God is a bad no one things I'm seeing out there are two extreme versions of approaching the Dell question, both of which are mistaken. No state what they are one extreme version is mistaken is what I called doubt, shaming and doubts shaming is what you just described, apparently in your life about when I talk about this.

The churches I was given a summons with lots of churches. Recently I mentioned the whole concept of doubt shaming like you're not a lot of questions we won't take hard questions here. You just have to just swallow it and pretend you have those things in your ad and you know working out with this rosy face on as if none of those things exist when I start talk about that you could see everybody in the carnations or pick your head up like yes that's the church I grew up in a group in the Dallas Union Church word Summerwood wagged her finger at you, make you so you're on the verge of being an apostate router question that your half Christian or that you should be embarrassed. I think that's fundamentally flawed.

I think the Bible shows it is God is extremely patient with our doubts. The Bible shows time and time again how gracious and compassionate God is towards doubters. Jesus worked with even the most obvious story of Thomas with the come here and put your your hand them out in my side and Shane Thomas didn't didn't didn't rebuke him, is likely you're just a second-class Christian. He just was patient with him and got his extremity patient with dollars, and by the way, using the note there is.

It is also very common to doubt it's a very normal thing in ministry. The church and anybody knows this nutrition is a very famous people doubted the other side of the coin know that I think needs to be. Knowledge is not but doubt chambers.

The other extreme mistake is the doubt celebrator's. This is those who think that doubt now is the greatest Christian for Christian virtue, you could half make you doubt more in order to say that if you're certain about anything. The problem is your certainty. There is a book that came out a couple years ago called the sin of certainty that made you feel guilty as a Christian you thought you were certain about something so the doubt celebrator's are equally problematic.

So part of what I wanted to do is book is a need of those the right options doubt you should not think your back Christian is very normal. God's patient the same time you want to fight doubt and work your way towards assurance about what you believe asked you kids at the dinner table are Navy anywhere even going to bed because ever doubt. I think sometimes his parents, we would be afraid to ask that. That's interesting is in it. I don't know if I ever asked it that way in a direct sense, but my kids have come to me with their doubts and questions why doesn't God do something about this problem or wise the world. This what does that mean God is a really in control. I had other family members come to me was significant doubts will call me up at certain hours a night struggling with what they believe is a lot about you that they feel safe.

So you and our first episode he tell you about Emma, you have knowledge with all of her friends listening those answers. I think you know that something that Christian leaders in churches and asked themselves we created a culture where people feel that comfort to come and asked the questions and you is in a conversation I you create a culture like that idea because I'm thinking of a parent when their son or daughter could be teenage years. In the middle school, but deftly teenage college high school starting to doubt starting the voice either saying out loud if they feel the freedom to do it or just showing by their actions are not really believing what you taught them there. Your whole life.

How does a parent respond Stephen Wilson with Dr. Michael Kruger on family life today don't miss his response in just a second. The first talk about feel isolating right doing all the things in such a connected world, but still feel so distant from one another.

What we do about it. One of our past guests, Jenny Allen was on a mission to search for that same answer and wrote all her insights in a new book called fine here people when you give today at family life will send you a copy of Jenny's book as our thank you. You can get or by calling 800-358-6329 that's one 800 family L is in life and in the word today. I got back to Damien's conversation with Michael Kruger and how you can respond when your child starts to doubt God and his word I think would be helpful for kids to see their parents as their own honesty about their own doubts.

I think we feel obligated his parents to put up a front of Christian almost perfection so that we think that's the best way to model Christ to our kids like I'm a good Christian young man young woman.

Just look at me. I don't believe you me and we put this line, and then they think that Christian is this impossible ideal mom and dad never doubt what you did doubt what if you're honest about that and what if you're honestly about your doubts, but how you resolve and then you gave them safe space to recognize it's all mom and dad can feel that way than it's okay, I should feel shame for that way maybe I could bring my doubts to the table something is one way, here's another way. I think parents can in churches can create a culture were more doubters are chained is to rethink the levels of certainty they have about things some extent I mean by that. Sometimes we talk about the certainty the faith we blur two things together.

We should and Bloor. We talk about the certainty of faith will talk about the core doctors in the face right that Jesus is God that he rose from the dead, that the Bible is true that there is a gospel of grace and salvation. Can we be sure about those things absolutely bulletproof sure about those things we can go to our grave with those things but realize being sure about the courtroom of the faith doesn't mean that you should be equally sure about every doctrine you hold. And if you act like every doctrine you hold is equally sure as every other your kids going to see right through that because every doctors is clear. The bottles are the other person.

So if you drilled your kid over how you thought a certain mode of baptism had to be the right mode and you're like if you don't believe that there are some wrong with you Charles likable okay but then they realize there's this weird sense that you're putting emphasis on some he doesn't deserve it and that can make them actually doubt in ways you may not expect words were assurances to be on the core thanks when you have grace and more flexibility around some of these noncore things that can really help critical worksheets can bring that to the table. It's interesting like when you say that you know we wrote a book on no perfect parents. We ask our three sons who are adults and married now a we love you write some in their our oldest son that we did right or things) our prayers and read what they say before the reward. We wrote, but our oldest son has been a questionnaire engineering brain. I think he was 70 years old when he asked us for he was four when he said, so the 10 Commandments.

They do not murder and David murdered people to cut off the life you know he's not eating right away. I'll hero, he's like so how's that okay so that no biblical scholar and members.

He goes into that one closely read to me about your only reason I bring up CJ's unit. We'll tell him what to write this book right, whatever you want.

One of the things he wrote, which ended up being so beautiful. His is exec what he said.

He said I'm so glad that mom and dad let me question and find my faith on my own any. He adds his comment if they would've forced me to believe the earth is young, not old, I would've been out all the things that came was mine and I merit discussion when he was in in college or high school. I remember I just never gone all there's different opinions and that on the land on one of the other. I do have a strong opinion, but you have to buy that. But here's the ones that are core said but it's just what you say is important for the health lecture.

Yeah, this ability to rank different doctrines so that you don't go to war over every disagreement. If every doctrine in your system is is equally important severely doctrine that means the slightest disagreement with you is nuclear war because you just call Leo Zeiss's analogy from the 1980s. He picked up the red phone call the nukes right because not just disagree with something in my system with the something your system is actually not be a core part of the system, but a personal thing called the nukes for that what happens in the Christian world is it were so concerned with truth and we should be. We don't pause to think about those distinctions and so we end up just fighting with everybody over everything. My younger. I think I will have the maturity to just to distinguish between those things yeah and when we demonstrate that maturity to her kids and they realize, oh so I can embrace Christianity.

Even if I don't agree with mom and dad over some of these other little smaller things or my other neighbor my friend that calls medicine to kill off to college, convincing them that every doctrine holds equally serve as every other that exist in a fight with always college buddies all the time over everything even if it's not core central in you doing realize that that's not portraying you to do that. I think it's a really healthy way to show the majority of Christians, the building make those distinctions you mentioned earlier that high school is the new college.

So these questions starting earlier yes I think anybody listen to this will know the kids are public schools that high school is a new college what I'm seeing happened in public schools now in the high school years is what I face in college. So the things I was introduced in college when I was 19 to 22-ish and that range now. The kids are getting at 14 to 17 are 14 to 18 and even younger curriculum where they getting that my job, I think it's an issue.

School curriculum is an issue of access information in unprecedented ways, younger which include social media and the Internet, and everybody just seems to deal with heavier questions at younger ages and that's a real concern and so was a high school the new college if were already behind when in preparing kids for college will probably really behind bettering them for high school and so we need to really start thinking through that and look, I'm not gonna tell parents whether public or private schools, the right decision.

Every promise to make a decision on their own, but the reality is, these questions cannot wait till they're 18. We've got to do with them when they're younger and I think a lot of parents would hear what you just said and think, well, you did answer the question for me. I'm a sinner my kid to set another school and now I will definitely clear on the eve said earlier.

Also as well could be something that would be really beneficial if you're willing to partner with them and walked beside them right absolutely and so this is where every parent is to look at the child and assess the maturity and assess what they can handle.

Some children can handle being in the throes of battle in the in a difficult situation. Some can't handle it. And honestly what you can handle 14 is very different.

We handled 18 and so the younger you go I would tell parents to be more cautious because their child is can be more mature and the older you go. I think you can start letting out the rainfall a bit more. But here's the point. Regardless of when it's right for your family to do that. It needs to be done. You can't protect your child forever from the challenges of the world eventually got to get them exposed to these things and get answers in their head. Like how would you start if there's a parent listening and thinking we have never had this conversation, I just go to church in Allen, the average now it's usually twice a month will get to church. They're not really talking about that in the church and so we haven't done anything. Where do we start that I think we've we've sort of unpacked a little bit already, which is start by putting the culture and home where your child.

A to come with her questions and part of that we discussed in terms of making sure the child knows that you got questions, and that you invite their questions.

You tell him it's okay to have questions. A second step of the you can do is to make sure you're beginning to think through what tools you can use to get those questions answered for your child as I know a good one. So yeah, not to state the obvious, but circle back around my book was written for college students. Obviously, but I really believe high school students could read it and benefits of one idea.

If you have a high school students. You could just go through chapter by chapter in my book with your high school student begin the conversation. Yes, I think if you go much over the high school is probably not to be as helpful as other sources though for younger kids will have a list off the top my head here, but I know that a parent is eager to get answers that could find the sources. I'm sure the pastor could help you in some ways part of me wants to look through the microphone to a dad or mom and say have the courage because I know it's scary. It is scary but it's like it's a faith step. I think for us as parents to say you know what I'm going to have the courage to step into my son or daughter's journey, especially where we started.

If I'm sensing that they're starting to deconstruct which you said Mike could be the thing that brings them to us solid faith, maybe it wasn't really solid until he started to pull it apart look at the studs of the it behind the wall and go what's real was not real.

They have met me my first year in ministry. Sure, you know, I woke up one morning in those this incident to, which is why you even knowing of his true Bible on his lap, and you know I'm getting ready to go to the campus to steering our faith in you ready because I don't even know if any of this is true, we all have a moment like that yeah know that I was glad that he said that he said what I think the point is, is it when you want to be honest about that yourself and with your kids.

That is when people grow, they now have a chance to seriously ask, why am I believing this and that's when I think you see exponential growth when you don't see our growth by pretending those things like they are covering up in this convince yourself, everything's fine. Then have it all explode your sophomore year in college know how those conversations now and I'm telling you kids want to have these kind and our kids talk more. Even when their friends were over. Sure so you bring up the topic I'm telling you it's like wildfire because they want to talk about it. They're all talking about it anyway, so flooring the room. It could be a small group that can ski starting Gmail like to talk about this. Kathy has I talked about in our house you call to say let's get together and talk about it but a great way to start: doubters for there's a lot of great cricket Rutherford hours when I was in the UK and Edinborough we did a thing called open to question. Was the title of and and and that's exactly what your discredited form for doubters open question call what you want, but just the title alone gives this imitation. This can be asked to mask you been listening to Damien Wilson with Michael Kruger on family life to his book is called surviving religion 101 and you can get a You can listen in on an extended conversation with Michael Kruger on dealing with more sensitive topics get the If you know anyone who needs to hear conversations just like this. If you tell them about the station and you can share today's specific conversation from wherever you get your podcast while you're there a simple way you can help more people discover God's plan for families by leaving a rating and review for family life to as the new school year starts. It's a great time to be looking for small group studies that help your group feel connected and known and help you love and know God more so check out the small group studies and use the code 25, 250 FF to save on all leader materials you could find that had family life to and tomorrow Damien Wilson will be talking with Terrence Chapman about helping build up your child so they are prepared to defend their faith on behalf of David and Wilson.

I'm shall be added back next time for another edition of family life family like today is a production of the crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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