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by Nancy Pearcey
In high school, Dylan was a natural leader, voted Most Valuable Player on his football team. Everyone expected him to succeed. But when he went to college, Dylan’s Christian convictions were assailed by doubts in virtually every class.
In his science classes, Darwinian naturalism was an unquestioned assumption. In English class, a postmodern attitude treated all truth claims as disguised power plays. In psychology, the prevailing theories — from Freud’s psychoanalysis to Skinner’s behaviorism — treated Christianity as a symptom of mental pathology.
Dylan’s church had taught the basic gospel message, but it had not equipped him to meet the challenges of the university classroom. Deeply shaken, he dropped out of college and began to rethink whether Christianity was even true. Dylan eventually found his way to L’Abri, the ministry of Francis Schaeffer in Switzerland. There he finally met Christians who could teach him to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
How can the church be more effective in equipping young people to keep the faith when they leave home?
Why Young Adults Reject Faith
Research shows that Dylan is not alone. When studies asked young people why they left the religion in which they were raised, the reason given most often was unanswered doubts and questions. The researchers were surprised — they expected to hear stories of emotional wounding and broken relationships. But the top response from young adults themselves was that they did not get answers to their questions.
But learning to respond to every competing worldview would take a lifetime of study. Do we have to memorize a different argument for every “ism”? The exciting answer is that the Bible itself offers a single, universal strategy we can apply to all systems of thought. The key passage is Romans 1. We could even call it Paul’s apologetics training manual…
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