The Idea That Faith is Caught and Not Taught is False…and It’s Hurting the Next Generation
by Natasha Crain
As Christians, we have all kinds of pithy sayings that make their way through churches and establish themselves as generally accepted truths. Some end up on bumper stickers, some on wall decals, and some just get repeated so many times that people think they’re actually in the Bible.
There’s a popular one among parents that I keep hearing lately, and each time I hear it I cringe. Not only is it false, but it’s particularly damaging to the discipleship of the next generation.
It’s the idea that “Faith is caught, not taught.”
When people say this, they’re usually trying to emphasize that faith is a matter of the heart, not a cold belief in a set of facts that someone has taught them. And of course there’s truth to that sentiment. But nine times out of ten that someone relays this saying to me, there’s an implication that our kids’ spiritual development has little to do with the “intellectual stuff” of apologetics, but rather everything to do with how well we live our faith in front of them (apologetics is the study of why there’s good reason to believe Christianity is true).
This belief is desperately wrong. At best, it results in a passive approach to discipleship. At worst, it’s an excuse for intellectual laziness.
Let’s look at why…