• Caleb Harrelson

5 areas that parents and youth leaders need to focus on BEFORE College

Updated: Oct 5, 2021


  1. Understanding the Holiness of God

One of the greatest problems in the world is that we don’t understand what it means that God is Holy; thus, we don’t understand who we are and His Word properly. I encourage you to read R.C. Sproul’s book The Holiness of God or watch his teaching series on this topic on YouTube or Ligonier.org. The Holiness of God may be one of the most important books or series that you watch with your teen(s).


 

2. How to read the Bible and why it’s reliable

You need to teach your teen how to properly interpret the Bible and why it’s reliable. If the Bible is not reliable, then how can it be authoritative over our lives? This is a core issue that must be answered before they go to college as this is the main issue that will be attacked in nearly all colleges. All questions on origins, morality, the exclusivity of Christ, sexuality, justice, hell, etc. flow downhill from the authority of the Bible and properly handling it.


Some recommendations:


A. I encourage you to attend a church that does expository teaching in the pulpit and in youth ministry through books of the Bible. Expository teaching is teaching through the Bible verse by verse using good exegesis (the meaning is lead "out of" the context"). In the words of Southern Baptist Theology Seminary president, Al Mohler, expository preaching is:


"...that mode of Christian preaching that takes as its central purpose the presentation and application of the text of the Bible . . . all other issues and concerns are subordinated to the central task of presenting the biblical text" (He is Not Silent: Preaching in a postmodern World)


At times, topical teaching can be good, but I think a regular diet of expository teaching is best and will teach your teen how to interpret scripture the best as well.


B. I recommend reading Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul and Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax.


C. Consider Listening to expository teachings with your teen in the car. Some good podcasts/expository teachers are R.C. Sproul w/ Renewing Your mind, Refnet, Steven Lawson, Alistair Begg, Voddie Baucham, Jeff Durbin, James White, and John MacArthur.


D . Consider teaching or sending your student to a class on the reliability of the Bible. Our ministry, Engage Apologetics, regularly offers classes at least once a year on this topic (click here to see our fill list of topics we can cover) and we cover this topic a lot on our podcast & Engage Truth Youtube show. Also, consider sending your student to , Impact 360, Reality Conference, Why conference (in El Paso), or one of the El Paso Creation Network Conferences for more on this topic. I, Caleb, am also available to speak to your teens in person or online. Some good books on this topic are Charlie Wolcott's Ten Reasons believe the Bible, J. Warner Wallace's Cold-Case Christianity, or Dr. Timothy Paul Jones How we got the Bible.


 

3. Know the difference between Biblical Justice and Critical Race Theory before entering college.


In these times, I can pretty much guarantee you that every single college student will be exposed to critical race theory (CRT). They may not immediately recognize it by CRT, but it is everywhere now. Christian colleges are no exception. In fact, some may push critical race theory even more. CRT is unbiblical, rooted in constant shaming, division, and brings about more injustice, not justice. It is accepted in many Christian colleges because it is coated with many “fine-sounding” words and scriptures taken out of context. If your student truly embraces CRT, there is a good possibility that they will end up rejecting most, if not all, of the Biblical worldview.


Some recommendations:

A. Read these Books:


B. Look up Neil Shenvi at his website here

This video is here is also a good starting place


C. Look up Voddie Baucham on Cultural Marxism and social justice

Check out these two videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRMFBdDDTkI&t=451s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFNOP2IqwoY&t=6s


D. Check out The Center for Biblical Unity and their All The Things YouTube channel. See link below:

https://www.centerforbiblicalunity.com/

 

4. Creation apologetics Training

Teens NEED to be trained on Why Genesis is history and be exposed to the BEST arguments in favor of macroevolution and Biblical creation. We should not be afraid to expose them to the truth. Jesus, Peter, and John all taught that Genesis is history, that we have a literal Adam and Eve, a literal fall in the garden, and that we did NOT have death in the world before sin into the world. Unfortunately, many Christian seminaries try to undermine students' trust in God’s Word starting in Genesis and many students (and professors for that matter) have only been exposed to very surface-level teaching on Creation Apologetics. Yes, you can be a believer and reject the straightforward reading of Genesis, but it becomes very difficult to hold a high view of scripture without twisting or compromising foundational truths. Case in point, look at Rhett and Link and their deconstruction from Christianity. A key part of their deconstruction is that they claim that they engaged with creation apologetics, but when you dig more, most of the time they really didn’t look at some of the more in-depth Creation Research. For example, look at Dr. Robert Carter’s response to Rhett and Link here:


https://creation.com/letter-to-rhett-mclaughlin


Some recommendations:


A. My recommendation is that you would enroll your student in at least one robust Creation Apologetics course. You can use material from Creation Ministries International, Institute for Creation Research, attend an El Paso Creation Network event (if you live near us) or invite me to come speak to your teens.


B. Click here to see my detailed list of Creation Apologetics Resources.


 

5. Understand how progressive Christians are redefining truth, the Bible, justice and sexuality and what the Bible teaches on these topics and why the historic Christian position is good.


Progressive Christianity claims to be the truest form of Christianity, but in reality, ends up redefining the character of God, the nature of sin, and the authority of the Bible. It has been growing in popularity in many Christian colleges as well.


Some recommendations:

A. Read Alisa Childer's new book Another Gospel? on progressive Christianity and read my review of this book here.


B. Watch the second American Gospel: Christ crucified

(watch on Amazon or americangospelfilm.com)

C. Watch Alisa Childers on the dangers of Progressive Christianity

(watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQ6doQsSQLU&t=909s)

You can also find more on alisachilers.com on her podcast and blog.


c. Watch my YouTube presentation on a Biblical respond to progressive Christianity here.


d. On LGBT issues and abortion: Read Holy Sexuality by Christopher Yuan, Openness Unhindered by Rosario Butterfield, and Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcey or Mama Bear Apologetics Guide to Sexuality


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