The latest research shows that Christian parents are sending mixed signals to their kids about living the Christian life. More than a decade ago, Probe Ministries surveyed born-again millennials and found that if parents had an inconsistent biblical view, their children would also have an inconsistent view. The only major exception to that would be for kids who got involved with a campus Christian ministry and grew in their faith.
The latest research by George Barna illustrates this same finding in even more detail. His research at Arizona Christian University’s Cultural Research Center found that “a mere 5 percent of parents have beliefs that are in harmony with a biblical worldview, more often than not, those same parents do not follow through with consistent biblical behavior.”
Put another way, most parents are not even talking the talk, but the few that do are not walking the walk. This is sending mixed signals to their children who quickly pick up contradictions between what parents say they believe and how they behave.
Among pre-teen parents who attend Catholic, mainline Protestant, or traditionally black churches, merely 3 percent were found to have a consistent biblical set of beliefs. Surveys of parents attending Pentecostal, non-denominational or independent Protestant churches show only 9 percent of the parents of pre-teens had a biblical worldview.
George Barna concludes that, “It’s not surprising that young people in our nation are confused regarding gender and sexuality, the value of human life, and even why and how to nurture positive personal relationships.” Churches, he says, must be facilitating clarity rather than confusion.
Parents need a better understanding of biblical viewpoints and biblical behavior. And they shouldn’t feel guilty about imposing their views on children but should “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).