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Are Children Blank Slates When It Comes to the Gospel?

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Every generation needs to be evangelized—and that starts at home.

Parents and grandparents are responsible for telling their kids that Jesus died for them on the cross, rose again from the dead, and now offers them everlasting life simply by believing in Him for it.

You’ll have to tell them more than once before those gospel truths sink in. And they do need to hear the gospel. Unless they hear it, they won’t believe it.

Maybe that’s obvious.

But what might not be obvious is that children are not blank slates when it comes to salvation. On the contrary, before they hear the gospel, they have already developed all kinds of beliefs that can hinder their understanding of the good news about Jesus. As Robert L. Short notes:

“No one comes into life believing the Gospel, but only believing in a false gospel” (Short, The Parables of Peanuts, p. 53).

Or, as Proverbs reminds us:

Foolishness is bound to the heart of a youth (Prov 22:15a).

Your children’s hearts and minds are not empty but full of foolishness, especially concerning God and eternal things.

When I began evangelizing my kids—and as I continue to evangelize them—it became apparent that they were not blank slates that simply accepted the imprinted gospel. Instead, they had all kinds of misconceptions about God, the world, and everything else. In other words, they believed in a false gospel.

There’s no telling where they picked up their hodge-podge of beliefs—from cartoons, friends, music, daycare, and school. Some of those ideas are bridges to the gospel, helping them to understand it. But many more are walls, stopping the truth from getting in.

So, children are not blank slates. They will always believe something and won’t start by believing the gospel. Evangelizing them will take as much unlearning as learning.

Prayer for the day: Heavenly Father, help me teach my children about Jesus. Give me the wisdom to identify their false beliefs and assumptions and give me the patience to help them take captive every thought for Christ, so they can believe in your Son, be saved, and keep growing into men and women of God.


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