Exiting the Church (Part 3): What Is Truth?


As we continue to explore the topic of students exiting the church, today we will look at our second possible reason for this exit: Students did not have a Gospel worldview, and their faith fell apart when it was questioned in college.

In John 18:37-38 (ESV), we read of an interesting conversation between Jesus and Pilate on the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion:

“Then Pilate said to Him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king.  For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?'”

Throughout the Bible, we see that the only truth is found in Jesus, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), yet we live in a culture that says that truth is relative and is defined by a person’s preference.  How do we prepare students to face a world where their view of truth will be challenged at every corner?

As I sat in a Philosophy 101 class at UAB as a college freshman, I was faced with that very question.  The professor, former PK (“preacher’s kid”) turned atheist, was there to convince us that belief in a higher power (i.e. God) was a primitive belief that most “enlightened” societies had evolved beyond.  This is the “intellectual” challenge that your children will one day face.  This is a challenge that happens every day in classrooms around the nation.

As those who care about students not falling into the trap of relative truth, we must even now begin to prepare students for that day.  We must seek to answer our children’s “whys” and to present the rationality of the Christian faith.  We must also be willing to teach our children what other people believe and how the truth of the gospel is the one truth that can change the world.

This is a great task, but we have a great God who we have the great privilege of teaching the next generation about.  If you are looking for a resource to get you started, I would recommend:

big truths for young hearts

Big Truths or Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God
Bruce A. Ware

Equips parents to guide their young children through all major doctrines in an understandable, chapter-a-day format.

Sure, it’s easy to teach your children the essentials of Christian theology when you’re a theology professor. But what about the rest of us?

With Big Truths for Young Hearts, Bruce Ware, (you guessed it!) a theology professor, encourages and enables parents of children 6-14 years of age to teach through the whole of systematic theology at a level their children can understand. Parents can teach their children the great truths of the faith and shape their worldviews early, based on these truths.

The book covers ten topics of systematic theology, devoting several brief chapters to each subject, making it possible for parents to read one chapter per day with their children. With this non-intimidating format, parents will be emboldened to be their children’s primary faith trainers-and perhaps learn a few things themselves along the way.


BenMinister of Students
Ben Birdsong

Ben Birdsong was called as our Student Minister in September 2013 after serving with students for four and a half years at First Baptist Church of Pelham.  Ben is married to Liz.  He loves Starbucks, reading, movies, music, and spending time with family and friends.  Ben has a great desire to see students grow in their faith in Christ and to see God use them to make an impact for Him on their campuses and in their communities.  Ben was ordained and licensed into the ministry from the Church at Brook Hills in July 2009.  He holds bachelor’s degrees in marketing and human resource management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a master’s degree in divinity from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School.  Ben is currently a Doctor of Ministry student with a focus in Ministry to Emerging Generations at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary just outside of Boston, Massachusetts.