A well-known evangelical author and speaker, Josh McDowell, launched a youth-targeted campaign called "Beyond Belief to Convictions" in an effort to help adults connect with kids and teach biblical truth to young people.
McDowell says young people who call themselves Christian often have distorted beliefs about God, truth, and the Bible.
According to McDowell, contemporary research shows that accepting Christ and making a profession of faith today makes little or no difference in young people's beliefs, attitudes, or behavior. They indicate that 63 percent of Christian youth do not believe Jesus is the Son of the one true God, 58 percent believe all faiths teach equally valuable truths, and 51 percent do not believe Jesus rose from the dead.
Meanwhile, 74 percent of Christian kids say they cheat on tests, and 93 percent say they lie to their parents. And although these trends are alarming, McDowell contends they are not
surprising or difficult to understand.
"If you do not understand not only what you believe but why you believe it," McDowell explains, "then, in our multicultural society where Islam used to be in the next continent -- now it's the next 7-11 [Store] -- then you start to back off of your convictions and beliefs about the scriptures."
Pluralistic postmodern culture as the cause, McDowell believes it's more important than ever that today's youth be equipped with a thorough grounding in the biblical truth.
This is imperative, he says, "because the world has come to us. We need to train our young people, more than ever, not only in what they believe but why they believe it and to see them experience it in their lives."
He says parents, church youth leaders, and other adult mentors need to focus on building and maintaining positive relationships with young people. "Most of our beliefs are not formed," he explains, "but they're engendered by our relationship with authoritative adults in our lives."
Most kids today "are deeply hurting in relationships, and it's affected the very things that they believe," McDowell contends. He says when important relationships with adult authority figures are missing and/or failing to connect, young people tend to walk away from the very beliefs and behavior of those who have authority over them.
Through the campaign, his ministry provides resources to help adults raise and train up "a generation of transformed followers of Christ" who know what they believe and why.
McDowell plans to hold a year-long schedule of conferences to equip youth and adult to share, defend, and model their Christian beliefs effectively.