This is the fourth part of a series I am doing on Trends in Apologetics. I have covered Urban Apologetics, Cultural Apologetics, and Women in Apologetics. This post will focus on Children’s Apologetics.
It has been highly promoted that between 50% to 70% of Christian students will abandon the faith in college. It depends on the study but the findings are seeming consistent: a startling high number of college students are leaving the church.
To counter this trend much focus has been placed on college age and the teenage demographic. It has come to be recognized that this might be to late. Ken Ham and Britt Beemer with Toll Hillard identify the middle school and preteen years as the critical moment in Already Gone (first chapter).
This has prompted many to being apologetics even earlier than high school and middle school. This is Children’s Apologetics.
The earliest attempt at Children’s Apologetics that I could identify is in 1991 with the publication of David Walters’ book Fact or Fantasy: A Study in Christian Apologetics for Children. The age range (according to Amazon.com) is 4-9 years of age. This is very young. The description states “A children’s and teen’s Bible Study book on Simple Christian Apologetic’s (defend your faith). It helps answer the questions your friends ask you about what you believe.”
Then came along Lee Strobel’s “Case for . . .” series: The Case for Christ (1998), The Case for Faith (2000), The Case for a Creator (2004), and The Case for the Real Jesus (2007). He quickly followed up this works with student editions. The success of these series is hard to estimate, but it is large nonetheless. This was duplicated for kids in The Case for Christ for Kids, The Case for Faith for Kids, and The Case for a Creator for Kids in 2006 (updated and expanded in 2010). The target age for these books is age 9-12. I have utilized these books with fourth and fifth graders and find them very useful.
Just before the Case series for Kids was published Josh McDowell edited his tome Evidence that Demands a Verdict for kids in Children Demand a Verdict in 2003. It looked like things were slowing down for bit on the Children’s Apologetic front after the Case for series for Kids but recently a book on apologetics for kids was written by a detective and a book for parents to train their kids in apologetics was published by a mom:
Natasha Crain is blogger at Christian Mom Thoughts that focused on training up children in apologetics and theology. Post included such topics like “14 Ways I Teach Apologetics to My 5-year-Olds.” She was approached by Harvest House Publishers to write the book Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith in 2016 as well. Her book is for parents and helps them “empower their children to respond well to the hard questions that threaten their faith. It’s no secret that children of all ages are being exposed to negative criticism of Christianity as they spend time at school, with friends, or online.”
J. Warner Wallace, the former cold case detective and author of Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Examines the Claims of the Gospels and God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe, wrote Cold-Case Christianity for Kids: Investigating Jesus with a Real Detective in 2016. Not only is this a book on apologetics for children between the ages of 8-12, Wallace (along with his wife Susie) have developed a webpage to guide the readers through the book with videos, printable activities, leader guides, and certificates of completion. A trailer for the book and activities can be viewed:
More books for kids by Wallace are to come such as God’s Crime Scene For Kids and Forensic Faith for Kids.
Wallace and Crain were recently featured on November 26, 2016 on Frank Turek’s podcast/radio show CrossExamined titled “How to Teach Your Kids Apologetics.”
Apologetical Resources for Kids
The Case for Christ for Kids by Lee Strobel
The Case for Faith for Kids by Lee Strobel
The Case for a Creator for Kids by Lee Strobel
Cold-Case Christianity for Kids: Investigating Jesus with a Real Detective by J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace
Jesus is Alive! Evidence for the Resurrection for Kids by Josh and Sean McDowell
Children Demand a Verdict by Josh McDowell and Kevin Johnson
Other posts on Trends in Apologetics: