Posts Tagged ‘Children’s Apologetics’

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 10.39.41 AMA couple of months ago I did a string of post on trends in apologetics.  One of the trends is Children’s Apologetics (other trends included Urban Apologetics, Cultural Apologetics, and Women’s Apologetics).  Just over a year ago, Hillary Ferrer started the blog and podcast called Mama Bear Apologetics.  The opening page tag line explains succinctly the purpose of their blogs/podcasts: “Mess with our kids . . . and we will demolish your arguments.”

That tag line is not just for attention. They deliver it.  Recently, they have taken to task a series of articles posted at Patheos.com under the blog title Unfundamentalist Parenting.  On April 12 of this year Anna Register, one of the contributors to Unfundamentalist Parenting and (according to the bio on the site) a children’s pastor working on her Master’s of Theological Studies at Vanderbilt, posted an article titled “The Trouble with Easter: How To (and not to) Talk to Kids About Easter.”  She listed several things she would NOT teach about Easter:

  • Jesus died for you/your sins
  • That God killed Jesus/wanted Jesus to die/intended for Jesus to die as the primary purpose of his life
  • Jesus died to save them from God’s judgement/hell
  • Coming back from the dead is something you can expect to happen.

She went on the reiterate that:

Stories don’t have to be factual to speak truth. And it’s okay to question a literal resurrection – questions are how we learn. And there is always truth to be found in curiosity, even if the answers don’t turn out to be what you thought they’d be. 

Ask: “Do you know of a story like a myth or fable that teaches a great lesson but isn’t filled with facts? How might the Easter story work the same way and what do you think we can learn from it?”

Well, the article “The Trouble with Easter” obviously troubled those at Mama Bear Apologetics.  They responded with a blog post and a podcast both titled “Is the Progressive Gospel a Gospel at All? (i.e. Why you need to know what your children’s pastor is teaching).”  It is well worth the read and listen.  The blog post is a point for point rebuttal of the claims in “The Trouble with Easter.”

The exchange doesn’t end there.  Cindy Brandt, the founding contributor at Unfundamentalist Parenting, followed up on May 5 with an article titled “Why Your Children do NOT Need Apologetics.”  Mrs. Brandt essentially states that apologetics transfers parental fear, confines faith to doctrine, and burdens children with the task of defending God.Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 10.45.20 AM.png

Mama Bear Apologetics responds with a piece entitled “Why Your Children Do Need Apologetics: Correcting Misconceptions.”  A taste of their article:

. . . when I went back and reread the article on why we shouldn’t teach our kids apologetics, the faults that I wanted to apologize for didn’t match with the author’s complaints. Her main concern seems to be (ironically) a fear of passing on fear and rigid doctrine to kids.  In fact, most of her concerns seem to stem from misconceptions of apologetics, not bad experiences with apologists. I am more than willing to apologize for the areas where misguided apologists have hurt our cause. However, I don’t think I can apologize for someone not understanding what we do. All I can do for that is correct the misconceptions, and hope for better mutual understanding.

Some of the key points Mama Bear Apologetics enumerates include:

  • Apologetics is not based on a “proof-text” of 1 Peter 3:15
  • There are healthy and unhealthy kinds of fearApologetics, responsibly handled, frees a child to think well. It doesn’t coerce them into a boxed set of doctrines
  • Apologetics is not about us defending God because “He needs it.” It is about making our faith “more sure and more convinced.”
  • Apologetics is about having a firm foundation, NOT determining a prefabricated house of faith

It is definitely worth the read.  Looks like some good things are happening over at Mama Bear Apologetics.  Along with the founder Hillary Ferrer, who has a master’s degree in biology and is pursing a master’s degree in apologetics from Biola, Mama Bear Apologetics includes Rebekah Valerius, who is studying for her masters in apologetics from Houston Baptist University, and Cathryn Buse, is the author of Teaching Others to Defend Christianity and holds a bachelors and masters in engineering.

I have definitely subscribed to their podcast as well as placed their site in my favorites list.

This is the fourth part of a series I am doing on Trends in Apologetics.  I have covered Urban ApologeticsCultural Apologetics, and Women in Apologetics.  This post will focus on Children’s Apologetics.

Children’s Apologetics

“Already Gone”

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.

“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 caschristkidsChrist (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:

kidsgodsside                   ColdCaseKids.png

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 Universewrote 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

Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith by Natasha Crain

Jesus is Alive! Evidence for the Resurrection for Kids by Josh and Sean McDowell

Children Demand a Verdict by Josh McDowell and Kevin Johnson

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 Other posts on Trends in Apologetics:

Urban Apologetics

Cultural Apologetics

Women in Apologetics