“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4 (ESV)
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15 (ESV)
As a Christian father, I take these verses very seriously. I want my children to follow Jesus and to have a robust Christian worldview. And as an apologist, I know they are going to face tough objections and questions their entire life, so the sooner I can inoculate them from falsehoods, the better. The problem is how.
I blog. I have a Master’s degree in Christian Apologetics. I’ve conducted serious research. I’m pretty confident I can respond to the big objections to Christianity and show that God is the best explanation for all of reality. But how do I convey this to my four-year-old son? How do I discuss evil and suffering with my innocent, bright-eyed boy?
That’s why I’m so thankful for Natasha Crain. She has a blog dedicated to Christian parenting and navigating tough topics with our kids. And she has a fantastic new book aimed specifically at having spiritual conversations with our children: Talking with Your Kids about God.
Talking with Your Kids about God is divided into five parts: The Existence of God, Science and God, The Nature of God, Believing in God, and The Difference God Makes. Each part is divided into six chapters, all answering a specific question. And there are a wide variety of questions, from “Where Did the Universe Come From?” (part 1) and “What Is the Meaning of Life?” (part 5), to questions about science and religion (part 2) and even the Flying Spaghetti Monster (part 1). Each chapter is then divided into sections: an explanation of the topic; Key Points, which – just like it sounds – offers the core points of the issue; and a Conversation Guide.
The Conversation Guide has three components: Open the Conversation, which is a key question or thought to begin a conversation with our kids; Advance the Conversation, which are more thoughts and questions to go deeper into the issue; and Apply the Conversation, which is a challenging quote or objection regarding the topic.
While Natasha’s first book, Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side, was written to help families address important topics and tough objections, this book is different. Keeping your Kids is mostly content and, in my opinion, is the best resource available to answer tough objections concisely, thoroughly, and in plain English. (And if you’ve read any other apologetics books, you know how rare it is to find a book that can do all three!) But Talking with Your Kids is specifically a conversation guide. Its purpose is to help begin and navigate discussions with your children about God. My favorite part of each chapter is Apply the Conversation, which offers a real-life question or objection from a skeptic. This will force you as a parent or Sunday school teacher to see how you would personally respond if you faced this challenge. (And Natasha doesn’t provide any answers, so it’s all on you!)
I think the most important thing Natasha does is to distinguish between belief and truth. This is something we need to instill in our children as early as possible. Skeptics treat religion as mere belief, something that you simply hold to be true, or even just wish were true. And, unfortunately, many Christians do the same. However, Natasha drives home over and over again that Christianity is true. There are good reasons to believe that God exists. We can trust God, even when things in this life just don’t seem to make sense.
But Natasha isn’t content with merely showing that Christianity is true. She wants our children to know that it matters. Part 5 of the book, “The Difference God Makes,” conveys the importance of God’s existence. Is there a real meaning to life? How should I live? These are the questions that everyone needs to answer, not just Christians. And your starting point, whether or not God exists, will have a profound influence on how you respond to these big questions.
So is this book for you? It depends what you’re looking for. If you want an approachable apologetics reference book that tackles a wide variety of topics and objections, Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side is the better option for you. But if you’re looking specifically for help to navigate conversations about God with your children or Sunday school students, Talking with Your Kids about God is definitely the right choice.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m so thankful for Natasha Crain and others like her, the down-to-earth, everyday moms and dads who want to bloom where they’re planted and use their gifts for God in whatever way they can. I’ve studied apologetics for years and have had the opportunity to work on some pretty awesome projects. But Natasha has the experience as a Christian parent who wants to raise her children in the truth. What is more important than that? Talking with Your Kids about God is going to be an invaluable resource for having spiritual conversations with my children, one I see myself using for years to come.