- Is Jesus a myth?
- Did Jesus really perform miracles?
- How can Jesus be both God and human?
- What evidence is there for Jesus’ resurrection?
I’m sure you’ll agree these are big questions. They’re also questions we might struggle to answer. It’s one thing to believe certain truths about Jesus, but another to explain why in a way that sounds clear and reasonable, especially to someone who is not convinced.
And it can be tempting to think it’s not something we need to bother about – to say, “apologetics is not my gift,” and to leave it to others, but, more and more, I’ve come to realise it is something we need to address.
It’s also something we need to equip our children to deal with.
I’m not a parent, but, over the years, I have worked with hundreds of children, and I’ve been dismayed by the number who are enthusiastic about the idea of faith and who seem to have a personal faith as children, but who drift away from that as teenagers.
It made me wonder why this is the case and what we can do to change that.
I’m definitely not claiming to have all the answers here, but I’ve had quite a few conversations around this with various people over the last couple of years and there are two main things we identified. (Bear in mind that I am in Scotland and this is based on my experience. It may or may not be similar in other countries.)
We need to teach children how the Bible fits together. Children’s work can sometimes involve individual Bible stories plucked out in a random and haphazard way with teaching that is quite moralistic. Instead we need to give children a sense of the big picture – how it all ties together and points to Jesus.
We need to equip them to deal with the difficult questions about Christianity. It can be tempting just to teach nice stories and to make it fun, but as they grow up they are going to be faced with these questions from others who want to challenge their faith. Surely it makes sense to preempt that and to make sure they are grounded in their faith by helping them think through these questions in advance.
Having recently completed a Bible overview resource for children’s groups, I turned my attention to questions of faith, and quickly realised just how hard a task it is to help children explore these questions in a way that is thorough but age-appropriate. A necessary task, but a massive challenge!
And then I discovered Natasha Crain!
If you have children or grandchildren, or work with children in a church group or other Christian group, I highly encourage you to check out her writing. You can find links to her most popular blog posts here.
She has devoted a huge amount of time and effort to thinking through how to address matters of faith with children and how to equip them to deal with the questions they will face, and she has written three books on the subject:
Keeping Your Kids On God’s Side
Talking With Your Kids About God
and her latest book, which releases on March 31st:
Talking With Your Kids About Jesus
This new book covers thirty key questions about Jesus, including those listed at the start of this post.
It is divided into five sections:
- The Identity Of Jesus
- The Teachings Of Jesus
- The Death Of Jesus
- The Resurrection Of Jesus
- The Difference Jesus Makes
Each question is dealt with in a short chapter, which includes both biblical and non-biblical evidence for the Christian point-of-view as well as looking at some of the key objections raised by others and identifying some ways to respond.
There is a lot of information, but it is presented in a clear and understandable way. The idea is not necessarily to unload all of the information in the book to children at once, but to build up a habit of discussing matters of faith and to have regular conversations that are age-appropriate, taking it deeper over time.
I loved the practical advice on how to open up conversation with children on each of the topics, as well as how to take it deeper. There are some great questions to get them thinking and spark discussion, and I appreciated the clear way each topic is presented. I certainly learned new things myself!
I’m grateful to Baker Books for access to a complementary digital copy of this book. I only share books here that I genuinely believe will be beneficial to my readers.
Amazon links are not affiliate links, but simply provided for your convenience.