As a Christian parent, one of the things most important to me is bringing my son up in faith in Christ. As a man with an MA in Christian Apologetics, I know that my child will face many challenges going forward, and that the Christian faith has the answers. The problem, it seems, is figuring out how to unite these two–apologetics and child-rearing–in a way that can be understood by children, without being domineering or scary. Natasha Crain’s book, Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side, is an answer to prayers about this important topic.
The book features 40 “conversations” that can be had with children centered around topics from why we believe the Bible and textual criticism to the existence of God to questions about science and Christianity. Each of these chapters provides an introduction to the topic at hand. Crain utilizes stories of her own children quite well to demonstrate how these conversations might play out–or how they might get started.
The most helpful aspect of the book is that it provides a kind of all-in-one reference for common questions and apologetic topics that can be used to start children on the right path towards defending their faith and the calling of 1 Peter 3:15-16. Each of the 40 conversations is one that is worth having, and is often accompanied with quotes from prominent atheist thinkers to show the objections often raised to the faith.
Crain also does a good job of presenting multiple sides of controversial topics without specifying a side. For example, in the chapter on hell, she presents historical Christian positions (a literal view, a figurative view with eternal punishment, and the conditionalist view). The one place there is a bit of a slip on this regard is when it comes to the creation and evolution debate. She adequately presents both young and old earth creationism, but only gives a view like theistic evolution a passing mention, despite having seemingly increasing support among evangelicals.
A downside to the variety of topics that Crain presents is that she is only ever able to scratch the surface on each. The type of book it is basically makes this a necessity, and Crain does provide resources for further reading. Parents should note that they will need to utilize these resources for continuing conversations.
Keeping your Kids on God’s Side is a phenomenal work. It is the kind of book that parents will come back to time and time again. Not only that, but it has broad enough appeal that it serves as an excellent general apologetic work. It will energize parents to start these conversations with their children and give them the tools to keep them going. I highly recommend this work.
+Broad-minded approach that doesn’t tell readers what to think on controversial topics
+Clear tone and presentation
+Astounding number of topics introduced with valuable information
+Offers several key points to help discuss topics with children
-Very brief on several points
-Doesn’t address full breadth of views on creation/evolution
Disclaimer: I received the book for review from the author. I was not obligated to provide any specific kind of feedback whatsoever.
Natasha Crain, Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side (Eugene, OR: Bethany House Publishers, 2016).
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