Do Your Kids Need Apologetics?

Apologetics are “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something”. In the case of Christians, apologetics usually refers to answers to questions or criticisms commonly posed by people who aren’t Christians. Many young people raised in Christian homes may hear these questions or criticisms from teachers, peers, or even in the things they read and watch.

Some Christian young people may have even wondered about these same things themselves. The problem is that if they are brave enough to voice their questions and concerns, the reaction from other Christians can be extremely negative. Many young people have learned to leave those doubts unexpressed and unfortunately unanswered.

Those who do ask them may have been told some platitude that was formed years ago when the average Christian had no access to things like primary source documents from the early church. Now with the internet, Christians have access to primary source documents, archaeological finds and more within seconds. Unfortunately, many Christians don’t know those things are available or could help provide clearer answers than a platitude that could easily be demolished by a savvy debater.

Before you start immersing your kids in apologetics though, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

  • Apologetics aren’t a replacement for Bible knowledge. Apologetics can help your child understand why Christians believe what they do, but your child still needs to read the Bible to be personally familiar with the scriptures. Apologetics often cover topics in broad strokes, while living a Christian life requires a more detailed, nuanced knowledge and understanding of scripture.
  • Apologetics aren’t the best way to understand how to apply scripture to one’s life. Although there may be some application principles in an apologetics reading, they don’t attempt to cover every application principle in scripture. The focus is generally on the things that confuse or upset non-Christians.
  • Apologetics are only as good as the person who researched and wrote/spoke them. Someone who doesn’t understand scripture or is holding on to some false teaching or man-made doctrine may have faulty apologetics, too. It’s important to screen anything before showing it to your kids or at least watch it with them so you can discuss any areas in which you believe the Bible teaches something differently.
  • Apologetics can prepare and protect your kids from common arguments against Christianity they may hear or read – often in college when you aren’t there to discuss it with them. A good apologetics resource usually addresses the most common questions and criticisms. They will have already explained to your child the answers that are well thought out and researched, using scripture and its underlying principles.
  • Apologetics can keep your kids from allowing someone to take one or two verses out of context and use them as an argument against the correct full picture given by the Bible in its entirety. For example, some people will say the Believers’ or Sinners’ prayer is a way to become a Christian – even though it was invented in the United States a couple of hundred years ago. They will pull out a couple of verses about faith saving you, ignoring the fact that every conversion involved baptism, Jesus himself was baptized, verses in Acts and Romans connect baptism to having your sins forgiven and the early church only accepted baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sins as the way of becoming a Christian. Apologetics can point out the problem with a few verses pulled out of context and point your kids back to the full picture found in the Bible.
  • Apologetics are not a way for your child to share his or her faith. That involves sharing the story of Creation and the Fall and God’s plan for redemption. It means your child can tell the story of Jesus – especially about his death, burial and resurrection. It involves your child being able to share how he or she has seen God working in the world today. It also means your child can tell someone the joy found in the Gospel message and how to become a Christian. Bits of that may be found in apologetics material, but is not it’s central purpose.
  • Apologetics can prepare your kids to answer questions others may have when they share their faith with them. When your kids begin to share their faith, some people may have questions or concerns that are answered by apologetics. Those answers will help your kids stay calm and know how to answer them. It also keeps them from giving in to the temptation to answer with a platitude or a less than kind answer out of fear or frustration.

So who are some people who are well known for producing strong apologetics materials? *Lee Strobel has plenty of “Case for” books that many have used over the years. The great thing about his materials is that most of them come in adult, teen and child versions. Sean Mcdowell has videos that can be found on RightNow Media. They are short and easy to understand. Many churches have free subscriptions you can use. J Warner Wallace is a former police detective whose apologetics use forensic science. He also has videos on RightNow Media and several books that are often on sale in the ebook format. Ravi Zacharias is also popular, although I haven’t had time to explore his materials.

Apologetics are not a substitute for teaching your kids the Bible and helping them understand and obey it. They can however, give you some important tools to help strengthen your kids’ spiritual foundations in specific areas. It’s worth exploring them with your kids.

*Please be aware that apologetics writers are human and capable of making mistakes. There is no substitute for the absolute truths found in the Bible. Compare everything they say to scripture for yourself and teach your children to do the same

Questions to Help Your Kids Grow Spiritually

Questions to Help Your Kids Grow Spiritually - Parenting Like HannahOne of the topics rarely discussed in Christian parenting is how to help your kids move from merely copying your faith to making it their own personal faith. A way to do that is to encourage them to move from just learning the facts in the Bible to deeper thinking about who God is and what He wants from them and for them.

Some children will make those transitions without much help from their parents. Kids that are naturally introspective tend to begin making that shift while still in their teens. Often a situation like college – especially a college with many unbelieving students – can force young people to think more deeply about what they have been taught. Others, never truly make that shift and seem to struggle with their Christian life or abandon it entirely.

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Helping Your Kids Be Who God Created Them To Be

Helping Your Kids Be Who God Created Them To Be - Parenting Like HannahOne of the saddest things to watch is a parent trying to force one of their kids to have a career or participate in an activity for which it is obvious their child has no gift or interest. The dynamic not only makes the child miserable, but puts an unnecessary strain on their relationship. If pushed too long and too far, the strain can often cause irreparable damage, as either the child rebels in the opposite direction or submits to a lifetime of what they believe is pure misery.

God creates each person as an individual. Your children may have some characteristics from you, some from your spouse and some from some distant relative none of you have ever even met.

God also gives each of us one or more gifts He knows we will need to serve Him in the opportunities He will give us during our lifetime. One or more of your kids may have a gift that appears uniquely unlike any other given to others in your family.

God also knows each of your children will have experiences and opportunities that the rest of your family will not have. Some of these may be good and others not so much, but each will be a part of whom that child becomes.

So how can you avoid forcing your child into following your life plan instead of becoming who God created him or her to be? First let’s talk about what shouldn’t be in anyone’s life plan if they are truly trying to become who God created them to be.

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Top Tips for Choosing Entertainment for Your Kids (Part 2)

Top Tips for Choosing Entertainment for Your Kids (Part 2) - Parenting Like HannahIf you aren’t actively overseeing which movies, shows, books and games your kids use for entertainment, you are possibly allowing them to be swayed by those who want them to believe ideas that run contrary to God’s commands and principles.

Satan wants parents to believe monitoring our kids’ entertainment is excessive and unnecessary. Yet, even the Bible points out the influence the things we expose ourselves to can have on our thoughts and our faith. If you are a Christian parent, you absolutely must take the time to find a way to keep your kids from consuming mass amounts of entertainment that will change their thinking and in some cases even the hard wiring of their brains.

Ratings are virtually useless for Christians. What is now considered acceptable for children and teens to watch would have been rated “R” or “X” even a few decades ago. So what do you need to consider before allowing your kids to consume a particular entertainment item?

Continue reading Top Tips for Choosing Entertainment for Your Kids (Part 2)

Top Tips for Choosing Entertainment for Your Kids

Top Tips for Choosing Entertainment for Your Kids - Parenting Like HannahWhat’s the last movie you took your children to see? What are your kids’ favorite shows or games? What books do your kids read for pleasure? It would seem like entertainment marketed to their age group would be appropriate for your kids. Or if it is a “hit” all of your kids friends have seen, then surely it must be fine. Right? Not so much.

Whether we are aware of it or not, what our kids watch can influence their thinking over time. It can literally change the way their brains are hard wired in some cases – making it much more difficult to think, speak and behave in the ways God would want them to do.

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