This summer, our church’s Sunday School program pulled together a curriculum for the K-5th grade students. They focused on God and science. Biologists, mathematicians, astronomers, nurses, and chemists from our church congregation presented lessons to the children each Sunday morning, accompanied by group experiments, worship songs, and more. The kids came alive with each presentation and excitedly discussed God and science in one breath. We could all see that something uniquely important had taken place this summer. God and science aren’t two opposed “things” to these children; they go hand in hand. It was a beautiful effort on the part of our teachers and members, and is one of the many reasons we’re thankful to presently be part of this church body.
Have you asked your kids “How do you know God exists?” lately? I’m not sure I’m brave enough to ask mine and share their answers here. I like to think my husband and I do a pretty good job of helping them think carefully about God… but we all know how kids have a way of humbling us. Often publicly. However, in the interest of encouraging you to continue/start talking with your kids about God, I’ll ask one of them and share their answer. Here we go.
Friends, we recently finished reading Why Does God Allow Evil? by Dr. Clay Jones. It’s the fantastic culminating work of decades of teaching and research. Buy it. Read it. The end.
Last week we briefly summarized Apologetics for a New Generation, but we wanted to emphasize some of the key aspects of application that the authors cover. While this book covered a broad variety of topics, it was all geared toward reaching young people for Christ. To that end, there were plenty of suggestions on how to apply that toward teaching apologetics to students.
In his book, Apologetics for a New Generation, Sean McDowell put together a team of writers who have a heart to minister to young people. They outline the need for a new approach to apologetics, some ideas for new methods in which to apply these apologetics, and some of the different challenges now facing our culture.
In the first section of the book, the new approach is characterized as relational. In the context of relationship, people build trust without which the application of apologetics falls flat. It is through relationships that the Holy Spirit instills belief and people are drawn to the gospel message. Students should be empowers to be ambassadors of Christ and “agents of transformation to their generation” once these personal relationships have been established.
El Puerquito y el Oink Accidental is hot off the presses! Thanks to translator, Carlos Pamplona (M.A. Christian Apologetics, Biola University 2014), Picture Book Apologetics’ Pig and the Accidental Oink! is now available to our Spanish speaking friends. Paperback copies are available on Amazon and a free PDF download of the full book is available from PictureBookApologetics.com.
It’s been quiet on our blog the last two weeks, but not quiet in our home! Our boys have returned to school (we are a public school family), and getting back in the swing of things for our house takes a little extra time. We have taken a step back to see how we can improve our parenting and the discipleship of our children. One of the tools we picked up last week was “The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden,” written by Kevin DeYoung, illustrated by Don Clark and published by Crossway.
It is a beautifully illustrated book (seriously wonderful), but more importantly than that, it will help us tie together the stories that our boys have been learning since they’ve joined our family. The Bible isn’t a disjointed collection of books and stories and we want them to be able to see the overarching story and purpose. Plus, right now their vocabulary isn’t quite large enough to understand most of what we read straight from the Bible, so we are still relying on assistance from other books.
Why am I sharing this on an apologetics blog? Well, if we aren’t well-rooted in Scripture and the firm faith that grows out of that foundation, what are we bothering to defend?
Check out an excerpt and description here: The Biggest Story
Buy it on Amazon here.
Here is the book trailer:
This week, we were pleased to receive a review copy of White Sail Film’s Mining for God.
The documentary was birthed through a successful Kickstarter campaign spearheaded by director and narrator Brandon McGuire. We were hooked by the man-on-the-street perspective shown in the trailer, as well as the special appearance list (Lee Strobel, Mike Licona, Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig, Paul Copan, Mary Jo Sharp, J. Warner Wallace, Craig Hazen, and the list goes on), so setting aside 64 minutes was a no-brainer.
Initially, we were a bit let down as we realized the street interviews were used to illustrate the reason McGuire started the project but were not the primary style of the film (a la Ray Comfort), however as the documentary unfolded, the interviews with excellent apologists did not disappoint and definitely outweighed our expectations.
Once the question of “What is Christianity?” is posed and answered poorly, McGuire asks what has brought us, as a culture, to this point where religious doctrines are often treated like options at a cafeteria. Topics ranging from naturalism and the Kalam Cosmological Argument (Have you seen the children’s book about that?), to the uniqueness of Christianity and the Minimal Facts approach are discussed in response to his question. Ultimately, naturalism and relativism are identified as key components of the root problem.
The dialogue is compelling and certainly seems like a great conversation starter with teens, as well as a handy overview for parents and ministry leaders.
Movie review left you interested? Visit the official website and order a copy: Mining For God Website
This week we were pleased to receive a review copy of Tipping our Kings: Finding the Truth in a World Full of Options by Jack Crabtree.
Jack is an international missionary in training who isn’t waiting to be in a far off land before he takes part in the great commission. He writes, “Talking to people is easy, but impacting lives is God’s business, not ours. It must be Him working through us.”
Tipping our Kings recounts the true story of two men whose budding friendship is built upon conversations of the utmost importance. Jack candidly shares his initial feelings of prejudice and selfishness as he tries to avoid Nicholas, a philosophy student and professor, after his wife suggests that they should meet. His feelings quickly change as he sees the eternal significance of their conversations.
In Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis wrote:
“It is a serious thing, to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ‘ordinary’ people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”
Readers will find that the retelling enables them to trace the work of the Spirit throughout the friendship, and will be reminded that no one is exempt from the outcomes described by Lewis above.
The book crescendos with an all-night conversation between Nicholas and Jack that is sure to encourage Christians, and conversely challenge non-Christians.
- Professional book quality. Sturdy paper and a typeface that won’t leave you squinting.
- Quick and enjoyable read. We both read through in one sitting.
- Jack’s writing style and the content of his story is very interesting and encouraging.
- The appendices offer valuable tools for practical apologetic conversations.
- This is not so much a “con” as it is a “heads up.” There are some philosophical discussions included that will likely fly right over the head of younger folks. There are definitions for some of the trickier terms, though, which we find to be a helpful touch. For this reason, we would probably recommend that parents read the book before passing it on to their high school aged child so that they will be able to better answer any questions that arise.
Pick up a copy here: Tipping our Kings: Finding the Truth in a World Full of Options
We didn’t set out to review books written solely by authors from the MA Apologetics program at Biola University, yet once again we find ourselves with just such a book: Resurrection iWitness. Doug Powell, author of the Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics wrote and designed this intriguing, interactive book.
I picked up Resurrection iWitness because it was described as “similar to the Ologies series” and hoped to find that it would be likewise appropriate for the 8 and up audience. After review, 12 and up (the suggested age for Powell’s similar creation, Jesus iWitness) seems more appropriate.
The book is structured around the minimal facts approach to the resurrection, which is an idea pioneered by Dr Gary Habermas and Dr Mike Licona. In short, the minimal facts approach requires that any explanation of the resurrection story must satisfy, at the bare minimum, six widely agreed upon facts: Jesus was crucified, Jesus died, Jesus was buried in a tomb, friends claimed to have seen Jesus, and enemies claimed to have seen Jesus. Though the book is only 32 pages long, Powell presents a comprehensive treatment of the material, and effectively addresses common objections to the resurrection account using the minimal facts approach. The swoon and stolen body theories are two of the seven alternate theories explored.
- Sturdy, hardcover design. Upon receiving the book I was impressed by the hefty size (9.8 x 12 x 0.9 inches).
- Fold out maps, flip up charts and various flaps provide engaging tactile interaction with the material. I suspect that these would not hold up well to energetic use by eager children, but for the 12 and up crowd, they seem sufficiently rugged.
- The typeface choices employed throughout sometimes sacrifice legibility for style, however, all of the content is readable.
- The images used range from paintings by Rembrandt to stock photography (a diverse spread, indeed), but overall the “feel” of the book is cohesive.
I would recommend this book for 12 and up, (possibly even high school age and older) due to the use of some complex terms and reasoning that may be difficult for a younger audience to understand on their own. Overall, the writing style is to the point and pleasantly conversational. Resurrection iWitness would make a wonderful family reading time resource where each page could be used to foster conversation about the evidence, and where adults could immediately clarify difficult concepts for young ones.
Pick up a copy here: Resurrection iWitness written and designed by Doug Powell