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Keeping Your Kids on God's Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith Paperback – March 1, 2016
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"I consider Keeping Your Kids on God's Side to be an important, eye-opening 'gateway' book. Natasha has done a wonderful job of quickly introducing the important issues and evidences from the perspective of a parent. She's engaging, thoughtful, and she knows how to throw the ball so you can catch it. Let Keeping Your Kids on God's Side serve as an introduction to the most important work you will ever do as a parent."
—J. Warner Wallace, author of Cold-Case Christianity and God's Crime Scene, international speaker, professor at Biola University
"I almost wish my children were young again so I could use Natasha Crain's book with them. Through her parenting blog, Crain has access to the most important questions and challenges parents are hearing from their children today. She writes in strong, vigorous prose and does a great job of pitching her answers at a level that parents can understand—and, even more importantly, that they can use."
—Nancy Pearcey, author of Total Truth and Finding Truth, apologetics professor, Houston Baptist University
"Keeping Your Kids on God's Side is a timely and much-needed book. Natasha provides a road map so parents feel equipped to have the critical (and difficult) faith conversations with their kids. If you want to see your kids have a vibrant faith, then get this book and start having these conversations with your kids today!"
—Sean McDowell, author of more than 15 books, including A New Kind of Apologist, international speaker, professor at Biola University
About the Author
Natasha Crain writes a popular Christian parenting blog at ChristianMomThoughts.com. She has an MBA from UCLA and has completed the Certificate Program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. She and her husband, Bryan, have three children.
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Natasha Crain, for those who may be unfamiliar with her work, runs a fantastic blog for parents, Christian Mom Thoughts. A lot of ideas and conversations from her website has fueled this book which is another unique aspect of the book as she uses blog comments and readers emails to give different perspectives on topics, whether it is a parent who is just starting to teach their kid about Christianity or a skeptic who claims that Jesus never existed and there is no proof (see Part 3 of the book for Natasha’s very good answers to that ridiculous claim).
The book is laid out in a very helpful way where people can navigate different topics without reading the book cover to cover; though, I recommend you do as it is an enjoyable read. One thing that makes the book very easy to read and doesn’t cause the book to come across as a dry, purely intellectual read is Natasha and her family’s life experiences and how they go about discussing questions with their children. She gives examples on questions her kids have asked and how they have answered. She also talks about the importance of setting aside time during the week to answer your kids’ questions.
The book itself is laid out in five parts, with eight chapters in each part.
1. Conversations about God
2. Conversations about Truth and Worldview
3. Conversations about Jesus
4. Conversations about the Bible
5. Conversations about Science
Each chapter is about 5-10 pages in length so if the concepts are new to you as a parent, Natasha provides a really good overview of each chapter topic. For example, in the first chapter Natasha writes about the evidence for God and while the arguments are not exhaustive they are rather complete. I guess that is one thing that someone could knock about the book is the lack of depth on certain topics but I think that for an introductory work it covers all the topics with meaning. Also, keep in mind, the audience is not for seasoned apologists, it is an introductory book for parents who want to give direction to their kids on Christianity and why we believe it to be true. What’s more, she gives several references in the back of the book where people can read more if they want to know more about the topic.
The reference section in the back of the book is an extremely valuable resource to readers. Many times when I am reading a book that has new concepts I want to know where I can find out more information but the references aren’t there. A strength of Natasha’s book is that she provides the resources and gives parents a lot of addition avenues to explore should they want to look more into any section or chapter. And for those of you who enjoy science, you will not be subjected to a fundamentalist, superficial treatment of evolution. Rather, you will see fair points made for and against evolution, young earth creationism, and old earth creationism. The research done in section five of the book (conversations about science) was in my opinion, one of the strongest parts of the book.
Natasha’s book is a game changer. Never before has there been a book directed to parents on how they can have meaningful conversations with their children about Christianity. Moreover, the book looks into the evidence for God, the historicity of Jesus, and the origin of the Bible. All three of those topics are so important but spoken about so little in the church. I am glad Natasha has written this book and while the year is still young, it is on top of my list of “Best Reads of 2016”. I’d encourage all of you, whether you have children or not, to examine this book and look at the overwhelming evidence for the Christian faith.
Grace and Peace
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).
This book is so significant that I wish every Christian would get a copy and read it. Not only that, you will become more interested in apologetics and try to learn even more. No more the time of going to church and then going home and don't really know WHY what you need to believe is TRUE!