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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
"Keeping Your Kids on God's Side is an outstanding resource every Christian parent should have in their home library...this book is the most accessible, non-intimidating treatment of key apologetics issues I've seen to date, and I will be recommending it to every parent I encounter!"
—Melissa Cain Travis, Assistant Professor of Apologetics, Houston Baptist University, author of Young Defenders series of apologetics books for kids
"Parents, wake up. The secular culture is challenging our kids like never before and we've got to prepare them for the barrage of false ideas they will most certainly face. Apologetic conversations are no longer optional; they're a necessary part of our kids' discipleship. Thankfully, Keeping Your Kids on God's Side is the resource we all need. It's accessible and comprehensive, and it will equip you to engage your kids in conversations that count, big time."
—Brett Kunkle, Student Impact Director, Stand to Reason
"Many well-intentioned, godly parents unknowingly send their children out into the world malnourished by an insufficient diet of evidence for their faith...We know. Ratio Christi sees it every day in our chapters on high school and college campuses. Students come to us starving for ways to defend their faith from intellectual assault. As the director of parent outreach at Ratio Christi, I've been looking for a tool to recommend to parents so they can start this training early at home. This is it. Start feeding your family a steady diet of Keeping Your Kids on God's Side to strengthen their hearts and minds for the battles against the secular smorgasbord they will face."
—Julie Loos, Director, Ratio Christi Boosters
"As a youth pastor, I'm thrilled to see an apologetics book written with parents in mind! It is not a matter of if your children or students will encounter arguments against Christianity, but when. Questions will come, and when they do, where will your kids find answers? The Internet? Their college professors? Atheist friends? We need to take responsibility to equip ourselves to be that resource...this book will help you do just that!"
—Patrick Brown, Student Ministries Director, Whitehaven Road Baptist Church
"As a pastor over family ministries, I am very excited about this book! It answers many of the strong objections against Christianity in amazing depth, yet in such a clear manner that even someone new to apologetics can easily understand it."
—Jared Novak, Family Pastor, New Life Church Bonita Springs
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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Top Customer Reviews
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
I have spent over a decade immersed in Apologetics and pursuing degrees in that field (along with teaching it). I thought this book would be a great addition and tool for working with kids (of undefined age). I recognized the basic Apologetic outline with a logical progression through required arguments to defend and bolster the Christian faith. Her information is concise and up to date (thus relevant). Her writing style is almost conversational and easy to follow.
It is possible my years of academic study have biased me towards more technical and scholarly presentations, and this book is not that.
I do have a few gripes with a book trying to stand for a reasoned defense of the Christian faith:
1. On page 37 Crain speaks of the Biblical Hell, but seems afraid to propose the most natural and Orthodox reading of it; opting instead to confuse the uninitiate with 3 possible interpretations of what Hell might be. Why do that? How does that bolster or help us to defend the truth of God's Word?
2. On page 42 Crain uses the term Agnostic in a completely different way that she had before, or than most people would use it. To first understand Agnostic to be representative of a worldview specifically on the question of God, but then use it more generically of any person undecided on any question...can only confuse. Use a different word.
3. Chapter 21 is meant to explain why Jesus had to die, and shed His blood for our salvation, for our saving from sin and death. But this is decidedly poorly handled as there Crain does not give us the answer she promised. Nowhere does she actually explain why His death was required, why He had to be fully human, why He had to be fully God and why His blood had to be shed. There is so much to draw on from the Old Testament laws and sacrifices to explain what Jesus did on the cross. And what He did and had to do is conversely explained in many New Testament passages This is an important topic especially for those outside Christianity and to simply gloss over the "why" and "how" of Jesus' sacrifice is simply not enough for a good defense of the Faith.
4. On page 140 Crain looks to initially defend the possibility of miracles, if God exists. I can see her arguments but again they are too simple and feel too shallow to provide the reader with enough substance to believe. Further, the example given initially of a girl who had been brown prematurely and believed God had saved her by a miracle - is turned on its head and denuded of all divine intervention by Crain. How can Crain say her heart went out to that girl and follow it with suggesting this poor girl and other Christians attribute too many ordinary circumstances to divine intervention...? We must be very careful as Apologists not to remove God's ever present activity in this world due to our elevated study and knowledge. Any birth is an inconceivable miracle, an occurrence that may seem mundane and aided by modern science - but remains so complex and improbable as to cause us to gaze in wonderment at God's amazing design. Do we forget that God is sovereign and involved with His creation, or do we keep Him on the sidelines as a passive "clock-maker"?
5. The topic of Scripture is crucial and still so neglected within Christian circles. Crain attempts to offer us guidance but in the process muddies the waters of canonization and again, misrepresents the organic nature and timing of the process. No Church council has canonized the Bible, no person or persons has determined what is the Bible for us - only God decided what He would inspire and retain/preserve. My studies have determined that every book of the old and new Testament were in circulation and accepted as only authoritative no less that 50 years after the death of the last Apostle and eye-witness - John. The original documents written by the Apostles were widely circulated and copied, travelling across the Mediterranean region all the way to Lyons (France) within. In large part because of heretical writings, the early Christians were careful to identify heresies in contrast to those authoritative Scripture - very early on (not centuries later). In fact, the original documents would have been preserved and survived for at least 300 years due to dry climate and material; making them a continued resource for comparison (Iraeneus of Lyon in AD 150 mentions this very fact, that the originals could still be studied). Just like the OT scripture were copied and carefully guarded for centuries, so were the authoritative writings of the Apostles. IT was not long after the death of the Apostles that all their writings had been copied and circulated to the major Churches - and were solely authoritative because God determined them, preserved them and the Holy Spirit guided the believers to recognize their divine authorship. I am happy to share an article I wrote on this subject with anyone wanting more details.
The quote included on page 154 should have been the focus of her chapter on Scripture.
6. On page 156 Crain states that "..the most widespread alternate form of Christianity was called Gnosticism)."
This is false as you misuse the term Christian. A Christian believes the Word of God as found in the Bible, Gnostics do not. People who hold to a Dualistic notion of the world, that Jesus was not divine o simply possessed (took by force) a physical body, or that everything material is evil etc.. cannot be termed a type of Christianity. I would be more careful with term and add details that make a difference: Gnosticism stands against the truths of the Bible, not as a distant cousin. In the same vein, Mormonism is not an alternate form of Christianity if it denies who Jesus or God is.
7. Crain asserts that "...there are a lot of difficult passages in the Old Testament that never make their way int a Sunday school lesson or sermon..." Issuing such sweeping statements can only bolster the claims of skeptics and is not true. It may be you need to find a different Church, but I have been in hundreds of churches in my life and listen to sermons online everyday - and what I hear is very different from what you state. There may be dead Churches that follow dead 3-point topical sermons with zero substance; that much is true. But thanks to the field of Apologetics and media I find that the Church now has a dramatically increasing appetite for seeking the truth of Scripture no matter the complexity of the passage. Thanks in large part to pastors that choose to teach methodically through entire books of the Bible, every passage can be explored within its context. Even if such statement was true of past generations (I wasn't there) it is not representative of our current information culture.
I guess I'm not sure who this book is for as it is too deep for kids and lacking evidence and substance (clarity) for adults. I appreciate the effort and desire to help parents teach their children about God, but this would not have helped me, and does not.