Teaching Apologetics at Home: Yes, You Can!

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Maybe I was just searching the wrong way, but I was surprised this morning to see how few web pages discuss parents’ role in teaching apologetics. There’s one outstanding page at CARM. I’m sure there are others, but the general theme of the search results I received was that parents should make sure their churches are teaching apologetics.

The fact is, you can teach apologetics at home. Yes, you!

Whose Responsibility?

I am sure that one reason parents have assigned their apologetics teaching responsibility to the church, rather than sharing it with the church, is because they think it’s beyond their capability. Isn’t this a specialty area? Isn’t it asking a lot to expect this of parents?

I have three answers. One is that the better your church teaches reasons for confidence, the less you have to do; although see below for an important additional thought on that. The second is that either way, if your child leaves home someday without reasons for belief, he or she won’t have a reason to believe. Most children in that condition leave the faith. I don’t think you want that to happen to your child!

My third answer is that you can do it.

Yes, You Really Can Teach Apologetics at Home

It need not be complicated.

Here’s what you can do. Buy an entry-level apologetics book, like any of Lee Strobel’s books, or possibly Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace. Read it where your kids can see you reading it. At dinnertime or in the car, mention something interesting you’ve learned (I guarantee there will be plenty of that). You don’t need to teach, it in any formal sense, just bring it up in conversation. But this you must do: ask your child(ren), “what do you think about that?”

Could something that simple make a difference? Absolutely!

Suppose your church isn’t teaching anything about apologetics: you’d be surprised what an impact this could have on your child(ren). It might be the first time they heard there were actual reasons for confidence in Christianity!

What then if your church is teaching apologetics? You’d be surprised again to know how deeply it could encourage your child(ren) to know that you have reasons for your own faith. If they see your Christianity as something you “believe” or do just because you’ve always done it, there’s not much to keep them from breaking the tradition. But if they see you believing because there are reasons to believe, then they’ll have reasons, too.

(Leave the book lying around, and they might just start reading it themselves!)

Resources

The CARM page I linked to above has some more suggested resources for parents. Sometime before long, I’m planning to review these books for younger children by William Lane Craig; for now I’ll just mention them as additional resources.

2 Responses

  1. Hey Tom,

    I couldn’t agree more, it’s really easy for parents to get started. But therein lies the rub.

    I’m developing a course/seminar to help parents teach worldview apologetics. It’s part of our Parents with Purpose initiative, and feeds into the Telos Program as well (it’s important to have a range of support resources). It’s currently called “Along the Way: The Art of Christian Worldview Parenting.”

    I’ll be running the second round of this here in HK at the beginning of fall semester, with a lot that I learned from the first run.

    Perhaps the biggest take away point is that we need to motivate parents to care about this. In HK parents care a lot about their kids’ academic education, so that’s where I start. But having a lot of personal stories helps. Without that, getting parents to even pick up an apologetics book, let alone read one, is a big ask.

  2. Felicia Buchanan says:

    I agree strongly with Malcolm, “teaching ” our kids apologetics doesn’t have to be a 15 step lesson plan with quizzes etc. We “teach” our kids with our actions. Do we watch hours of mindless sitcoms or reality TV? Or for that matter do we “have” to be at the church every time the doors open? Both extremes do not reflect a balance of a thoughtful purposeful life.

    Isn’t THAT what we wish to teach our kids? Is our life for our own pleasure only? Is academic interest in the Bible just there for us to show how brilliant we are? Showing our kids how a bird develops in an egg and how at just the right time it hatches grows their wonder, and curiosity which opens the doors for us to talk about creature care, how amazing God is, are we here by chance, does life have a purpose?

    I pray more churches, youth leaders, families, more fully grasp the concept put forth in scripture: teach your children as you go out and come in, sit or stand. This is real life and if we are to teach the next generation that God is real life we need to live it.