Title: Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 conversations to help them build a lasting faith
Author: Natasha Crain
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers, 2016, ISBN: 978-0-7369-65088

In recent decades, the Western church has experienced a mass exodus of youth. Some estimate about 70 percent of children raised in church abandon the faith by the time they attend college. Many leave because their faith lacks deep roots, or they have encountered questions about their faith they can’t find satisfactory answers for.

Author Natasha Crain describes the problem this way: A lack of robust spiritual training has resulted in a featherweight faith for many of today’s young adults, and that faith is being blown away by attacks from our secular culture (p. 12, italics in the original).

To help parents prepare their children to thrive in a culture that is hostile towards Christianity, Natasha Crain wrote Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 conversations to help them build a lasting faith.

Although called a collection of conversations, this book doesn’t contain scripts. Each short chapter concisely answers one question that challenges Christianity. You, the parent, begin by reading the book yourself. Then you can use its information to explain issues to your children at a level they can understand.

In addition, this book also serves as a reference work. The chapters mostly stand on their own, and the author cross-references to other sections when topics overlap. So, when you or child run into a question about the faith, you can simply turn to the appropriate chapter for a quick answer.

The Conversations

The list of forty questions are grouped into five sections:

  1. Conversations About God: This part covers issues such as the problem of evil and whether faith is the opposite to reason.
  2. Conversations About Truth and Worldviews: This part includes questions such as “Do all religions point to the same truth?” and “Are Christians less intelligent than atheists?”
  3. Conversations About Jesus: This section gives a defense of Jesus’ existence and explains why Jesus needed to die on the cross for our sins.
  4. Conversations About the Bible: This section describes how the Bible came to be and corrects some false views our culture has about biblical teachings.
  5. Conversations About Science: Part five summarizes the creation vs. evolution debate.

The last chapter provides a few tips on how to incorporate faith discussions into family life. Those of you who are new to the arguments used to defend the faith (which is called apologetics) and how to teach them to your children may want more information than what is provided here. But Crain gives enough to get you started without making you feel overwhelmed.

An Introduction to Apologetics

Natasha Crain writes in the first person in a casual style and sometimes tells personal stories to illustrate an idea. Carefully leading the reader through her arguments, Crain has designed this book as an excellent introduction to apologetics for those who are beginners.

Because this book briefly surveys various topics, you might find yourself wanting more information on specific ideas. The endnotes reference some resources with which a reader can dig deeper into a given subject. Yet, this book could use a more complete resource list for further reading.

Overall, it’s an excellent book for someone to get their feet wet in apologetics and to help them to raise their children knowing why they believe what they believe.