Today we are reviewing a Christian apologetics book written for the 9 and up crowd, titled Case for Faith for Kids(Updated and Expanded). It was written by Lee Strobel, bestselling author of The Case for Faith, The Case for Christ, and The Case for a Creator and holder of law and journalism degrees; Rob Suggs, author and illustrator of several children’s book projects; and Robert Elmer, author of numerous novels including books for young readers.
Reading Strobel’s “The Case for…” series for the first time several years ago was a groundbreaking experience for me. It was my first foray into the land of Christian apologetics, and I quickly discovered that Strobel’s books were written in such a way that reading them never felt like drudgery, though they dealt with philosophical, historical and technical subjects. By presenting the evidence and terminology in plain language, “The Case for…” books invite Christians to ask tough questions, think more deeply, and find solid answers about their faith, Creator, and Savior. So, as I began reading Case for Faith for Kids, I was interested to see how Strobel would present the information without causing mental fatigue and subsequent brain shutdown in young readers.
In 144 pages, Case for Faith for Kids details several common objections and assertions presented by non-believers and skeptics(and even, regrettably, some believers), and then provides reasoned answers to the objections. The authors manage to distill a wealth of logical and philosophical arguments into language and arguments that are appropriate for young readers. For example, the first subject tackled is a big question: “Why would a good god allow bad things?” In brief interview-style segments and plainly worded “bad thing” scenarios, readers are walked through a concise explanation of the nature of evil, God’s role in evil, and free will. By the end of the chapter, the problem of personal and natural evil is determined to be the result of mankind’s free will choices, rather than machinations of God. Sophisticated arguments undergird the highly accessible language and format of this and the other four chapters in Part 1 of the book.
Part 2 contains four vignettes that directly relate to the material covered in Part 1. One of the stories depicts several young people attempting to sneak into a movie showing using counterfeit tickets. The realistic scenario covers the material presented in Chapter 4 – whether the world’s religions all lead to the same God – and serves as a cautionary tale against compromising one’s morals. The book ends with an exhortation to decide which of the four “D”s the reader will become; will they become a Denier, Delayer, Departer or Delighter?
The facts + story + application approach applied by Strobel et al. seems to be an effective technique for transferring the information to young minds and then helping it to stick. For children in junior high and high school, the wording(it can seem a bit condescending to the older crowd at times as it attempts to use “hip” lingo), scenarios, and illustrations may be too childish, and the original The Case for Faith may be more edifying and suitable.
Overall, the usefulness of this book is twofold. On the one hand, for a child 9+ years of age, it is appropriate reading material and a springboard for further apologetical investigation. On the other hand, the book will prove handy for parents who would like to acquire language and examples that can be shared conversationally with older children or quickly adapted for conversations with children younger than 9.
I would recommend Case for Faith for Kids as a good tool for beginning conversations about deep, faith-related issues, firming up belief foundations, and reassuring young children that it is okay to ask the big questions.