Start teaching kids apologetics as early as possible, ‘Young Defenders’ author says

Christian parents should start talking to their kids about the evidence for God and the Bible while they are elementary school age if not younger, according to an author of an apologetics book series for children.

Melissa Cain Travis, author of the “Young Defenders” book series, was the special guest on an episode of the Dallas Theological Seminary podcast “The Table” that was posted online last week.

“Kids start asking these profound questions about ultimate reality from a much younger age than we would typically expect. And that was exactly what happened to me,” stated Travis.

“What I have found through doing conversational learning with my kids, which is very much based on my personal learning in formal academic settings, I’m able to help build within them a confident faith.”

When asked by host and DTS doctoral student Mikel Del Rosario about how a parent can find time to talk to their children about these matters, Travis responded that she learned through “the fine art of reprioritizing,” which involved “cutting out some unnecessary things to make at least a little bit of room for some self-study.”

“I started with entry-level books, introductory-level texts, and simple podcasts just to start getting the mental juices flowing again after taking those years off to parent infants and toddlers,” said Travis.

“There are all sorts of ways we can actually incorporate learning activities that many people just haven’t stopped to consider. So, just time management and maximizing the time that we have.”

Travis drew upon her own experiences at a mother of two boys, the older of whom once asked her at age 7 about whether the Bible was true or made up.

“I’m sitting there stunned,” Travis recalled. “I was about a year into my master’s program at Biola, and I had just studied some arguments for the existence of God.”

“And so, I sat very patiently with my 7-year-old, as he’s playing and listening, playing and listening, just explaining to him the nature of our universe and how it needs to have an ultimate cause to explain why it began to exist in the first place.”

Travis reported success in this effort, noting that as she explained these things in “kid language,” her son was “able to grasp it” and “was completely satisfied with the explanation.”

She suggested “conversational learning” for times like car trips and just before bedtime to address the questions children may develop about God and Christianity.

“I find that car rides with your kids are excellent times. You have a captive audience. Unless they’re going to jump out of the car while it’s moving, you have a captive audience,” Travis joked.

“Bedtime is another prime time I have found when you’re together as a family. Maybe you’re doing bedtime prayers after getting ready for bed, and you can just discuss maybe a conversation that they’ve had with a classmate or with the next-door neighbor about one of the big questions.”

Travis’ podcast episode came months after the release of a new apologetics book titled Science and the Mind of the Maker: What the Conversation Between Faith and Science Reveals About God.

“Today’s popular narrative, based on advancements in science, is that it all happened by natural, random processes. Melissa Cain Travis points to powerful evidence that the opposite is true,” stated the book’s official description.

“Follow along on a fascinating journey about how the structure of nature and the mind of man resonate in ways that point to a Maker who fully intended the astounding discoveries being made in the natural sciences today.”

Travis is not the only apologist writer producing books for children.

Apologist Lee Strobel has written a Case for Christ series for kids, and J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace authored 2016's Cold-Case Christianity for Kids: Investigate Jesus with a Real Detective.

In 2013, theologian William Lane Craig released a series of ten booklets for kids titled What is God Like?

“Craig has provided these illustrated teaching tools as a way to answer some of the profound questions the child in your life might ask,” explained Biola University’s Apologetics Store.

“You can own all ten titles and follow the adventures of Brown Bear, Red Goose, and their two children, while encountering the accessible truths they teach about God and His omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, eternity, and so on.”

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