March 19th, 2011 by Kristi Stephens
A frequent source of frustration for me is how the Bible is often “dumbed down” for kids. We avoid tough questions. We simplify God and speak only of His love, downplaying His justice, holiness, and other aspects of His nature. As Biblical doctrine is being questioned more and more both outside and sadly also from within the church, we must do a better job of equipping our kids to think. We need to equip them to engage Scripture on a deeper level than picture book stories, to know that God is real and has spoken clearly in His trustworthy and true Word.
Kids are raising real questions, and adults often dismiss them. From my review of Ken Ham’s compelling book, Already Gone: “the Church has failed to teach the Bible as relevant fact. We have, intentionally or unintentionally, taught the Scriptures as “stories” that relate to spiritual matters and have avoided engaging the deluge of challenging questions from the secular world that bombard churched children and adults the other 166 hours of their week.” One of the results of not being allowed to honestly engage in discussion and receive real and satisfying Biblical answers to their questions is an epidemic of young people exiting the church in a steady and predictable flow. We must equip our kids. We must equip parents to equip their kids!
This is one of the many reasons why I love resources from MasterBooks!
I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to read and review Ken Ham’s The Answers Book for Kids: Volume 3 – 22 Questions from Kids on God and the Bible. This book is in a question-and-answer format, with each colorful and attractive page spread containing a question from a child from ages 6-12. These aren’t just “kid” questions – I’ve had discussions with adults about these things, too! Questions range from what God looks like to how the Trinity works to how we can know the Bible is true. Some of the questions include:
- How does God know something before it happens?
- How could God be Jesus, and Jesus be God? How can they be the same, but different?
- In the Bible, God is a God of second chances. God gives us a second chance when we sin. So, why didn’t God give Adam and Eve a second chance in the Garden of Eden even though they sinned?
- Why did God allow the Israelites to kill people?
Good questions, right? Ham does not talk down to his young audience with his answers. His replies contain vocabulary such as omnipresent, infinite, omnipotent, abstractly, eternal, triune, coincidences, etc! Each answer also includes a short list of Biblical references.
Especially if you have a child on the younger end of the targeted age spectrum [the intended audience is 6-12 year olds], don’t expect this book to be a ‘quick read.’ It’s not a bedtime story type of book, but a resource that would be great to intentionally talk through.
My five year old daughter AG stood beside me as I looked at this book for the first time, and she read one of the questions aloud. “Why did God create sin?” Instead of reading her the answer, I asked her, “well, did God create sin?” She shook her head solemnly, “No. Sin comes from us.” It opened for us a little window of conversation about what sin is and where it started, which ties to our ongoing discussion in our house about sin – what it is, how it affects our relationship with God, and what Jesus did about it!
This is how I anticipate using this book – taking time to discuss one or two questions at a time, asking my kids to think through the answer on their own first, reading and discussing Ham’s reply, and then looking up the Biblical references together and discussing what they say and mean. This book is a fabulous tool to help parents teach their kids to think critically and biblically, encouraging them to think about how they would answer these questions if one of their friends asked these questions of them.
Thank you, MasterBooks, for giving us great resources! Parents – it’s up to us to use good tools as tools and engage our kids, teach them to think, equip them to respond to the barrage of questions our culture sends their way.
**I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for my review from MasterBook Publishers.