In The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity, Alex McFarland has written an excellent resource to guide parents in answering the difficult questions your children may ask about Christianity and their faith in Jesus Christ. As we all know, children love to discover and ask questions in order to comprehend the reason and meaning behind important concepts. Alex McFarland has written this book to encouraged parents that they should be their children’s sole source for any questions that their children will have. He strongly advocates to parents to make sure that they pause before answering their questions. Parents need to try and understand why their children is asking this particular question and what event has influenced them to bring this up. Your kids may be asking a question that goes much deeper than the surface question asked. For instance, Alex stated, “Let’s say your child comes to you and asks, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” This seems like a straightforward theological question, right? But what if Grandma had been ill and has just passed away? The real question your child is asking may be, “Why did God allow Grandma to die. I prayed for her. Why didn’t He answer my prayer?” This is a much personal issue” (Page 8). This book will tackle the challenging inquiries that your children may ask at some point about faith in God. A critical point that Alex made was allowing our children the freedom to ask questions without parents just giving a full on lecture. Parents should focus on a having a dialogue conversation with our kids.
The book comprises of questions about “God, Jesus, the Trinity and the Holy Spirit, the Bible, the Church, and questions parents ask and my question to you”. Some of the questions are, “Why does God allow evil?, Why does God allow suffering?, How do we know that God loves us?, Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?, When is Jesus coming back?, When I pray, who is listening – God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?, Are the miracles in the Bible true?, Why are Christians such hypocrites?, Questions parents ask”, and many more questions about Christianity. Each chapter begins with a quotation, key concepts feature, and information to assist parents in answering the chapter’s question.
I vastly liked the story about eight year old, Lewis and a conversation that he had with his mother. Lewis asked his mother, “What is sex?” and she responded by discussing the differences between men and women and how they fall in love and then how babies occur. All Lewis wanted to know was how to mark a school form, M or F. Just as a side note, this book doesn’t discuss that topic because this book is more aimed at Christianity type questions. Alex McFarland shared this story as an illustration to not respond to our children’s questions with too much details and to answer their questions age appropriately. Another example would be if your kids ask about when Jesus is coming back, you may not need to go into the whole theological behind the book of Revelations and the pre- and post-tribulation rapture period. They may be looking for a more simple answer to their question. If they are wanting to go deeper and they are still asking questions, then feel free to respond with more in depth answers. He also addressed that it’s okay to admit to your children if you don’t know the answer to a question. But it’s important to tell your kids, we will find out the answer together and this might mean asking a pastor, a youth group leader, or another ministry key leader their question. I think this part of the book was especially beneficial to parents and it was a great reminder to parents to use discernment when answering some of their children’s questions and to answer them on their children’s maturity level.
One of my favorite questions was, “How do we know that God loves us?”. Parents are advised to always display unconditional love in their homes and to their children. As parents, we obviously know that our children will make mistakes and they will need grace, to be accepted, and loved unconditionally like Christ loves them. The most incredible tangible way that Christ has shown His children the He loves them was by sending this only Son to die for our countless sins. Jesus paid the ultimate penalty for our sins and it’s viral to share this message with your children. If you have younger children, Alex suggested planting a seed and watching it grow will help your children to understand patience and how their love and obedience are like the seeds growing. When we study the word of God and follow His word, we will see fruit manifested in our lives. Alex McFarland has travelled the world, teaching the word of God and he has seen that many young people have no clue that God loves them even when they sin. When we commit sins, we can choose to repent and ask for His forgiveness, and then to turn away from our sins. He also stated that if your child is struggling with low self-esteem and feeling unloved, help your child to reach out to others and develop ways, they can be a blessing to others and show others that they are loved and wanted.
I immensely loved how Alex McFarland crafted a few projects to assist parents in describing important concepts on the principles of God’s character. I really enjoyed the aspects of the sugar test and how it represented God’s standard for purity, a decaying apple to explain that everything decays, and planting a plant and letting your kids watch it grow and witness how the plant seeds grow and this is how as Christian’s we are supposed to bear fruit. There are many more special tangible projects presented in this book to help younger children grasp the ideas of Christianity.
I would recommend this magnificent book to every single parent, whether your child is younger or even a teenager. It is written for all ages in any parenting stages and it will be a very beneficial resource to guide parents in answering their children’s questions about Christianity. I would also recommend this book to people who one day hope to be parents, grandparents, as well as, pastors, kids or youth group leaders, and anyone who works with children. I learnt a remarkable lot about parenting and responding to our children’s most problematic questions regarding their personal faith in Christ. I will also like to say, that I’m only twenty-three and not married or a parent yet so I haven’t personally been asked or had to respond to some of the questions conversed in this book. I felt like this book has influenced me and it has assisted me so whenever I enter that stage of my life, I can already be a little prepared to answer whatever questions my kids may ask about Christianity. I immeasurably loved the chapter dedicated to the questions that parents ask. This chapter gave parents verses and information concerning sexual immorality, homosexuality, abortion, greed, money, materialism, drugs, drinking alcohol, people who commit suicide, and many more serious topics. This book is a brilliant foundation resource that will assist many parents confused on how to answer their children’s innumerable questions. I appreciate Alex McFarland on taking the considerable time in writing this book in order to lead parents in replying to their child’s questions. If you’re looking for a book on how to answer your children’s perplexing questions, then you definably need to read this one!
“Tyndale House Publishers/ Focus on the Family has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.”
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