The Importance of Teaching Apologetics to Youth Article_Tyner

The Importance of Teaching Apologetics to Children

By Marilyn Tyner

“Today our kids have many doubts based on what’s being crammed down their throats,” states Bob Botsford, pastor of Horizon Christian Fellowship. “Doubt is trying to pin them to the mat like in a wrestling match.”1 Early in life, children are bombarded with mixed messages about God, religion, morality, and truth—undermining the Christian faith.

Consequently, in addition to learning God’s Bible revelations, our children need to know what and why they believe—doctrine and apologetics. “Apologetics” is defined as reasons and evidence for the truth of Christianity (see 1 Peter 3:15). Its ultimate purpose is to lead people to Christ for eternal salvation. And, as expected, the mountain of evidence for the Christian faith towers over that of any religious system or spiritual counterfeit.

Reasons for Teaching Apologetics to Children

  • They will feel more secure in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • They will have more confidence to shine their lights in the darkness and witness of Christ.
  • They will be able to evaluate religious information they hear and then decide what to believe as critical thinkers.
  • They will not easily fall prey to false religions or evil influences from the Internet, TV, music, videos, or gaming.
  • They will be able to evaluate teachings in public school that advance evolution, as well as relativism and tolerance (claiming that people can choose their own truth and all religions are equally valid).
  • They will catch the excitement of worshipping the true and living God!

Apologetics can play an important role in the numerous scenarios children encounter today. For example, a child may have a neighbor-friend who is a Muslim and who wants to know the difference between the Bible and the Quran. Or he might have a classmate whose parents are both atheists. He could attend a friend’s birthday party where the mom or dad mocks Christians. Or he may overhear a depressed teenager talking about suicide and witchcraft activities. Rather than giving way to confusion and doubt, our kids can be ready to pray for the lost, or share God’s Word in love, or give reasons for the firm Christian hope they have (1 Peter 3:15).

Ways to Incorporate Apologetics into Sunday School Curricula

  • Place more emphasis on teaching the Word of God than on teaching apologetics, especially since some children attend Sunday school rarely or maybe just once. Children need to meet Jesus Christ and drink of the living water that nourishes their souls.
  • Integrate apologetics with Bible studies when the topics naturally correspond. At Christmastime, for example, discuss Bible prophecies about the coming Messiah and His birth and how Jesus miraculously fulfilled them. Or at Eastertime, discuss the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection and its historicity, e.g., the empty tomb and the hundreds of witnesses who saw the risen Savior.
  • Develop age-appropriate lessons on apologetics2 so kids can process the information and use it. To ensure the success of your proposed lesson, interview a few children you know and get their feedback on whether it’s understandable.
  • Prepare hands-on activities to reinforce the apologetics you teach. For example, the children could write a simple gospel tract focusing on one apologetic point. Or divide them into small groups to perform a skit explaining an apologetic. Or a group of students could write a praise song exalting the everlasting God who reigns on high.

More than ever before, parents and youth ministers need to invest in the spiritual development of children, primarily through Bible studies and also through Christian doctrine and apologetics. Then our next generation will be prepared to withstand pressures from the world, the flesh, and the enemy of our souls. In addition, they can experience security in our unstable times, carry forward the baton of biblical truth, and worship the living God—who loves them and gave Himself for them.


Footnotes:

1Bob Botsford, radio broadcast on KWVE 107.9, teaching Romans 8 in “The Big It” series, aired 1/17/13.

2 True-Way Tracts offers a free gospel tract geared to preteens (ages 8 to 12) titled “Celebrate My Spiritual Birthday with Me,” which contains an apologetics textbox pertaining to Jesus’ resurrection. You can photocopy and distribute it for use as a Sunday school lesson. (E-mail your request to Marilyn Tyner at tyner@truewaytracts.com.)

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