Cold-Case Christianity for Kids-a new tool for engaging children with apologetics
J Warner Wallace and his wife Susie have developed a great resource for parents, Sunday School teachers, Christian schools, homeschoolers, and anyone interested in teaching children to think critically and investigate the claim that Jesus is who he says he is and that he did what he said he did. That resource begins in the form of a book. Cold-Case Christianity for Kids is merely the beginning of an interactive exercise that helps children (and maybe even their teacher/parent) engage in apologetics-giving a defense for our hope as Christians.
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV)
It’s engaging and interactive.
Not only does this new resource begin with a great book, there’s a wonderful website. At coldcasechristianityforkids.com, a child can go to investigate Jesus with a real detective. It’s truly an amazing site. J Warner Wallace, a retired cold-case investigator for the LAPD, and his wife Susie appear on several videos. They engage important questions to help a child discover the truth about Jesus. I sincerely can’t encourage you enough to visit this site with your child. It’s such an amazing resource for teaching.
Upon completion of the book and videos which is called the Cadet Academy, the cadet receives a certificate, etc. More importantly, after a child completes the Cadet Academy they’ll be equipped to think more clearly about truth claims. They’ll understand history properly and investigate on their own the great truths of Christianity.
What’s in it?
Cold-Case Christianity for Kids begins by inviting the reader to participate in investigating truth claims with an open mind. It’s really an exercise in epistemology. In a classroom setting, the story is developed engaging the reader as if they were in it. Jim and his wife asks them to think critically about questions that can often be stumbling blocks to finding truth. For example, the chapter Don’t be a know it all is an exercise in keeping an open mind and not making premature assumptions.
The book then builds on several principles of investigation that Detective Jeffries, the character who teaches the cadets in the story, reveals. He debunks false ideas like disregarding circumstantial evidence and differing perspectives equal contradiction. Jeffries teaches the cadets that their investigation of a skateboard is not unlike what an investigation of Jesus should look like.
The Bible is over 2000 years old. How can we trust it?
That’s a statement you’ll hear from a lot of college students…college students who used to be small children of Christian parents. Cold-Case Christianity for Kids helps kids answer that question.
Some important principles like the weight of testimony and what is probable verses what is possible are conveyed during the investigation of the skateboard. As they investigate the historicity of the New Testament, there is a convincing case made for the early dating of the Gospels. These investigations run side by side in the book.
In the chapter Respect the Chain of Custody the reliability of the New Testament is explored parallel to the skateboard. Jeffries explains how the Autographa of the Gospel of John no longer exists. He also answers the question of how we can trust the copies. The reliability of the Gospel of John can be discovered through the writings of his students (Polycarp, Papias, and Ignatius) and their students (Irenaeus and Hippolytus) by determining what, if anything, has been added since the original witness, John, wrote his Gospel. That important bit of information is just a drop in the bucket of what Cold-Case Christianity for Kids has to offer.
Cold-Case Christianity for Kids helps children spot truth. It helps them discern evidence from non-evidence. It helps them discover why lies are hard to keep especially in groups. They’ll be shown how to resist wild conspiracy theories. These are all important qualities of a person who is looking for the truth and they are communicated brilliantly in this little book for kids.
As children grow, they’ll be faced with all kinds of challenges to what they believe about Jesus. They’ll be challenged by friends, professors and teachers, the media, and the culture to give up their faith and be given alternate explanations for Jesus. They’ll be told resurrections are impossible and the Disciples made it up or hallucinated. Your children will be told that the New Testament has been corrupted by the Church.
Cold-Case Christianity for Kids is a good first step as a parent to combat those ideas. After all, parents are the first apologist their child should ever meet!
As Christians we are proclaimers and protectors of the truth. But, we know that there’s more to it than that. Even the demons believe (the truth) and tremble.
“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19, ESV)
When it comes to the claims about Jesus of Nazareth, knowledge of the truth or even believing something is true is only good enough to condemn a person. Cold-Case Christianity for Kids explains faith in such a way that clears up the post-modern confusion of the word. In the chapter Belief that and Belief in, the Wallace’s explain the difference in believing that something is true and placing trust in the truth of something.
The definition of faith is something many over the age of 40 take for granted. Today that definition is very much in play. Post-modernism has damaged how we communicate what it means to have faith. Cold-Case Christianity for Kids gains some of that ground back.
Here’s what I’d like to recommend.
First, if you are a parent you have a duty to teach your children not only what is the Gospel, but also why it’s true and how to defend it. If you’re not engaging with your children on issues around the Christian claims of truth, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll be someone in their future who will and it probably won’t be who you’d like.
If you’ve been thinking about how to engage with your children but you’re not sure where to begin, may I suggest this book? Cold-Case Christianity for Kids won’t do all of the work for you, but it will put you in the game.
Secondly, if you are a member of a local church that has a children’s ministry or if you minister to children, make this a part of your curriculum. I think you will find that the benefits will greatly outweigh any opposition. Believe me, when kids begin to engage like this parents will thank you, youth ministers will thank you, and above all, God will be glorified when those young partakers of the Covenant become engagers for the Kingdom.
If you homeschool or teach in a private Christian school, consider using Cold-Case Christianity for Kids. It is an effective tool to help children think clearly about the claims of Christianity. In the battle for time, it’s a faithful way to engage in real life issues. It won’t impede you while you fulfill your other requirements. If you don’t have an apologetics curriculum, it’s time to add one.
Cold-Case Christianity for Kids is one of the only apologetics oriented books for children out there. It’s engaging, interactive, easy to read, and relevant. Do your kids a favor and engage with them using this tool.