Kids ask a lot of questions and that’s a good thing. There are times when parents love questions and there are times when we fear the question and there are some questions we’d flat out rather avoid. Enter, the 21 Toughest Questions. However, the first and most important question is: Can Alex McFarland answers these questions? Alex has an impressive resume which includes being president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary. He’s shared the stage on speaking engagements with some heavy apologetics hitters like Chuck Colson, Josh McDowell, Ravi Zacharias, and Frank Turek. He is a recognized expert on world religions. Yes, he can answer these questions. Why does the book exist? The stated purpose of the book is very clear. It’s in the title, it’s on the back cover, it’s explained in the introduction: Kids ask tough questions and parents need to be ready to offer a confident answer. The book succeeds in this by offering Biblical insight, pro and con arguments, along with what Alex calls “Hope filled answers.” The “Hope filled answers” are not sugar coatings. The questions are tough and sometimes the answers aren’t easy to hear. Alex doesn’t shy away from that. For any answer that might cause a child to despair the “Hope filled answer” is the reminder that Jesus does not abandon us in the struggle to find the answer. How to use this book 21 Toughest Questions is not an encyclopedia. It’s not meant to be a “if your child asks this question give them this answer” kind of book. Instead it poses a tough question and then leads you through the evidence in scripture to build a fully developed answer. Along the way throwing in background and stories to help illustrate. It’s this approach that makes this book worth the effort because, frankly, if you don’t care, the book won’t help. It’s not an easy-out for the parent who doesn’t have time and it’s not a replacement for a parent unwilling to dig in to some hard topics. You, as the parent, must be willing to go through this book with your child. The Setup The book is divided into six parts: Questions about God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, the Bible, the Church, and the last section is directed at parents. These really are the tough questions. We’re not talking – how many animals did Noah take on the Ark? We’re talking about “Why does God allow evil and suffering?”, “Is Jesus really God?”, “Will the Holy Spirit leave me if I keep sinning?”, “Is the Bible really the word of God?”, and maybe the most poignant for the parent, “What will your family legacy be?” To name just a few. My advice When your child starts asking the tough questions, instead of waiting for each question to come up, make a plan to go through this book from beginning to end. Give them the education and the reinforcement before the question comes up and they’ll have a better understanding of how to deal with the question if you’re not there. Let’s face it, the questions never come up at a good time. They always come up when we don’t have time. So take the initiative. This book is not a replacement for studying the Bible on your own, or with your child, but like a good commentary it will help clarify some misunderstandings. The Wrap Up This book is worth your time as a parent, no matter your kids age, and it’s also worth your time as a student of the Bible. Some of these questions are ones we never deal with in our Christian walk and Alex’s style is an accessible way to start digging. PS One thing to watch out for on page 116. Alex refers to Lutherans as Post-Millennialists. This is not true. Lutherans are amillennialists. So, let’s get that fixed in the reprint, Alex. *Yes, I’m just having fun. I mean, it’s true, but still, just having fun.* PPS I received a free copy of &lsquoThe 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity’ from Tyndale publishing, but was not required to write a positive review. It just turned out that way.
“With some basic tools and a growing understanding of God’s Word, you can be ready for any spiritual questions your children present to you,” Alex McFarland states in his book, "The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity." This two hundred and eighty page paperback book is targeted toward Christian parents, teachers or pastors to help them when talking about God to young children, mainly those of the age of accountability and older. After an introduction and techniques on how to answer children’s questions, the book is broken down into six question-related parts involving God the Father, Jesus the Son, the Trinity and Holy Spirit, the Bible, the Church and What Parents Ask along with an author’s question to the reader. Within each of the twenty-three chapters, there are key concepts, a question recap with two to four bullet points, and a hope-filled answer. Some chapters also include highlighted suggestions of ways to further examine the question by correlating to projects such as doing a sugar test, growing plants, making bread rolls and designing a family statement of faith or conducting a Bible study. McFarland suggest that if we listen to our children, point them to the right direction, offer tools, skills and basic information, they can search and find the answers about God themselves. He recommends answering a question with a question to promote more discussion, guide the conversation to God, do not give out too much information and readily admit when you do not know the answer. While comparing to Bible verses and characters to simple items such as gold fish or a telescope, the author gives direction, confidence and pointers on how to express a true relationship with God. If your children are asking questions such as “why does God allow suffering or why is He unfair?” or “did Jesus ever sin?” or “will the Holy Spirit leave me if I keep sinning?” or “are the Bible miracles true?” or “why do I have to go to church?” this is a great reference point for a parent to know in advance when answering. Being prepared, praying and promoting a relationship with Jesus are pivotal in a child’s life and questions answered in this book will propagate the seeds to grow in a young one’s inquisitive mind. This book was furnished by Tyndale House Publishers for review purposes.
Our children love to play “Stump the Parents” by asking us progressively harder questions. They are seeking answers and attempting to understand life’s complexities. Dad and Mom, we should not fear their questions, even when the answers elude us. We have an opportunity to investigate alongside our children. Good reference material helps in the research, and Alex McFarland compiles a wealth of information in his book, "The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity". McFarland does an excellent job including scripture and scripture references to connect his answers to the Bible. He writes, “Above the fray of human perspective and changing opinions, the Bible presents the mind of God and eternal truth”¦” (page 162). Rather than accept McFarland’s answers at face value, the reader can meditate on the Scripture for himself, and draw personal conclusions. My confidence in the message is higher when the author provides the sources for his statements. I chose to cover the material by reading one question (chapter) each morning as part of my devotions. I left behind highlighted sections and personal notes which will benefit me when I review a specific topic. I have a spot reserved on my shelf for "The 21 Toughest Questions", beside my well-worn copy of Josh McDowell’s "Evidence that Demands a Verdict". Building disciples of our children is a privilege weighted down with responsibility. Standing ready with answers as they develop their faith is paramount. Parents, grandparents, teachers, youth leaders—are we ready with those answers? We better be, or the flow of questions may stop. Note - Tyndale House Publishers provided a complimentary copy of "The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity" to facilitate this review.
Children can ask some of the hardest questions. They can also rapid fire questions that leave even a genius a little stumped! So to find a book that helps a parent or even a Sunday School teacher that can help out is a bonus. Alex McFarland, author of the 21 toughest questions your kids will ask about Christianity & how to answer them confidently, fits that bill. The book is separated into six sections: Questions about God, the Father, Questions about Jesus, the Son, Questions about the Trinity and the Holy Spirit, Questions about the Bible, Questions about the Church, and Questions Parents Ask and My Question to You and also includes easy to replicate activities, recap questions, and illustration boxes. This book would also be great for a new Christian who does not want to get steeped in theology but wants to investigate this thing called faith. Sneak Peak - Chapter 1 McFarland has spoken in hundreds of venues worldwide and has appeared on Fox News and CNN. He is also the cohost of Exploring the Word, a daily radio talk show. In addition, he is the founder of Truth for a New Generation. I received this book free as part of a giveaway from Tyndale House Publishers.
I applaud this book for presenting an easy-to-understand explanation of a biblical worldview for children and for their parents as well. This excellent book should be in every Christian home.