Review: Talking with Your Kids About Jesus by Natasha Crain

3–Second Review: Whether you are a parent or not, I strongly recommend reading this book and keep it in reach on the shelf. This is an incredibly useful tool for preparing for conversations with your kids or just preparing yourself. You will be coming back to it over and over throughout the years. It is available to pre-order on Amazon and on ChristianBook.

I am a child of my generation, and as such, I have an appropriate love for the movie The Princess Bride.

What on earth does that have to do with this book? I’ll get there.

If you’ve seen the movie, you likely remember the scene where the masked man and Vizzini, who is holding the Princess hostage, sit at a table and have a battle of wits. Vizzini must choose a glass to drink, but the catch is one has been poisoned with Iocane powder. He believes he must rely on his own intuition and knowledge to figure out which drink is deadly. Laughing at his own cleverness, Vizzini chooses and is soon keeled over dead. The Princess marvels at the task and that the Sicilian chose the poisoned glass. The Masked Man replies “They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to Iocane powder.”

When I dove into this new book from Natasha Crain, Talking with Your Kids about Jesus: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have, I could not get this movie scene out of my head.

By giving small doses, Crain is helping us build our kids’ immunity, not to poisonous Iocane powder, but to 30 of the most common and influential false arguments our kids will see against the Biblical Jesus.

The Audience

You don’t have to know super complex theology to read this book. In fact, it’s a great place to start if hardcore theology isn’t your area.

Talking to Your Kids About Jesus was written for parents to read, giving them the tools to have discussions with their kids about real arguments they will hear that come against traditional Christianity and, more specifically, Jesus. This book is not meant as a children’s book, although an older child could benefit from the information there. I would say the ideal age range these conversations are geared toward would be 8 and up.

The Author

Natasha Crain is a well known and well respected author. She’s written numerous books for the Christian audience, including Talking with Your Kids about God and Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side. She also runs an online blog and accompanying Facebook Page titled Christian Mom Thoughts, along with a Facebook Group called The Christian Parenting Lounge. Needless to say, Crain’s ministry is focused on equipping parents to be godly examples for our children and to be able to have these kinds of conversations that often seem so daunting. This new book fits perfectly in that category.

The Review

The book is organized into 5 topics with 6 questions in each topic. The topics are:

  1. The Identity of Jesus
  2. The Teachings of Jesus
  3. The Death of Jesus
  4. The Resurrection of Jesus
  5. The Difference Jesus Makes.

Some of my favorite questions:

  1. Is Jesus a Myth?
  2. Did Jesus Teach He’s the Only Way to God?
  3. What’s the Relationship between Old Testament Animal Sacrifices and Jesus’ Death?
  4. What Historical Evidence Is There for Jesus’s Resurrection?
  5. What Does It Mean to Be Saved?

Many of the chapters start with an anecdote from Crain to introduce the topic. These range from fart gods to a butter imposter to more serious newspaper articles.

From there, they generally dive into the arguments against the historical Christian view. These are not super complex, but more of a basic overview of the opposition and few well selected quotes. It’s a good launching pad to learn what arguments intrigue you the most and do more research from there if you wish.

What I really appreciated about this part of the chapters was that Crain wasn’t choosing easy strawmen or uncommon arguments that could be tackled without difficulty. She chooses, to the best of my knowledge, strong representatives and well- known spokespeople for these ideas. That is both charitable and helpful. We don’t want to prepare to fight imaginary strawmen, but to have the arguments represented well so we can actually engage with them. We want our kids to be interested in truth, and if we aren’t preparing them with a truthful representation of the arguments available, we aren’t inoculating them against what they’ll actually encounter and leaving them vulnerable.

Crain then tackles the arguments in a clear and concise way. She has clearly put in a lot of time and research. What I most appreciated about her research here is that she wasn’t just saying “believe me because I said this”, but actually gives good evidence, logical reasoning and cites sources as necessary. She engages the arguments with a clear head and without denigrating the opposition. She’s respectful, authentic, kind, and truthful.

The best feature of this book, the most practical, is found at the end of each chapter. I will quite literally be flipping back to these pages throughout the years. Here, Crain includes a bullet point list of the main things to remember from the chapter and a list of conversational questions you can ask your kids to get the conversation going and moving deeper. When I’m going to have a conversation about Jesus with my child, I don’t want to have to reread an entire chapter to remember the main takeaways. With Crain’s format, I can do a quick review of the key points in about a minute to prepare for the conversation.

The conversation questions at the end can also be adjusted as you wish and as is age appropriate for your children, but I always appreciate a launching pad to work from. Some examples of conversations questions are:

  1. Christians believe that Jesus is God, but the Bible never tells us that Jesus specifically said, “I am God.” Based on what you know of Jesus’ life, why do you think his followers believed he was God? (pg 54)
  2. When Jesus took his last breaths on the cross, he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). Why do you think he said that if he willingly died for us? (Explain that this was a reference to Psalm 22, which begins with anguish-as in the cross-and ends in victory-as in the resurrection. Read the psalm together.) (pg 163)
  3. If someone asked you what it means to be a Christian, what would you say? (pg 255)

The End

If you want to prep your kids for the faith conversations they will have in the real world, this is an excellent resource to start with. This isn’t a super heavy, academic book, but it does have quite a bit of valuable and accessible content. This also isn’t a fluffy book with so much air that it could sail a boat, but it does have a nice amount of humor and authenticity.  

Our kids are presented with many arguments about Jesus that have been poisoned by poor logic, inconsistency, emotional manipulation, and factually incorrect information. I am a parent who is now well prepared to build up my children’s immunity against these tactics, to seek truth, to respond with love and truth to the people they hear these arguments from, and to have good reasons to believe in the Jesus of the Bible.

I’d recommend this book to any parent who wants to have deep conversations about Jesus with their children and have the resources, scripture and historical facts to back it up.

Currently, Talking With Your Kids About Jesus is available for pre-order and is scheduled to ship out at the end of March (assuming that shipping is able to continue as normal during the global pandemic).

It is available to pre-order on Amazon and on ChristianBook.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go ask my son if he knows what it means to be a Christian…and then watch The Princess Bride.