I’ve created this apologetics reading plan for parents specifically. To me, that means three things.
First, the books must be accessible enough for a popular audience and won’t leave busy parents feeling unnecessarily overwhelmed. I understand that most people reading this are not looking to become professional apologists (defenders of the faith). Rather, you’re probably a parent who cares deeply about your kids’ spiritual development and are concerned about the impact a secular world will have on them. You want to better understand the evidence for God’s existence and why we have such good reason to believe Christianity is true but don’t want to pull your hair out in the process or feel like you need a Ph.D. to do it. I get it. The books below were chosen with you in mind.
That said, I do want to note that the books below are not necessarily easy reads. You’ll have to put thought into it. If I recommended easy reads, they would be overly simplistic and not give you the depth of understanding you need to really engage with your kids and equip them for the world. These books are what I consider to be a good balance–not too simple, not too complex.
Second, the topics I’m including are the ones parents most need to understand given the challenges their kids are most likely to face. There are many amazing apologetics books in the world, covering a huge range of topics. But not all topics are of equal relevance for parents and their kids. I’ve selected books that cover the critical subjects you need to understand and engage with your kids on.
Third, there has to be a reasonable number of books. Where do you draw the line on a “complete” reading plan? Should I suggest 3? 5? 10? This is purely subjective, but I wanted to make this a curriculum-style list that parents can work through in sequence, with a feeling of completion at the end. In order to be reasonably thorough but not overwhelming, I landed at five books. If you commit to reading one every other month, you’ll complete this in just 10 months. You won’t regret it. It will fundamentally shift how you engage with your kids on their spiritual development.
And with that, let’s get started (again, I recommend you read them is this particular order)!
1. Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith
By Natasha Crain (yes, that’s me)
Am I really recommending my own book? Yes. And I feel uncomfortable doing so. But let me explain why, despite my discomfort, I’m doing it anyway. As I said above, I created these resources pages to be a guide to what I feel are the best apologetics books for parents. My book is the only apologetics book that is written FOR parents specifically. So, as strange as it is to recommend my own book, it would be stranger still to not recommend the one book written directly for the audience I’m hoping to help with these recommendations.
Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side will introduce you to the 40 most important challenges to faith kids will encounter; it’s a unique bundle of carefully selected topics most relevant for parents today. Each chapter gives you a clear and concise answer to use in discussions with your kids. Since the chapters are just 5-6 pages each, parents can easily pick the book up and put it down in the midst of a busy schedule. Once you’ve gotten a big picture understanding of faith challenges from Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side, you’ll be well-prepared to dig deeper on the following core subjects.
2. God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe
By J. Warner Wallace
This is the ultimate book on the evidence for God’s existence.
God’s Crime Scene brilliantly lays out the case for God’s existence based on cumulative evidence from the origin of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe, the origin of life, the design of life, our experience of consciousness, free will, and morality. In each chapter, Detective Wallace evaluates possible explanations for these pieces of evidence, just as a detective would evaluate possible explanations for evidence found at a crime scene. In the process, he points readers to “expert witnesses” who vary in their conclusions about the evidence and then provides an excellent reading list at the end of the book so the reader can continue to study both sides of the issue. You might need to read it a couple of times to let the details sink in, but it’s well worth it.
Finding Truth will give you a powerful framework with which to think about the nature of truth and competing worldviews.
Finding Truth offers five key principles that cut to the heart of any worldview. Pearcey’s approach is extremely insightful and can help both adults and kids understand how to evaluate the maze of ideas competing for hearts and minds today. She brings a level of clarity to worldview analysis that will leave you with a lasting shift in your understanding. By teaching your children these five principles, you can equip them with much more than a bunch of data points about what other people believe; you can equip them with the critical thinking skills they need to evaluate any truth claim they encounter. This is a powerful book.
The Case for Christ will take you deeper into the evidence for the truth of Jesus’ life and resurrection.
Lee Strobel is perhaps the best known apologetics author, thanks to his excellent and popular Case for… series. He’s a former atheist who came to the Lord after investigating Christianity from the perspective of a journalist. All of his books are extremely accessible and engaging. I’ve selected this one as part of my recommended reading plan for parents because it will take you deeper on several of the important topics on Jesus that were covered in Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side and introduce you to some new ones. The Case for Christ features a series of interviews with experts on these subjects, which keeps the book highly engaging because you get to hear so many perspectives. If you enjoy this book, be sure to check out the others in the series.
5. Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels
By J. Warner Wallace
This book will give you an excellent understanding of why we have good reason to believe the claims of the Gospels are based on reliable eyewitness testimony.
With so many great apologetics books out there, it might seem strange that I’m recommending two by the same author in this reading plan of only five books. But Detective Wallace’s two books really are spot on as excellent reads for parents: they are focused on a specific topic (making them great picks for a reading plan where I’m selecting the best single books to cover a given subject), they go into quite a lot of detail without being overwhelming, and they’re highly engaging (you’re reading from a detective’s perspective). Whereas God’s Crime Scene goes deep on the evidence for the existence of God, Cold-Case Christianity goes deep on why we have good reason to believe what the Gospel writers claim about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. There are literally tons of books available on varying aspects of the Bible’s reliability (see this resource page for related recommendations), but perhaps nothing is more important than understanding why we should believe what the Gospel authors wrote about Jesus 2,000 years ago. This is a must-read. Don’t give up on the reading plan until you get through this last recommendation. It’s last but definitely not least.
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