The concept of parents teaching their kids apologetics has gained a great deal of traction in recent years. Now, we’re not talking about having a conversation with your middle or high schooler about something that took place at school. What we’re talking about is training elementary aged children in apologetics.
While I understand why some people think this is a good idea, especially in a culture where children are bombarded with ideas at a far faster rate than most of us parents ever experienced. My difficulty with teaching young children apologetics is that it seemingly “puts the cart before the horse.” People should know something about theology before moving on to apologetics. This should be obvious, but….
In fact, I would say that the logic of studying theology before apologetics applies to anyone who is young/immature in the faith. After all, we should know what we believe before we go out and defend why we believe it. To that end, I think parents should spend time reading and studying the Bible with their children. As a family does this there will be many opportunities to discuss central tenets of the Christian faith, as well as deal with difficulties that they might encounter.
That second part, dealing with difficulties they might encounter as they read study the Bible, is worth highlighting. My reason for saying this is that the difficulties we have may not be such an issue with our children and, conversely, they may have trouble with things we simply never anticipated. We are currently reading through the Bible as a family for the second time and I am continuously intrigued by what stands out to my children.
I will wind this post down with a final thought: It is easier to defend something when you know, understand, and love it. If we simply teach people to defend the faith without a firm foundation in it, then we are simply training intellectual mercenaries who may, or may not, have any loyalties to our faith.