Cold-Case Christianity for Kids – A Review
A couple of days before I met Jim Wallace for the first time, I received an unexpected package in the mail. It was a copy of Cold-Case Christianity For Kids by Jim and Susie Wallace. I’d heard about this book and was looking forward to getting my hands on it.
Whether or not you have kids, this is an important resource to know about. Why? Because every single one of us has kids in our lives. As a former youth pastor, I’ve seen how kids are being exposed to challenges to the Christian faith at a younger and younger age. This is why I’ve even taken accessible apologetics training to 5th grade classrooms on occasion.
As someone who enjoyed Jim’s approach in Cold-Case Christianity, I was excited to see how the material could be adapted for a young audience. I wasn’t disappointed.
In this post, I’ll review Cold-Case Christianity for Kids with my 12-year-old boy. First, I’ll share some of my thoughts and then I’ll let you in on a short conversation I had with my son so you can get his take on the book.
Flipping through Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, I was excited about how approachable it seemed for tweens, especially. I was drawn to the large illustrations and sidebar definitions for concepts like “Naturalism,” “Witness Disagreement,” and “Direct and Indirect Evidence.” There are some big concepts in this little book!
I enjoyed accessible introductions to the argument for God existence based on the fine-tuning of the universe and information present in DNA. I also liked how a simple investigation of the reliability of the gospels and Jesus’ resurrection was included in the story as well.
After dinner, I gave the book to my 12-year old son and we read the first chapter together. He wanted to read another one, but it was time for him to go to sleep. So I told him that after I got back from speaking in California, we’d read the rest of it together.
About an hour later, he came out to the living room and wanted to talk about how intelligent design suggested the existence of God. He had picked it up on his own and started reading again!
The next day, I flew back to our old stomping grounds in Northern California to speak at the Thrive Apologetics Conference. That’s where I met Jim for the first time. He was one of the featured speakers for the apologetics event.
First, I’ve gotta say “What a fun, encouraging guy!” Jim told me and the other speakers some riveting cop stories over lunch in the green room. He was also excited to hear I got the book and that I wanted to review it with my son.
When I FaceTimed with my family from California that night, my son told me he finished the book! I guess he enjoyed following along with the three characters going through Cadet Academy. The way Jim and Susie wrote this, the reader is part of the story.
So when I got home after the conference, my son and I talked about his take on the book. What’s a 12-year old think about Cold-Case Christianity for Kids? Here’s a portion of our discussion:
What ages do you think would like this book most?
8 to 12 maybe. It would make them excited to feel like detectives-in-training. I like how it had a story and it wasn’t just talking about how to [defend the faith]…It kept you wanting to read the next part to find out more about who the skateboard really belonged to.
What’s your number one takeaway from the book?
[The authors] really want us to know how to use detective strategies and how to look at [spiritual things] logically. Like ‘don’t jump to conclusions.’ The number one takeaway from the book is you need to look at everything without bias even if you think you already know the answer. ‘Don’t be a know it all.’
What would you tell a friend who asked you what this book was about?
It’s about how to look at things logically and how to defend the faith based on that. Because sometimes critics only want to talk about [spiritual things] logically…It helps me defend the faith. But it also helps me work though some questions I have about faith. If they really like stories, this would be a great book for them.
Cold-Case Christianity for Kids can be a helpful book for jumpstarting spiritual conversations with your upper-elementary and Jr. High aged children. Even though my son has attended some of my apologetics presentations, he hadn’t asked me about the merits of inferring God’s existence from intelligent design until recently. The short mention it got in this book sparked a question in his mind which led to our first conversation on the issue.
At the very least, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids shows young students that the claims of Scripture can be investigated using many of the same tools detectives use to look into non-religious questions of history today. Jim and Susie did a good job introducing kids to apologetics and modeling the importance of critical thinking skills–especially when you’re dealing with spiritual things.
There are online companion resources to the book as well, including chapter videos, PDFs and activities. My son didn’t access the Web site, but it is a helpful online presence for the book that Sunday School teachers, homeschooling parents and church staff might find useful.
Reading Cold-Case Christianity for Kids with your family is a worthwhile investment. We passed the book on to one of our neighbors who is a pastor so he could read it to his elementary-aged kids, too!