Thursday, December 2, 2010

Homeschool Apologetics for Teens

What is homeschool apologetics? No, it’s not apologizing for homeschooling our kids… :-) Apologetics is a theology aimed at defending the Christian faith. Therefore, homeschool apologetics is teaching our children how to defend their faith.

If you haven’t heard about apologetics before, don’t feel bad. I had to look it up the first time I heard about it. However, when I delved into it, I realized it was an important facet of educating my children.

Sure, our kids are Christian, but WHY are they Christian? As they grow into teens and finally young adults, it’s important not only for them to own the faith for themselves (not just because mom and dad said so), but also be able to defend their faith.

In college and in “real life”, they will encounter questions like – How can you believe in God when you see all the suffering in the world? If God is real, how come we can’t see Him or talk to Him? How can you believe all those miracles in the Bible? They will be challenged to defend a man being born of a virgin, walking on water, changing water to wine and resurrecting from the dead.

How would you answer those questions?

Clearly, we can’t know all the answers. God will reveal all in His own time. However, we can provide the answers we do have. That’s what homeschool apologetics is all about – giving our children the tools they need to respond to those questions.

For example, why is there starvation in the world if there is a good God? Easy. Humans. There is enough food on this planet to feed everyone; however, humans don’t always want to share. If we acted as a global community instead of hoarding our resources, no one would have to go hungry. Can we really blame that on God?

The tools, nevertheless, are just one facet of helping our youth become apologists. They must be able to use the tools in alignment with God’s teachings. In 1 Peter 3:15-16 we are instructed, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

Not only must the tools be taught, but how to deliver the message – as 1 Peter tells us, it should be done with gentleness and respect. Two hard qualities to have when your ire is up. Teaching our children now that their actions truly do speak louder than words is invaluable.

If I’ve peaked your interest, I suggest you start the journey on your own first. Find texts that help you to arm yourself with the tools of apologetics, then share those with your children. Authors like Lee Strobel, Lynn Vogel, Ravi Zacharias, Norman Geisler, etc. all have created great texts to being your research.

I’ve found in my journey that my faith has more foundation than even I realized. Understanding the wonders of the universe, science, philosophy, archaeology, literature from a Biblical perspective all gave more depth to my already deep faith. This is the gift I want for my children. To stand upon the rock with confidence, gentleness, humility and respect. To win others to Christ with their conviction and demeanor. It’s a worthwhile journey I’m so glad we have decided to undertake.

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