If you want to read about the evidence for the truth of Christianity specifically (vs. any other religion), there’s one subject to focus on: Jesus. How do we know Jesus actually existed? If He existed, did He actually claim to be God? Regardless of His claims, did His followers believe He was God? And what evidence is there that Jesus eventually came back to life, proving any such claims? These are some of the key questions you’ll want to learn about.
Here are my top book picks for parents on these subjects. I recommend you read them in this particular sequence.
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. The Case for Christ features a series of interviews with experts on key questions about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. If you’re new to these subjects (from an apologetics perspective), this is a great book to start with.
2. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus
By Gary Habermas and Michael Licona
Whereas The Case for Christ covers a range of important topics, this book goes deeper on the plausibility of the resurrection specifically. The authors detail how the resurrection is an event that is open to historical investigation, not a matter of blind faith–a HUGELY important concept for kids (and adults!) to understand. They present four “minimal facts” about the resurrection that the vast majority of both Christian and non-Christian scholars agree on. They then address the question of the best explanation for these generally agreed upon facts. It’s a powerful look at the historical case for the truth of the resurrection. A must-read. If you love this subject and want to go even deeper, Licona has a very academic book that does just that: The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. It’s fantastic, but I didn’t include it as a separate recommendation here because it’s much more academic than most parents would want. I had to at least mention it, though, for anyone who might want to go deeper.
3. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee
By Bart Ehrman
Bart Ehrman is an ex-Christian New Testament scholar who has written several best-selling books challenging the reliability of the Bible (I discuss several of these here). In How Jesus Became God, Ehrman makes the case that neither the disciples nor Jesus Himself claimed that Jesus was God. As with all of my resource pages, I’m recommending you read a book by a non-believer so you can hear what the secular world is saying just as your kids will hear it. After you read this book, go on to read How God Became Jesus (below), which is a response to Ehrman by five biblical scholars who are Christians.
4. How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature: A Response to Bart D. Ehrman
collection of essays by multiple authors
In this book, five internationally recognized biblical scholars respond directly to Bart Ehrman’s claims in the above book. They clearly demonstrate that the exalted place of Jesus in belief and worship is evident in the earliest Christian sources, shortly following his death, and was not simply the invention of the church centuries later (as Ehrman claims). Reading Ehrman’s book and this response as a pair is an excellent opportunity to see how scholars can differ greatly on the interpretation of data.
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