When our teens know God’s written word, they will naturally begin to develop a Christian worldview, and they will be comfortable with Christian apologetics, the defense of Christianity.
Worldview is a term that gets thrown around a lot. What does it really mean to have a Christian worldview?
Our worldview is the lens through which we look at the world–at history, at politics, and even at the inherent value of the people in the world around us. As Christian parents who care about the Bible and what God has to say to us, we of course want our children to have a Christian worldview (a biblical worldview). We want them to see the world through the lens God gives us.
Our teens are going to be challenged on their Christian worldview. They will be told, now or as adults, that Christianity has made the world worse. They’ll be challenged to look at history through a different lens–a distinctly anti-Christian worldview.
It’s important that our teens understand history as it really is, and that they are able to apply a Christian worldview to their study of history.
Christian apologetics is the study and practice of defending, or giving an answer for, our faith. While our kids our young, our primary concern should be teaching them the Bible. As they prepare to enter the world, we should increasingly be preparing them to give an answer for their faith by supplying material that will help them to study Christian apologetics. Not only do we want our teens to be able to answer the concerns of others, we want them to be able to address their own concerns.
The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is outstanding news for our teens. They can turn from their sins and be saved by the God of all Creation.
Astoundingly, this good news carries beyond just our teens’ personal salvation (or ours). When we live according to biblical commands, it impacts those around us. Ultimately, as humans are impacted by Christ’s love and his command to love others, history is impacted too.
Unimaginable by Jeremiah J. Johnston
I want to thank Cross Focused Reviews and Bethany House Publishers for providing a copy of Unimaginable for my honest review.
Dr. Jeremiah Johnston, a father of five, president of Christian Thinkers Society, and the Associate Professor of Early Christianity at Houston Baptist University, has written an excellent book covering Christian worldview and Christian apologetics from a fascinating angle. Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be Like Without Christianity (Bethany House Publishers, 2017) is a fascinating and accessible read for high school students.
It’s common today to hear people argue that the world would be better without Christianity, and by extension, Christians. But is that actually true? Can we really say the world hasn’t been impacted and changed for the better by the people of Jesus? That’s a question our high school students need to be able to answer.
Great Books for Teens (and parents) from Bethany House
Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be Like Without ChristianityThe New Believer’s Guide to the Christian Life: What Will Change, What Won’t, and Why It MattersSex MattersHow to Enjoy Reading Your BibleImages of Joy: An Inspirational Coloring BookAll Things Bright and Beautiful: A Creation Coloring BookThe Glory of the Messiah: An Adult Coloring BookFor parents: More Than Just the Talk: Becoming Your Kids’ Go-To Person About SexFor parents: Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need MostFor parents: Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most
Teaching Christian Worldview and Christian Apologetics
There are a number of great ways to teach your teen about Christian worldview and Christian apologetics. I recommend first and foremost teaching them the Bible and Christian history (that’s what this site is all about!). But I also recommend reading great, challenging books with your teen that will challenge them to really consider how the love of Christ truly transforms us and how we should live as a result. Give your kids books that will help further form their worldview and develop their ability to give an answer for their faith.
When I was a young teen in the 6th grade, my parents transferred me from a Christian elementary school to a public middle in the center of the city in the middle of the year. It was eye-opening to say the least, and in some ways I was unprepared for what much of what I encountered there. One of the things that made a deep, valuable impression on me and who I am today was the conversations I had with other students.
There were a number of Cambodian refugees that attended the middle school, and they told me stories of fleeing Pol Pot and the Cambodian genocide as young children. Some had lost siblings in horrific ways as they fled the only home they’d ever known. In a period of just five years, one out of every four Cambodians died. They were killed over an idea.
Ideas matter because truth matters. There truly is a battle for good and evil, and our teens need to understand how that battle has affected all of history. Jesus Christ brought life, love, and forgiveness to this earth. His followers love others and that changes everything.
Check out the table of contents for Unimaginable:
Part 1: The World Before Christianity
1. Our Sense of the Divine
2. A World of Suffering
3. A World of Fear
4. A World of Inequality
5. A World of Bondage: Racism
Part II: The World Without Christianity
6. A Slippery Slope
7. Dehumanizing Humanity
8. Atheism and the Broken Soul
9. “Superman” Arrives
10. Hitler’s Hell on Earth
11. When Truth is What You Want it to Be
Part III: The World With Christianity
12. Jesus’ Tour de Force: Good News for All People
13. New Hope: Jesus and His Proclamation
14. New Life: What Made Christianity Irresistible?
15. Christianity Ends Racism and Slavery
16. Without Jesus, Women Would Not Be Free
17. Healing the Unimaginable in Your Life
Ground Your Teens’ Understanding of Christian Worldview and Apologetics
In his book Unimaginable, Dr. Jeremiah Johnston discusses Christian worldview and Christian apologetics in three stages:
- How the world functioned before Christianity, and during its early years (The Roman empire)
- How the world functioned during the enlightenment and after, as atheists strove to drive Christian ideals from the public square
- How Jesus changed (and changes!) everything
Unimaginable is a fascinating read, and entirely accessible. It’s written as a narrative history rather than a scholarly treatise, so your teens won’t struggle at all with the language and format. Dr. Jeremiah Johnston makes a succinct case for the argument that Christianity has changed the world substantially for the better as Christians strive to carry out Jesus’ teachings and commands.
You’ll want to know that Unimaginable discusses the history, philosophies, character, and impact of a number of major world leaders. Dr. Jeremiah Johnston talks about these figures openly in a way you and your teen may not read about in youth biographies, history books, or on Wikipedia. One of the ideas Dr. Jeremiah Johnston puts forth is that many atheists are driven to “disprove” God by two things: a terrible or missing relationship with their father, and sexual sin. As such, Dr. Johnston does include each figure’s sexual sins in their short biography. This is not done in a gratuitous or exploitative manner, but he does talk about the adultery, mistresses, and even slavery that each figure engaged in. Rather than being enticed by sexual sin, I think students will fully understand its devastating consequences and deceptive and deceitful nature. I think this is important information for teens preparing to defend their faith and worldview out in the world and in college. Our goal is to prepare our children progressively to become informed and functioning adults.
I highly recommend Unimaginable for your high school students, and for yourself. This is an important, fascinating book that will help your teens further develop their Christian worldview and Christian apologetics. The book gives an interesting framework to world history as well.
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.