With Christian children, teens and young adults leaving the church at epidemic rates, it's essential that parents train their children to know, understand, and be able to defend the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Kevin Swanson, an Orthodox Presbyterian pastor and homeschool dad, has written a one-volume textbook/workbook designed to instill the fundamentals of a Christian worldview into upper elementary and middle school students.
Based largely on the thought of Cornelius Van Til who developed the idea of presuppositional apologetics,What Does the Bible Say About That? distills a variety of complex topics and concepts into a form younger students can understand. Swanson investigates truth claims, the problem of the one and the many, the nature of human and divine authority, and much more, using the Bible as the sole guide for determing what is true and what is untrue in the world.
How Does This Work?
What Does the Bible Say About That? is comprised of ten lessons that each include content to read, Scripture reading and memorization, questions to answer, vocabulary, and games. Swanson begins with the statement in Proverbs 1:7 that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," and points to the Bible as the only arbiter of truth. He alerts kids to the fact that the world is full of liars, even very intelligent ones, who will attempt to convince them that God's Word can't be trusted.
The flow of this course is intuitive, moving from the fact that the Bible is our only sure rule of life and doctrine, to the question of origins, the problems of ethics, anthropology, and civil government. Swanson doesn't shy away from using (and defining) big words from time to time, but this is anything but a threatening text. Students should have no difficulty understanding what they read, though that's not to say that they won't have to wrestle with the ideas themselves.
In fact, getting them to grapple with these concepts is exactly the point of the book. While there are plenty of questions to answer at the end of each lesson, along with fun games (word searches, crosswords, etc.),What Does the Bible Say About That? isn't meant to be a series of assignments for kids to complete and move on from. Rather, it's intended to help them ask the title question about every topic under the sun, and to look to the Bible to answer it.
There are some black and white illustrations, but the emphasis isn't on entertainment. The emphasis is on helping Christian kids understand what they believe and why. Students could simply work through the text on their own (there's an answer key to the questions in the back), but ideally parents (or Sunday school teachers, etc.) will interact with their kids as they work through this material and attempt to make sense of the biblical worldview.
Obviously, or perhaps not given the current state of Christian education, Swanson's text is filled with Scripture, but he also draws on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Since this is a worldview course about the Bible, man's wisdom isn't the focus. Unlike other programs, this one also doesn't spend a lot of time comparing Christianity to other religions or worldviews, instead focusing positively on what Christians teach and believe, and their reasons for doing so.
Our Honest Opinion
This is a very good course, and we highly recommend it. It's short, easy to use, and self-contained. You'll definitely want to have your kids do more work on this topic, butWhat Does the Bible Say About That? provides a very good foundation. A good place to go after this would be Marcia Brim's worldview curriculum, followed by Richard Pratt'sEvery Thought Captive,Apologetics to the Glory of God by John Frame, and Greg Bahnsen'sAlways Ready.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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