Regret and fear are the two primary emotions parents face when their student approaches college.
Regret over all the things that they have not prepared them for. And fear over all the things they have not prepared them for.
The world of college is a world of new ideas and new experiences. The number of students who stray away from Jesus during college is alarming. They simply are not prepared to filter the new ideas and new experiences through the person and work of Jesus.
So, I want to recommend a book to every parent of a teenager: 10 Questions Every Teen Should Ask (and Answer) About Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin.
Rebecca McLaughlin has walked in the academic stratosphere — a PhD from Oxford as well as a theological degree from Oak Hill College in London. She can distill the typical objections to Christianity that any student will face, and to do with a clear explanation that speaks to teenagers. Throughout her book, she introduces students to academics who are leaders in their fields at elite academic institutions, and who are faithfully following Jesus.
She handles the scriptures well, as well as connecting the Bible to the stories that students grew up hearing — from Disney to Harry Potter.
Most parents are not aware that what the typical objections are, let alone how to answer them. But McLaughlin goes a step further, she believes that most objections to Jesus “stop being roadblocks and instead become signposts” — they point us to the world’s need for Jesus.
In this book, I want to offer a different approach. Rather than protecting my kids from divergent ideas, or urging them to affirm all beliefs equally, I want to equip them to have real conversations with real people who really think differently from them—and from me. I want them to learn how to listen well and how to question what they hear. If what I believe is true, it will stand up to scrutiny. The Christian faith sprang up in a world that was violently hostile to its claims. But rather than extinguishing the small spark of the early church, the winds of opposition gave it oxygen to spread. Two thousand years later (as I explain in chapter 1) it’s still spreading. But I don’t want my kids to believe in Jesus just because I say so, or just because it’s the largest and most diverse religion in the world, or just because going to church makes you happier, healthier, and more generous to others. I want them to see Jesus for themselves and to believe that what he says about himself is true.
Fathers, let me urge you to get this book and begin working through it with your teenage children (if you are looking for a starting age, let me suggest 15). If you are a single mom with teenagers, this is a great opportunity to prepare them for college. Because of their access to the internet, social media, and movies — high school students are already aware of these objections. They are looking for answers, and this is a great book that can help you.