Kathryn Slattery’s If I Could Ask God Anything is a comprehensive apologetic resource for children. After all, apologetics is about asking questions and finding the answers.
Slattery divides her book into several sections, which means it does not need to be read chronologically. Rather, the book addresses the main questions about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, Christianity, Prayer, the church and more. One of the best features of the book is how she sprinkles relevant Bible verses throughout, which points kids to God’s word.
While Slattery’s book is overall a great read and reference book for children as they grow and learn more about faith there were a few misses on the apologetic front.
One of the best features of this section is that she has composed a long list of God’s promises that children can reference depending on what they are facing; loneliness, fear, sadness, anger, temptation and more.
I was disappointed when she talks about how to know if God is real because he is invisible. She missed the opportunity to direct kids to the evidence of God in nature and in the common moral values people share.
While I felt this section was done well overall, there were some missed opportunities to sharpen our childrens’ apologetic. Specifically she writes that Jesus did miracles to show God’s love. While that was one benefit of his miracles, Jesus himself told us why he was doing them in John 10:25, 37-38. He said that he did miracles to prove to people he was who he claimed to be.
One other disappointment was the answer to why Jesus had to die. Slattery focuses on the human reasons why he died – that people were afraid and angered by him. But the bigger picture of Jesus’ death was not addressed.
I give Slattery full marks for her answer about why the Resurrection is so important. In her answer she sums up what Jesus said about believing in God, believing in him and living forever in heaven.
Slattery does a great job explaining the Bible is composed of many different books written in different genres. She also does a good job addressing the question about why the Gospels are all different – comparing it to four friends writing a story about what they did together one day.
Warning to creationists: there is a question about dinosaurs and whether Jesus lived before them. Slattery’s answer is that he lived a long time after dinosaurs. Yet, for those who believe that world is much younger than the millions of years some scientists have asserted this question may pose a problem.
Warning to Catholics: there is a question in this section about whether or not Jesus had siblings. Slattery’s answer is yes, Mary and Joseph had other children after Jesus was born. As Catholics assert that Mary remained a virgin her whole life this answer will pose a problem.
She scores big in this section. By teaching kids they can pray anywhere, anytime in any position and with any words. She also teaches that prayer is not a “magic wand” where kids can simply wish for something want. She guides kids to listen to how God talks to them – through loved ones, verses, sermons, etc.
CHRISTIAN SEASONS AND HOLIDAYS
In the section on Christian holidays Slattery addresses the myth of Santa Claus. Giving a good history of the legend of Saint Nicholas she also emphasises that Jesus is the reason for the season, not Santa and not presents. She does the same for the Easter bunny.
The book ends with a craft project – a twist on the fortune teller paper crafts that kids like to make. This one is a promise teller – pointing kids to God’s love and care for them.
All in all this is a book you need to have in your library. Even if it presents answers that you are uncomfortable with it will open up an opportunity for you to talk to your kids about the issues and your belief.