In this episode, Kurt is joined by J. Warner Wallace and Sean McDowell to discuss empowering the next generation to be believers of the Gospel and equipped with doctrine and apologetics.
Listen to “Episode 144: So The Next Generation Will Know” on Spreaker.
Kurt: Thanks for joining us here on another episode of veracity hill where we are striving for truth on faith, politics, and society. So nice to be with you here this evening for a special episode of veracity Hill, and we are streaming on apologetics 315 where you can find daily apologetic resources. And hey, look, we’ve got a nice promotional shirt here supporting the ministry of apologetics 315. I want to thank the ministry, of course for partnering with us this evening, as we are joined by two well known Christian apologists, and they are here to talk about what it means to equip and empower the next generation of believers. We’re joined here by Ted right of epic archaeology. He’s here in studio with us, Ted, great to have you here today. Thank you. Yep. For those who have been following along, veracity Hill, though, recognize Ted from a few times now that he’s been in our office. And it’s great to if you haven’t yet, check out some of the great videos that we’ve got of Ted on his epic archaeology ministry. But without further ado, let me join into the program this evening. J. Warner Wallace, a cold case detective, and Sean McDowell, high school teacher and professor at Biola. University. Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining our program today.. And so we’ve got you both in and we’re seeing Shawn here. You’ve got it’s not quite your office? Well, maybe it is your office? I don’t know, it looks, it looks like the seat of a car.
Sean: Well, with with three young kids, I kind of feel like I’m a professional Uber driver these days. So I’m just running my kids around. This was not the plan. But sometimes that’s what happens when your parents, so I’m just thankful for digital technology that we can still do this.
Kurt: Yes, thank you. Thanks so much. And of course, being a good parent is a part of what you guys write about here and your new recent books. So the next generation will know. And you have written this not really to, you know, for a lot of people, apologetics is about the the arguments. And you know, what’s the evidence for the existence of God and answering people’s questions. But this book isn’t quite about that, is it?
J. Warner Wallace: No, it’s not a what book? No, it’s not what is book, you know, we’ve written those kinds of books. And we love doing that. And a lot of what we do in churches and in conferences is about describing why Christianity is true, why the Christian worldview makes sense of reality, why it is the only consistent worldview, all that stuff we talk about in other books, but at the end of the day, people still come up to us and say, Okay, I get it, I need to kind of catch up in some of these areas. And I am going to do that I’ve started reading, I started, I started researching, I’m becoming a better I think, more knowledgeable Christian, which is good. But still, the problem is even having done all that, how do I teach this? How do I transfer this, especially given whatever your setting might be, you know, as a parent, how do I initiate those kinds of conversations? What do I do? What does it look What’s it Sound Like be very practical. So even though you might have all this head knowledge about what is true, there’s still there’s the challenge of trying to teach it. And so what this book is, is, I hope is uniquely it’s a how to book, it’s that once you know something, you still need some help figuring out how to transfer it to the next generation.
Sean: And you won’t find if I can add the word apologetics a ton in the book, we’re actually trying to reach outside of our normal audience to people who might not be interested in apologetics, or maybe even know what it is. But they care about truth to the next generation. They care about the challenges these kids are facing. So if you look in the book, we actually arranged each chapter like love trains, love relates, love equips. This is a relational approach where you could say we’re weaving in apologetics through the back door through this care that parents teachers and pastors have about raising up this generation helping them thrive in their face, in their faith amidst what really seems like an increasingly secular culture.
Kurt: To that, Sean, the Barna Group or maybe they just call him Barna now, back in 2018, came out with this study, and here it’s the headline, atheism doubles among Generation Z. So why do you think it is that there’s an increase here in atheism, or even just people who identify as non religious part of the younger generation Generation Z?
Sean: Well, even in it doubling it’s still a minority amongst this generation. So when you go from two percent to 4% or four to eight, whatever the numbers are that doubling is significant because we’re noticing a trend. But atheism is still a minority amongst all generations today. And that’s important to keep in mind. But what we are seeing, I think we’re really seeing come to fruit, this digital generation that has more challenges, just one click away than any generation has ever faced. So I’ve talked to my dad a ton, about when he’s doing apologetics and parenting in the 70s 80s and 90s. And how these questions have changed. And they’ve got earlier, and they’re ubiquitous now. So when this generation is faced with so many questions, and so many worldviews, and as a church, we just have not been doing as good of a job as we can to show that Christianity is true, we would expect to see a little bit of a rise in atheism. I think the I think the other perspective is that you just have this rise of the nones, n o n e s, is that people are resisting labels like they did in the past. They’re resisting labels. But a lot of this move towards the nuns are not all atheists, some of them pray, some of them believe the Bible. But some of that smaller group just don’t want to be called Christians anymore. Because Christianity isn’t as popularly accepted as it was in generations in the past.
J. Warner Wallace: So it’s so true. If you think about this idea that things double, I don’t want to be sensationalist about this and you get a shot. We one thing we said early on, is it’d be easy for us to talk about, well, what percentage is leaving the church and be alarmist about it. But there’s no point in doing that. Yeah, it’s true. You can say you have the fastest growing podcast, if last week, you had two listeners, and this week, you have doubled your podcast, you can do that for many weeks, until finally there’s a statistical amount of people. Now it’s harder to double. So what you’re seeing is a very small percentage, and the people who identify as nuns possess spiritual ideas about a higher being about so if you look at the numbers and drill down, nuns are not atheists, as America, atheism is really not growing at a pace that I think it’s within the range of error in most polls. But we do see is that people are not identifying necessarily as Christian, but they still hold Christian worldview ideas about that, which is good for us, because we know that they’re still reachable. Yeah. And but think about this for a second. I mean, you in the past all trust, informational trust is really grounded in authority. Right? So you think, Okay, well, if your dad is a professor in cosmology, you’ve got a relationship with your dad, and he has this expertise, you’re probably going to adopt and trust his views about cosmology. Now, what you have is really what appears to be kind of equal authority all over the internet. I’m not sure who to trust on this. I mean, is it the guy who’s got the best website, some of the smartest people I know, have terrible looking websites, they’re still out there. And some of the people I know, who aren’t very authoritative, have great looking websites. So it’s, I think it’s confusing for young people to know, again, how do I ground my informational trust? If I’m not sure who is an authority?
Kurt: It seems like for older folks, then they might be wondering, you know, or maybe they’re asking, Hey, what book can I get for my kid? You know, because they want to be seen as an authority, or maybe they even realize they are now failing as an authority. So they need to get their kid more resources. Is that the type of question they should be asking?
J. Warner Wallace: I don’t think so. Go ahead, Shawn.
Sean: I don’t think so either. No single book can fix a kid in the vast majority of circumstances, Jim and I all the time have people come up and say, my kids question the faith, my kids left their faith, what book can fix this? And I’ll always sign and give them a book. But I’ll also try to encourage them to build their relationship with their kid to have a long term view. So it is a question about authority. But studies actually consistently show and they have sense, you know, when I was growing up as a Gen X, are people talked about this, millennials and today that the primary influence in the life of a young person is their parents. Yeah, it’s more than teachers. It’s more than youth pastors. It’s more than Hollywood. But we don’t do the effective strategies that we talked about in this book. So we kind of hand over that authority to our culture. That’s the problem. So our heart is just to say, Look, you already have huge authority with your kids. Here’s some things you can learn. Here’s some practical things you can tweak and maximize this relationship that God has built in for you to have with your kids.
J. Warner Wallace: Now this is a very important issue because this is that connection between relationship and truth and truth that people take for granted. I would never and this happens a lot people will say I can I buy your books you write this sign this book to my son, who needs to hear this what really okay, I’m not signing this book to you. I’ll sign into your Son, but this works for you. Because you have that relationship already. Now, sadly, I think sometimes when a parent comes up and ask this question, what they’re really kind of saying is that I have a broken relationship. And this is at the root of what the issues are. And that’s where your heart is broken for people, right? Because it’s not a matter of information for these guys, a lot of times they have a broken relationship. Now, what I’ve noticed is my dad, I have a relationship with my dad, but he’s not a non believer, and I have shared truth with him. But in that season, through the relationship in that season, when you’re not able to communicate truth, because they’re not listening, they’re chasing their own stuff. They’re, they’re in rebellion, whatever it may be, well, I can’t I can say no more about the truth side of this equation, but I can build on the relationship side of the equation with my dad. So I’ve just decided for that season that I just, you know, there’s no point in trying as his parent, the same is true. So what we want to try to do in the book is talking about well, do you really love your kids? Of course you do. Also, is it do you have a better chance probably, of having the deep relationships when your kids are younger. I mean, by the time they’re in college, and they’re out from your, I have kids, I have adult kids, I have a relationship with them. But it’s not the same as I had with my 30 year old when he was 12. I had a different kind of relationship with him then. So I think this work needs to happen very early. Because the earlier ages that we don’t think for a second that your kids, if you’re a Christian educator, if you are a junior high youth pastor, you think well, that’s going to happen in high school. No, that has to happen. Now, that has to happen upper elementary, that has to happen, that the kind of work we do in helping our students to know why Christianity is true, has to happen a lot earlier than ever before. Because here’s what happens. We think they’re not capable of us giving them this deep information about the truth of Christianity, but we do think they’re capable of us giving them this, really, so you’re gonna give them this, but you’re not going to give them the, where’s that going to lead. This is the reason why you need to start earlier with the truth of Christianity, because this is a source of all kinds of mistrust and questioning and every worldview on a same parallel level. I mean, verbally, that I was, you’re going to time yourself as to when you’re giving your kids one of these, you need to go back two years prior and start really making sure because you have to inoculate before you give them a phone. And I think that’s part of what we’re trying to do in this book is show you well, what would you do? What, what could what does the conversation look like? And again, I want reasonable expectations. So we have thick books, we’ve written Evidence That Demands a Verdict is about this thick. Okay? My books are super thick. If you look at like, cold case, Christian, okay, this is not what we’re trying to do here. This is a big book. And it’s and it’s got a lot of pages, what this is
Kurt: just pictures in it too Jim.
J. Warner Wallace: It was thinner and more accessible, because we know, you might know all this stuff is still have a hard time initiating a conversation. And whatever your context is, I have a hard time making sure that you ingrain these ideas, this book is designed to be briefed, because I want you to go cover to cover and you might look at this, and there’s like 1000 things to do in here really, while you’re like I’m overwhelmed, just do one. And we wanted to give you a quick resource that would get you started with just the one. Sometimes you can read a book and a great idea comes out and that one idea sticks in your head. Here we hope is a great practice pops out. That’s the one practice you employ with your kids. And that’s what we’re hoping for.
Kurt: Jim, I’m glad you brought up the smartphone. I was gonna ask if if there is this break of authority between a parent and a child that there’s just something missing? It seems like the smartphone has sort of filled in, or the Internet has filled in. So what are the ways I guess open tie that you guys what are the ways that modern media has sort of taken in and swooped in to to form the worldview of young people?
Sean: Well, here’s one way to think about it. The way we frame it in the book is probably more than anything. What a smartphone does is it has information overload for this generation. So the amount of messages they hear and see whether an advertising that’s explicit, or more subtle ones on social media, or videos. They’re constantly bombarded with endless information. So way to think about is when I was a kid, I remember these commercials that was Coke versus Pepsi. And kind of the idea was Pepsi because they made the commercials was always people are surprised. Well, Pepsi is better. But the idea if you think about the reasoning behind it is if you want to soda, there’s really two options. You get a root beer, you can go get a Dr Pepper, but really there’s two options. Well today you buy your own soda making machine and you make the amount of fizz the size you want and the flavor tailor just uniquely for you. You know when Starbucks there’s 87,000 Different drink options. Is that right about buying? Yeah. 87,000 Google it, it must be right. That’s what has to be true, right? Well, look, I remember when I was a kid was going to the Starbucks. Calendar rope, Starbucks, Roebuck and Sears..
Kurt: Yeah, Sears and Roebuck
Sean: there was like, two toys and they took six weeks to come. Now kids get every conceivable option you can think of brought to you the next day on a drone, if you want it really. Now, think about music. We used to have tapes or CDs. Now you have the song you want, anywhere you want. So what that does is it teaches a kid whether they realize it or not, that they can conform the world to their tastes, rather than have to conform themselves to an external truth. That’s what the cell phone does. So we came to believe. And we frame this book, that if there’s endless voices and endless information, speaking into young people, how do we gain their attention? And I think it’s really two things. Number one is relationship. Why should young person listen to us? It’s because there’s a relationship. And us I mean, all of us listening that we build in their life, I actually think trust is one of the most important commodities today. So Jim mentioned the book evidence Demands a Verdict. And when my dad first wrote that, what made that valuable, is nobody had that information. But now people have that information. So why do an update? Well, number one, it saves time. But number two, because my father’s been in ministry, so long, his name or his brand, for lack of a better term, people say, Oh, I can trust him. So I’ll listen to him. That’s because a relationship is built there. So trust with our kids, trust with young people gives us the right to speak into their lives. Second, it’s a worldview. If there’s endless information coming to this generation, all we have to do is have a funnel, by which they can say this is important. This is good. This is true. This is false. So like Jim said earlier truth, and relationships. So we frame the entire book, given that technology, in particular digital technology shapes this generation more than any generation, they’re digital natives, by saying how do we build relationships for them, to have the trust to speak into their lives? And then how do we help form their worldviews to think Christianly? That’s the way that we framed it in light of the digital challenges and really a smartphone generation.
J. Warner Wallace: Now think about what he just said, about the amount of number of options. So I noticed a second ago, he’s in his car, modeling what we write as, as parents who put this priority, right. I, on the other hand, have grown kids so I don’t even care what they’re doing today. Okay. But Sean has to be this is he’s still doing that. So that’s good. I noticed you I think you drink a monster I see you drink a monster did… Are you drinking…
Sean: I don’t drink monsters like you…it was just one of these sparkling beverages that’s it…
J. Warner Wallace: I know. Right? So I noticed though, what I noticed is that everyone has been influenced by the number of choices that are possible. So that company that’s making that drink, maybe in the past and my generation, for sure, for boomers, they make one drink. But now, Cola, Coca Cola has got every type of flavor along with it. And as you of course, you said, even when you go into restaurants, what’s the most popular soda dispenser that’s available is the one where you can walk in and pick any you know, you push the buttons in a picks any certain variety, you got 15 kinds of just Diet Coke, then Coke Zero, then you’ve got you know, you could put the lemon, the lime all that this is where we’re at right now. And what it means is exactly what Sean said is that we have now have the ability to form our own realities based on our tastes and preferences. And not only is it happening in terms of our consumerism, but it’s happening in terms of our media consumption. For example, you know, as an adult, I guarantee you if I know something about whoever I’m talking to politically, I know which news sources they are resisting altogether, and I’m paying attention to and which news sources they favor, they have able to isolate themselves in their own micro narrative. You can watch whatever shows you want to watch that reflect whatever worldview you hold, because there are 1000s of choices. You remember you used to be if someone said, I’m going to get a TV show, that used to mean something doesn’t mean anything anymore, because you had a one in three chance of being seen because there were only three networks now. You could have a TV show, it can be great. No one seeing it because there’s a billion choices. Here’s what it means. It means that if we possess what we believe is a true meta narrative. We’re going to have to overcome the construction of Micro narratives in the lives of our kids. And that’s, that’s and I think it is going to be harder to communicate and to convince a culture that there is a single meta narrative that we would have to bend our knee to, in a world in which that’s not the case for anything anymore. I don’t think that any young person believes that they ever have to do that. And that’s where I think it becomes more difficult, right. And so what we’re trying to do is to look at that the three groups that I think have to do it with young people, because my fear was, and when Sean first came up with the idea for the book, we talked about this, because we want to train up youth pastors at Talbot at Biola. In the apologetics program, right? We know, this group needs to reach young people. But there’s a lot of other people in the church who have contact with young people. And I will tell you at book tables, after we do events, that is the consistent narrative that’s heartbreaking, is that everyone’s got some young person they’re concerned about. So as a church, we are raising kids. And that means that even folks who might say, Well, my kids are grown. Yeah, my kids are, they are, but I’m going to church body. And in that church body, they’re young people. And we’re in the Big C church, across the globe, in that big C church has got young people in, and if you care about the future impact that Christianity will have on the next generation, and you ought to, then we’re gonna have to get involved in this game. We used to think well, we can let that that’s what youth pastors do. That’s what teachers do in high school and junior high. Well, no, actually, that’s got to become all of our responsibility. And so that’s why we said, hey, if you love young people, now, what happens is you get older, because I’m about 15, or more than that older than Shawn. So. So what happens is you kind of write points. But what happens is, if you’re not careful, you’re kind of like, Hey, get off my lawn kind of a guy, right? Everything’s irritating, right? Everything’s I got no patience for this. I want to retreat back into a world in which there is are no young people irritating me. Well, I think that as Christians, we ought to be the one unique group that understands that the love of our neighbor begins with the love of our young neighbor. And I think it’s important for us to get involved in this work.
Kurt: Yeah. Ted, you had a question you wanted to ask?
Ted: So Shawn, you’re a dad slash Uber driver. Some of the principles in this book and you still have kids in the house? Are some of the things that you put in the book, things that you and your wife have done in your own house?
Sean: Yes, they are. In fact, I would say really the source? Well, the source are a few things. Number one, I just read endlessly studies books, and I’m always looking for ideas that I can borrow from somebody else. If it works, do it don’t reinvent the wheel. Second, a lot of things my parents did with me, most things I think they did well, there’s a few things I left out and I do differently. That’s what it means to become a parent to personalize it. But there’s a lot of things that my parents did that I learned from. And then third are things that my wife and I just do with our kids, that we work into it. And you’ll notice sometimes like we tell stories, when things don’t work for us, Jim and I share a lot of our failures and a lot of our positives. So I had this great summer idea where we’re going to watch movies with our kids and talk about the worldview and I was going to teach you some things. So we had some pretty good conversations. But one epic failure, my kids still give me a hard time on this, we watched the movie The Apostle with Robert Duvall. And I was like, Oh, they’re gonna love it. This is about faith. I mean, my kids did it. They felt tortured. Still, to this day. They’re like, Hey, Dad, you want to watch the Apostle? Stop it. But you know, you learn by trial and error. And some things work. And some things don’t. So at the heart of this book, really, Ted, partly what motivated me at this stage is, I want to get this right. And I want to spend some time researching this thinking about this brainstorming with Jim, thinking through what my parents did look at things that worked for me look things that didn’t, and just kind of give the readers a glimpse into my life, things that have worked well, and things that haven’t worked well, and share those stories along the way. So yes, a lot of it comes from our own experience, and some of the things we do with our own our own kids.
J. Warner Wallace: But there are a bunch of train wrecks in here. And I think, you know, I didn’t become a Christian until my kids were already had kids. And they were, you know, in elementary school, but I mean, I didn’t know, you know, you become a Christian and you’re pretty early on in your walk. You might spend five years before you even dawns on you that this is your responsibility to do over in these categories, or you know, enough to be able to do it effectively. Or in other words, you know, if I wasn’t raised in a Christian family, and I was also not I was raised in a broken home, I have one parent. So a lot of I didn’t want to have kids originally because I didn’t think I would know what to do with them. Because I was An only child of a broken marriage. So a lot of this for me was like having to learn that kind of the hard way, right. But I did love my family, I love my wife and I wanted to do anything to be a better parent alongside of her. So what I would say to people, I think this it’s intimidating sometimes because I was reluctant to write a book that might position me as some kind of parent that I am not. Unlike everybody else, I have the same failures and the same struggles that everybody else has. Now, I did spend enough years in youth pastoring. And luckily, so So interestingly, they put me in a position of authority as a youth pastor, when I was in seminary, at the time, I was raising my kids. So a lot of what raising kids was, to me was what I also did in youth ministry, and that’s where I think John and I can can help a little bit because all the failures you have in the classroom, trying to teach high schoolers, all the failures you have in a youth pastor, watching your kids in the first year, you know, train wreck, their fate, these kinds of things you learn from, and it presented us with a sense of urgency, we needed to fix that. So So we fixed it, you know, and now as we fixed it, that’s what we’re going to share it with you. But here’s what I don’t want. I don’t want people to be so intimidated to think that oh, yeah, well, I can’t do a super parent. Trust me, I can’t do super parent either. So this isn’t a book about Super parenting, or about Super teaching or super pastoring. I think it’s pretty honest, just about what it is. And we’re gonna give you what worked for us. And that’s, you know, what’s great about it is, you know, as your kids get older, you kind of know what you have. My kids are grown now. And Shawn’s kids are still young, you hope that they’re going to be a certain thing, right? When your kids are young. And we all parent kids who fall somewhere in a spectrum of either belief, faith or commitment to that belief and faith, right? Because if you’ve got three kids, you know that one is going to be more or less committed than the other. I mean, it’s just the way it is right? So I think what we tried to do in this book is knowing all that’s true, we’re trying to do is just as to show you don’t to be super parent to adopt one or two simple principles in this book that will help you to take an extra step.
Kurt: Good. Gentlemen, we’ve got to take a short break here. I want to come back though, I want to ask what the difference is between teaching and training. So we’ll get into that after a break here, just a two minute break. And something new for those that are following along. By the way, we’re joined today by Sean McDowell and Jay Warner Wallace, co authors of the recent book so the next generation will know something new for our show, we’re starting to do a video break. So this will be new instead of a still image. Those who are following us here on our our live stream will get a taste of something a little bit better, today and onward as well. So stick with us through this short break from our sponsors.
Kurt: Thanks for sticking with us through that short break from our sponsors. If you’d like to learn how you can become a sponsor or a patron, you can visit our website veracity. hill.com and click on that patron tab. We’re joined this evening by Dr. Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace. Jim, you don’t have a PhD yet, do you?
J. Warner Wallace: If you’re gonna call him a doctor? You have to call me detective. I don’t have a PhD. I have a DET. Okay, so that’s where it all matters. Detective Wallace from now on for you. Okay, that’s all you can do. Don’t even call me Jim. Just Detective Wallace. From now on.
Kurt: Detective Wallace. My apologies. Say, I know you guys have been on the program before and have participated in rapid questions. But I did want to ask you guys a couple of questions about how you guys know each other, you know, your relationship goes back for many years. So how’d you guys meet?
J. Warner Wallace: Well, actually, I owe Shawn a lot because he, I met him at a conference in local city here where we were just speaking, at the same time, and I had barley my first year and second year of speaking. And I think Shawn had just written maybe ethics. Maybe you just finished that book. I know, that was one of the books you brought. And we connected and ultimately, my daughter ended up we started doing these trips to Berkeley we talked about in the book a little bit. And my daughter ended up going on one of those trips, because I was along for training. And my daughter was an eighth grader. And she ended up becoming part of Sean’s class after that. But on those trips to Berkeley, I would just teach on the reliability of Scripture. And one on one of those trips, Shawn said, you know, you should write a book about this. And that’s actually why I wrote cold case. So it was after that trip to Berkeley with Shawn. So yeah, we go back probably eight or nine, eight years. I’m not sure how many years now.
Sean: I know first, who first introduced this was Brett Kunkel. You knew him? Maybe a years right months before, and he goes, Hey, this guy’s a detective. He’s retiring. He’s looking at his next stage. Will you get on the phone and talk? I didn’t have a clue who you were just like, Man, this guy talks fast. He’s got a ton of questions. And he’s a go getter. Sounds cool. We talked for half an hour you were thinking about doing teaching high school, like you just weren’t sure we were headed. That’s right. And then very shortly after that, we did the trips, and just kind of kind of hit it off from there.
J. Warner Wallace: Yeah. So it’s been a great partnership.
Kurt: All right. Let me let me ask you guys another personal question. Do you know each other’s favorite beverage?
J. Warner Wallace: Ah, well, I know that Shawn will know what my favorite beverages are? Because I’m always drinking in front of them. I’m not sure.
Sean: I did, and just kidding.
J. Warner Wallace: Yeah, So I don’t think I know Sean’s…
Kurt: A Monster drink is your favorite, right?
J. Warner Wallace: Hey, but you know what’s interesting about this, is that this is what we always hate. Right? I remember we did a conference together, and they bring us on the stage to play games. Before we would talk. I will never forget if this has happened to me with the same conference where they’ll ask me questions about people, I should know what they like on these certain categories. And I remember at one time, I was on the stage doing this too. There’s nothing worse than because a lot of these things are niche II, right. You don’t always know what your friends like in certain categories. So you feel like an idiot then, especially if they don’t give you any warning, and they do it in front of 3000 kids is like really appreciate that. Like an idiot. So…
Sean: So, in other words, he doesn’t know and he wants you to feel bad for asking.
J. Warner Wallace: Yes, that’s right. You shouldn’t feel bad, because I don’t think you’ve detected that last question. Anyway.
Kurt: I’m not sure I had addressed you detective. All right. So we’re talking about your, your book, which is, hasn’t yet been released. But for those that are interested, you can we’ve got a link here in the live stream, which where you can preorder and Jim, you’ve been so kind, you’re giving away some of your own free copies of cold case Christianity, for those that preorder the book?
J. Warner Wallace: Well, it’s interesting as we were both wanting to do that, but you know, I been publishing with cook for a number of years. So I’m able to ask cook. Hey, since you have rights on both books, can you do this or that for us? This I think is the second maybe first or second book with cook. I mean, it’s the first book for you Sean was cook right. It was in other places. So so you can’t ask a different publishing company to do a favor on this. Right. So So we tried to do is he’s included and I always liked this. He’s got a PowerPoint in part of the pre order package that will really help you communicate the nature of Gen Z to other people. So I think between the PowerPoints we’re offering the videos we’re offering on the preorder, and both of us have got a page for that on our website. So you can actually find that preorder. But but really, what’s what’s your holding the arc right so I have the arc also, that’s usually the advance Reader Copy. It’s a small a different slightly different. It’s not entirely edited the way it’ll be. Boy, I also noticed and we noticed this is that it doesn’t say anywhere on there, that the foreword is written by Nick Foles. The quarterback of When he won the MVP is with the Philadelphia Eagles. So we’ve really tried to do is to look at the categories of people who would be interested in raising up the next generation now next, a guy who even as he’s been playing in the NFL has been attending seminary to become a youth. Pastor. Right? Yeah. So we knew that he had this passion and heart for youth. But you know, George Foreman is another guy who’s an endorser on the book. Brett Hundley from now he’s with the Arizona Cardinals is another endorser on the book, just kind of well known parents that are out there. Teenage Witch Yes, even even though it’s a John Hart, but you know, it isn’t very interesting. She has in the last three or four years become very public about her faith. And as a result, she’s become the target, I think of a lot of people who would kind of bash her about her faith. So what I love about people like that is that they have this other platform, which you know, you could risk, but they’re willing to risk that platform to do something special. And so yeah, we think we’ve identified people in the broad categories that that we’re trying to reach with a book like this. And again, we don’t think it has to be somebody who’s mastered the evidence in order to start having conversations with your kids.
Sean: Look, but I think what’s interesting about this, if I can jump in is Jim, you get all the credit first for getting Nick Foles to do the foreword of props to you on that one. But second, we got Albert Mohler did an endorsement for us, recognizable pastor clearly reformed, as well as Mark O. Stryker, who would describe himself as being more on the left politically was the head of youth specialties, for a while a little bit more progressive than both of us. They both agreed to because they said, pass it on the faith, broadly speaking, strategies to do this, this unique book we’re in so that was pretty neat to get such a range to see the value in it.
J. Warner Wallace: No, that’s absolutely true. I can’t even imagine seeing people who have that kind of ideological difference, maybe theologically even
Kurt: endorsing the same book
J. Warner Wallace: Right,
J. Warner Wallace: I see here that this is a book, which is like this, these kinds of books, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, those are the kinds of books that give you content, what what do you what is it I would be communicating to my young people, but this is the kind of book that says, Well, you have been how do I do that? And because we stayed in the house as a how to book, I think this has broader application for people. And I think because it’s so brief, you know, for a lot of years, at my publishing house, and you know, it cook, I thought, Man, why are we writing these books that are like, you know, 50,000 words, right? I mean, does anyone I really do wonder it, you know, Lifeway just closed, all of its brick and mortar stores, the number of people you pull now who are still reading, he steadily decreases based on generation, the number of words they’re willing to read, is steadily decreasing by generation. And I just felt like, hey, though, the parents of these folks are probably going to be Gen X. I don’t know, I wanted a resource that was going to read fast. Now, what that means is, it ends up being packed, right? It’s dense, I think it’s pretty dense with ideas, content, right? I don’t think we did any less content than a book of this size, okay. But we also knew that we’re speaking, this is part of what we’re trying to learn, right? If you’re saying that this generation is a digital generation that has a smaller attention span, with the model, that we have to start to kind of speak in a format that I think captures the ethos of the generation we’re writing to so. So I was just happy that we were able to do it briefly. And it could do it in a way that’s broadly appealing, I hope.
Kurt: So I want to with the time that’s left. For us, we’ve got about 15 minutes here left, I want to talk about some of the things you write about in the book there. You talk about the difference between teaching and training. The next generation, maybe you guys can help us understand what’s the difference there?
J. Warner Wallace: Well, Sean has done this. You know, we took these trips to Berkeley for years. And we learned this together with Brett conkel, we kind of grew up in the same ideas and trying to make those work. And Brett has taken the kind of the masthead on this idea of can we have immersive experiences that turn teaching into training. And so the quickest way to say it is that teaching is just imparting information. So we can teach in this video. But training is preparing for a challenge. So boxers trained preparing for a fight, paramedics trained preparing to be deployed. So it is military, so the police officers retrained because we know there’s something that’s going to test the training, and it’s coming, we know what’s coming. It’s not a matter of if I’m going to pull my gun out and shoot it. It’s a matter of when and how I’m going to do it. So so it’s I have to train to get ready to do that. Well we discovered is if we will simply just set on the calendar, that challenge for young people and it can be very modest. We’ve given a whole chapter with very brief I ideas about how you can set reachable challenges for your your kids. But what that does is, is that then if I’m a youth pastor, for example, and I’ve got a trip coming up to Berkeley, oh, trust me, we’re going to spend eight sessions might take four weeks might take, depending on how often we meet. But we’re going to spend eight sessions that everyone’s going to have to attend if they want to go on that trip. Because those are trainings. Because we know that in the end, you’re going to be in the ring at on the campus of UC Berkeley, or wherever it is. So we’ve tried to do is think outside the box a little bit, because I get it, I can’t see how parents are going to, I can’t take an eight day trip to Berkeley, I get it. If you’re a youth pastor, or a Christian educator, I think you could actually start to angle on that direction. But I get it, you may not be able to that as a parent. So we’ve given you alternatives that I think will be challenging enough that then for the weeks leading up to this thing you’re about to do, it’ll begin to structure your conversations, because you know, you’re getting ready for that event. Look, I think that when I first started to read what Shawn was writing about, that he’s doing in the context of his family growing up in his family, right with his dad, I am always both envious, and regretful envious in the sense that I wish I had that experience. You learn from your parents, if your parents don’t know much, or don’t, don’t even try in this in this category. I didn’t learn much. I’m also regretful that I didn’t become a Christian a lot earlier. And maybe you started earlier with my own kids. So so what we’re trying to do here is to make you sensitive to the approach. And then what you’re going to start to notice is that, oh, there’s an opportunity right there, I never would have seen that opportunity before. But now I’ve read this book. And now I see the opportunity when it swings by and I’m in the car and the radio is playing. And maybe that would have just gone right by I’ve never even seen that as an opportunity for conversation. But now because I’ve become sensitive, I remember, when I was not a Christian things would happen. I would just write it off to accident and coincidence. And then suddenly, I realized, well, there’s more at work here in the universe. And I became sensitive to the working of God, even in my own life. Things didn’t pass by me as quickly anymore. I caught them. That’s what we’re trying to do the book like this just make you so hypersensitive to the opportunities that you won’t have to be that intentional. It’s just gonna pop up. You’re gonna go Oh, yeah, that’s like he talked about in the book. Off you go. So that’s the whole peer of the book like this.
Kurt: Sean, what are some of the other strategic opportunities you guys write about? What are some of the suggestions the principles that you guys advertise here?
Sean: Sure, the way Jim frame that I think is exactly right, that we’re not proposing some new program where you overhaul everything and start over. None of us have time for that. But we’re saying let’s be sensitive, and have our ears perked for the opportunities that arise. So not long ago, my son came to me, he goes, Hey, Dad, some kids are talking about this movie Bohemian Rhapsody. Do you want to you mind if I go see it? And I said, Well, let me look into this a little bit. It’s a story about queen and it has some sexuality in it, my son is 14. So I said, Well, let’s look this up together and read about it, read about it. And it clearly had some ideas contrary to those I want to impart to my kid, but it didn’t feel like it was over the top. It was PG 13. So I said, Tell you what, here’s the deal, take it or leave it, I’ll take you. And a good friend of yours will go see it. If you just promise we’ll come back. And for 20 minutes, we’ll just sit down and talk about it. I don’t want to lecture you. I just want to talk about it with you. What did you see? Where what are things we can learn from it? What do you notice where maybe they had some ideas they’re trying to impart on you? And my son goes, Sure. So bring a friend of his we go to the movie, it was an enjoyable movie clearly had some agenda embedded in there. But it was an interesting, well done movie. I enjoyed it. We came back. And we just sat down 20 or 30 minutes, we talked about it and moved on. Well, that was an opportunity. Some parents would just say what see this movie, I don’t want to support it not give my money that’s bad and write it off. Well, and others would just say sure, go see it and never talk about it with them. I am looking for these opportunities all the time. So another example whenever a story hits within the in the media, I’ll oftentimes I’ll write it down. And I’ll just sit at the dinner table talk to my kids about it. So somewhat recent story with this whole Jussie Smollett saga that happened, where I mean this bizarre story in Chicago. And, you know, because, yeah, there you go. Because it’s such a bizarre story. I knew my kids would kind of be interested in it. And I said, hey, it sure seems like this guy staged and attack. He’s black and he’s gay. Why would he staged an attack? What was he thinking it like my kids aren’t even close to it. But I just started thinking about, hey, in our culture, we have raised up victims. They victimhood is kind of the new hero in our culture. And they didn’t you know, sometimes these conversations don’t work. One time I was talking to my son like two years ago, we’re done. And I kid you not Kurt, he goes, Hey, good speech, dad. Just thought, oh my gosh, but you know what, I’m not going to quit. I’m going to keep going. We spend much more time talking about infinity war and superheroes and gaming two weeks. Endgame, we already have our ticket, you know, we’re set for that. So most of the time is that stuff. But one of the strategies talked about is being intentional. And looking for those opportunities and creating those opportunities. It’s not a lot of work. It’s just a refocusing, and it’s not lecture our kids, it’s engaging them in conversation. relationally.
J. Warner Wallace: And yeah, that is such a good point. I mean, think about this whole idea of John has developed a relationship with his kids through superheroes. And what better and I think sports also do this. They’re like living parables, right spores in which if I had to tell a parable about the sower, I could tell it based on an NBA game, or based on something happening in college basketball, because these are living parables that are occurring right before our eyes, we have a choice whether we tell them as parables, or just let him slip by. And almost every superhero movie capitalizes on this embedded narrative that we have in our DNA, the Savior narrative, it’s in our DNA, because God put it there. And so it comes out best right? In these kinds. I mean, I remember I had these conversations about my son. Why is he a cop? He’s a cop, because he has the embedded suit, embedded superhero narrative, the Savior narrative, he wants to live it. And so that’s what I know what he puts on that uniform every day. He’s been he’s becoming Superman that day. I know it because we’ve had these conversations. So. So I think I kind of doctor does the same thing that David doesn’t Sydney puts on the white coat. He’s living out the Savior narrative that we could be talking about in all of these, but it’s about opportunities. Can you imagine having Sean as your dad, okay. I mean, most of what my kids caught was that they were present. This is another strategy as well. They’re just present when you’re, I kind of feel like, it’s the overflow of who you are that your kids catch, right out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. So So I caught things from my dad, because he was simply excited about those things. And they became a part of our conversations because he was simply excited. It’s not like my dad was thinking about football in a way that he thought I’m gonna pass this excitement on about football to my kids. No, he was just excited about football. So before I know it, I’m refereeing football in college. We’re refereeing high school games together. Why am I doing that? Well, I caught that enthusiasm from him. So a lot of what we’re gonna have to do, I think as parents is just to reprioritize our lives and become enthusiastic about the things that then hopefully will overflow to our kids. Because I’ll tell you what, if you’re enthusiastic about Christian worldview, and why this is true, you’re going to end up having those conversations, those conversations with your kids that John is talking about one last thing before I come off this, I have disappointments, about things I couldn’t have done or should have done in my job. cases I couldn’t solve. I’ve got a couple open cases still. that bugged me. And I’m disappointed about those. And so we can have professional disappointments. But when it comes to family, we were….
Kurt:Well, it seems Jim has frozen out they’re very
J. Warner Wallace: Oh, no, no, if I’m back now with you guys.
Sean: You’re back.
Kurt: We’re back.
J. Warner Wallace: Yeah, sorry,
J. Warner Wallace: I just wanted to say that I think disappointment you can live with it’s much harder to live with regret. Right. So what we want to do here is, is I have I do have regrets. You probably have them too. If you think about things you wish you could have done better your marriage could have done better as a parent could have done better whatever. Well, what we’re trying to do is just to say, Well, I just don’t want to have any regrets about the spiritual life that I paved. For my kids. I don’t want to be the guy that they say, you know, you know, I’m not a Christian because of that guy. I didn’t want to be that guy, right? I wanted to be able to do something. So it was it’s gonna be cathartic to be able to write the things that I hope somebody else will, it’ll prevent them from having a regret in the same area. Right? So so that’s what we’re really trying to do here is if anything, will produce regrets. It’s what you wish you could have done with your own kids. So that’s why it’s an important responsibility for us to write the book.
Kurt: Jim, thank you for sharing that. It’s certainly true. And you guys read about that. There has to be a willingness to sacrifice some of your own priorities in your life if you want to invest in your children, because we realized that is the priority. That’s better, you know, in involving yourself with your kids lives is so much better than just sitting on the couch watching a Netflix show, you know, get involved with the kids and the lives that they’re they’re flourishing and and want them you want them to continue to flourish and participate in that. So I’m a parent of three daughters, so young, still, but I’m still. But you know, even before we started doing this video, I was home and I was reading a book with them. So it’s the small things like that add up, and those are the things that kids so yeah, one last time. Let me mention the book here. So the next generation will know preparing young Christians for a challenging world. It’s on preorder now available, may what’s the day, May 1, may 1. All right. So just a few weeks to go here. Hopefully, endgame will come out first, and then I can. Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us on the program today. God bless you and we will be in touch.
J. Warner Wallace: Thanks for having me. Take care, brother. All right, bye.
Kurt: All right. Well, that does it for our program. Today. I’m grateful for the continued support of our patrons and the partnerships that we have with our sponsors. And they are defenders media, consult Kevin, the sky floor, rethinking Hill, the Illinois Family Institute, Fox restoration, and I’m also pleased to announce that we’re working on a relationship with reasons to believe that we will be solidifying in the next couple of weeks, so very pleased to have their support. I want to thank our guests today, Jay Warner Wallace, and Sean McDowell and I want to encourage you again to check out their book here, we’ll be sure to put a link at our website and we’ve got it there in the live stream as well. And last but not least, I want to thank you for listening in and for striving for truth on faith, politics, and society.
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