I usually get a very strange look when I tell people that I teach high school theology and apologetics. I normally get something like, “You teach that to high school students?” I firmly believe that all high school students should be exposed to apologetics. In fact, why not start in Jr. high? Students can handle so much more than we often give them. Many Christian students graduating high school still don’t know why Christianity is true. When asked why they are a Christian the most common response is, “Because I grew up in a Christian family.” We shouldn’t be treating them like children anymore. They can handle theology, apologetics, and philosophy, and I think they really want it!
C. S. Lewis said it well in Mere Christianity on page 153.
“Everyone has warned me not to tell you what I am going to tell you in this last book. They all say ‘the ordinary reader does not want Theology; give him plain practical religion’. I have rejected their advice. I do not think the ordinary reader is such a fool. Theology means ‘the science of God’, and I think any man who wants to think about God at all would like to have the clearest and most accurate ideas about Him which are available. You are not children: why should you be treated like children?”
So, in my high school theology class, I decided to take a week and cover the evidence for the resurrection. We spent time looking at the naturalistic and supernatural theories, the historical evidence, and then evaluated the theories based on the evidence. After I got done with the week-long discussion I had my students write a response to how they liked this approach to the resurrection, and as you will see, it wasn’t too much for them to handle and many loved it. Here are just twelve. I could have included so many more.
“I would say its a lot better than how it’s normally explained. It isn’t just like a Sunday school answer anymore. Now it’s actually looking at history . . . I would say now I believe in it more because I actually know evidence and it’s not going off of blind faith.”
“Based on all the evidence . . . it’s hard to say the resurrection didn’t happen.”
“I think this approach to the resurrection gave me a new explanation towards the resurrection. Comparing with the explanation of ‘the Bible says so, so believe it.’ I think this explanation is more reliable, and it is easier for the non-believers to understand the resurrection through this logical explanation. Because even if I am not a Christian but I have common sense, I am able to see what is right and what is not.”
“This lecture on the resurrection really opened my eyes to why the Christian belief of Jesus rising from the grave is the true event.”
“I have never had this kind of approach about the resurrection. It was interesting and gave me more knowledge about Christianity.”
“This approach to the resurrection gives us a chance to be more open-minded and consider why other explanations don’t make sense. I think it really convinced me and it makes a lot of strong conclusions.”
“This approach presents a very sound reasoning to the resurrection using everything we learned the whole year to this conclusion. Although it took some time, I think it is worth it.”
“Very systematic and helpful for why we understand and believe the resurrection.”
“On this approach it sets up a few new paths for thought on the resurrection, as I have always been told to believe it without any reason.”
“I thought that this approach was an excellent way to prove and explain the resurrection, especially for those who don’t believe in God. I have always been a believer in the resurrection, but this approach gives me more of an understanding and evidence that the resurrection is true.”
“I think this approach on the resurrection makes it easier to understand and makes it seem more likely to have happened. It shows how the resurrection is more than just a story.”
“I have never looked at the resurrection in this way. I have only seen this as a theory that Jesus rose from the dead. I though the only objection was that the disciples stole the body; knowing that there are other objections reminds me to always have an answer for the hope and beliefs that I hold.”
When I decided to start a series on the case for the resurrection, I knew it would be important to begin with how my students responded. As you can see, these responses from both Christian and non-Christian students were very positive. If you are a teacher or pastor, I hope their responses will encourage you to take this approach with your students. Starting next week, I will begin posting a step by step look at the historical evidence in order to make a case that Jesus really did rise from the dead.