I’ve been looking for an up-to-date Christian apologetics book written for middle school and early high school. When I came across a 2005 publication by bestselling and highly acclaimed Christian author Eric Metaxas, my hopes were high. Unfortunately, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (but were afraid to ask), is a mixed bag for me. For “free-will” theologians in the Arminian or semi-pelagian traditions, this is probably THE book to fit the 12-15 age range. But for those of us who are in the Calvinistic or Reformed traditions, there is enough problematic material that prevents me to pass this on to my church youth. It turns out the “free-will” position is fundamental to answering such questions as “Why Would a Loving God Allow Suffering?” (chapter 2), “Does God Really Know Everything?” (chapter 3), and “Does Hell Really Exist?” (chapter 11). That is too bad from my perspective since there is much to commend in Metaxas’ book.
EYAWTKAGBWATA (that’s probably the longest book abbreviation in 100 years!) is not your typical Christian FAQ. It is written in an irreverent, humorous, yet engaging style in the form of a dialogue between the author and him imaginary interrogator. Thus it makes the content way more digestible compared to the common essay format for this genre. The author relies on an eclectic group of sources to piece together his defense of the Christian faith. In the Appendix of Recommended Reading, he points us to the likes of Josh McDowell, John Stott, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and Thomas Howard for standard apologetics. For the subjects of science and faith, he lists Hugh Ross and Gerald Schroeder, Sir John Polkinghorne, Michael Behe, Phillip Johnson, and William Dembski. For worldview reading, he plugs Nancy Pearcy, Charles Colson, and Os Guinness. I also recall him saying somewhere in the book that Peter Kreeft (who is a Roman Catholic) is the go-to-guy for finding good answers to the questions people ask about Christianity and the Bible.
I appreciate that Metaxas is engaging the new questions that the current generation is asking about God. You would be hard pressed to find books just a generation ago who touched the topics of homosexuality, the paranormal and life on other planets, the narrative of Adam and Eve, or religious fanaticism. EYAWTKAGBWATA (let’s just call it Everything About God—EAG) deals with all these and more. The youth in our church (especially the middle schoolers) have been unashamedly asking mostly the same questions that EAG tackles since we incorporated “apologetics” into the youth group curriculum. Turns out that our church kids didn’t have a forum before to ask these kinds of questions, and now that they do, they’ve come alive to talking about their faith. It’s convinced me that youth are hungry for answers to their generation’s questions, and that middle school is not too early to provide a safe forum for dialogue and expressing sincere questions. Metaxas knows this. And that is why EAG is a valuable resource for youth leaders as they prepare to answer questions that we might not have asked when we were 12.
Here are some book reviews of EAG at Good Reads.
Here is a video interview with Eric Metaxas about EAG.