Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies
By Hillary Morgan Ferrer with Julie Loos, Hillary Short, Teasi Cannon, Rebekah Valerius, Cathryn Buse, and Alisa Childers
When I lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area years ago and was a member of The Village Church, my pastor, Matt Chandler, would often refer to the importance of studying apologetics as a follower of Christ. I’ll be honest – I had no idea what apologetics were nor did I know what I had to apologize for.
Flash-forward 7 years, give or take, and scales started to fall off of my eyes while I was reading Fearless Parenting. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how highly I’ve spoken of this book. (Resilient and So The Next Generation Will Know are other parenting books I have found valuable). Fearless Parenting opened my eyes to the raw reality of the dangerous world my kids are growing up in. It changed my parenting perspective for the better while reemphasizing (to me) the importance of apologetics in raising counter-cultural image bearers in a secular, culture-driven world. I finally took the wisdom that was given to me nearly a decade prior and promptly purchased a dozen different books geared towards apologetics.
I’ve read a lot of apologetics books since then but none of them, NONE, have impacted me more than Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies by Hillary Morgan Ferrer (with contributing authors Julie Loos, Hillary Short, Teasi Cannon, Rebekah Valerius, Cathryn Buse, and Alisa Childers).
There are a few things that set Mama Bear Apologetics apart from other apologetics books:
- It is written specifically to moms (though, dads, grandparents, caregivers, teachers, youth pastors, etc. can also benefit from this book)
- It is more foundational than historical or scientific. It doesn’t examine historical facts that support Jesus Christ as the Messiah nor does it answer commonly-asked-questions about why Christians believe what they believe or how science and God work hand-and-hand. There are other books for that.
Instead, Mama Bear Apologetics is THE BOOK Christian moms have been seeking for help on discipling children who will live out truth without sacrificing what is true (i.e. absolute truth = God’s Word, scripture, Holy Bible).
The foreword is written by Nancy Pearcey – her endorsement ensured me this book would pack a powerful punch. (If you don’t know who Nancy Pearcey is, I highly recommend her book, Love Thy Body. Click here for my 2018 review of it. As well, she has a fascinating testimony that gives her big street cred, IMO).
Mama Bear Apologetics is strategically divided into two different parts – the first part addresses the “why” of apologetics and the latter part tackles the “what” and “how.”
The front half of the book focuses on the rallying cry all moms can relate to: “Mess with my kids and you’ll mess with me!” It’s so true, right? As soon as a woman becomes a mom (whether by birth, adoption, or other), this innate “mama bear” instinct takes over – 1) nurture and 2) protect. If you desire for your children to adapt a biblical worldview (nurture instinct), then simply bringing them to church on Sundays or enrolling them in a faith-based school is not going to cut it. What used to work for us (as children growing up in the 80s and 90s) will not work for our kids (see Resilient and Faith for Exiles for support of this). And actually, did it really work with us in the first place? The statistics of Millennials leaving the church and Gen Z youth growing up with little to no faith-foundation is terrifying (Barna has done extensive research on this). Yet, it makes perfect sense when you compare our faith-dwindling country to the loud majority of fear-filled, furious and feuding individuals wrecking-havoc and inciting control of our nation today.
Mama Bear Apologetics understands the urgent need for change and its solution begins with faith and family. At the same time, Mama Bear Apologetics knows that culture isn’t going anywhere and its influence is only going to grow stronger as the years progress. This is why Mama Bear Apologetics has developed the ROAR method for parents to practically teach their children how to live in the world and not of the world.
ROAR is an acronym for:
R = Recognize the message
O = Offer discernment (affirming the good, rejecting the bad)
A = Argue for a healthier approach (applying biblical truth)
R = Reinforce through discussion, discipleship and prayer
Additionally, the first part of this book includes Mama Bear Apologetics signature “technique” for discerning all sorts of secular messaging that is toxic for the soul – the refined art of the “chew and spit” method. Can I just say, I love this concept so much!
The gist of it is to “chew” on all types of content ingested and discern what is good and Godly (“swallow”) from what is wrong and worldly (“spit”). Mama Bear Apologetics argues that there isn’t any 100% right or wrong, good or bad, content available because even “Christian” influences can have flaws (ahem, original sin) and even Rated “R” movies can contain positive takeaways (such as drug addiction displaying its negative effects and repercussions). Telling kids that certain TV shows and musical artists are good or bad (i.e. restricting some and permitting others) will give kids the impression that they can categorize the content they are consuming and can operate on auto-pilot without diving deeper into the greater themes, motives or messages communicated. I actually have been doing this over the last five years or so and friend, it is game-changing! Some of my favorite movies I’ve (unintentionally) used this method on have been the Trolls movies, the Descendants trilogy, and The Greatest Showman.
The last component of the first part of Mama Bear Apologetics is one that I found absolutely enthralling. It is titled, “Linguistic Theft.” O.M.G. It focuses on the many cultural buzzwords that have infiltrated our lives in recent years and refers to culture “purposefully hijacking words, changing their definitions, and then using those same words as tools of propaganda” (pg. 63, chapter 4). Yeah. I know you know what I’m talking about. Ferrer is not afraid to call out lies and she does just that in this chapter on linguistic theft as well as throughout the entire book.
That brings me to the second section. The second part of Mama Bear Apologetics is just as action-packed and exploding with truth bombs in every chapter.
Part Two, get ready for it, packages the biggest lies culture is feeding kids today by wrapping them individually together with their corresponding “ism.”
- Moral Relativism
- New Spirituality
- Progressive Christianity
Yaaasss!!!! Let’s get real, mama friend! (Sorry, I just love kicking culture straight in the face!)
Each chapter in this section is dedicated to one of these “isms” and includes a brief history of what each “ism” is, how it gained traction, and what is looks like in today’s society. To further empower mothers to seek absolute truth, each chapter applies the ROAR acronym to each “ism” while also calling out lies for what they are (that is, lies), and concludes with a PAWS for prayer section (which is really like a pause to put everything into perspective; pointing everything back to the Almighty). And all the mama bears said, “AMEN.” (Not to be mistaken for the untheological, “AWOMAN.”)
Part One of Mama Bear Apologetics was fiery and had me all hyped up, which I believe was the author’s intent to prepare the mama bear reading to absorb the life-changing content included in Part Two. ALL OF IT WAS VALUABLE! [Insert: framing hands emoji] Honestly, you guys, this book is a MUST READ!
Mama Bear Apologetics is a great starting-place for a mom (dad, caregiver, grandparent) who is not familiar with apologetics. It will encourage you to consider your personal faith foundation and worldview while equipping you to confront culture, combat its nonsense and take back control of your child’s adolescence and innocence. Additionally, there is a Mama Bear Apologetics Study Guide available if you are seeking to dive a bit deeper into the book’s many topics.
I learned so much in this book, mainly about the “isms” which are seen in every corner of life, but also practical wisdom for parental challenges. Mama Bear Apologetics is a fresh take on apologetics that fanned a flame within my mama bear soul. Likewise, I was completely enamored with Ferrer’s personality and writing style – she comes across as very real, relatable, and comical. She speaks like a sister or a close mom-friend who is friendly and compassionate but not afraid to tell it like it is. I admire that and respect her witness of what it looks like to biblically speak the truth in love. All and all, I loved this book and couldn’t get enough of it!
I was not familiar with the general editor, Hillary Morgan Ferrer, nor her ministry, Mama Bear Apologetics, prior to reading this book. You guys – this girl knows her stuff and her ministry is like nothing I’ve ever encountered before. Ferrer has a master’s in biology and specializes in scientific apologetics, dealing with doubt, and identifying causes for youth leaving the church. She contributes her passion, knowledge and expertise to her Mama Bear Apologetics organization.
I highly recommend visiting https://mamabearapologetics.com (actually, you should have it bookmarked on your browser – seriously!) and indulging in the plethora of resources available. The site contains SO MANY blog posts you can benefit from, including topics such as how to teach your kids to spot empty statements, how to talk to Jehovah’s witnesses, how to talk to your kids about sex, how to recognize the increasingly popular Wicca movement, what went wrong with purity culture, how to discuss gender identity, and SO MUCH MORE.
There is also a newish Mama Bear Apologetics podcast that is so relatable and inspiring. The podcast is also shown on YouTube, for those who prefer watching a video rather than listening. It is packed with biblical truth as well as parenting wisdom and insight on how to tackle culture-driven questions, circumstances, and other tough things that come with raising Christians in an anti-Christian world.
*I personally purchased this book. The thoughts and opinions are my very own.