Thursday Book Club: Why Christian Kids Rebel

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Why Christian Kids Rebel by Tim Kimmel, (Thomas Nelson, 2004), 251 pages. When I bought this book almost 2 years ago (at the last Children Desiring God Conference ... where I met Jared for the first time), I thought I knew what I was getting--more law and discipline.  The more I read, the more I came to understand how wrong I was.  Let me explain.

Just like the title proclaims, this book sets out to answer the question of why kids rebel.  The fact they do isnʼt the problem. Why is the bigger, deeper question. The conclusion the author comes to shouldnʼt be as surprising as it is. He ends chapter 2 with 8 reasons kids rebel. They all point back, in some way, to the way parents are presenting Christ to them. Kimmel then spends chapters 5 through 9 looking at how the faith of mom and dad effect their kids. By chapters 10 & 11, Kimmel explains that parents should desire to live out such a grace filled, deep, authentic, fearless, life changing kind of faith in front of their kids that they will have no reason to rebel. Dr. Kimmel ends his book with hope and mercy that inspire parents make the necessary changes in their own lives for the benefit of their kids.

What I liked In a phrase, “all of it!” There wasnʼt a section of the book (as my twitter account can attest) that I didnʼt learn something from. Kimmelʼs view into the Christian community and the parents that make it up, even the most well intentioned ones, were insightful.  His views of classic Christian parenting techniques (chapters 5 through 9), and the pitfalls they create that lead to rebellion were right on.

What I disliked This may be a bit critical on my part but I wanted to see the author develop more fully his #7 reason Christian kids rebel: “... because it is an essential part of their spiritual pilgrimage.” This point more than any other, has stuck out to me and kept me thinking about this topic. I agree with Kimmel, but would love to have read more of his thoughts on the subject.  He spends some time in chapter 2 (almost 2 whole pages) and a little more near the end, but it left me wanting more. Maybe thatʼs not such a bad thing after all.


This is a great book, and the fact that the author / publisher added study questions at the end of each chapter adds to the value. It is perfectly set up to be used in a small group / study group format.  This is a great resource on the topic that I would highly recommend for all parents, no matter the age of your kids.