Faith That Lasts: A Father and Son on Cultivating Lifelong Belief

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Faith That Lasts: A Father and Son on Cultivating Lifelong Belief


Cameron McAllister and Stuart McAllister


InterVarsity Press

Publication Date:

January 16, 2021




216 pages


As apologists, Stuart and Cameron McAllister frequently meet concerned parents who more or less say “Please fix my kid.” In reality, this assumption that children’s faith can fixed quickly is part of the problem. The McAllisters outline unhealthy beliefs that American Christians have fallen for, such as the assumption that fear creates healthy boundaries or that one can outsource parenting to the experts. After considering why these ideas fall short, the McAllisters consider how to move to something more holistic.

While most of the book explores philosophical ideas, the McAllisters include some “interludes” where they describe their faith journeys. Both forms of content are handled well and arguably the book’s only flaw is readers don’t get enough of either. A book focusing entirely on Cameron McAllister’s spiritual journey (including his experiences as a missionary in Cold War Eastern Europe) would be quite thrilling. A companion book about his son Cameron’s struggles as a Third Culture Kid growing up in America would be equally interesting in its own way. Meanwhile, the philosophical ideas that the McAllisters explore could each be explored in a full-length book. In other words, Faith that Lasts is a book that could easily be a full bookshelf. Instead, the McAllisters give readers a slice of each topic, enough for them to understand and get excited about the ideas.

When it comes to analyzing what so many Christian parents have missed, the McAllisters use their apologetics background in an interesting way. They outline ideas and show the ideas’ poor consequences, a tool that apologists like Os Guinness use routinely. However, the McAllisters affirm that apologetics is just the start: Christian parents must be more than just people who make good arguments. Rather, Christian parents must embody their values, become mentors as well as instructors. In other words, the McAllister use apologetic tools without making apologetics everything. They show apologetics is a good tool but just one tool that Christians must use.

Many of the ideas that the McAllisters critique are ones other Christian writers have considered, but they take different angles. They talk about generational tendencies (helicopter parenting, etc.) which have been discussed in books like You Lost Me on why millennials are giving up on Christianity. They also address general problems with American culture (handing everything over to the experts, etc.) which books in the Amusing Ourselves to Death tradition have dealt with. All these ideas have been addressed by scholars in different specialties; the McAllisters bring them under one roof.

In sharing their personal stories, the McAllisters makes some interesting points about American Christian culture which other writers haven’t said so directly. Stuart McAllister describes how his secular background was hard to overcome, but going from it to ministry work in a secular European context meant that he never saw Christianity as “just something to do.” Cameron McAllister considers how coming from secular European culture to the American Bible Belt exposed him to a form of cultural Christianity he had to reject. Their point is that American Christianity is often cultural, which means many American Christian parents don’t notice problems with their culture or see how that culture creates the problems they’re facing. Other writers have brought up the problem of nominal American Christianity, and a lot has been said about anti-intellectualism in American evangelical culture (see The State of the Evangelical Mind). The McAllisters make these ideas less abstract, put flesh on the ideas by telling their personal stories.

A great discussion about seeking to know God and love him above all else.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

American Christians seeking a view of parenting that avoids easy philosophies and misconceptions.

Christian Impact

The authors delve into a variety of ideas, showing how the key to parenting well is to pursue a life that is not easy but grounded in wisdom and trusting God.

Faith That Lasts: A Father and Son on Cultivating Lifelong Belief

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