“What?… Teach my children unbiblical ideas?”
Inoculate your children against compromise by teaching them the answers
Published: 24 May 2017 (GMT+10)
Previously published in a CMI newsletter, November 2016
I studied in two seminaries. One of these seminaries was very liberal in its theology. While most of my classmates entered this liberal seminary as biblical conservatives, throughout the first year, we were bombarded by one-sided theology from a number of liberal professors who wrongly taught us that the creation account was just a theological parable—one that had no bearing on real history or our faith. One professor even went to great lengths to point out supposed contradictions in the Bible in every single lecture he gave throughout the semester!
Many of my classmates were hearing these liberal theories for the first time, and by the end of the first year, a great majority of these once-conservative students now held to various, and seemingly convincing, liberal views of the Bible. Because they were never exposed to liberal theologies, or taught how to defend their faith, when these students heard these ‘novel’ ideas from their professors, they were “tossed to and fro… and carried about by every wind of doctrine … ” (Ephesians 4:14).
The students who remained conservative in their theology were ones who entered seminary already well-equipped with knowledge of these liberal theologies, and who knew how to counter them. I saw first-hand that in contrast to the earlier group who became liberal, they left the seminary much stronger in their faith, and far sharper in their apologetics.
If this can happen to conservative seminary students in just one year—many of whom were already earmarked for future pastoral and leadership roles in their respective churches—how much more would this hold true for young children who grow up bombarded daily by a culture immersed in evolutionary thinking? Without a defense, they are like defenceless lambs to the proverbial slaughter.
Some parents are afraid that teaching their children unbiblical ideas like evolution or atheistic arguments would cause them to stumble in their faith, but the opposite is true. Our children are going to be exposed to evolution whether we like it or not. It’s not a matter of ‘if’; it’s a matter of ‘when’. Knowing this, one of the best things we can do for our children is to teach them unbiblical ideas, or in short, how the world thinks. Because if we do not, others will provide seeming explanations that might seem more plausible.
Hebrews 5:14 tells us that “solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil”.
- We are commanded to raise up godly children so that they grow up to become spiritually mature Christians.
- Hebrews 5:14 tells us that one of the characteristics of someone who is spiritually mature, is that they are able to discern between good and evil through constant practice.
- Then it follows, that part of biblical parenthood/leadership involves teaching our children about unbiblical ideas and then training them to discern and defend their faith by thinking biblically.
One of the key challenges we face as a ministry is convincing families about the importance of the creation apologetic. Many say that the creation/evolution issue is nothing more than a side issue. They proclaim, “No one is raising these questions at home”—but that is actually the problem! When speaking in churches, it is evident when we ask for a show of hands, that the vast majority of all church-goers have nagging questions about creation and evolution. So, if your children are not asking you questions, that should be a big cause for concern. Chances are, your children have the same questions as everyone else, but they are not getting their answers at home. One of the biggest signs that your children are simply borrowing your faith is that they are not asking you questions! (See The No-Brainer Test). There may be a number of reasons why this is so.
One possible reason might be that they are just uninterested enough to ask questions. Unfortunately, this often means that they are also not equipped to answer the evolutionary objections that will almost certainly come their way. The more likely reason could be that deep inside, like many others in the church, they already assume, because these things are never talked about at church, that there are no answers to their questions. They regard it as pointless to upset or stumble others in the family by asking questions that might appear to contradict the Bible, even if they themselves struggle with belief.
Don’t let our young ones be future ‘Fallout!’ statistics
We often hear the statistics that two-thirds or more of all youths leave the church when they leave their homes for university. Unfortunately, this might give the false impression that these youths begin to doubt the Bible only after enrolling in university. It is more likely though, that most have been having festering doubts for many years, but not wanting to rock the boat, most of them simply borrow the faith of their parents until they leave for university and stop going to church altogether. Last month CMI launched a DVD survey of students on university campuses called Fallout!, and we made these DVDs available to you and your families at the ridiculously low price of 10 for $10. Why? So you could hear first-hand from students themselves—someone’s sons and daughters—as to why they left, or remained in the faith. We did this, in short, to help you and your church. Please spread these far and wide. Contrary to the claims that Creation apologetics is a side issue, our DVD confirms other studies that show while many churches treat faith as mostly an emotional experience, the main reason people leave the church is due to unanswered intellectual questions.1
Sadly, one of the common mantras of our day is “Don’t think, Just believe”. But ponder over that for a second: Is it really possible to believe something you already regard to be a logical contradiction? Is it possible to will oneself into believing that 2+2=5, while at the same time acknowledge that it is wrong? Certainly not. It might be possible for someone to go along with the idea that 2+2=5; but it is not possible for a person to truly believe that 2+2=5 is true when it is clearly wrong.
So why then should we expect our youth or anyone else to believe the Gospel, if in their minds, they think that there are scientific contradictions in the Word of God? For our children to be strongly rooted in the Gospel, they must know that the Bible is first of all, a trustworthy source of truth, and then learn to refute anti-biblical ideas (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:5)
Consider this analogy:
Imagine two students sitting for an examination. Which student would score higher?
- The student who simply sits for his examination;
- Or the student who anticipates the kind of questions his examiners would give him, and then trains himself to answer those very questions before the exam?
All things being equal, the second student will generally do better. In the same way, when we teach our children about unbiblical ideas and then teach them to defend their faith, it is not unlike the second student who trains himself to excel in his studies. It will make a profound difference in the spiritual life of our children. By teaching our children to defend their faith and to interpret the world around them through the biblical lens, we are teaching them to obey the greatest commandment in the Bible: to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (cf. Matthew 22:36-38)
Here are some practical ways to train your children:
- Deliberately highlight unbiblical thinking in the media. For example, while watching a science fiction movie on aliens, point out to your children that the underlying premise of the movie assumes that if life has evolved on Earth, it must have also evolved on other planets. Then lead your children to biblical resources on why this is not possible. (See Did God create life on other planets? for example). Teach them to discern underlying biblical and anti-biblical principles in the culture around us.
- Teach them to understand why the ultimate authority is always the Word of God rather than ever-changing scientific models. Teach them the difference between experimental science and historical science; the role of presuppositions—that creationists and evolutionists share the same facts, but due to our differing worldviews, we interpret the facts differently. For example, show them a fossil and then ask them how long it took for that fossil to form. Show them how an evolutionary worldview would interpret the fossil as evidence for millions of years; and then show them how a biblical creationist would view this same fossil as evidence for rapid burial, a few thousand years ago, through Noah’s flood. In short, explain why the facts make more sense with the biblical account.
- Accompany your children to the local zoo or science centre and expose them to evolutionary ideas, and then provide the biblical view.
- Don’t wait for your children to ask questions. Parents should raise questions about the Christian faith, challenge their children to think, and then provide biblical answers to those questions.
References and notes
- Nazworth, N., Young Christians spiritually failing in real world because youth groups depend too much on emotional high, Christian Post, 14 April 2015. Return to text.
Great article, I grew up in a conservative Christian home but never got these controversial questions answered as a young person. I discovered various YEC ministries as an adult, along with Christian Apologetics. If I would have been exposed to the science of YEC, in the way CMI presents it, any controversy would have been expelled from my thinking years ago.It's tragic that so many Christian academics have compromised the clear, unambiguous truths contained in Gen1--11. My Christian walk has been immensely enhanced as a result of CMI, AIG,, and even ID ministries. Every parent / grandparent should educate / reeducate themselves in order to teach the future generation to defend their Christian faith, including Biblical Creation. Unfortunately, many persons in my (grandparent) generation were never exposed to such clear, concise Biblical teaching during their formative years. Bible teaching / preaching was more geared to the "just believe it and come to Jesus" system and less to the "why should I believe it and come to Jesus" system. Although I never doubted the truth of the Gospel, it would have been so much more meaningful had I been engaged more on an intellectual level, even as a kid. Thank you CMI for all your hard work, books, and research. I've been reading, following your wonderful ministry now for over a decade.
It makes sense. In business, it is good to know what your competitors are doing.
The Gospel would have no effect if I did not comprehend the full of sin life I lived prior to salvation. All of my friends and family are also in this world of sin. My children that God has blessed us with, have to grow up in this world and we refuse to have them live in ignorance of sin, or it's consequences. Especially when sin is in every facet of life including, friendships, relationships, politics, even those with authority. How can one teach/show God-given, Joy, if one does not compare it to the God-absence, sin. One cannot share the future without sin (true Joy) with other sinners if one does not recognise the saving grace of salvation through Jesus Christ on the cross to pay for sin. Jesus did not come to save the righteous but the sinners. Praise God for sending his Son.
"I studied in two seminaries. One of these seminaries was very liberal in its theology..."
Jonathan Sarfati, who is an author in five of the books in your reply to Doug L. ...that one with five books refuting the teachings of evolution... often pronounces a certain phrase "theological cemetaries". He did this a lot in 2011 at the Super Conference in Muskoka Bible Centre and I hope he does it again this year.
Excellent article on just why ;)
I am a YEC thinker and would like to see a creation model. I've read several of your excellent daily articles, but do not see how things fit the big picture. For example, I read the nice update about Homo Naledi and assume this is a post-flood creature. The evolutionists make a good case for it being an extinct human. Yet, I'm not sure how does it fit creationist views. If the bones are post-flood human, at what time did it live? What evidence do creation scientists have for a post-flood human? How are they different from an ancient human? I read religious or non-evolutionary criticism of evolution, but do not have an alternative creation model to go to. Isn't this similar to what creationists experienced in the 1800s with uniformitarianism and Darwinism? How can one explain creation science thinking when there is no model of what happened? I do not know if there is creation science in academia. Where it exists is on websites. While that's fine, it isn't enough to be accepted as science in academia. The Bible is not a science book, but if science backs it up, then the science should be explained in academia. I'm not in the physical sciences nor social sciences, but am a computer scientist. I went to liberal UC Berkeley and learned evolution from their sponsored evolution.berkeley.edu website. I am familiar with their famous evolutionist staff. I once believed in evolution, but thought there were holes. Then I found creation science and the Bible, but have reached a point where there are more questions about creation than evolution. Is this all creation science is? I'll still believe in God and the Bible, but will have to wait until creation science "evolves" within the species.
We have many scientific models on various aspects on science. Perhaps, some familiarity with our publications would be helpful here, but that is where the search engine might be your best friend. We have various scientific models from biology, to cosmology, anthropology, geology, etc.
On the geological aspect, this is an example of a useful model on the flood boundary. Bone of contention will also provide a good overview of how the major human and ape fossils fit together in the big picture. It also analyzes in detail the major human and ape fossils. As for how we know Homo naledi is post-flood, since it is found in a cave, it is likely post-flood. Dr. Emil Silvestru's lecture: Geology & Cave Formations: A Post-Flood Story, also explains how the Genesis account of a recent worldwide flood explains most cave formations. His research smashes the alternative view that caves took millions of years to form.
So we do have many different scientific models. And if you are interested in many of the more technical aspects, we also have technical publications including the highly regarded, Journal of Creation. One of the goals of this journal is not only to present in-depth research from many experts in their fields, but to also "to publish papers that promote the development of rigorously logical biblically-consistent models in various areas."
Many creation scientists do in fact do active research and do publish in science academia—many of them well known researchers and professors in their various fields at universities all around the world. I myself have majored in evolutionary biology and have actually found the material published by Creation Ministries International to be more than adequate in answering the objections to the Bible at the college level.
Please do not take this the wrong way, but the questions you are asking are questions that are easy to answer if one is already well-versed with our publications and various scientific models. I would encourage you to become more familiar with the various creationist publications we produce, especially those written at a more technical level.
The difference between education and indoctrination is the difference between free choice and making up your own mind and being steered by propaganda, peer pressure, so called 'professional' lies and deception is opposite.
You should go to school to learn to think for yourself, consider all factors, and decide for yourself. The socialist liberals following the New World Order agenda are either deceived or deceivers. Either way their 'education' is agenda driven vs a quest for truth. Peer pressure, bad grades, intimidation, and attacks of various sorts (especially mentally) is how they achieve their end. Want a good grade, agree with me. Think the Bible is right, I will prove it wrong, even if I lie and eliminate truth so the vacuum is following our agenda or belief system. I never among Christians that I would call Christian have run into the lot of some of these 'educators' dead set on indoctrination and destruction of Biblical beliefs.. MOST educators I applaud but when reasoning goes out the door and intimidation and threats follow a disagreement -- THEIR OPEN MINDEDNESS is CLOSED AS IT CAN BE.
In response to Mike A.'s question about the age to start teaching, I agree with Joel that there is such a thing as "too young", and the age to start teaching is as soon as they encounter it. When my children were watching "Playschool" (Australian TV show aimed at children under 4), the first time we heard the clapping rhyme "Long ago... there weren't any people, there weren't any roads... but there were - Dinosaurs", I immediately told them "That's wrong! The Bible says God made all land animals, including dinosaurs, on Day 6, and He made people on Day 6, so people lived with dinosaurs." It only took 2 or 3 times for them to be telling me "That's wrong..." every time they heard that rhyme. Similarly, we often played games of "Who made that?" and concluded that all natural things (trees, animals etc) God made, and for man-made things, "God made people clever, so they were able to make (object) from the things that God made." I also copped flack from other church-goers when I taught memory verses that "the children won't understand" but I believe children understand far more than we give them credit for, and things learnt early in life are far more likely to stick with them.
Terrific article! Thanks for speaking up Joel. The only thing I'd like to add is that creation writers and researchers need to do the same. What I mean is that all too often (most of the time as a matter of fact) articles only present the case from the YEC side of the issue.
I want to know the BEST arguments the evolutionists, or old earth, or theistic evolutionist has to offer in response. It's never there. At best there's only a mention of what the other side says. I'd like to see an emphasis on publishing their arguments, whether we have good answers or not. When we don't have good answers we should say so. The worst thing we can do is be blindsided by arguments we did not anticipate.
I wish that every time CMI or AIG, or ICR published a scientific article that they would have a portion of it detailing arguments that are brought against our perspective AND our responses to those arguments.
Thanks for encouraging note.
However, I would disagree with your statement that we do not teach evolutionary responses to those questions. We often publish feedback articles every week from evolutionists who have written in to us and respond with a point-by-point refutation for our readers—so that our readers can see for themselves not only what evolutionists teach, but how the bible explains the evidence better.
Also consider these resources:
1. Evolution Achilles' Heels (DVD and Book) presents how the pillars in evolutionary thinking in the area of natural selection, genetics, the origin of life, the fossil record, the geologic column, radiometric dating, cosmology, and ethical implications.
Then it turns around to show how these very pillars turn out to be some of the biggest problems for evolution.
2. Refuting Evolution. This book was written specifically as a response to the Nation Academy of Sciences' 'Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science', which was designed to persuade and assist teachers to present the theory as fact and counter anti-evolutionist students.
The Book goes through what 'Teaching about Evolution' teaches and then does a through refutation of that material. Refuting Evolution teaches students what they will learn at the high-school or college level about evolution and then teach them how to answer those objections.
3. Refuting Evolution 2. This book was written specifically to refute PBS television and Scientific American. You will read world-leading evolutionists in their own words, and then find a refutation of these evolutionary teachings.
4. The Greatest Hoax on Earth. This book was written as a detailed point by point refutation of Richard Dawkins' book, 'The Greatest Show on Earth'.
5. Refuting Compromise. This book was written as a Refutation of Hugh Ross' teaching. The book explain what Hugh Ross teaches and then demolish those claims.
In each of these publications, we not only show what leading evolutionists teach, but we also provide a refutation of those ideas. I could go on and go and list far more books that present not only evolutionary arguments but also how to refute them, but I think you get the point. For these reasons, I cannot agree with the suggestion that we do not teach what evolutionists teach. Even when I was a college student doing a degree in Evolutionary Biology a number of years ago, it was precisely because CMI's materials was so effective in teaching me ahead of time what evolutionists teach and how to demolish those very arguments, that my faith was inoculated from the evolutionary brainwashing that was so prevalent in college. I would encourage you to familiarize yourself more thoroughly with our publications and literature.
Excellent article! It very disturbing that most pastors will not offer any sermons or classes or teaching of any kind on apologetics and creationism. However, it is ultimately the individual's responsibility to study to show himself approved. I have learned much more outside the church on my own that in church. There are so many resources available to us today, from CD's, DVD's Books, free articles and videos on the web, and Creation lending libraries by mail! Thank you for the great resources you provide, often for FREE!
I've taught Creation/Evolution for decades in schools and Sunday school using this website's articles. Sadly there has not been much support from church leadership. Most members seem to think that creation a side issue. But young people are crying out for scientific answers to Evolution. Keep it simple. I sometimes start off by asking, "Can a dog and a cat have babies? Can a sheep and a cow have babies? Can an elephant and a giraffe have babies?" Then I go on to show that God created creatures after their own kinds; and we are Mankind. Evolution says one Kind turned into another Kind by adding eyes, legs, lungs and so on. I ask if they can add a third eye at the back of their heads just by thinking about it. For older ones this leads into Information and DNA which they learn in High school. They have to see that there are two possibilities of how everything got here and that the Creation model makes more sense.
It seems an eminently sensible and logical thing to do to teach both evolution and biblical creation to our children. In what better way can the foolishness of evolution be revealed? The darkness of evolution theory can only be sustained as long as the light of God's account of His creation does not shine upon it.
Surely one of the greatest weaknesses of the evolutionary argument lies in its proponents' determination to avoid any contrary opinion to the point of having any and all opposition banned in all academic institutions. Now THAT is indoctrination.
We should all, evolutionists and creationists alike, be prepared to have our beliefs examined and questioned. We should also be prepared and equipped to defend our beliefs. Thank you CMI for giving us the tools.
In all the years I been in churches most pastors shy away from any type of Apologetics. It is the key, I believe to converting or bringing people back. If we can't explain scientific facts and relate them to the Bible, we will lose more. I firmly believe also that if Genesis is comprised from what God said, it makes it easier to comprise other parts of the Bible.
Keep up the great work! I have much more apologetics to learn in my life.
Thank you so much for this article!
This is something that I have talked over many times with friends and family. I try my best to help my children understand that there is a worldview that stands in contrast with our own and that is the worldview from which most media and most of their teachers will be coming from.
I have used many examples from your website to show my children how evidence can be interpreted in more than one way.
However, many of my friends argue that exposing my children to evolutionary ideas will be detrimental in the long run, so I appreciate hearing your input on this important issue.
I do have one question though. Is there an average age that it is inappropriate to start teaching other perspectives? I have started relatively young, around seven years old with my own children, but have been reprimanded at church for teaching evolution versus creation in Sunday school to thirteen year olds.
Thank you for your positive comments.
I do not believe there is such a thing as "too young" as long as your children can understand what they are being taught. Children are constantly bombarded by evolutionary thinking from an early age. Children books, toys and even TV programs are often based on an evolutionary framework. For example, one might think that watching cartoons like "The Land Before Time", or "Pokemon" are harmless, but these cartoons are built upon an underlying worldview that assumes evolution and the idea of millions of years. So our children are being bombarded from an early age whether we realize it or not.
One of the worst things we can do is to avoid teaching them until they are much older. Remember, the goal is to equip them ahead of time so that they will not be swayed by the evolutionary teaching that will certainly comes their way; that would be far better than doing damage control after they have already been brainwashed by evolutionary thinking.
Evolutionary teaching is a main reason why 2 in 3 church-going youths leave the faith when they leave for college. Many of these youth have already rejected the Bible long before getting to college but their apostasy only manifests itself when they move to college. For example, a few months ago, a Christian educator was telling me that in his school, children are officially introduced to evolution from 4th grade! We need to be equipping them much younger than that.
We are not teaching evolution for the sake of teaching evolution. Teaching of evolution should always be accompanied by Biblical teaching so that they know not only what evolution teaches, but why it is wrong, and why the Bible can be trusted. When we do that, there is no reason why there would be an age that is "too young". Sometimes, all it takes is to bring a child to a zoo, then point out why the sign teaching millions of years is wrong. Teaching them to detect faulty evolutionary teaching is one of the best way to inoculate them from evolutionary brainwashing.