Creation apologetics in youth ministry1

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Published: 2 February 2016 (GMT+10)

Our youth are under attack!

A fierce battle is being waged for the hearts and minds of our young people. Christian youth are being assaulted on every front by worldviews and beliefs that challenge the very foundations of their faith. From the science classroom to the entertainment industry, they are being force-fed a steady diet of secularism and evolutionary propaganda. This narrative is so pervasive in our culture that it has essentially been protected by a wall of political correctness which stifles reasoned debate under the guise of tolerance’.

Are we equipping our youth for this battle?

A robust Christian faith should be able to provide answers to challenging questions that arise from competing worldviews. We must take seriously the … responsibility of the older generation to pass on the knowledge of God to the younger generation.

This is a question that we all have to ask ourselves, especially parents and youth leaders. Or are we sending them out unprepared? We cannot shy away from hard questions. On the contrary, a robust Christian faith should be able to provide answers to challenging questions that arise from competing worldviews. We must take seriously the apologetic mandate found in verses like 1 Peter 3:15. The Bible is equally clear on the responsibility of the older generation to pass on the knowledge of God to the younger generation (Deuteronomy 6:6–7, Psalm 78:5–7.). When Joshua entered the Promised Land he was told to make sure that the book of the Law did not depart from his mouth, to meditate on it and obey all that was written. Only then would he have success (Joshua 1:8). Yet, tragically, by the time we get to the book of Judges, Joshua and his generation have passed away: “there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, or the work that He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10). This failure to pass on the knowledge of God to the younger generation led to the moral decline we see in Judges when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). This closely parallels the situation of our day in which man’s opinions have replaced the authority of Scripture.

So what message are we sending to our young people about the authority of the Bible?

We see the battle for hearts and minds being fought on many fronts, in the classroom, in the media, and in the courts. We exert our resources fighting the fruits of secularism, yet we often see little fruit. Why is this? It is because these are only symptoms of the problem and not the cause. The real battle is taking place elsewhere! It is an all-out attack on the authority of the Word of God. If we allow this to be set aside in one area, this will undermine our entire foundation. We must understand this as we seek to equip and train our youth to stand strong in this culture.

Although the entire Bible is the subject of attack, probably the fiercest battle is being fought over the historicity of Genesis chapters 1 to 11. Unfortunately, this battle is being waged on two fronts; not only the clash with the secular culture but also the compromise from segments of the Church. Did God really create in six days? Is death really a result of the Fall? Was there really a global Flood? All these questions and many others are being asked by the culture and are a challenge to our young people, and all too often the Church has no adequate answers. Sadly, many apologists and theologians have considered these issues to be divisive, secondary issues that only hinder the mission of the Church. As such, they do not see the problem of accepting the evolutionary idea of billions of years and merging it with the Bible. Many are seemingly unaware of the inconsistency this creates with the biblical record and the bad example it gives to our youth.

Is their faith being undermined or strengthened?

If a leader tells the youth to trust in Jesus and that His Word is true but also says it is fine to believe in millions of years, a local flood, and death before the fall, that person has actually undermined the very words of the One he is telling them to believe in.

This is a massive problem. The culture screams at them, “The earth is billions of years old, and we evolved over millions of years!”, and the Church whispers back at them, “Don’t worry about that, it’s too divisive, just have faith in Jesus!” So what happens when they study the New Testament and see that Jesus clearly taught that humans have been around “from the beginning of creation” (Mark 10:6)? Surely this phrase only makes sense if Jesus is referencing Day Six of creation week; but evaporates into meaninglessness if a 4.5 billion year old earth is true.

Jesus believed in a historical Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4), Noah’s Ark and the global Flood (Luke 17:26–27), and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 10:15). Very evidently He considered the early chapters of Genesis to be historically accurate. You see, if a leader tells them to trust in Jesus and that His Word is true (John 17:17), but then also says it is fine to believe in millions of years, a local flood, and death before the fall, that person has actually undermined the very words of the One he is telling them to believe in. This inconsistency shows that such a leader does not really believe that the truthfulness and authority of the Bible extends to the early chapters of Genesis.

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For our younger generation, this inconsistency is only one small step away from questioning the veracity of the words of Jesus himself. “If Jesus was wrong about Noah’s Ark and the Flood, what else was He wrong about?” they ask. At this point, biblical authority is so undermined that other areas of the Bible, which the culture does not agree with, become suspect too.

If we want to help our youth stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:10–11), we need to do all in our power to make sure we pass on the message of biblical authority, and this has to begin with the very first verse!

References and notes

  1. This article first appeared in CMI-UK/Europe’s Prayer News, October 2015. Return to text

Readers’ comments

Stephen K.
As an egg on a griddle is heated and cooked by contact with the griddle, so society is supported and and kept "warm" and alive by faith in God. Secularism is like a thin spatula, slowly worked under the very edge of the egg, and finally entirely separating it from the griddle. The egg can then be removed without disturbing it. Most people in the society were not aware when the thin edge of the spatula began to separate society from faith in God and the Bible 200 years ago. It affected those far from the heart of the church first, but later began to detach even the visible church from faith in God's word. Now society at large has been detached and has been cooling for over a century. And still American Christians continue blithely sending their children to public schools where an alien faith is instilled, almost unaware of what has happened because it was done slowly, by degrees.
Philip Bell
Indeed, there has been a demise of the public schools in the USA, as elsewhere, as evolutionary philosophy has become more entrenched. CMI provides good resources to help bolster the faith of young people in those schools and equip them to stand strong. Parents and grandparents of today's youth (whether educated in state-run schools, Christian schools, or home educated) should all do their part in praying for them and providing them with these helps. See our Parents' Corner (really a website within a website) and many other helpful articles at our Education Q&A page.
Edoardo C.
Thank you for this article, thank you for you ministry, it's very important that our young have a such a literature to compare with the more and more widespread evolution theory. Unfortunately here in Italy we are always under fire of evolution: TV, magazines, books, in all grades of school, and university as well, so it's very difficult to stand up in such an environment. Even the Catholics [are] not so strong in defending creationism, just few authors have the courage to write books, but they don't have a great success.
It is very crucial that we don't have doubts about the truth of the Word of God. According to me, one miracle that proves God create the world in [a] very short time (I believe that God created the earth and all in six days, some times I wonder why it took so long time as he had the power to do everything in one second) is when Jesus multiplied the fish … He didn't create cells first, [then to] small fish, but He created immediately adult fish, ready to eat; the people didn't wait billion of years, months or hours. Thank you again.
Steve I.
"The Heavens declare the glory of GOD and the firmament shows his handiwork" Terrific article, and you guys are certainly doing a fantastic job spreading the truth and exposing the misconceptions out there.
A. F.
It's a cliche but so true of the secular evolutionists position that "once a paradigm (in this case evolution) has become generally accepted by a majority of the population there is no longer any need to refer to the facts"
Gian Carlo B.
My university ... teaches evolution as fact, many professors misrepresent Christianity and Islam, they even think all lead to the same goal. And of course, [they] teach postmodernism. Of course, thanks to you guys, as well as ICR, AiG and other ministries, I don't fall for their rhetoric since it has been exposed for me and I can expose them too. I observe that there is actually a battle for truth and thus it is more a philosophical warfare than mere science. Postmodernists are on one side, denying the reality of truth, while the evolutionists on the other, sidestepping the problems in their theory. The Christian needs to be like Peter and Paul who took both horns and rebuked all of them, shamed them with the truth and exposed their folly.
Melvyne C.
“Don’t worry about that, it’s too divisive, just have faith in Jesus!”
Well, Jesus as Man, had faith in the Father under obedience. As divine Man and God, he died to save us knowing and believing through him all things were created in six days, and as the Triune God he co wrote the truth in miraculous aged stone at Sinai, that is, from stone created in day 1 of the creation.
If Jesus/God was in divine error concerning creation, it clearly follows our salvation is worthless, and in justice, hell should be emptied due to an unsound lawgiver.
A good thought provoking article.
And indeed, it really does matter, six day creation.

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