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Leaving a lasting legacy

Winning the battle for beginnings in the minds of the next generation

by

Ladybird bookslady-bird-evolutionary-teaching
Ladybird book: Dinosaurs, evolutionary teaching for young children.
Published: 27 August 2020 (GMT+10)

I have a memory from early childhood which I would like to share, as I hope it will inspire and be an instructive lesson in forming strong biblical world-views in a child’s life.

When I was about seven years of age, I owned a Ladybird book titled “Dinosaurs.”1 In page after page of colourful illustrations, the evolutionary history of the Earth was described for children. I was fascinated by pictures of dinosaurs, strange landscapes and the mysterious story of how life evolved from a primordial, barren planet. The book states:

“In the beginning the world must have looked like this. At first, nothing lived on land, or in the sea. There were no plants, no animals, no people…”

The stark illustrations presented barren landscapes of exploding volcanoes, sheer cliffs over stormy seas—which captured my childlike imagination. As I flicked through the pages I read of fish crawling onto the land and, over millions of years, developed into reptiles and the first dinosaurs. Each page revealed new eras of history with new plants and animals, which gradually, over the eons, turned into the familiar plants, animals, and people of today’s modern world.

Because I was a child, I believed what I was reading. I trusted the grown-ups who presented this beautifully illustrated information, which surely had been discovered by scientists far cleverer than I could imagine. But something seemed too fantastic about these ideas, and it didn’t sit well with what I had learned at church. So I asked my father—could this be true? His response was to write on the pages some words of wisdom that have remained with me to this day:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters” (Genesis 1:1–2).

On other pages my father wrote the rest of the days of Creation week.

Trusting God’s Word

I saw the dilemma clearly, even as a seven-year old. I was faced with a decision: Would I trust people who were not there at the beginning, but were telling me to believe their opinions about how life arose? Or would I trust God to tell me the truth about what He did in the beginning? It was a simple decision for me—one based on faith. I chose to trust God’s Word. And that lesson laid the foundations that have kept my faith strong to the present day. Had I not been a child who had been brought up in a Christian home—and I recognize, not all have had that privilege—the course of my life would likely have taken a very different direction.

That childhood memory, I still remember clearly, was a foundational moment. In much the same way as I remember my conversion experience as a young child, when I recognized my need for a Saviour to forgive my sins and to be my Lord. It was a faith decision, to trust God’s Word. Later as a teenager, I followed the Lord in baptism, simply trusting the Lord as I made this public declaration of faith—an outward expression of an inward work of God’s grace in my heart.

Allowing questions—giving godly answers

diego_torres/ PixabayJurassic-Coast-finding-fossil
Jurassic Coast: People regularly find fossils along these cliffs.

During my childhood there were few Creation materials available, and certainly not many at all for young people. When it came to questions about the natural world, creation and evolution, I can thank my parents for instilling in me those vital biblical foundations, which left me a lasting legacy. I was encouraged to question, and to develop keen interests in nature, particularly fossils and minerals. As a teenager, with my parents’ support, I spent many hours searching for fossils on Lyme Regis and Charmouth beaches (on Dorset’s famous ‘Jurassic Coast’), or collecting minerals from mine dumps in Cornwall. We learned as a family that the fossils and minerals we found were best explained by the Flood’s fast action, rather than millions of years of gradual processes.

However, some well-meaning folk at church questioned my interest in fossils because they were deemed too ‘controversial’. Nevertheless, I was allowed to question and discover, all in the safe, godly environment of a Christian home. God’s Word as inerrant truth was upheld, and its claims about origins and the history of the world were trusted.

This stood me in good stead as I progressed through school and college, where my teachers openly questioned Scripture, challenging and ridiculing Christian faith in religious education classes, or in science classes. Thankfully, I was sufficiently well-equipped to sometimes politely challenge my teachers’ statements in class, and to stand up for my Christian faith publicly—which was very good preparation for life at university.

‘Sunday-school syndrome’

I am thankful that my parents didn’t just leave my education regarding Christian matters to Sunday-school teachers at church. There, I was taught ‘Bible stories’ every Sunday: Creation, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel, along with Abraham, David, and Jesus in the Gospels. It was simply assumed the early chapters of Genesis were historical, but as children, we were never taught how to defend the historical reality of those events. But then, presumably it didn’t occur to our Sunday-school teachers that this was ever an issue. They probably weren’t taught much evolution at school, if at all, therefore would not have been aware of the need to counter the kind of teaching we as children received during our state education. And, even if they were aware of the issues, perhaps they would have felt ill-equipped to tackle the science with Creation-affirming evidence.

Furthermore, it is noteworthy that I was instructed for half an hour each Sunday, compared to my secular school teachers’ 20 hours per week. There was a big disconnect: I was taught ‘Bible stories’ at church and then, in secular school, I was taught that the Bible was just ‘full of stories’. It’s very sad, but no wonder, that none of my Sunday-school chums continued in church after term ended, or that I have met any of them since, at subsequent Christian gatherings.

State school secular indoctrination

Since I left school, evolutionary thinking has dominated the state curriculum even more, now being taught to primary school children. But more seriously, the moral and ethical instruction young children are being given is of grave concern. Previously, I have written an article about the new sex and relationships curriculum being taught in primary schools, supported by a series of BBC short videos for class discussion. Children as young as nine are being taught about sexual promiscuity, that one’s gender is independent of one’s biological sex, and that there are over one hundred genders to choose from! When I was at school, such things were not even imagined, let alone taught as fact. We are witnessing how education is being completely taken over by an extreme ideology that is dangerous and damaging to children. Such thinking is divorced from the truth that male and female were created in God’s image, as taught in Genesis 1:27. Our secular culture has rejected Genesis as history in favour of evolutionary thinking. But the morality built on those evolutionary foundations is deeply at odds with the morality based on biblical foundations. It is no wonder we are witnessing catastrophic moral decay in our once Christian nations. The loss of young people from the church in Western nations in general has been tragic to behold. This, in large part, is due to evolutionary teaching in secular education, which the church failed to counter, and the statistics back that up.

Defend the legacy—and pray!

Homeschool Corner
The best place for a child to build a robust biblical world view is in a bible believing home.

As Christian parents, grandparents, teachers and educators, what can be done? In terms of children’s educational foundations already laid, it is too late for many who have gone through state education, or even through our church Sunday schools. In light of the very serious moral trends in society, many more Christians are seriously considering alternatives to state education, such as Christian schools and home education. On a more pro-active front, Christians can get involved as school governors and teachers in Christian schools, where at least some semblance of Christian guidance is still allowed—for now. But the real lasting legacy is forged at home, where children can be taught the Scriptures and how to defend them from the secular onslaught they will inevitably meet when they leave the safety of the four walls of their Christian home.

And that is where CMI comes in—we exist to partner with you in this essential task of defending biblical foundations. Our mission is to enable Christians to defend the scriptures by showing that the popular cultural mantra that ‘science has disproved the Bible’ is simply false. We can trust the Bible when it comes to its claims about origins and the nature of reality. Because we can trust the Bible’s history, we can trust the theology based upon that history, and the moral claims the Bible makes upon our lives—and further we can defend them! This is why I and my fellow CMI speakers count it a privilege to travel extensively (when possible) to give presentations that equip and encourage believers to stand upon the sure foundations of God’s Word.

Making a difference now

Previously, while on a speaking tour, I was at a church in Cornwall supporting my colleague Dominic Statham while he spoke on “Creation and why it matters.” During the question time, a father publically stated his frustration at not having been taught these kinds of truths in church before, saying, “I’ve been in the church 20 years and have never heard such powerful arguments—why haven’t I heard this before?” The reason is that it was his first experience of being at a CMI event. A grandmother at that same meeting also made a public comment that she had passed on Creation Magazine to her grandson—apparently he had “lapped it up” and was enabled to “challenge his teacher in class when he was being taught that he had evolved from lower animals.”

I have witnessed many times how the prayerful and financial support given to CMI makes a difference in the lives of those who attend meetings to hear the Creation message—people have often expressed gratitude for the faith-affirming information they received. If, like us, you are passionate to leave a lasting legacy in the minds of the next generation, consider how you might advance this vital work. Please pray for CMI staff around the world as we continue our mission of defending Scripture from the very first verse and giving the glory to our Creator and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

References and notes

  1. Douglas, C. & Robinson, B.H., Dinosaurs, Ladybird Leaders, Loughborough, 1974. A YouTube presentation of this popular book, with dramatic reading is available here: youtube.com/watch?v=dFGGwJrYLQQ. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Creation Answers for Kids
by Erin Hughes & Lita Cosner
US $12.00
Hard Cover
Exploring Dinosaurs with Mr Hibb
by Michael Oard, Tara Wolfe, Chris Turbuck, Gary Bates
US $17.00
Hard Cover
Dinosaur Activity Book
by Earl and Bonita Snellenberger
US $10.00
Soft Cover

Readers’ comments

Stephen G.
Sadly, two of the four Christian schools that we sent our children too (and by "Christian schools", I don’t mean so-called Church schools – but full-on, proclaim-the-Gospel Christian schools):
• Promoted theistic evolution
• Allowed teachers to promote whatever they believed (including one teacher who, in the classroom, told final year Physics students that he believed that “God couldn’t create free-will and had to wait for it to evolve”)
• Refused to allow CMI material to be presented (to students or teachers), to be placed in the library – or even to allow lunch-time or after-hours optional presentations
• Refused an option of CMI providing optional training during their professional development breaks.
Hence, as you say, as parents, we must especially guard our children’s minds because there is active undermining in our apostate Christian schools.
CMI, I thank you for equipping us to guide our children.
Julie M.
I help lead an afternoon kids program at our evangelical Sydney Anglican Church. Last week I gave them a memory verse activity whereby they had to come up with actions to help them remember the memory verse. This was the verse [Hebrews 1]:
“Long ago in many ways and at many times Godʼs prophets spoke his message to our ancestors. 2 But now at last, God sent his Son to bring his message to us. God created the universe by his Son, and everything will someday belong to the Son.”
Two of the 11 year old girls were really into it and asked if I would watch what they had come up with. When it got to the word ‘ancestors’, the action they chose was to dance around like monkeys! One of the girls is the daughter of two paid staff members in our church.
I encouraged the rest of their memory verse actions and suggested that they come up with a different action for ‘ancestors’. I told them that we hadn’t evolved from animals but were specially created by God. They looked surprised when I said as much. I don’t think anyone had told them that before.
It is very concerning that the church isn’t correcting these misconceptions taught in so many other areas of kids lives. I worry that when they start thinking through the supposed contradictions whether their faith will be able to stand firm.
Thank you for the many resources you have provide to help people answer the questions the Creation/Evolution issue inevitably raises.
Lewis John G.
Thank you for this article.
Let me encourage Christian parents/congregations to become involved in home-schooling
or establish Christian Day Schools.
James H.
Every era and civilization throughout history has had it's fables and myths that they believe because it's part of the culture, and ours is no different. For most modern people, their myth is evolution.
Nicholas S.
Thankfully, we have the privilege of looking after our 3 years and 3 months old Granddaughter, twice a week. We read her picture bible stories and sourced materials (thank you CMI). From Genesis she is engrossed and wants us to read more bible stories including e.g. the story of Moses and Miriam (on DVD) and the basket in the Nile. She refers to it as "I want to see Moses in the basket". She loves to see and have the Bible repeatedly read to her (as she can understand). Recently, without prompting, she acted as the Princess of Egypt with me receiving Moses from the Princess. I turned to take baby Moses and putting her hand up she said, "Wait, he shall be called Moses because I drew him out of the water." We had given her a small Gideon's Bible, which she loves, holding it in both hands, close to her little chest, with her chin on her chest, rocking it lovingly from side to side. She looks and looks into it. One day she will read it. She keeps it in her playroom with all her other books, blocks, dolls and toys. Recently reading from one picture Bible book, we asked her, "Where is your Bible?" She said, "It has Jesus in it!" and "I will get Jesus." and ran into her playroom. She ran back, in about ten seconds, with her Gideon's Bible held up in her right hand and said, "Here is Jesus!" From her 3 years and 3 months old lips. Her age, the Spirit of God has touched her, Spirit touching spirit. We are praying for her Salvation to be early, before she attends school, so she will have the Rock of Ages as her foundation knowing about Creation to Salvation, her young world view will be in place. We will be always telling her the Truth so God will help her in her life journey to know and be able to determine what is Righteous and Good in God's sight: Proverbs 22:6
Tim L.
To provide some encouraging words to those that feel like everyone (including all church leadership in every church) is opposed to what Scripture clearly says, I am extremely grateful for the churches I've attended growing up as well as the one I attend now. The one I attended growing up could have been more explicit in their teaching of a young earth from the pulpit and in Sunday School, but the Christian school associated with the church provided an excellent foundation in God's Word and the science that supported it. During college, I attended a Christian university that made that foundation even stronger, and the large church I attended at the time also strongly supported biblical creation. Now, I co-teach a 4th-6th grade boys Sunday School class in a church where the curriculum is from Answers in Genesis and speakers presenting the case for biblical creation are invited to speak from the pulpit about once a year.

This is not to minimize the difficult task in front of us. Indeed, the majority of churches, Christian universities, etc. have bought into the lie of an old earth. Further, even among the graduating class of eight from my Christian high school, the majority are not following the Lord today (demonstrating that just providing teaching consistent with God's Word is not enough: living a life consistent with His Word is also essential). The point is, while those who hold to biblical creation are clearly the minority and those who have bought the lie are all around us, just as with Elijah, there still remains a significant portion who accept as true what Scripture clearly says.

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