Teaching Sunday School and Child Abuse

AiG researcher Dr. Georgia Purdom recently wrote two blog posts that I encourage all of you to read. In the first blog post she stated the following:

Last week I wrote a blog about the John Freshwater case, and in closing, included the following statement:

I teach Sunday school for first through third grade, and over the next few weeks we’ll be discussing dinosaurs, radiometric dating methods, natural selection, and mutations. I teach them that what they learn in public school in regard to historical science concerning these ideas is not the truth.

Well, Dr. Richard Hoppe, a former professor at Kenyon College (near Mount Vernon, where the Freshwater case took place), posted a blog regarding my statement on the well-known atheist blog Panda’s Thumb. He writes:

That’s child abuse of a very high order, worse even than Freshwater’s because the children are so much younger.

So I’m practicing child abuse by teaching children the truth of God’s Word in church! This is a very serious charge that we are hearing more and more when it comes to teaching children about biblical authority and its application to historical science. I’m sure many people who have truly suffered abuse as children would beg to differ with his definition (and at least one person did in the comments section).

And the attacks don’t stop there. Dr. Hoppe began his post with speculations about my professional achievements:

She has a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from the Ohio State University and was for a time on the faculty at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio. (Interestingly, she left MVNU after 6 years, about the time when tenure decisions are made in most institutions. I know nothing specific, but it’s always fun to speculate.)

Dr. Hoppe can stop speculating because the truth is (1) the university where I taught didn’t have a tenure system and (2) I did receive a promotion from assistant to associate professor after five years with the university. This is merely an ad hominem attack that has no basis in fact.

You may read the rest of this blog post here.

Dr. Purdom then wrote this blog post in this continuing saga:

As I wrote on Tuesday, a comment I made in a blog last week has received a lot of attention from the atheists. I thought I would share a few additional comments that were made in response to the Panda’s Thumb blog with my comments following.

A “fellow” Sunday school teacher wrote:

teach

As a Sunday School teacher myself, I think that her use of that time to teach about radiometric dating and mutation to be theologically horrifying to say nothing of intellectually dishonest. Even if by some off the wall chance she were telling them the truth and “presenting both sides equally” (which I am sure she is not), Sunday School is neither the time nor the place.

This was followed by a comment from Mike:

Mike in Ontario, NY replied to comment from teach

Exactly! Why isn’t she spending that precious time expounding on the loving, merciful, and forgiving nature of the Christ? That’s what bugs me the most about mainstream evangelicalism. Even as a non-believer, I could still get down with *that* message. But I never hear it from them, and haven’t since the mid 1970’s. Instead of trying to put the Christ back in Christmas, it would be better to put the Christ back into Christianity, eh?

My question to “teach” would be: why isn’t Sunday school the time and place to teach kids truths from God’s Word? I thought that was the whole point of our current Sunday school system! For many children (especially those from non-Christian homes) this may be the only time during the week that they are hearing and learning from the Bible. Sunday school is an ideal place to equip children with answers that prepare them to defend their faith. I suspect the real problem for “teach” is what I am teaching, and not when and where I am teaching it.

In response to Mike I would say that I am teaching them that Christ is loving, merciful, and forgiving. However, why did Christ choose to be loving, merciful, and forgiving? What am I guilty of? To get the answer we have to go back to Genesis 3 and understand the history of the Fall of man. The real, historical Adam and Eve sinned, and because every person is a descendant of them, we all have a sin nature. Because of the history that happened in Genesis, we need the real, historical Christ to save us from our sins. Christ showed His love, mercy, grace, and compassion by dying on the cross for us, taking our punishment and paying the price for our sins. He also resurrected and will one day return and set up a new heaven and earth, and those that have received Him as Lord and Savior will live with Him for eternity.

I can’t possibly expect my students to understanding the good news of the New Testament without first understanding the bad news in the Old Testament. Think about it this way: if the first three chapters of Genesis do not present true history then we don’t need the rest of the Bible, which is focused solely on the coming, life, and coming again of Jesus Christ!

I encourage you to read the rest of this blog post.

More and more we are observing increasing attacks on those ministries like AiG who stand on the authority of God’s Word beginning in Genesis:

  1. Secularists are using the term “child abuse” over and over again. I believe this is a deliberate ploy—if they say something enough, they think their repetition will convince more and more people to believe it regardless of the truth.
  2. We are seeing more and more attacks from those within the church who compromise God’s Word with evolution/millions of years.

Pray for the Lord to open people’s eyes to the truth of His Word and the gospel in both the secular world and the church.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken