Need More Than Just Exposure

Dr. Georgia Purdom—AiG speaker, researcher, and writer—recently wrote a blog item I wanted to share with all of you. It is a warning—even to parents who bring their children up on AiG apologetics resources.

As I read her blog post, I thought of these main points:

  1. We need to be reminded that we can do our best to bring children to the “door” of the “Ark,” but we can’t force them through—only God does that.
  2. As we train our children, we need to do much more than just expose them to resources like those produced by AiG; we need to make sure they understand them correctly and are taught to be able to answer questions logically.
  3. We can undermine a lot of what we have done if we send our children to the wrong institution (e.g., a compromising Christian college or even a theologically conservative one that does not teach them why they believe what they do—and how to logically defend the Christian faith and so on).

Here is Dr. Purdom’s blog item:

As I was perusing an atheist blog site the other day, I came upon a post by a young woman named Libby explaining how she became an atheist. The first paragraph of her “testimony” caught my eye.  She writes,

My parents were great fans of Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis and I was taught to use “creation apologetics.” In other words, when you evangelize someone you start by showing them the truth of young earth creationism, and after that they will have to concede the truth of the Bible and convert to Christianity. I read everything Ken Ham wrote, attended conferences put on by Answers in Genesis, and even visited the Creation Museum. I was taught that we know the Bible is true because young earth creationism is true. As Answers in Genesis so often trumpets, I learned that the foundation of the Bible was a literal Genesis.

Libby seems to have things backwards. It’s not that “we know the Bible is true because young earth creationism is true,” but rather because the Bible is true we can believe what God said in Genesis about the time frame in which He created. Although she read AiG resources, attended AiG conferences, and came to the Creation Museum, I have to wonder how much she really understood what she was reading and hearing. The very idea of God creating in six literal days, 6,000 years ago, and the global flood comes from Scripture (and of course the scientific evidence confirms it)!

AiG does teach that a literal Genesis is foundational to the truthfulness and authority of God’s Word. This is because if part of the Bible is in error and can’t be understood as written, then other parts could be in error and unable be understood as they are written. How would we know what to believe and what not to believe? As Libby states,

As I accepted evolution, I watched everything I had ever known crumble at my feet. I had been taught that the truth of the Bible rested on young earth creationism. Now that that foundation was gone, I had no idea what to do with the Bible. How could I trust it? How could I believe in it?

Again “the truth of the Bible” does not “[rest] on young earth creationism.” But if Genesis is not true, as she decided, then how could she trust any of it? I wish many pastors and Christians leaders could read Libby’s journey to atheism and realize the importance of a literal Genesis to trustworthiness and authority of God’s Word as a whole!

So why did Libby begin to doubt a literal Genesis? She writes,

And then I went to college, where my young earth creationist views were challenged.

Libby doesn’t say whether she attended a Christian or secular college. Sadly, in the USA today there isn’t much difference between the two types of schools concerning Genesis—and even the authority of the Bible—as surveys in Already Compromised showed. Either way, she was challenged, fought for a while, and gave up. It’s difficult to say why, but she does seem to have some misunderstandings about Genesis and the Bible despite her exposure to creation apologetics.

Libby ends her blog post with this thought:

I would like to point out that by teaching their children that their faith rests on young earth creationism, fundamentalist and evangelical parents create an Achilles heel in their children. If they grow up to find that young earth creationism is wrong, they have to completely evaluate everything they believe about the Bible, God, and Christianity. In trying to buttress their children’s faith, these parents build into it a fundamental flaw.

As I read her plea to parents and the instruction of their children, I couldn’t help but think of my daughter Elizabeth. However, for me Libby’s words had the opposite effect of what she desired. I realized that I can expose Elizabeth to all the creation and biblical apologetics in the world, but if she doesn’t actually understand it then it is useless. She needs more than simply exposure to these things.

I need to start asking her questions and she how she responds and not just assume she knows the answers. I need to start giving her more detailed understanding of these issues so she can answer effectively when those around her question her beliefs. I decided to start with the topic of dinosaurs. We are doing all the dinosaur questions from Answers Books for Kids and then we’ll move on to Dinosaurs for Kids. We are truly blessed to have all these great resources to train our children to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

My heart is greatly burdened for Libby and her parents. I can’t imagine the heartache of seeing your child make wrong decisions leading them to deny the very existence of God.  Please pray for them. Take God’s instructions to parents to heart and put it into practice:

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6–9)

Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!

You can follow Dr. Purdom’s blog at this link.

By the way, to help build up your family in the Christian faith, please read my coauthored book How do we Know the Bible is True?

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken