Compromise Teaching in a Christian School in Alaska

Well, I recently read yet about another example of blatant evolutionary indoctrination in a biology course—but this time it’s happening in a Christian school! Eric Kretschmer, a church youth director in Alaska and a high school AP biology teacher in a Christian school, recently wrote an article for BioLogos explaining how he handles evolution in the classroom. It’s titled “A Tale of Two Worldviews: Being a Biology Teacher in a Christian School.”

The BioLogos website states that “Eric Kretschmer is Youth Director at Chapel By The Sea in Anchorage, Alaska, which encompasses teaching, planning and running retreats, and coordinating trips with groups of adults and teens into bush Alaska to minister in Alaska’s villages. He also teaches AP Biology at a local Christian high school in the mornings during the school year . . . .”

Now, Mr. Kretschmer earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and his master’s degree in theology. It’s important to note that AP biology courses do require students be taught evolution—but teachers can still educate students to think critically about evolution, including the underlying assumptions of evolutionary ideas. Kretschmer writes, “One of the reasons I agreed to teach at this particular Christian school was because they allowed the teaching of mainstream evolution in an open way in their biology courses.” Combining that with the opportunity to teach from a “secular biology book,” Kretschmer found “some of the most powerfully engaging teaching moments” of his teaching career.

So, what made these classes so engaging for this biology teacher? He discovered that the Bible department was teaching biblical creation—students were entering AP biology believing in a young earth and a literal Genesis—a position that Kretschmer doesn’t hold. He writes, “The first challenge for me at the beginning of each school year is to clarify the students’ understanding of evolution as it has been taught in their Bible and pre-requisite science courses.” Kretschmer’s goal was to convince his students that evolutionary ideas could be mixed with Scripture.

While he says at the outset that he believes students should be able to trust their Bibles, he also argues that students “must be careful how they interpret the Bible and which interpretations they adhere to.” The problem is, his students were being taught in their Bible classes that they could trust what the Bible says, from the very first verse. Biblical creation is an interpretation that is careful to honor the genre of the text of Genesis (i.e., as historical narrative) and is derived from a plain reading of God’s Word (using a historical grammatical hermeneutic).

But Kretschmer, because of his belief in evolution and millions of years, opts to leave behind the plain meaning of Scripture and creates a picture of young-earth creationists as “defensive” towards science. And the results of his work are evident in a quote from one of his former students, now working on a PhD in neuroscience:

I still remember in AP Bio when you said that you believed in evolution AND you were a Christian. . . . it has since been a topic that I am greatly interested in. Specifically why culture (secular and Christian) has created the mindset of ‘Creation vs. Evolution’ rather than God could have created the world through evolution.

Kretschmer writes, “I share this quote to show the benefit of dealing openly and honestly with science and theology in the classroom.”

Wow. So is the implication that biblical creationists don’t deal “honestly” with science? Actually, we’re very honest about science. We’re even willing to admit that there’s a difference between operational (observational) science and historical (origins) science, which is something that Kretschmer didn’t mention. Biblical creationists are not “defensive” about science. In fact, there are many highly educated scientists who are creationists in the world, and some of them are on staff here at Answers in Genesis.

Shaking the faith of students in the Word of God by portraying evolutionary ideas as proven, testable science is what’s dishonest. Kretschmer cites a Barna study, claiming that students struggle to reconcile “science” with Christianity. The solution is not to find a way to reconcile evolution and millions of years with God’s Word. Christian biology teachers like Kretschmer should be looking to deal honestly with the differences between operational and historical science, and they should desire to show students that, using the biblical worldview, all the evidence actually does confirm biblical creation and not support the evolutionary worldview. They should work to strengthen the foundation of God’s Word in the lives of their students, rather than tear it down because man’s ideas conflict with it.

I urge you to read my coauthored books Already Gone and Already Compromised (available in our online bookstore) to learn more about why students are leaving the church and what they’re being taught in Christian universities that have compromised with a secular worldview—and therefore have abandoned the authority of God’s Word.

Teachers like Kretschmer will be held accountable for the many students they lead astray with their compromise regarding biblical authority and undermining teaching.  How very sad.  And the board/administrators of such Christian schools will also be held accountable.  What they are doing in essence is helping the secularists capture the hearts and minds of generations of children!

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken

Note: Steve Golden assisted in writing this blog post.