When Christian Schools Undermine the Faith
The following is excerpted from Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Evolution 2 (Master Books, 2002). In our estimation, volume 1 of Refuting Evolution is one of the best books in print on this subject.
The damage that evolution has caused on college campuses is legendary, and its not difficult to cite examples of children from Christian homes who have turned away from their childhood faith after attending college--even ‘Christian’ college. The final episode of the PBS series [“Evolution,” September 2001] gives a striking example from Wheaton College, which is said to be a conservative Christian college. According to Wheaton’s website:
Wheaton College selects candidates for admission from those who evidence a vital Christian experience, high academic ability, moral character, personal integrity, social concern, and the desire to pursue a liberal arts education as defined in the aims and objectives of the College.
This college is the show-pony of the PBS series, showing viewers how people can mix ‘God’ and evolution. But one must wonder how the school defines a ‘vital Christian experience’ since their professors evidently don’t believe the Bible, the only source of information about Christ. At one point in the PBS series, it shows a teacher on a school field trip who proclaims that a water hole is 33 million years old.
There was quite a stir back in 1961 when Prof. Walter Hearn promoted evolution at Wheaton. As a result of this controversy, now the school apparently insists that professors sign a statement that Adam was a historical figure.
But the PBS clips make it abundantly clear that this statement is a dead letter. If the professors themselves ‘support’ this apparent anti-evolution statement, they have no qualms about inviting visiting lecturers who don’t believe the biblical account of creation and even attack it.
One example is Keith Miller, who claimed on the PBS program to be an ‘ardent evangelical Christian.’ He asserted, without evidence, that there are lots of transitional forms. When questioned, he said that God chose Adam and Eve out of other humans that existed. This just shows that the word ‘evangelical,’ like ‘Christian,’ has become debased currency. At one time it meant someone who believed the Reformation (and biblical) doctrines of the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture. This is not always so nowadays, and certainly doesn’t apply to Miller.
Genesis 2:7 teaches that the first man was made from dust and became alive when God breathed the breath of life into him. This rules out the idea that Adam was already a living primate of some kind when God breathed on him. Eve was made from Adam’s rib (Gen. 2:21-24). Luke’s genealogy of Christ traces His lineage (through Mary) all the way back to Adam, then directly to God, not via any ape-like creatures or pond cum (Luke 3:23-38). Further, 1 Corinthians 15:45 states that Adam was the “first man,” and Eve was so named because she was to become the “mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20). Also, Paul’s teachings about male and female roles in 1 Corinthians 11:8-9 and 1 Timothy 2:13-14 explicitly support the historical order of creation in Genesis 2:21-23.
The sad thing about Wheaton is the admission--shown on the final PBS episode--that most people become more confused about their Christian faith while they attend this “Christian” college. The students wonder whether there’s a place for God if evolution is true, and rightly so.
This confusion should hardly be surprising--Billy Graham’s former colleague Charles Templeton totally apostatized after attending the compromising Princeton Theological Seminary. Answers in Genesis has received several testimonies of people whose faith was ship-wrecked by compromising ‘Christians’ but later restored with the help of AiG and other Christian ministries that present a consistently biblical approach to origins.
In contrast to the claims of evolutionists, evolution is a direct assault on the authority of Scripture, and it is the seed of most modern apostasy. Exhibit A is Nathan Baird, a geology major who stars in the final PBS episode. He had a creationist upbringing, sort of, but now from his lofty height at Wheaton he proclaims that most Christians dismiss evolution because they don’t understand it. Now he thinks that God used the big bang and evolution, and infused a spirit supernaturally into some humans. He proclaimed, ‘God is bigger than the box I’ve put him in.’
This slogan is hardly original with Nathan. Rank apostates like retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong also spout such vacuous tripe. But creationists don’t put God into any box; rather, they are humble enough to believe what God has revealed about himself in the Bible, including when and how He created. It’s people like Nathan who put God into a box of their own making, by presuming that God would not have intervened in His creation in a different way from the way He currently upholds it (Col. 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:3--passages referring to Jesus Christ, the God-man). They also, in effect, presume that God was unable to communicate in clear language about the history of the universe.
Nathan’s upbringing is sadly typical of the lack of apologetics teaching in the churches. Many Christians have no idea how to defend their faith. The most serious problem is that parents do not have answers to their children’s questions.
PBS 7 showed Nathan’s family outside having lunch. Nathan’s father correctly believed that evolution was a frontal assault on Genesis 1 and his son’s faith, but he didn’t seem very well informed about the issues (or else his most telling arguments were edited out, as with AiG). Nathan’s father couldn’t answer some of his son’s facile arguments, and he asked his mother to bail him out.
Nathan’s mother correctly pointed out that unwavering adherence to the Bible was a common factor in church growth. She also recounted the advice of a friend: ‘Don’t send Nathan to Wheaton--it could destroy his faith.’ One might argue whether a person who ‘loses his/her faith’ truly had saving faith to begin with (1 John 2:19), but this incident shows that Wheaton had a reputation for undermining students’ faith. It’s a shame that Nathan’s mother didn’t follow this advice before forking out a fortune to a college that doesn’t teach what it claims. The money may as well be spent on a secular college, because at least their students know what to expect. It’s fortunate for Wheaton and many other ‘Christian’ colleges that they can’t be sued for false advertising.
Darwinian evolution truly was a ‘dangerous idea,’ one that consciously undermined faith in God and belief in the Bible, replacing it with skepticism and a materialist world view. It’s the height of hypocrisy for atheists like [Stephen] Gould to claim that evolution is ‘compatible’ with Christianity
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