By Ken Ham
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)
As an Australian now living near Cincinnati, Ohio, growing up “down under” offered some unique experiences, including the time I once talked to an old Australian aboriginal elder. This aborigine recalled roaming the deserts with his family many years ago in their tribal state. This old man had since become a Christian. He remembered that as a little boy—bound in that spiritist, anti-God culture—he asked his father one day, “What is God like, Father?”
He said his father turned to him and, after a long pause, said, “I don’t know, Son. We’ve forgotten.”
His father had forgotten because his father before him had forgotten. Their ancestors had known, but somewhere in their ancestry, a father had not passed on the truth about the God of creation to the next generation.
Many passages in the Bible command fathers to teach their children so that the correct information is passed on to, and implemented by, the next generation (e.g., Isaiah 38:19; Ephesians 6:4). Passages like these prompted my wife Mally and me to home school all five of our children.
As I pondered my conversation with the Australian Aboriginal, I realized that this same problem is reflected not only within Christian families here in America but also in Christian education. As I have had the opportunity to speak in hundreds of churches and dozens of schools in America, I have noticed that Christians do not have enough knowledge to defend the basics of their faith, much less to a skeptical generation.
In addition, from my experience in reviewing various Christian textbooks and in visiting Christian schools, this is what I have largely discovered (with some happy exceptions): They basically take a secular way of thinking and just stamp God’s Word on it. In other words, they merely put Bible verses in the textbooks. Then we wonder why our young people do not have a Christian worldview.
Now, according to the Bible, who is supposed to be the primary educator of children? It is the father (except, of course, when mothers are forced to raise their children without a father). One of the greatest problems in Christian homes today is that most husbands and fathers do not carry out their God-commanded responsibility to be the spiritual head of their family and to train their children. Instead, they leave it to others.
In America and other parts of the Western world today, it is sad to hear a father and mother assume, “Oh, the kids are going to church and Sunday school, and we have them in a Christian school setting, so they’ll be fine.” All Christian parents should be making sure their young people are getting their Bible teaching and Christian worldview training from home—from studying the Word of God as a family, and then also using home or traditional Christian schooling (though you still have to be very careful with the latter), plus solid Bible preaching in church, of course.
Seeing the world through biblical glasses
Training children means much more than just daily Bible reading; it means sharing a Christian worldview about everything, all the time (See Deuteronomy 6:7), as naturally as breathing. In every interaction, parents can help teach children a Christian way of thinking.
Most children from Christian homes are being trained in a secular worldview, to which “God” may be added by the parents at home and in church. But you cannot Christianize a secular philosophy, which is what even a lot of Christian texts and schools try to do. Unfortunately, even those books that are “anti-evolution” often fall into this error, especially if they do not present the positive case for Genesis creation. These children often end up thinking in a secular way, with God and the Bible as merely “add-on extras,” rather than being relevant ultimately to everything and the supreme authority.
Let me give you a little test. I believe it would be a real eye-opener for many home school parents and their children. Our experience at AiG (Answers in Genesis) has shown that the majority of Christian parents and teachers could not answer most of these questions:
- What is the best evidence you would use to defend your belief that there is a God who created the world?
- Where did Cain find his wife?
- When did the dinosaurs live?
- For what do scientists use Carbon-14?
- Is creation a side issue or a foundational doctrine?
Unfortunately, many Christians today, when asked these same questions by their young people, give an answer similar to that of the father of the aboriginal elder quoted above: “I don’t know—we’ve forgotten.”
Here are very brief answers to the questions we posed. Every Christian parent should know the answers as they eventually send their young people into the world.
- Evidence for a Creator God? The design and order of the universe, in particular living systems, demands an intelligent Designer. To deny the obvious signature of God in His creation is to be “without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Life is built on an information/ code system (DNA)—which can only arise from intelligence.
- Where did Cain get his wife? Adam and Eve had “sons and daughters” (Genesis 5). Such unions were a problem by the time of Moses but were not a genetic problem so soon after creation.
- What about the dinosaurs? The Bible reveals that land animals were created on day six of the creation week, along with people, about 6,000 years ago. There is much evidence (including in our Creation Museum) that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.
- Carbon-14? This dating method cannot date things to be millions of years old. This method, like all other dating methods, is based on fallible assumptions (e.g., that decay rates are constant, a starting belief that the Earth is very old, etc.).
- Is not the creation/evolution controversy a side issue? Most of our Christian doctrine is based on Genesis, especially the definition of, and punishment for, sin, and man’s desperate need for a Savior to die in substitutionary payment for that sin. Not to accept Genesis as written is to undermine the authority of Scripture.
Full answers to these questions, and many more, can be found by visiting our popular website, AnswersInGenesis.org (which contains several thousand articles) or by visiting our high-tech Creation Museum near Cincinnati.
Ken Ham is the president of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum near Cincinnati. The author of several books and the host of the daily radio program “Answers,” Ken is the visionary behind the construction of a full-size Noah’s Ark near Cincinnati. Ken will be a Keynote Speaker at the 2013 THSC Southwest Convention & Family Conference this August in The Woodlands.