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C. Testing Important Areas of Knowledge by the Word of God

1. Testing Science and Science Courses by the Word of God

What about scientific knowledge? Can we test even science by the Bible? Do not some scientists claim to speak with authority about practically everything in the universe? Wouldn't it be presumptuous for most Christians to test science by the Bible? After all, few people know enough about science to be in a position to argue scientific questions with professional scientists. Are we ordinary Christians competent to question the opinions expressed by great scientists and published in the newspapers and on national television?

a. Jesus Christ is Lord of Science.

Remember that in Section A-2 we saw in Acts 10:36 and Ephesians 1:22 that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. The word "all" in this verse means everything, including science. So the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, is Lord of science.

The next logical question to ask is, Did Jesus say anything in the Bible about science, about many things scientists are concerned with? Yes, He did. One day Jesus was concluding one of His many disputes with the Jewish religious leaders, who boasted that Moses was their prophet, the one they followed. But Jesus, in John 5:45-47, warned them and us also:

45 "Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is One who accuses you--Moses in whom you trust.

46 "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.

47 "But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words.?"

What is the Lord Jesus saying here? He is saying that if we are to believe Him, we must also believe the writings of Moses, His prophet. And what did Moses write about first of all? He wrote in the first chapters of the Bible about God's work of creation, in which He created all things by the Word of His power, from nothing, in the space of six days, and all very good. So the Lord Jesus Christ has told us that we must believe everything which His prophet, Moses, wrote with respect to science. We as Christians believe what Moses wrote about history, and we also accept what he said relative to scientific questions--because his writings in the Bible are the Word of God. Our highest authority for believing what Moses wrote about creation as well as about history and about God is the Lord Jesus Christ.

b. Summary: Christians, Believers in Christ and the Bible, Walk by Faith.

This, then, is the most important reason that we who belong to Jesus Christ believe in the special divine creation of all things by God. It is because of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Word the Bible. We do not believe in creation because scientific evidence persuaded us, but because God commands us to believe. However, God has graciously given us much evidence, scientific evidence in His creation all around us, evidence which supports what He has told us in the Bible. Nevertheless, we will in this life never gain enough knowledge about anything to be able to say that we now can walk by sight and do not need faith. God has told us in II Corinthians 5:7, "We walk by faith, not by sight." In the world to come, in heaven, we will be in the very presence of Christ and will walk by sight. Until then, it is God's will that we walk by faith.

Until that glorious day when we enter heaven, it is the faith which God gave us by which we know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Saviour from sin. It is also by faith that we know that the Bible--which told us about our Saviour and how to trust Him to be saved--is indeed the Word of God. And the reality of the love, power and presence of Christ in our souls by His Holy Spirit is the daily personal proof that our faith is placed in the right One.

These facts of faith give us confidence to question and oppose those ideas of scientists which contradict the written word of our God. Now let us look briefly at what the Bible teaches about creation and evolution.

c. What Does Genesis Teach About Creation and Evolution?

The first chapter of Genesis is a chronology of the six days of creation. By "chronology" is meant that the chapter gives a history of the events of the six days in the order in which they occurred. The second chapter is not a chronology, but a summary with added details of the six days, plus things which took place after the creation week. There are four different perspectives in these two chapters. The first perspective has in view the entire universe, "the heavens and the earth." The second narrows to the earth, and the third to the surface of the earth and God's creation of living things on the earth. Finally, the closing verses of the first chapter and all of chapters two and three emphasize the relations of God with man on the earth.

Now we will briefly indicate important teachings in the first two chapters of Genesis, with pertinent verses listed.

(1) creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). Genesis 1

(2) fiat creation (by God's word, or command). Genesis 1:3,6,9,11,14,20,22,24,26

(3) the "kinds" created separate and to remain separate. Genesis 1: 11,12,21,24,25

(4) a perfect creation. Genesis 1: 4,10,12,18,25,31

(5) the first man, Adam, created separate from animals, an intelligent person, holy and in fellowship with God, having a spoken language and the ability to classify and name the animals. Genesis 1: 26-27, 2:7-20

(6) the first man Adam was "alone" in the garden and needed a "helper comparable to him." Genesis 2:7-20

(7) the first woman Eve created from side of Adam. Genesis 2:21-22

(8) A fallen creation, ruined by man's sin and under the curse of God. Genesis 3

Is it not perfectly clear from these teachings of the opening chapters of Genesis that the Bible excludes the idea of evolution from amoeba to man? There is simply no way to accommodate the words of Genesis to the theory of evolution and especially to the evolution of man from animal ancestors. Any scheme to read evolution into Genesis robs words of their meaning. If the words of Genesis can be treated in this manner, then all the rest of the Bible has no sure meaning or authority.

d. Christians Have An Advantage Over Unbelievers.

As we have said before, the primary reason why Christians should believe in the creation of all things in the beginning by God is our faith in Jesus Christ and in His Word the Bible. The scientific evidence for creation and against evolution is a help to our Christian faith, but faith must come first, for it is our faith which enables us to understand what the evidence means. God gives understanding to those who trust Him, who take Him at His word.

Consequently, scientists, teachers and other scholars who ignore or reject the teachings in the Bible about the creation are missing vital truth. God, who knows everything about the universe which He has created, has revealed facts about the universe which cannot be discovered by means of scientific research. Furthermore, He always tells the truth. Therefore, Christians who know and believe what God has revealed in the Bible about His creation have an advantage over the unbelieving scientists.

Thus, secular scientists who do not believe the Bible almost all believe that evolution is a fact. Because of this belief, many of them are attempting to discover things which do not exist, or to promote theories which are false. Thus, they are wasting their time. For example, some are attempting to discover or explain how life began by chance chemical reactions on the early earth. But we Christians have a different belief. We, by faith in the Bible as God's Word, know that life was created by God and did not start by chance. Many evolutionary biologists are trying to discover or explain how one kind of animal evolved into another kind--for example, how reptiles evolved into birds. But Christian biologists know, by faith in God's Word, that this did not happen. Therefore, some Christian biologists are studying the limits of genetic change. They are interested in discovering facts of genetics, cell biology and molecular biology which explain why one kind of plant or animal cannot evolve into another kind.

e. The Requirements for Being a Good Scientist

Now it is very important to remember that both the secular scientists who believe in evolution, and the Christian scientists who believe in creation, can be good scientists. They both must follow the rules of the scientific method. If they do this, then it is not what they believe, but the quality of their scientific thinking and research which makes them either good scientists, or not so good. The results of their experiments must be reproducible by other scientists, and their conclusions must survive rigorous criticism and experimental testing. If this is so, then they are doing good science, regardless of whether they believe in evolution or in creation--or in little green men from Pluto.

f. Science: What It Is, Its Limitations, Its Relation to Faith

1) What Is Science?

Let us begin by stating a concise definition of science and listing some of the basic rules of the scientific method.

Science is human experience systematically extended(by intent, method, and instruments) for the purpose of observing and understanding more about the natural world, and to test critically all of our ideas and theories about the natural world.

Some rules of the scientific method are:

1. The data of science is reproducible empirical data, i.e., reproducible observations of the natural world.

2. Scientific hypotheses must be empirically testable; i.e., they must be falsifiable.

3. Scientific hypotheses cannot refer to any immaterial or supernatural thing, influence or activity.

4. The scientist must make his experimental procedures, data and conclusions available for study and criticism by his peers.

Sir Peter Medawar, a famous British scientist who was a Nobel Laureate in biology, once said, "There is nothing more to science than its method..." He was right. Science is simply a method which fallible humans can use to study the natural world. It is also a way by which they may test their ideas about the natural world, in order to correct or replace those ideas which are not correct. Human experience in the natural world is known through our five or so natural senses(sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell...) By "natural world" is meant everything in the universe which can be observed or measured by our natural senses or by the physical instruments which we use to help and extend our senses. For example, microscopes and telescopes extend what we can see with the unaided eye. Magnetic compass needles and sensitive electronic equipment can detect and measure magnetic and electrical influences in space around us which our senses cannot detect at all. Thus scientific investigation is a special kind of human experience. It begins with observation by the natural senses of things in the natural, the material world.

Usually when a scientist begins an investigation he already knows quite a bit about the subject matter. His curiosity may have been aroused by some known fact, or perhaps an unanswered question occurs to him. Or a scientist may conceive a possible explanation for what has been observed. His research program then will be directed toward testing his explanation, his "hypothesis," to see if it agrees with the real situation in the world.

It may be that a practical problem needs solving. For example, when the automobile industry was developing, the engines using gasoline were made larger and more powerful. In order to get more power from smaller engines and greater fuel efficiency, the compression ratio was increased. But this increased the temperature in the cylinder and caused detonation or knocking, which decreased engine efficiency and damaged engines. This problem led to scientific research to determine the cause of detonation and how to prevent it.

Much new scientific knowledge has resulted from tinkering, observing, thinking about what the observations mean, asking questions, imagining new explanations for what has been observed, and seeking answers by new experiments. Probably the most powerful motive for scientific research is the human desire to understand the deep fundamental causes of things.

A scientific hypothesis is an explanation of how observed data relate to each other and to accepted scientific concepts, laws and theories. What may be called "the central policy of the scientific method" is the requirement or rule that all scientific hypotheses must be testable, "falsifiable." How is a hypothesis tested? First, it must be designed so that deductive reasoning can be used to predict the results of new experiments. That is, if the hypothesis deals with the natural world and is correct, then under controlled conditions, it can be reasoned logically, i.e., predicted, that certain new observations or experiments should produce particular results. Second, the new experiments or observations are performed and the results recorded. If the results agree with predictions based on the hypothesis, then the hypothesis has survived a test. That the hypothesis survived this test provides support for the correctness of the hypothesis. We say that the hypothesis has been corroborated--but not "proved." On the other hand, if the experiment gives results contradictory to the prediction, the hypothesis has failed the test. It may not be correct. It has not been corroborated. More experimental tests will follow.

A scientific hypothesis in the course of time usually undergoes many experimental tests, whether or not it either survives or fails early tests. Repeated failures will probably lead to the rejection or rejection of the hypothesis. Then other hypotheses will be dreamed up and tested. If some tests are passed and some failed, the hypothesis may be modified. A long string of passes leads to the further development of the hypothesis, and it may eventually become accepted as a theory of science. Nevertheless, all concepts, laws and theories in science are always open to review based on new evidence. No scientific knowledge is absolutely certain of being permanent. New information may lead to changes in accepted knowledge at any time in the future.

So science is a method of investigating the natural world of space, time, matter and energy. The scientific method cannot be used to investigate anything which is immaterial. It proceeds by observation with the natural senses which can be extended by means of physical instruments. Furthermore, scientific reasoning can only be based on observations which are reproducible. This is because the final authority in science is the facts of nature. The basic facts in science are the facts which can be observed over and over again by any scientist who wants to check up on what another scientist reports. If any scientist reports observations which no other scientist can also observe under the same conditions, his work will come under careful review to find out who is making a mistake. Furthermore, any hypothesis advanced by a scientist is open to criticism and experimental test by other scientists. Thus the scientific method is designed to make science self-correcting.

From the above discussion of the scientific method it can be concluded that science does not discover absolute Truth. Rather, the scientific enterprise aims at developing a continually broader, deeper and, hopefully, more accurate knowledge and understanding of the natural world.

2) What Are the Limitations of Science?

a) Science cannot investigate anything immaterial.

Science cannot investigate anything which is moral, ethical or supernatural. One reason for this is that neither our natural senses(vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch, etc) nor scientific instruments can detect or measure non-material, spiritual, supernatural things or influences. There is another reason that science cannot investigate anything that is supernatural, spiritual. God is the infinite-personal Spirit, and his angels and also Satan and his demons are personal spirits. Personal beings have a will of their own and cannot be depended on to behave tomorrow the way the did today. They do not function under the control of natural laws as does everything in the natural world. But the scientific method only works with phenomena which function in accord with natural law and are therefore reproducible. But science is limited to studying only that which is reproducible under controlled conditions. For all of these reasons science can have nothing to say about anything which is immaterial, supernatural or spiritual, moral, ethical or philosophical.

b) Science Is Neutral to Ethical, Moral and Spiritual Issues.

On the basis of the above discussion we can conclude that science, because it is nothing more than a method for studying the natural world, is neutral with respect to questions about things supernatural or spiritual, moral, ethical or philosophical. It therefore is also neutral to the question of what scientists, teachers or students of science should or should not believe. Science therefore should be open to participation to any kind of believer or unbeliever who is willing to abide by the rules of the method of research.

3) Authority in Science

Science is not authoritarian. That is, scientific facts and truth are not determined on the authority of what a great scientist believes to be true. Nor by what a majority of scientists or all scientists believe to be true. No, the final authority in science is the observed, reproducible scientific data. The power of any scientist to establish anything to be a scientific fact is his ability to demonstrate the scientific data which support his claim. A scientist with a great reputation based on his previous research may be able for a time to persuade others to accept a particular claim. But in the end, if he cannot call suitable empirical data to his support, his claim will come under suspicion, experimental testing by other scientists and, finally perhaps, suffer rejection as being unfounded.

It is important for Christian students to understand this fact that science in not authoritarian. This fact means that in science all claims, reports, opinions and theories can be questioned, criticized, and evidence demanded. It means that Christian students have no need to feel intimidated by unbelieving scientists who reject or ridicule the faith of Christ or the teachings of the Bible.

4) Quality and Equality for Christians in Science

Remember this: Christians who are students or workers in science, education or any other field of scholarship must insist on and defend their right to equal opportunity to take part. They must resist any effort to use criticism of their Christian faith as a ground for judging their work. They must insist on being judged on the basis of the quality of their work. In order to hold and defend this strong position they must do quality work. They must also be well informed on what science is and what it is not, so that they can challenge any false teaching about the nature of science.

2. Testing History Courses by the Word of God

History is both an intriguing and, especially for Christians, a very important subject. The anti-Christians who dominate the tax-funded public schools, colleges and universities, and likewise the publishers who produce textbooks also know how important history is. They know that Christianity is unique among religions in that it is rooted in history--the history of God's acts of divine grace and power in this world. They also know that the early founders of America were Christians who laid biblical principles in the foundations of our nation. Therefore, by altering history they can rob students of the knowledge of the history which supports the claims of the Christian faith. They can also deny them knowledge of the history of the Christian foundations of America. For more than sixty years authors of public school history books have been erasing Christianity from the history of America. As a result of this sabotage of the American mind, there is a vast ignorance of history among our people. This ignorance has in particular made it easier for the anti-Christians to carry the United States into what they call the "post-Christian era."

a. What Is History?

Let us begin with a definition of history. History is a chronological record of human events, with an explanation of causes and relationships. Remember that in science the data is reproducible observations of the natural world. In Christian theology the data is the contents of the Bible. What are the data of history? The primary and most fundamental data of history are eye witness accounts which have been recorded in written form. These records may be in the form of letters, books, newspapers, legal documents, statements carved on ancient monuments, or any other kind of written information which gets preserved in the course of human events. Secondary historical data consists of all sorts of artifacts produced by human activities--the remains of buildings, streets, furniture, tools and implements, food stuffs, and any and all kinds of effects which human activities leave to be preserved in some form. Archaeologists discover much of this kind of material as they dig into ancient ruins and the mounds left of ancient cities and civilizations. However, the primary data of history still is the written accounts of eye witnesses and actual participants in the events.

b. What Is the Christian Perspective On History?

The Christian perspective on history is determined by the prime source of historical information--the Bible. The very beginning of history had only one witness, God. Only God who created man can tell us how it happened. In the first chapter of Genesis God tells us that the human race did not begin by evolving from some tribe of apes. No, as we outlined it in the previous section on Science, God created one man, Adam. From this man have descended all the peoples throughout the history of humanity. First, Eve was created from the side of Adam, and then from them all of us descended by natural generation. This is the Christian perspective on the beginning of history.

The principal themes of history are also laid out in God's Word the Bible. They are the following:

1) The fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve, from their original state of holiness into the state of sin and misery. This happened by their disobeying God's command not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When Adam disobeyed God, the entire race was in him and fell with him into the state of sin.

2) The redeeming work of God to restore man to a state of holiness, which was foreshadowed when God shed the blood of innocent animals and covered the nakedness of Adam and Eve with their skins. The redemptive work culminated in the substitutionary death of Christ and His bodily resurrection.

3) The sovereign, active involvement of God in human history as He works out His plan of redemption for the human race. He rules over all kingdoms, kings, nations and peoples, bringing His purposes to pass.

4) The election by God of His own people from among the peoples of the fallen, rebellious human race, beginning with the patriarchs (Genesis 1-26), continuing with Israel (Genesis 27 and the remainder of the Old Testament), and concluding with the Christian Church of the New Testament age.

5) The judgment of Adam's sinful race by a worldwide Flood (Genesis 6-9).

6) The consummation of all things when God puts down all human rebellion, brings this age to an end, judges the world, and institutes the eternal heavenly bliss of His redeemed ones from all of history. All things in heaven and earth will be brought together in Jesus Christ who is Lord of all.

c. What Is the Secular(non-Christian) Perspective On History?

The secular perspective on history is in complete contrast with the biblical perspective. It begins with anti-Christian assumptions and depends for the most part on anti-Christian interpretations of data. The main themes are as follows:

1) The exclusion of God from history: The part of God in history is totally ignored, other than as assorted mythologies which ignorant ancients were foolish enough to dream up and believe.

2) Human biological evolution: This approach to history often begins in the first chapters of world history textbooks, with humans evolving from some species of ape. The first humans are depicted as apish, ignorant creatures which are slowly rising upward toward true humans out of an animalistic condition. This theory of human physical evolution is taught as a dogma to be believed, not as a theory but as a fact of history.

3) Cultural evolution: Having begun with the theory of human biological evolution, many history books go on to teach cultural evolution as fact. Human language is supposed to have evolved slowly from animal noises. In fact, every element of human culture is said to be a product of evolution. This is called "cultural evolution." Therefore, the entire history of humanity is considered to be just a part of the history of evolution. First came biological evolution from ape to humans, then cultural evolution of everything which characterizes modern man.

4) A completely materialistic, amoral view of man and of history: It is assumed that there is no absolute standard of moral right and wrong, of good and evil for either individuals or nations.

5) The depreciation of religion in history: This applies particularly to the biblical Christian faith. Starting back in the 1920s, the authors of American history books began to leave out much of the Christian influence in the founding of America. The Pilgrims and Puritans were falsely portrayed and even ridiculed.

6) The promotion of humanistic and collectivistic political and social theories, systems and leaders: Franklin Roosevelt has been falsely depicted as the saviour of America from the Great Depression. His welfare programs have been glorified, but the destructive effects of the deficit spending which he initiated have been ignored.

7) Making America look bad: The United States is falsely called "imperialistic." The huge gifts of foreign aid to nations around the world ever since the Second World War are ignored and forgotten. Free, democratic America is made the moral equivalent of the Communist Soviet Union. The two are made to be equally good and bad. The United States is often made to be the major source of evil influence in the world.

8) Making western civilization look bad: A prominent slogan at influential Stanford University in recent years has been, "Western Civ has to go."

While there is much that is bad in any civilization, because humans are sinful, it is folly to ignore and discard what is good. The real target for this revision of attitudes is the Christian influence and Christian institutions in western civilization. Having painted it all with the same black brush, the new history promotes the idea that the non-Christian Eastern societies and systems of government must be better. So let's leave the students ignorant of the history of Western Civilization and have them study the history of Eastern Civilization.

d. Neutralizing the Secular Approach to History

It is not unusual for a Christian student to be confronted in a textbook or in the classroom with ideas which are clearly contrary to the fundamental doctrines of the biblical faith. History is often taught in accord with some or all of the elements of the secular approach to history which was outlined in Section c above. How should a Christian respond to such a challenge to his or her faith?

1) Do your homework.

A Christian student confronted in the classroom with the secular view of history is at a disadvantage if he does not know some things which the teacher probably does not know. Christians should be motivated to neutralize or counteract anything which is against their faith, but this requires some knowledge of the Christian side of the subject under discussion. Therefore, Christian students attending a secular school, college or university have some extra homework to do. Here are some types of historical information which are helpful or even necessary tools for neutralizing the secular perspective.

a) The basic framework of biblical history.

This comes first and is absolutely essential. A Christian who does not know the Bible is like a soldier who does not know what his weapons can do or how they work. If a soldier knows his weapons, he can use them--if he has confidence and courage. Thus, to have Bible knowledge is not enough. Christians must have confidence in the Scriptures as truth, God's truth. And they must have the courage to use that truth and direct it against error--right out in the open, in the classroom.

b) The basics of archaeological support for biblical history.

There is a vast body of evidence from archaeology which confirms the accuracy of biblical history. It would not take too much work to get in hand a few striking examples of archaeological confirmation of historical events recorded in the Scriptures, in both the Old and New Testaments. Some of this information is very valuable whenever the historical accuracy of the Bible is attacked. And such attack is likely if a Christian refers to Bible history in a secular classroom.

c) Some knowledge of the place of Christianity in American, British and European history.

This is where history becomes really interesting for Christians. This is the kind of knowledge which has largely been erased from history books in American schools for the past fifty years or more. It is available, however, in libraries and Christian bookstores. It almost seems that a Christian student in high school or in college needs to be a scholar in advance. Hey, let's turn off the stupid TV and do some good reading. Learn about the great heroes of Christian history--John Wyckliff who at the risk of his life translated the Bible into English in the 13th century, Jan Huss who died at the stake for exposing the errors of the Roman Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia, and Martin Luther who struck the spark which ignited the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.

Read about William Tyndale who spent his adult life an exile in Europe translating the Bible directly from Greek and Hebrew into English in the 16th century. He had the New Testament secretly printed and then smuggled into England, where it was eagerly bought up and read by the English people. Hunted down and captured in Belgium by the spies of King Henry the 8th, he was turned over to the merciless leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. He was convicted of teaching Bible doctrines condemned by the Roman Church. His sentence was to be strangled and then burned at the stake. Standing before the stake in the presence of his churchly persecutors and a crowd of the common people, Tyndale cried out his last prayer on earth to God, "O, God, open the King of England's eyes." Two years after Tyndale's death, his prayer was answered when Henry the 8th ordered the English Bible published in a version in which most of the New Testament was the translating work of William Tyndale.

Read of the humble Pilgrims and the Puritans who came from England to found America, giving themselves wholly to the cause of Christ in the New World. Read the early documents of government in the American colonies which quoted the Bible and stated that the law of God in the Bible was the ground for law and government in America. This history and the biographies of these and many other men and women of God make for thrilling reading. Christian students who fill their minds with this kind of historical truth, will have both the knowledge, the motivation and the courage to stand up for truth and against error or prejudice in the classroom. And they can do this in a responsible, informed way which gives glory to God. What are we Christians here for, anyway? This world is filled with darkness. Let's let our light shine for Jesus!

d) The Importance of Reading, Listening and Thinking Critically.

As we saw earlier in the opening section on why we believe what we believe, God has given us truth with which we Christians can test everything we read and hear. It is as if we have special glasses which, if we use them, enable us to see and understand things of which unbelievers are unaware. They enable us to separate truth from error. We use these wonderful truth glasses, when we practice the art of critical thinking, comparing everything with the truth God has given us in His Word the Bible. This is what Christian students should do as they read and listen to what the world offers them.

2) Some Important Tactics for Christian Students

Here are some important tactics which can help Christian students to neutralize the secular perspective in history and social studies:

a) Recognizing, Identifying the Secular Errors

If a Christian student has been practicing the art of critical thinking, the errors of the secular approach to things will become evident. Things for which to be on the alert include factual errors, logical inconsistencies, unprovable assumptions of fact and philosophy, biases and prejudices, hidden agendas, and outright propaganda. Critical thinking which uses biblical truth tests and basic knowledge of history will enable Christian students to recognize and identify these secular errors.

b) Asking Intelligent, Probing Questions.

Then there will come opportunities in the classroom or in written reports and themes, or in classroom discussions and debates to ask intelligent questions. Questions can be asked which expose factual errors, logical inconsistencies, questionable assumptions and hidden agendas, etc. How can any teacher who is worthy of the title complain against this kind of intelligent, responsible, respectful questioning. After all, does not a good teacher want to encourage all students to think for themselves and to participate intelligently in classroom discussion? In particular, the deletion of Christian influence(or religious influence in general) from history, and any effort to ridicule or denigrate the part played by Christians in history, is a distortion of history which belongs in no classroom. Any adaptation of history to promote one world view over others is unacceptable in a history class. These and other such errors can be challenged by students who are prepared to ask appropriate questions. In history as in science, it is the pertinent facts--all of them--which are the final ground for correct understanding.

c) Demanding Evidence, Proof.

Any student worth his or her salt will want to have some confidence that what is taught is really correct, true, and not just the personal opinion of an author or teacher. If the factual correctness of something taught is questionable, it is right to ask for evidence, for proof. If such evidence or proof is not available, the idea can rightly be labeled as opinion or hearsay. A Christian student who properly uses this tactic in the classroom can help all of the students to do their own thinking.

3. Testing Social Studies by the Word of God

The term, "Social Studies," is a broad category in public education. Included in its scope are the following subject areas: the humanities--literature, the arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, music, drama, dance), social groups, political institutions, linguistics, archaeology, law, history of religion; comparative world religions; anthropology; psychology; sociology; the civil rights movement, comparative government; U.S. government; economics.

A little thought will lead one to the conclusion that our biblical Christian faith impacts on most of these subject areas. Therefore, it should not be surprising if anti-Christian ideas appear in courses in these subject areas. Consequently, Christian students should be prepared to deal with them and bear witness to the truth as the opportunity arises. We will consider just a few of the more important possibilities in particular subject areas.

a) Some Questions for History Classes

(1) Since the fossil evidence cannot prove that humans evolved from animals, why does the history text present this controversial concept as historical fact?

(2) Since the theory of human evolution is taught in the text, should we not also consider the scientific evidence against evolution?

(3) Since the historical evidence cannot prove that all religion had its source in ancient mythology, why does the text teach this as fact?

(4) Should not the historical evidence for the reality of God and the reality of God in history which is contained in the Old and New Testaments also be considered? If not why not?

(5) Since the historical validity of the biblical historical data have been here denigrated, should not some of the historical and archaeological evidence supporting the historical accuracy of the Scriptures also be considered? If not, why not?

(6) I note that the text teaches cultural evolution as fact. Why is it, then, that there is no evidence to prove that man was ever less than man?

(7) For example, why is it that no really satisfactory theory for the naturalistic evolution of human speech from animal sounds and of the human physiological capacity for speech has yet been erected?

(8) If the naturalistic, amoral view of human history promoted by this textbook is correct, why is the Nazi persecution of the Jewish people considered to be so heinous? After all, in an amoral universe, does not might make right? Does not naked, brutal force become the final arbiter of right and wrong? Without absolute moral law from the Creator, who can prove the brutal persecutor is wrong?

(9) Why is it that this textbook says so little--and that somewhat defamatory--about the place of the biblical Christian faith in the founding of America?

(10) If Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" program was such a great response to the Great Depression, why is it that the nation was only really lifted out of the Depression by the arrival of World War II?

(11) If the Swedish cradle-to-grave-paternalistic socialist system is so great, why is it that Swedish society is now literally falling apart, sinking into immorality and purposelessness?

(12) If America is the moral equivalent of Communist Russia and actually a "Great Satan" as Khoumene alleged, why is it that the repressed peoples of the world, including the Russian people, all look to America as the example of free democratic society which they want?

(13) Is it not actually morally perverse to try to make America out to be the moral equivalent of Communist Russia?

(14) If "Western Civ has to go," what better is there to replace it with, taking all things into account? Who, after objectively weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the competitors, will volunteer to go into this visualized replacement for western civilization?

(15) If the Christian core is gutted from western civilization, will it end up finally any better than the worst we can see in the world today?

b) Sociology

In sociology courses (also in history courses) the idea of a "pluralistic society" may well come up. The molders of public opinion have for several decades been promoting the desirability of a "pluralistic society." Supposedly this means that all cultures, all races and ethnic groups, all religions and belief systems, and all kinds of life styles should freely and peacefully coexist in the same society. The U.S. Constitution does provide for this kind of free and open society in America. However, those who seem most zealous advocates of a pluralistic society often seem to be distinctly anti-Christian. Thus they speak of this as the "post-Christian era." They also seem bent on removing or preventing all Christian influences in our society. The great cry has been "separation of church and state." So in the 1950s prayer and the Bible were forced out of the public schools. But Eastern and New Age religious ideas are now being taught in many public schools. So it seems that "pluralistic society" really means "pluralism minus one." That is, all beliefs are to have equal opportunity--except one. Bible Christianity is to be suppressed. Why? Because biblical Christianity is founded on the doctrines of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as God the Son, the only Saviour of a sinful, condemned humanity. This uniqueness of the faith of Christ was what got the first century Christians into trouble in the Roman Empire.

What should be the response of Christians to the pluralistic society idea? How should a Christian student in a history or social studies class deal with it? The question-asking tactic can be used to good account here. For example, one might ask the following or related questions:

(1) Does the biblical Christian faith have an equal place of influence in the pluralistic society? If not, why not?

(2) Do Christian citizens have an equal right to apply their belief system and values in public policy? If not, why not?

(3) Where is the idea of "separation of church and state" found in the U.S. Constitution? (Note: This concept is not in the Constitution, but it was enunciated by Thomas Jefferson, who was no friend of evangelical Christianity.)

(4) Was the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution designed to protect the State from the Church, or the Church from the State?

(5) Why is it that New Age concepts and practices and ideas of Eastern religions are being taught in some public schools?

(6) If the secular amoral position on sexual practices and sexual orientation are taught in the public schools, should not the alternate biblical Christian position based on absolute moral law and personal responsibility before God also be discussed in a balanced manner? If not, why not? Does it not violate the constitutional rights of Christian students when they are indoctrinated with biased propaganda for social behaviors which contradict their religious beliefs?

(7) Do citizens who hold to Christian beliefs have equal right to advocate and promote solutions to societal problems which accord with those Christian beliefs, along with those citizens who advocate and promote solutions to societal problems which accord with their non-Christian beliefs? If not, why not?

(8) Is it true that "Western Civ has to go?" If so, why?

(9) Is it not true that the peculiar blessings of our society over all others in the modern world have their roots in the biblical Christian faith of our founding fathers? Can this free society long endure if our nation as a whole turns away from the faith of Christ and reverts to Eastern pagan religions?

c) Psychology

The term "psychology" comes from two Greek words, psuche(soul) and logos(word or knowledge), and so means "study of the soul." But most psychologists and authors of psychology texts do not even believe in the existence of the immaterial soul. The ground principles of practically all psychology textbooks are materialism and evolutionary theory. A Christian student who has control of some of the scientific evidence showing the weaknesses and failures of evolutionary theory and who understands something of the emptiness of the materialistic world view can raise some questions which throw light on the secular view of human psychology. Here are a few such penetrating questions:

(1) What is the source of personal human nature? (Answer: Science cannot tell us, so we are shut up to either ignorance or faith.)

(2) Is there any scientific evidence that material atoms possess the attributes of personal nature(i.e., intellect, affections, moral capacity and will)? (Answer: No.)

(3) Is there any scientific evidence that spontaneous chemical reactions can impart personal nature to matter? (Answer: No.)

(4) In view of our ignorance of any naturalistic origin for personal human nature, is it not entirely reasonable to believe that personal human nature was miraculously(i.e., by non-naturalistic process) imparted to matter, i.e., to the material body of the first human being?

(5) Are not the Christian New Testament principles for human character and relationships the ideal model for human beings to imitate? If not, what model is better and why?

d) Sex Education or Family Life Courses

Courses in sex education or "family life" are now common in the public schools. They almost always give instructions oriented to a non-moralistic, humanistic, pluralistic concept of society and human relations. The concept of universal, absolute moral law is rejected and replaced with some form of "situation ethics." "Situation ethics" is the name given to the idea that what is ethically or morally right and wrong varies with the situation and the personal opinions of the people involved. It is also called "the new morality," but in fact it is just the old immorality.

Specifically with respect to sexual practices, students are taught that the two prime goals are to avoid infection with sexually transmitted diseases and prevent unwanted pregnancy. According to this view, "accidental" pregnancies can properly be corrected by means of abortion. In some more traditional school districts where Christian citizens have more influence, the concept of abstinence outside of marriage is taught, not usually however on the basis of moral law.

One of the new ideas sometimes taught in these courses is that the "traditional nuclear family" is now outdated. This term refers to a normal family composed of one husband, one wife, and their children. Now, however, a man and woman living together without marriage, or homosexual and lesbian couples(two men or two women) who live together are to be considered to be families. Along with this goes the idea of homosexual and lesbian marriages. With this it is also logical to teach that it is only right that such "marriages" should include the same legal rights as traditional marriages.

How should Christian students respond to such ideas as these in the classroom? First, as has been indicated in our previous sections devoted to other subject areas, Christian students must know what they believe, based on correct knowledge of the Bible. Then they must be willing to be different, right out in public, in the classroom--but always in an informed, sensible, respectful manner. Once again the tactic of asking penetrating questions is probably the best one. In the course of asking questions a Christian student can get across some of his or her Christian faith, and also in any classroom discussion which takes place. Here are some possible questions:

(1) Do Christian citizens, including Christian students in this classroom, who believe in the rightness of the traditional family have equal right to advocate and promote their view of what American society should be? If not, why not?

(2) The historic, biblically sanctioned marriage between a man and a woman, producing a traditional family--was it not the foundation of our great American society as it was established by our founding fathers? Why should this not still be the norm?

(3) Do not the other non-traditional kinds of families tend to break down the stability of our society--morally, emotionally, economically?

(4) Is it not true that abstinence from sex before marriage, combined with faithfulness to the marriage vows, would put an end to the epidemic spread of sexually transmitted diseases?

(5) Are not the sexual perversions of homosexuality and lesbianism obviously contrary to nature? If not, why not?

It goes without saying, but let's say it anyway: anyone who asks such questions in a hostile or potentially hostile environment should know the correct answers and be prepared to give a reasonable defense of the Christian position.

e) Comparative World Religions and Bible Literature

We know that one of the prime objectives of Satan, the arch-enemy of our souls, is to undermine our faith in the Word of God. Some Christians may have the opinion that it is enough to know the biblical truth, and that it might even be dangerous to know about the devil's false teachings about the Bible. The Apostle Paul said, "...we are not ignorant of his [i.e., Satan's] devices."(II Corinthians 2:11; see also 10:13-15). Since attack upon the Scriptures is a principal device of our adversary, Christian young people should be forewarned and forearmed.

The standard textbooks for the subject of comparative religions and biblical literature at the college level have for decades been slanted against the historic biblical Christian faith. This bias appears in several forms. In the first place, there is a broad spectrum of religious institutions which go by the name "Christian." Furthermore, much of the Roman Catholic church as well as the major Protestant denominations which developed from and after the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century have over the past century largely gone over to varieties of theology which are scarcely more than baptized humanism. This kind of religion is called "theological liberalism" or "modernism." Thus true Christianity is in a minority position even within the arena of churches calling themselves Christian. In view of these facts it is easy for a textbook author to present true Christianity as a minority or rump party in the greater and, humanly speaking, more imposing and palatable body of the mainline churches.

(1) Higher Criticism of the Bible, and the JEDP Hypothesis

The principal bias against biblical Christianity in courses in comparative religion and Bible literature appears in what is taught about the Bible itself. The universal approach to this issue is to teach the higher criticism of the Bible, in particular what is called the Documentary Hypothesis concerning the Old Testament. The Documentary Hypothesis is also called the JEDP Theory. It was developed in Germany over a century ago, and it rests on three basic assumptions: (1) that all references in the Bible to supernatural or miraculous events are false, because miracles are supposedly impossible, unscientific; (2) that human conceptions of God began with polytheism and gradually evolved into the monotheism of the Jews; and (3) that books of the Old Testament were not written by the people and at the times indicated in the Scriptures. For example, the higher critics assumed that the Pentateuch(the first five books of the Bible) were not written by Moses, but by many other people who wrote and finally put the Pentateuch together about six centuries after poor old Moses died.

The original evidence adduced for the JEDP Theory is the use in the Pentateuch of different names for God. Two of those Hebrew names are Jehovah and Elohim. So the higher critics claim--without proof!--that those portions of the Bible containing the name Jehovah and those portions containing the name Elohim came from different documents, the J documents and the E documents. These original documents, written separately and by different authors, were finally combined to produce what we now have in the five books of Moses, the Pentateuch. This is supposed to be "scientific" study of the Scriptures, but there is nothing scientific about it. It is actually a totally anti-Christian attack against the Bible and against the Christian faith.

The higher critics face serious problems with their theory. Their greatest problem is the fact that no J, E, D or P "documents" exist. The critics have simply torn the Bible into little pieces and rearranged it to fit their theory. Furthermore, even their rearranged evidence is often contradictory. For example, many single verses contain both names for God. Also, God is often referred to as Jehovah Elohim. Furthermore, there is no historical, documentary or archaeological evidence to prove that their theory is correct. There is absolutely no evidence to prove that the J(Jehovah), E(Elohim), D(writers of Deuteronomy), and P(priestly) authors ever existed. There is no way to disprove that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, just as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself believed and taught and as the Jews of the first century also believed. (See John 5:45-47).

(2) Getting Rid of a God Who Knows and Predicts the Future

Another ploy of the higher critics has been to divide the prophet Isaiah into three other people. Their primary and probably principal reason for doing this is that in the 45th chapter of his prophecy Isaiah predicted that there would come a great, conquering king named Cyrus, who would command and give permission for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple. But Isaiah gave this prophecy probably a century before Cyrus was born, and about 150 years before he issued the edict to rebuild the city and the temple. So what is the problem? It is that the higher critics refuse to believe that God could predict the name and actions of an emperor 150 years before the fact. If they believe in any god at all--which is questionable--it must be a cosmic wimp who is destined to watch a world over which it has no control. Thus they repudiate the God of the Bible, who is sovereign Lord over all His creatures.

In order to overthrow the power of God through His prophet to predict history, the higher critics first decided that from chapter 40 to 66 had to be written by Isaiah II. And, of course, Isaiah II had to be placed in history some two centuries after the real Isaiah of history. This would be after the reign of Cyrus, and so the prophecy about Cyrus could be made into hindsight. They simply can't put up with any God messing around in the universe and making predictions of the future which actually come to pass. The fact is, however, that there is absolutely no historical or literary proof that any Isaiah II or Isaiah III ever existed. Finally, the supreme authority on such matters for us Christians, the Lord Jesus Christ, taught that there was only one prophet Isaiah who wrote the entire prophecy of Isaiah.

The critics had a similar problem with Daniel who was a high official serving under the Babylonian and Persian emperors for about sixty years. Daniel, you see, made the mistake of receiving from God and writing down prophecies about middle eastern and world history for centuries in the future. For example, he prophesied that a prince from Greece would conquer the middle east. This happened about a century after Daniel died, when Alexander the Great by conquest established an empire reaching to India. Therefore, the critics conjured up an unknown author who supposedly wrote the embarrassing parts of what we now call the prophecy of Daniel--but after the fact. You see, for a scholar who rejects the God of the Bible and the substitutionary death of Christ for our sins, the idea that God can prophesy the future is an uncomfortable thought. The historical facts must be changed to get rid of that kind of a God.

The fact of fulfilled prophecy delivered authoritatively by the prophets in the Old Testament and by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in the New Testament long before they were fulfilled in history constitutes one of the great proofs for the divine inspiration of the Bible and of the validity of the Christian faith. It is no wonder that the presumptuous, unbelieving scholars have been so zealous in dreaming up theories to do away with biblical prophecy.

(3) Critics Attack the New Testament Also

Largely in this century a parallel method of critical study was developed for the New Testament literature. Called "form criticism," it is based on assumptions inimical to biblical Christianity, just as was the Higher Criticism of the Old Testament. After many decades the assumptions of this kind of New Testament criticism are also coming under fire, even among scholars who are not necessarily theological conservatives. Nevertheless, the critics continue to this day with their blasphemous treatment of the Word of God. Beginning in the decade of the 1980s and continuing in the '90s, the "Jesus Seminars" have been carried on by a large group of scholars. Their chief product has been a series of announcements in which they have thrown out about 60 percent of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ in the four gospels, branding them as spurious.

As in the case of the attack of the "higher critics" on the Old Testament Scriptures, the "form critics" base their study of the New Testament on unprovable assumptions which do not fit the historical facts. Their assumptions actually amount to deciding in advance that the New Testament historical record and the gospel of Jesus Christ are unreliable and largely mythical. This is the same logical fallacy committed by the Old Testament critics, the fallacy of "begging the question." That is, they assume in advance what they are supposedly going to prove. Here are some of the assumptions of the form critics:

(a) The writers of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, were in what they wrote limited to purely human sources such as oral and written tradition and religious feelings about Jesus.

(b) Thus, the New Testament Scriptures are a purely human work, not a revelation of truth from God through the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the authors of the gospels and the epistles of the New Testament are branded as liars, because they plainly claimed that they wrote by special divine inspiration, that the very words they wrote were given by God.

(c) Supposedly the early Christians, teaching and preaching about Jesus, dreamed up imaginative stories and saying of Jesus which had no historical basis.

(d) Gradually these oral traditions were collected in written form as something like short stories and short collections of sayings of Jesus.

(e) These early "documents" then were put together many years later to produce the four gospels.

(f) Jesus probably did not have any consciousness of being the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world. This conception of Jesus was dreamed up by His followers after His death.

(g) The reports of supernatural miracles performed by Jesus are mythological, dreamed up by early pious Christians who desired to promote belief in the deity of Jesus Christ.

(h) Therefore, the life and ministry of Jesus Christ on earth are assumed to be simply the life and ministry of another ordinary, though perhaps remarkable, human being.

(i) It is assumed that the Christian community passed down the oral stories and sayings of Jesus from generation to generation. Changes and adjustments were made and they became fused together into a more or less unified traditional picture of the life and ministry of Jesus. This unified tradition, circulated orally and also in many separate written stories and sayings, was then gathered together and written down by the authors of the four gospels.

It is obvious that, starting with the above set of assumptions, all of the fundamental doctrines of the historic biblical Christian faith would fall victim to the critics' bias. It is the unfounded, unprovable assumptions of the critics which enabled the Jesus Seminar theologians so casually to slice up the four gospels and throw away sixty percent of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. They may be highly educated, intelligent men, but their work in the Jesus Seminar is not scholarship, but prejudiced blasphemy against our triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The modern critics of the New Testament have no more factual proof for their theories than do the critics of the Old Testament. They claim that certain non-factual oral traditions and written non-historical stories about Jesus, as well as fictitious written sayings of Jesus became the basis for the New Testament gospels. The difficulty these Bible-bashers have with this theory is that ancient oral traditions leave no documentary record and, further, that no written documents exist corresponding to the alleged stories and sayings of Jesus. This is exactly the same problem the critics have with their "Documentary Hypothesis" of the Old Testament. There are no "documents," only the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

Another and really crucial difficulty is that there simply was not enough time for the long, slow process required for the ancient society, more or less by chance, to put together the very complex New Testament record of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus was crucified about the year 33 A.D. The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke were written within just two or three decades later. Furthermore, when they were circulated, there were many people still living who were in Jerusalem and experienced the historical events reported in the gospels. There is no historical record of any such eye witnesses rising up and questioning the historicity of the gospel records.

What, then, is the alleged evidence which the form critics offer to support their theory? It is their analysis of the literary and thought forms which they claim to see in the gospels. They say that they can see how many separate source documents were put together to produce the unified historical record and the unified doctrinal teaching which we find in the four gospels. This is really just an adaptation of the higher criticism practiced by other unbelieving scholars in Germany in the preceding century. There is nothing new under the sun.

The New Testament critics can offer us who are Christians no more reason than can the Old Testament critics for anybody to question or reject the Bible as the divinely inspired and inerrant Word of God. Their animosity against the Scriptures is the result not of scholarship but of unwillingness to acknowledge the truth of God as it is revealed in the written Word of God and in the Person of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

(4) Neutralizing Attacks on Biblical Christianity in Comparative Religion and Bible Literature Courses

As in other subject areas, probably the best tactic for Christian students to use in counteracting anti-Christian concepts taught in a comparative religions or biblical literature class is that of asking intelligent, probing questions. Here are some possible questions:

(a) Ask questions which expose the crucial differences between Roman Catholic theology and biblical theology, especially with respect to the authority of the Scriptures and the doctrine of salvation.

(b) Ask questions which expose the crucial differences between Protestant modernist-liberalism and the historic biblical Christian faith to which all of the Protestant churches originally held.

(c) Can the higher critics prove the correctness of their three basic assumptions, namely: (1) that the supernatural and miraculous in the Bible is all mythological, spurious, (2) that God merely evolved in human minds from many Gods to the one God of the Jews, and (3) that the Pentateuch was written not by Moses, but by other people centuries later? Please, tell what the proof is. Pray tell, where are the "documents"?

(d) Since the methods and tools of science cannot be used to investigate the supernatural and miraculous, how can a "scientific" study of the Bible be based on the assumption that the supernatural and miraculous elements in the Bible are spurious? Does not doing so amount to the logical fallacy of begging the question?

(e) I understand that the evidence supports the view that the concept of one God came first and later degenerated into polytheism, just as the Bible teaches. Do you have any evidence which proves the contrary?

(f) Is it not true that the method of the Higher Criticism is no longer applied to any literature other than the Bible, because the method simply failed with other ancient literature? Shouldn't we students be very suspicious when a failed methodology is used in an attempt to discredit the veracity of the Bible in our day?

(g) Is it not true that the critics of the Bible used to claim that because writing was unknown to Moses, he could not have written the Pentateuch in 1400 B.C.--until archaeologists discovered that writing was known to the Sumerians in 3000 B.C.?

(h) Can it be proved that the writers of the New Testament gospels had only the oral traditions and written stories and sayings as the source of Jesus' life and teachings? In other words, can divine revelation be ruled out? Answer: No.

(i) Have any first century documents containing the separate stories or sayings of Jesus which are reported in the gospels been discovered? Answer: No.

(j) Is there any evidence which proves that the four gospels were produced by combining and connecting together many shorter documents? Answer: No.

(k) Is there any historical or ancient literary evidence to substantiate the notion that Jesus did not have an awareness that He is the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel, and the Saviour of the world? Answer: No.

(l) Is there any historical evidence to support the view that Jesus' works of miraculous divine power did not actually occur? Answer: No.

(m) Have the scholars of the Jesus Seminar any historical or ancient literary evidence to prove that they are justified in rejecting any of the sayings of Jesus recorded in the four gospels? Answer: No.

(n) Did any of the living eye witnesses of the events of Jesus' life speak out to expose errors of historical fact in the four gospels? Answer: There is no record whatsoever of such criticisms in the first century.

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