Here is a letter opened in public by request about the Bible and science. This youth pastor looks at his youth group and sees one group in the Young Earth Creation position and another wondering if they can even believe in the gospel if they don’t embrace YEC.
What would you tell this young pastor? How would you address Genesis 1–2?
Hi Dr. McKnight,
I have a question that I think would be answered well from the perspective of your blog readers. If you would rather not have this on your blog, I understand. But I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
I am a youth pastor at a baptist church in the north. The majority of my church would be those who would loosely hold to youth earth creationism–with a few of those memorized-all-of-Ken-Ham’s-arguments types, and a small percentage of those who would hold to some sort of evolutionary creationism.
About half of my youth group is made up of “church kids” who have been, by the previous youth pastor, taught all of the reasons to believe YEC and reject evolution. My personal stance in terms of the science is probably best described as on the evolution side of agnostic. My view of the biblical account has primarily been molded by Walton (thanks, for the most part, to your blog).
As a teenager, most of my most serious doubts about my faith and God stemmed from this tension between the YEC that I was supposed to hold to and the old earth evolution that science points to. If I were ever at a point in which I would have walked away from my faith, it would have been over this issue. And, this issue was the biggest one that my peers have used as reasons to never take Christianity seriously or to walk away from the faith they once held.
About half of my youth group is made up of “church kids” who were taught that YEC was the only way (by a previous youth pastor), and the other half is made up of unchurched kids who either assume that they can never be Christians because of their belief in evolution and science.Here is my dilemma: I’ve been working through reasons why people don’t believe in God. For two reasons: 1. to answer some of the questions and doubts that people have, and 2. to get the kids thinking about what/why they believe and what/why others believe.
I gave them a survey, and of the kids who believed, all of them said that they doubted when their friends started talking about things like evolution and stuff. All of the nonbelievers said that one of the reasons they didn’t believe was because evolution had disproved God.
My church kids’ parents would love for me to come in at this point and do a Answers In Genesis type study teaching my Evilution is, well, evil. But because of my conscious, I cannot do that. At the same time I don’t want to use this time to convince them all to be evolutionists–I would probably get in trouble. But I also want to make sure that they all know that they don’t have to give up on Christ regardless of their view of origins.
So, I am at a loss of what exactly to do.
How do you, and your blog readers, think that I should approach this issue?