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A Special Word about Evangelical Day Schools

The Christian school movement has dedicated itself to integrating the Christian faith with our understanding of the 3 R’s, including our understanding of the natural world through the eyes of science. Children fortunate enough to be enrolled in these day schools are blessed with a thorough integration of Bible reading, prayer, and worship right along with all other learning. Such children grow up with a single worldview where all important things are oriented toward God.

As evangelical teachers and administrators plan for the future of these children, they know these children need to be well prepared. They need to have been exposed to the best science. Nothing less than the best science is morally permissible in such a school setting.

It may cause a moment of disorientation, then, for evangelical educators to hear our emphasis on the teaching of the Darwinian model of evolution. This is because the Christian Day School tradition has inherited some of its commitments and its support from fundamentalism and evangelicalism. The literature of Scientific Creationism and Intelligent Design circulates within this milieu. This literature appears to be consistent with the Christian Day School philosophy of overcoming the obstructions placed by secularism in our public schools.

Be that as it may, we plead with conscientious evangelical school teachers and administrators to consider seriously what is at stake. Neither Scientific Creationism nor Intelligent Design provides an understanding of the natural world that matches that of standard evolutionary biology. Christians need to live in an academic world where Darwin’s model of evolution is dominant, useful, fertile, and necessary to progress up the education ladder.

Some of the world’s leading scientists are evangelical Christians. Consider for example, Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., currently the director of the U.S. National Center for Human Genome Research in Washington, DC.See: Francis Collins’ "Foreword" to Playing God? Genetic Determinism and Human Freedom, by Ted Peters (New York and London: Routledge, rev. ed., 2002). He is virtually “Mr. Gene” in North America. Under no circumstances would this model of Christian intellectualism surrender his scientific integrity to accommodate either creationism or intelligent design substitutes for evolution.

This leads to one final important point. Today’s politically charged atmosphere leaves the impression that to be a faithful Christian one must be anti-Darwin. This slips easily into the impression that the Christian faith is anti-science. If our young people inherit this point of view, it will be devastating for their futures.

The study of God’s creation through the microscope and the telescope is itself a divine calling, a vocation. Every generation needs a select group of young people to cultivate their natural curiosity in the direction of systematic research into the workings of nature. The whole of society benefits from the few who give their careers to science. We want faithful Christian professionals among this select few. One task of our Christian Day Schools is to inspire and guide the next generation of pioneers and discoverers.

Email link | Printer-friendly | Feedback | Contributed by: Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters

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