Just three months ago, I told you about a new frightening trend in an article called “Teaching Kids About God is Child Abuse.” In it I outlined that this is becoming the new mantra of the atheist-left. I warned that we as Christians need to be on alert and watch for this mindset to increase. (Read the Article here.) I didn’t realize danger would increase so quickly to the general public. Just last week an article came out online website called “Christian Today” with the headline “CHILDREN’S CHRISTIAN MINISTRY CALLED ‘PSYCHOLOGICALLY HARMFUL TO CHILDREN‘.” It seems the well-known Christian nonprofit, Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), is facing opposition in Portland, OR as it seeks to bring youth to Christ. According to Christian Today, the group’s “Good News Club” is being called “psychologically harmful to children” by a newly formed coalition – Protect Portland Children. They wrote:
The Good News Club is a youth ministry in which children are taught about sin, Jesus, and holiness through engaging songs, games, and Bible stories. On its website, CEF states that “the purpose of Good News Club is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and establish (disciple) them in the Word of God and in a local church for Christian living.” Critics of CEF and the Good News Club say the program teaches fundamentalist beliefs to children, and encourages fear, judgment, and divisiveness in youth. Attorney and blogger Eric Ceynar wrote on his “Intrinsic Dignity” blog that the Club uses shame and fear indoctrination, thought control, attacks on science education, authoritarian conditioning, and deceptive marketing to negatively influence students. To read the full article by Christian Today, click here.
“Rather than giving because it’s the right thing to do, these charities give aid in exchange for religious conversion. One such group is Operation Christmas Child, an evangelical organization that provides gifts to children — with the goal of converting each child to Christianity….These boxes of toys are essentially bribes used to pressure poor children living in developing countries to convert to Christianity. And Operation Christmas Child isn’t shy about their efforts, bragging about the thousands of kids they’ve converted.”
“Evangelism or ‘proselytizing’ (most dictionaries define them interchangeably) is taking place all around us all the time, and for the most part we have no problem with it. As Elmer Thiessen points out in his fine book The Ethics of Evangelism, ‘We seem to feel no embarrassment about the proselytizing going on in the commercial domain. We accept the proselytizing inherent in advertising. We are not embarrassed with the huge billboards cluttering our freeways, whose purpose is to convert us in matters ranging from brushing our teeth with Colgate to putting our investments in banks that make huge profits by exploiting the ordinary citizen…. The average citizen in the United States is exposed to more than 3,000 [proselytizing] messages per day according to a number of sources cited by Seiter/Gass (2004, 6).Thus, the argument is not about evangelizing per se, but is about seeking to change people’s faith allegiance. But evangelism, or providing Christian training, even to children is neither exploitative nor unethical. It is common to all faiths. It is commanded in the Christian Scriptures. It is a central feature of our Christian faith commitment. In fact, as Dr. Bryant Myers points out, “everyone— Christian or non-Christian—is witnessing all the time anyway. The only question is to what or to whom are they witnessing. It is how we witness which raises a difficulty and a challenge”. A common argument against child evangelism is that children are not psychologically mature enough to make an informed decision or to choose their own religion. Hence, directing a child toward a particular religion, they say, is not ethically correct. Even some Christians suggest that it is unethical to evangelize children. Their view is that we should evangelize only parents and, in turn, parents will evangelize their own children. However, this position is not scriptural. The biblical pattern of evangelism is to proclaim the gospel to everybody. No one is excluded.” (To read the entire, very informative article click here.)
Where is this leading us today? For starters, you will increasingly be shamed into thinking anything you do to evangelize children is evil and wrong. Just keep watching! Keep in mind that there are at least 20 nations in which it is against the law to try to proselytize children with threat of incarceration. The first thing Communism did when taking over nations was to criminalize people of all faiths, including Christians (though they left Islam alone!) It even got to the point that children were to report their parents if they tried to teach them about God. Study your history. Don’t think it can’t happen here. We are seeing things take place in America that we never dreamed possible. And it’s happening so quickly, what will she look like in another five to ten years?
The Ultimate Goal
What is the ultimate goal of these kinds of people and philosophies today? What does this mean for us a Christians, churches, and families today? Will churches be allowed to have vacation Bible schools in the years ahead? Or invite children to their Sunday Schools without written permission from their parents, who are being increasingly brainwashed to believe teaching children about God is child abuse?
First of all, take this very seriously. Don’t shrug your shoulder and say “it can’t happen here.” One of the most important things we can do is pass our faith on to our children. It’s when children are under the age of thirteen that the vast majority of Christians come to faith in Christ. What a child believes by the time he is 10 to 12 years old, particularly about God and faith, will be what he holds to the rest of his life with minimal modifications. The anti-God crowd knows it. And that’s why they are so aggressive about stopping the proselytizing of children.
Parents, step up to the plate, and start taking more seriously your duty to disciple your own children in your home. If you have children in public school, realize you have double duty to, not only disciple your child, but to counteract the thousands of little nuances, subtle innuendos, and the pressure they encounter daily to shove their faith under the rug and become one of those “silent followers” of Christ, if they follow at all. Churches need to stop playing games in our churches and realize the one or two hours we get a week with children has to be of the utmost training and equipping to be followers of Christ.
On July 25th, 2014 our US office received an email from Child Evangelism Fellowship. They said:
Statement Concerning Child Evangelism Fellowship Mission Trip to Portland, Oregon
Child Evangelism Fellowship is a historic ministry that believes God loves both children and adults, and He wants to give them a spiritual and moral foundation for life. Children are mentioned about 100 times in the Gospels, and Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me.” For nearly 2000 years, Christians have been spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to adults and children alike, and for nearly 75 years Child Evangelism Fellowship has been telling children around the world about the love of Jesus. We do not pressure or coerce children, and we respect the wishes of their parents or guardians.
We believe we have a wonderful message from Scripture, and we are happy to share it with those wanting to hear. Since children establish moral values early in life, they have a right to hear the Gospel if they desire, and we have a biblical obligation and the constitutional right to share the message of Jesus. We have decades of experience in tactfully and appropriately sharing the Gospel, and we have 75 years of testimonies from people whose lives have been positively impacted by our message. Our goal, when our mission in Portland is over, is to leave this city a happier place with healthier children and stronger homes. We appreciate the opportunity to serve here.
Child Evangelism Fellowship For more information see www.cefonline.com.