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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Signpost on the Road to Irrelevance

Youthworks is the name given to a Diocese of Sydney Episcopalian ministry to youth. Earlier in 2011 Ruth Lukabyo, Church History and Evangelism Lecturer, Youthworks College, reported on the results of a survey she had undertaken with 208 Scripture students aged 11 to 14 years.

In State schools in NSW, Australia, parents can indicate on the student's enrolment form whether attendance in Special Religious Education i.e. instruction provided by certain religious organizations, should be available to their child. The format is commonly called Scripture and it allows various religious 'faiths' to sustain or 'evangelize' students in the respective faith. Atheists, Sceptics, Humanists (and their ally - the NSW Teachers' Federation Union) want Scripture removed but are frustrated because it is enshrined in an Act of Parliament.

Ruth Lukabyo was surprised at the result of her survey because she believed that earlier Scripture exposure and a likely proportion of students having come from Christian homes would have produced greater understanding of Christian basics. The four survey questions attracting most attention from students were:

1. How can I know that God exists?
2. How could a good God send people to hell?
3. How can I believe in a good God when there is so much suffering?
4. Doesn’t evolution prove that God doesn’t exist?

The survey also allowed students to pose their own questions outside the range provided. In this aspect of the survey the four most asked questions were:

1. Where does God come from?
2. Why did God make us?
3. If the Big Bang is true does that mean God is not?
4. What is heaven & hell and how do you go there?

Amongst other things Lukabyo goes on to say was: At this age adolescents are being taught the scientific law of cause and effect at school as well as the theory of the Big Bang. They seem to take to heart the maxim that every event has a cause: if the cause of the universe is God, then where did God come from, who made God? If the Big Bang is the ultimate cause of the universe, does this mean that we no longer need to believe in God? We need to clearly engage with these scientific questions of causation and show that a scientific explanation of the world and its origin does not rule out belief in God. The importance of this is shown by the number of children who grow up to give up their childhood faith. Mason et al show that the biggest reason for giving up faith at 16%, was “doing further study, especially science" Are we adequately dealing with the questions of origin to give children a coherent Christian worldview that can stand the test of time?

Sadly, most Sydney Episcopalians let loose in Scripture classes fail students at this point. Having syncretized the foundational Christian belief in Origins with the world's view of Origins they present an indigestible message to students. Even more questions arise. For one thing: How could a good/loving God use a bad means of Creation such as the mechanism of Evolution? For another: If the Creator used a process of death and struggle to create what would a future in Eternity with this Creator involve?

Such is the malaise within the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney that an affirmative answer to Ruth Lukabyo's question: Are we adequately dealing with the questions of origin to give children a coherent Christian worldview that can stand the test of time? is not to be found in the present order. Only a Reformation from the Hand of God will bring the necessary change. In saying this, I might also validly assert that the Reformation of five centuries ago did not go far enough. While key proponents such as Luther and Calvin upheld the traditional rendering of a six day Creation occurring only thousands of years prior they and others did not go far enough to remove the pagan influence of Aristotle from Christian thought. Perhaps then, the Reformation of centuries past is not yet complete and we ought to pray to God that He will raise up men who will take the Reformation forward to fulfilment. The tools are there on the matter of Origins. There are Christian men and women researching and publishing research which exposes the failings of the Evolution theory of Origins and the alleged Long Age for the Earth. If only alleged Christian brothers and sisters would read the research material and learn the shallowness and futility of the current world view.

If such a Reformation does not occur the increasing irrelevance of Christianity, particularly in the State school system, will hasten the day when provision for Special Religious Education is removed from the Act.

Sam Drucker


John said...

And still the SADs won't listen, even when the data come from their own source.

sam drucker said...

I wonder, I just wonder, whether anyone will start asking questions contrary to the direction of leadership and the unfolding 'leadership by default'?

Sam Drucker

John said...

No, cult members hardly ever question their leader(s).

Diane said...

Until a year ago I was attending an Anglican church in western Sydney. Am living in Qld but still listen to their teaching online at times. They are currently doing a series on Gen 1-11. It grieves me so much that this heresy is being preached to hundreds of people, most of whom blindly agree with what is taught. If you're able to handle it without smashing your computer in disgust, go to and listen to the talk by Craig Hamilton, youth pastor on Creation. Regards, Diane.

Critias said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Critias said...

Synergy! The Anglican creation discussion blog also hit this topic: Youthworks might start going up in Google's rankings with this sort of activity.
(I just deleted my own comment and this is it reposted: just wanted to see what happened).

sam drucker said...

Diane, Thanks for the tip.

In the last twelve months another insidious trend in the Diocese of Sydney has been the emergence of some men establishing, ostensibly, evangelistic ministries and one has taken over management of a long standing evangelical ministry to the world. He has also assisted in having that organization fund a struggling periodical also purporting to be evangelical but some regular writers are these very men. They, and another with ongoing doubts about his faith are, by default, seen as evangelical but on Genesis 1 they expose their true colours.

One recently had an article published in a major Sydney newspaper and its content had aspects which would cause many Christians to shudder.

Their weakness is not noted by others so, before too long, they will be given too much influence and this will be to the peril of the Diocese.

Sam Drucker

John said...


You better watch yourself. After all, you moved to Qld and you know what happens to people when they move there...they become bible-believing creationists who eagerly search the scriptures and buy creationist magazines which show you how science does support the Bible and not the atheists' worldview. Can't have that state of affairs...can we?