CHILD EVANGELISM WRONGLY CALLED ‘PSYCHOLOGICALLY HARMFUL TO CHILDREN’

Becky Fischer Becky Fisher, Kids in Ministry International, writes with concern:

Some months ago, in an article called Teaching Kids About God is Child Abuse, I wrote about a new frightening trend. In it I outlined that this trend 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… but I didn’t realise danger would increase so quickly to the general public!

CEF attacked
Just recently 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, Oregon 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:

CEF logoThe 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 evangelise 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.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Samaritan’s Purse similarly hammered
Just do a simple Google search under ‘proselytising children’ and you’ll get an eye full. For instance, does your church participate in filling shoe-boxes at Christmas time for Samaritan’s Purse? Well, the anti-God gestapo doesn’t like that either. The Huffington Post posted a huffy blog about it:

Samaratian's Purse‘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 organisation 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.’

And Compassion International
Dan Brewster, head of this organisation for 26 years, wrote a compelling article called Ethics and Cautions in Mission with Children:

Compassion‘Evangelism or “proselytising” (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 proselytising going on in the commercial domain. We accept the proselytising 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 [proselytising] messages per day according to a number of sources cited by Seiter/Gass (2004, 6). Thus, the argument is not about evangelising 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 evangelise children. Their view is that we should evangelise only parents and, in turn, parents will evangelise 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.’

Where is this leading?
For starters, you will increasingly be shamed into thinking anything you do to evangelise 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 proselytise children with threat of incarceration.

The first thing Communism did when taking over nations was to criminalise 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.

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?

Don’t think it can’t happen here
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 children believe by the time they are 10 to 12 years old, particularly about God and faith, will be what they hold to the rest of their life with minimal modifications. The anti-God crowd knows it. And that’s why they are so aggressive about stopping the proselytising of children.

Parents: Step up to the challenge and start taking more seriously your duty to disciple your own children in your home. If you have children in public school, realise 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: We need to stop playing games in our churches and realise 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.

Mission to children is vital
As a CEF email said last month: ‘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.

Jesus and kids‘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 to share the message of Jesus. Our goal is to leave our city a happier place with healthier children and stronger homes.’

A generational challenge to every parent, church and children’s ministry worker.

Becky Fischer founded Kids in Ministry International. Adriana Morales, Gillian Duke and Pam Katchel, Kids in Ministry Australia are eager to encourage children’s ministry leaders and workers. Link: kimiaustralia@yahoo.com / www.kimiaustralia.org / 0424KIMI23.

Editorial note: We are hearing from concerned children’s ministry leaders that they are aware of a move to remove all Christian religious teaching from Australian schools. There is also  great concern over endangered kids in Iraq! Meaningful prayer is so necessary at this time.

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