Several months ago The Standard Bearer published a review of a series of science manuals to be used in the public school system in California which present creationism as a viable alternative to evolutionism. These manuals were prepared by the Creation Research Society. The purpose of these manuals must be clearly understood. The purpose was not to banish the teaching of evolutionism from the public school system. The purpose was not to insist on the teaching of creationism alone as the truth of God’s Word. The purpose was rather to gain permission to present creationism as a scientifically acceptable alternate to evolutionism. Both would be taught in the school, and, presumably, the teacher would be required to demonstrate that creationism was as acceptable an explanation for the origin of all things as evolutionism—even from a scientific viewpoint.
In a recent issue of Scientific American there was a report on the progress of this campaign. This report noted that the .above proposal had been approved by the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission which is responsible for the evaluation of textbooks and workbooks to be used in the public schools and which is responsible to the State Board of Education. This month, the Commission is to meet with the State Board for purposes of discussing the matter, and it is hoped by many that the State Board will approve of the recommendations of its commission. If this would happen, then creationism would be taught in the public schools of California along with evolutionism.
Quite naturally, opposition has developed. There are those in California not only who strenuously oppose this program, but there is also the threat of a court case. The National Association of Biology is considering filing for an injunction in the event that the State Board approves of this program. The basis for such an injunction would be the First Amendment of the Constitution which requires the separation of Church and State.
When I wrote the review of the series of books prepared by the Creation Research Society, I mentioned that I was not wholly in agreement with the idea of presenting creationism merely as a viable alternative to evolutionism. After all, the battle between creationism and evolutionism is a battle between God’s Word and man’s philosophies. It is a battle between faith in the Scriptures and unbelief. It is a battle between light and darkness. It is a spiritual battle.
But what concerns us now is the silly notion advanced by those who oppose this program on the grounds of the First Amendment. If it is true that the teaching of creationism in the public school system is a violation of the principle of the separation of Church and State, this can be only on the grounds that creationism is a “doctrine” while evolutionism is not. This is absurd and folly in the extreme. Creationism is, of course, a doctrine. It is a doctrine which is clearly taught in Scripture and which is the confession of the Church. It is not only a religion, but it is an article of faith in the one and. only true religion: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God. . . .” (Heb. 11:3). But evolutionism is also a doctrine, a religion if you will. It is a false doctrine, a heresy, an evil religion. But it is that nonetheless. One cannot assume the position then, that to teach creationism is to teach religion and violate the First Amendment; but to teach evolutionism is not to teach religion and is legally within the requirements of the First Amendment. This is the devil’s sophistry and is merely a subtle attempt to overthrow the Scriptures and make the heresies of .men the “religion” of the public schools. And yet this is precisely what has happened in this country.
From one of our readers I received a copy of a chapel service which was held September 13, 1972 in Illiana Christian High School. As is evident from the program, the service was a responsive reading of the leader and the students attending the chapel. We quote the program in full.
Hymn 360 “Christian, Dost Thou See Them”
People: Our Father, who art in heaven. . . .
Leader: Father could we have your undivided attention. There are some matters we must discuss with you today.
People: Hallowed be thy name. . . .
Leader: It’s like this. Your name is mud in some circles. People laugh when your name is mentioned. For some your name is nothing but a cussword. Restore some honor to your name, Lord. And help us to do the same.
People: Thy kingdom come. . . .
Leader: We have some real difficulties here, Lord. It’s so hard to see your hand at work in the world around us. There are so many wars and evils at large. We want you to take over right now and to straighten out this mess on earth. Make this the final takeover. And use us to do it.
People: Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. . . .
Leader: We’d like to point out, Father, that no one seems to know the plans for heaven and very few seem to care. Anyway, your sons are very confused about what your will is supposed to be on earth. What kind of change in politics and people will make this world free and good? Teach us your plan, put it into operation, and speed up your timetable.
People: Give us this day our daily bread. . . .
Leader: Daily bread is one of our foremost needs. Millions upon millions are starving. The world’s population is exploding. How can we use our resources to develop each man’s pride in his own work? As we tackle this task give us some of the rich bread from that banquet table prepared for men at the end of this age.
People: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. . . .
Leader: We are rather sensitive about this, Father. We’re talking about a chain reaction of forgiving. That’s not easy. We are proud. We sometimes feel guilty or miserable despite your love and acceptance. Open our hearts to love and give us the power to love others now as we will in that new age.
People: Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. . . .
Leader: Father, don’t let us have to face the ultimate test of obedience. Christ did that for us. Father, don’t let us have to face the full force of evil. Christ did that for us. Father, don’t let us have to face death without you beside us. Christ did that for us.
People: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Leader: You are God, after all. You have the power, You have the plan You have the honor. Take over now and rule forever. And give us the joy of seeing it happen. Amen.
Hymn 397 “More Love to Thee, O Christ”
“Prayer of Saint Francis”
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace!
Where there is hatred—let me sow love.
Where there is injury—pardon.
Where there is doubt—faith.
Where there is despair—hope.
Where there is darkness—light.
Where there is sadness—joy.
O divine Master, grant that
I may not so much seek
To be consoled—as to console,
To be understood—as to understand.
To be loved—as to love.
For it is in giving—that we receive.
It is in pardoning—that we are pardoned.
It is in dying—that we are born to eternal life.”
The Nicene Creed sung by ______ _____.
One has come to expect almost anything nowadays in innovations. Yet this particular chapel service leaves one gasping a bit. There are several comments which ought to be made.
In the first place, one is struck by the blasphemy. More and more in our day wicked men drag the Most High down to their own human level. It seems a thing almost incredible that the Holy One of Israel does not break forth in fury at such desecration of His adorable name. Is there no fear left any more when men stand in the presence of Him before Whom the angels hide their faces? The whole service is characterized by this familiarity, this contempt of God, this blasphemy which makes one shudder. But particularly revolting is the leader’s response to the address. If it is true, as the leader says in response to the first petition, that God’s name is mud in some circles, this service has gone a long way to make it such.
In the second place, apparently what the leader says is supposed to be some sort of commentary on the various petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. If one would but compare this “commentary” with that given by our Heidelberg Catechism, one could only shake his head in amazement that the beautiful descriptions of the Catechism can be so ruthlessly destroyed by those who make the Catechism a creedal basis.
In the third place, one can only be shocked by the heresy of the “commentary.” What about the statement: “We want you to take over right now and to straighten out this mess on earth”? Is not Jehovah sovereign in all that happens in the world? Why must He take over now if He rules according to His counsel always? Can a school which claims to stand in the Reformed tradition so openly violate its heritage and destroy the truth of God’s sovereignty? and no one does anything? And what about: “Make this the final takeover”? Is not this, as well as the whole service, filled with the most blatant post-millennialism? And these are but a few examples.
In the fourth place, there are what can best be called inane statements which no one can possibly interpret in any sensible way. “Anyway, your sons are very confused about what your will is supposed to be on earth.” “Teach us your plan, put it into operation, and speed up your timetable.” “How can we use our resources to develop each man’s pride in his own work?”
Finally, all this is done in a school where young people are gathered to study in preparation for their calling as covenant people in God’s heritage. What an irresponsible travesty of covenant instruction.