When Institute for Creation Research biologist Dr. Gary Parker goes to Christian education conferences to speak, he admits he has a personal as well as professional reason:
I became a Christian just as our first child was getting ready to go to school. And we enrolled him in…Dr. Roy Lowrie's school. He was one of the founders of ACSI. And Christian teachers mean a lot to a brand new Christian parent.
The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) "strives to enable and equip Christian educators and schools worldwide to effectively educate children and young people with the mind of Christ."1 ICR scientists, including Dr. Parker, have spoken at many ACSI conferences over the past few years, continuing ICR founder Henry Morris' emphasis on equipping educators with the truth of God's Word.
"It's critical for ICR to be at convocations such as ACSI to help teachers, both seasoned veterans and also beginning teachers, to understand the importance of creation science as opposed to neo-Darwinian evolution," said Frank Sherwin, ICR's senior science lecturer and also a frequent ACSI speaker. "Christian teachers should be able to pass along an apologia--a good, solid, biblically-based apologetic--to their students regarding our origin, but just as importantly, our destiny."
Both Dr. Parker and Mr. Sherwin have been Christian school teachers. A common response from their audience members is "enthusiasm."
"One of my most popular talks is about dinosaurs and the Bible," Dr. Parker said. "The room is usually packed out, and teachers tell me later how much they appreciate the talk and how they can use the information in their classes. Those are great compliments, but the downside is that means they weren't teaching this before. They didn't really know about it."
Mr. Sherwin has also met many teachers who aren't equipped with the scientific facts that support the Bible:
They're surprised that there is such a compelling case for creation, both on the macroscopic level--when it comes to our solar system and everything about the earth being just right--to the microscopic, as we see the interaction of organisms with their environments. And even to the submicroscopic levels that we see in the cell: springs, levers, and rotary joints made with proteins.
A Christian teacher's lack of understanding is not completely his or her fault, both scientists emphasized. "That's not meant to be a criticism," Mr. Sherwin said. "But many don't seem to have a good solid understanding of what science is and, just as important, what science is not."
"So many teachers are teaching in really good schools that support creation science, but they don't have a background in creation science themselves," Dr. Parker said. "They were trained either at state schools or, perhaps even worse, compromising Christian schools where they've learned the opposite of what the Bible teaches."
And because of high turnover, it is important to equip new teachers. "That continuous new group of young teachers has to be brought up to date with all the creation material and how to present it," Dr. Parker said. "Educating educators is helping to educate the next generation, which will educate the next and the next. This is a faithful people passing on to faithful people."
From its beginning, education has been a primary mission of the Institute for Creation Research. With God's provision, we will continue to provide teachers with the tools they need to proclaim the accuracy and authority of God's Word, as well as the information to combat the errors that are rampant in today's school systems.
- Association of Christian Schools International website at www.acsi.org, accessed March 12, 2010.
* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Dao, C. 2010. The Critical Importance of Teaching the Teachers. Acts & Facts. 39 (5): 19.