I recently received an email from the PC(USA) store that was advertising an updated curriculum for children’s Bible study. I usually delete those emails because I can’t trust what comes from the denominational structure, but on this day was curious. The curriculum in question is called “Growing in God’s Love.” I won’t link it here because I can’t, in good conscience, direct anyone to their website. But if you are curious, you can just Google it. The samples that were attached in this email are dripping with false teaching, specifically the teaching of secular humanism.
Secular humanism is a huge philosophical topic that I don’t have time to dive into. This brief excerpt from Ligonier will suffice:
Perhaps the best way to summarize its major tenets is to use the ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras’ statement homo mensura, which means “man the measure.” In its secular form, humanism has taught that man is the measure of all things. Man is the ultimate, autonomous norm; that is, he is a law unto himself. His reason, not subservient to divine revelation, is the basis of ethics.
You can see, that humanism places man in the center of philosophy, ideology, and theology. This, of course, runs in stark opposition to the teaching of Scripture. “O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow” (Ps. 144:3-4).
This new curriculum, designed for at-home learning, does not introduce this false teaching quietly, but at the outset makes very clear it stands in opposition to Scripture. Discerning parents will be quick to spot it, but someone new to the faith might think this teaching is normal. For example, in the first article on Creation the curriculum reads:
Several problems are in the paragraph alone.
Right off the bat, this publication casts doubt on the creation story. Historic, orthodox Presbyterianism has always maintained that Genesis 2 is not a second creation “myth” but the same creation event from a different perspective. This is consistent with Covenant theology, which interprets the Book of Revelation as one event also looked at from different perspectives. Yet, here they boldly declare false teaching: “This is the second story of creation” that comes from “another writer.” Here again the PC(USA) and Westminster John Knox Press stray from historic Christianity. The historic—and dare I say True Church—has always seen Genesis as having one human author: Moses. They even press home this heresy by concluding “These stories of creation show how two different voices describe beginnings...” The authors and publisher might as well have said they are apostates, because that’s what this false teaching proves.
This so-called “second writer” is apparently “more concerned with the connection between humans and the land... [than] the idea of humans as in charge of and responsible for creation.” First of all, I have no clue where they are drawing the conclusion that man was “in charge of and responsible for creation.” Both Genesis 1 and 2 clearly show God is the author and creator. This seems to me a strawman argument drawn up to pit Genesis 2 against Genesis 1. Second, Moses is not at all “concerned with the connection between humans and land.” They argue that “the Yahwist writer wants us to remember that we are dependent on the land. We need to take care of the land...” I’d say their argument held water if they relied on Genesis 1:28-30, but as it is, Genesis 2 actually deflates their position. The main difference between these two chapters is found in Genesis 2:16-17. While I say “difference,” I want to reiterate that these are not two different creation stories, but the same event from a different perspective. In Genesis 2:16-17, we have the introduction of God’s covenant promise with man. “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” This is Moses’ chief concern in this chapter, not the relationship between man and nature.
Another example of secular humanism in this curriculum comes in the article on the New Testament church.
At the outset, this lesson seems innocuous, but here again, from sentence one, this curriculum is introducing error. The claim that the Church was born at Pentecost is erroneous. The covenant community has existed since creation. God’s covenant promise did not start at Pentecost but took on a new dispensation. At Pentecost, this new dispensation took on a wider scope: the Church was no longer limited to ethnic Jews but was extended to all types of people. If anything, this section of Scripture could be and should be used to combat racism.
Instead, the authors and publisher decide to take on the issue of immigration! I have to be squinting really hard—to the point of closing my eyes—to see how the Pentecost celebrants are immigrants. That’s how blindly these folks follow their agenda! The people gathered in Jerusalem come from many nations because they are pilgrims. There is a HUGE difference between immigrants and pilgrims. Pilgrims, for one, share something in common: theological conviction. The folks who gathered from many tribes and tongues were all there to celebrate Passover. Meaning, all these people, though they spoke different languages, were all Jewish. Of course, the authors and publishers want to push pluralism and multiculturalism. They place a higher value on a person’s race than on a person’s salvation.
By comparing these pilgrims to immigrants, they also distort the text the make it seem like all these folks who are there celebrating are refugees, meaning they are seeking asylum. Perhaps some were, but my guess is many were not. In fact, many of them likely went back home. Indeed, scholars believe this is how the church in Rome was founded. The Jewish pilgrims from Rome and other places came to Jerusalem for Passover, were converted by Peter at Pentecost, and returned home. A great disservice is done by claiming these new converts to Christianity are helpless migrants running from oppression or what have you.
To be clear. God is concerned with our stewardship of his gifts. God is concerned with how we treat the sojourner. I don’t disagree with my liberal counterparts in that regard. Where I do disagree and what I find appalling is their attempt to interpret into a text their own agendas. By trying to force environmentalism into creation and immigration into Pentecost, they not only cause harm to their own argument, but they detract and demean the very Word of God. And this is something I cannot stand for.