MtC: You recently wrote a book entitled “Already Gone” with the help of research performed by Britt Beemer. While it is safe to say that many in the church are concerned with the mass exodus taking place of young men and women, you and Britt sought the “real reasons” as to why this is so. What is the most shocking statistic you discovered in writing this book?
Note: You can read a review of this book from ChristianBookNotes.com here.
Ken: One of the most revealing discoveries was that, contrary to what most of us may have believed, we are not losing most of these young people during college. Actually, around 40 percent are gone in their hearts and minds by the end of middle school and more than 40 percent more by the end of high school. In other words, before college, more than 80 percent were “already gone” from the church.
MtC: Is there anything else about the research from the book that surprised you?
Ken: We were stunned to discover that Sunday school is one of the reasons why our kids are leaving church, which is absolutely contrary to what we would have expected. Our programs of Christian education are failing dismally. When compared to those who never went to Sunday school, more Sunday school attendees who no longer go to church believe the church is less relevant and they have become increasingly anti-church over the years.
Incredible as it may sound, they are even more inclined to accept abortion, “gay” marriage, and other unbiblical actions of our day. The startling conclusion is that, on the whole, the Sunday school programs of today are statistical failures – and are actually detrimental.
I know that’s going to hurt many people who are dedicated to Sunday school programs, as well as those who are depending on these programs to properly influence our children. I applaud their dedication to educating our children.
MtC: The charge has been leveled that it really does not matter if we believe in six 24-hour days or time periods amounting to millions of years. Could you please explain why it does matter what is believed regarding the creation account as told in Genesis 1?
A belief that the earth is millions of years old undermines the authority of the Book of Genesis and the Bible as a whole—plus its doctrine of sin and atonement. If one takes outside ideas (e.g., millions of years) and uses this to justify reinterpreting Scripture (e.g., reinterpreting the six days of creation as long ages), then one has opened a door to undmine the authority of Scripture itself—giving man authority over God’s Word.
Since we’ve been bombarded in our culture with a belief in millions of years of history, this — probably more than anything in our day –has caused people (including many in the church) to doubt the Bible’s account in Genesis. The reason the millions of years belief is so important to the secular world is because if secular scientists don’t have millions of years to make evolution happen, then the only alternative to explain our existence is to admit that there is an intelligence that created the world in a relatively short period of time. The research for our book “Already Gone” showed clearly that the age of the earth was a major issue in causing many young people to doubt the Bible and lead to unbelief. Theologically, it’s clear from Genesis that the world was created perfect, and there was no animal or human death before Adam fell into sin. If you believe in millions of years, you are also saying that there was death before Adam. That undermines the atonement message of why Christ came to earth.
But hear us out: if you are depending on these programs to properly teach and influence your children, it is just not happening. We need some radical changes in how we teach and what is taught in Sunday school and elsewhere.