By Dr. Joe Mulvihill
It is a substantively documented fact that Christianity has lost its culture-shaping or culture-
impacting power for a good many years now. This is nowhere more obvious than in the lives
of young people, and it seems to get worse from year to year here in the U.S., Canada and
Europe. I worked for about a decade and half in Christian education, at the academy (upper
high school) as well as at the collegiate level at a Christian university. As general education is
in steep decline due to a number of factors, an even more alarming issue is the Biblical and
theological illiteracy and ignorance on display for those in the field of Christian education. Again,
there are too many cultural factors to enumerate here to even attempt to bridge the gap
between correlation and causation. But we can get at practical habits to be attempted at
home and at church and in Christian institutions of education.

There is an Christian educator of whom I have just recently become privy that is attempting to
create and offer basic Christian worldview curricula that can set the basic building blocks in
place for a student to navigate the online onslaught against Biblical thinking and application
pre-graduation and prepare for the post-graduation bombardment of secularization or the
“propaganda of worldliness” one gets in an overwhelming way at University and piecemeal in
the workforce life of marriages and mortgages. This Christian teacher’s name is Elizabeth
Urbanowitz and her curricula idea was born out of a shocked reaction she had to what her
CHRISTIAN students were doing at her Christian school.


Story #1 - Elizabeth has a projector malfunction (PPT) and while she is repairing it so she can
start the lesson, her Christian school middle-school students start being led by a single
charismatic student into eastern religious meditation to calm them and help the teacher de-
stress during the unforeseen malfunction issue!

Story #2 – A child at Elizabeth’s church bitterly complaining about Elizabeth being that
Sunday's rotation teacher for kids church; "oh no..not you...I'm mad because I always get
candy for just answering 'Jesus' to every question with all the other SS teachers! But you

Now for those of us that have been in the Christian education para-church world for a while,
these kinds of stories are tragically boilerplate, run-of-the-mill, commonplace. So Elizabeth
attempted to frame the first past of her school teaching to her teaching level, which is sixth
through eighth grade (middle school) and frame it as “common lies of which to be aware.”
This keeps the ideas basic as well as contextually appropriate for middle-schoolers. She also
wanted to include practical, creative, illustrative ways expose the lies and make the lessons
really memorable.


Let’s look at the first four of her “eight basic lies” Urbanowitz covers in her first lesson;

LIE #1. “All truth is subjective, all truth is relative” – even middle-school students can grasp &
know the difference between subjective preference and objective fact. Elizabeth gives the
student a real map and fake or inaccurate one and then lets them find the issues. Urbanowitz
uses games and allows certain set-up students to cheat and doesn't initially stop the cheating
then asks all the game participants, "who wants the rules to be enacted and who wants them to
continue to be ignored?"

Urbanowitz uses another illustrative story of three guys jumping out of a plane up at seven thousand feet in the air; one man just has a superman suit and a ton of enthusiasm believing he will fly away, man #2 has a spacesuit on, he believes with all he has that he will actually not freefall but instead will go up into space. And the last has a parachute on and understands/has experience skydiving. Then she asks, “Who do you think survives? After the students answer Urbanowitz, she follows with, “Now, why do we rightly refuse to believe the outcomes of the gravity belief are all based on desire, will and sincerity, but we pretend that this is the case with far more important and crucial beliefs?”

LIE #2. “Follow your heart - be the true you, be the you you want to be” OR “your own heart
(will and desires) is the most reliable guide for truth and personal identity.”
Urbanowitz then
links the "you do you" slogan to this lie and lie number one. Elizabeth reminds the students
that NO ONE, practically, lives this way and our “hearts” often steer us in the wrong direction.

LIE #3. “‘Love’ is affirming and accepting everything I want and feel at the moment!” This is
also expressed in the current slogan "love is love" (popular nonsense). Another way of stating
this is “my feelings make anything I currently desire or want into ‘love.’” Urbanowitz really
hammers this idea that "if we love them we will never make anyone uncomfortable” which
even middle-schoolers can see is foolish as their teachers and parents are constantly placing
the kids into uncomfortable & undeseable but positive and beneficial training practices. So
everyone really knows that this is foolish. Love has always been defined as more than good
feels & positive affirmations. Urbanowitz ends this teaching with the crucial importance of our
definition of "love"?

LIE #4. ’Faith’ is the opposite of knowledge.” It is unfortunately true that some Christians
actually believe and profess this idea that “faith” is intentional naivety, soft nonsense, or a
resolute will to believe what you know is not factually true, in other words "faith" is just
equated with wishful thinking / Ligonier ministries annual state of theology among Christians
41% of evangelicals believe that their religious belief is really “just opinion” (like all other
opinions). The apostle Paul makes it abundantly clear that Jesus needed to really die and
really rise again, not “in the hearts of his disciples” but in concrete space-time history/ If the
resurrection of Jesus is not a historic fact, as opposed to a fleeting opinion, then Christianity
is finished and we are people to be pitied the most. (see 1 Corinthians 15) Our faith tradition is
a knowledge tradition that makes objective truth claims about events that happened to real
people, in real places, in real time periods and eras.

Elizabeth Urbanowotz is attempting to do Christian cultural apologetics with really young
children, an enormously difficult task. But she has my deep respect not only for taking the
initiative, but doing this kind of needed instruction thoughtfully and with excellence. Parents,
kid & youth pastors as well as formal classroom instructors would benefit enormously from
her curricula or even familiarity with her work. It is a blessing to see this approach really
helping children in their adolescent and early teens in their walk with Jesus, an age many
thought too early to engage in an approach like this.

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