Recently I visited the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. It is a full size re-creation of the ark as described in Genesis 6 as interpreted by Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis. Having visited the Creation Museum a year before, the ark was what I expected it to be. I believe that both the creation museum and the ark have a similar exhibit but halfway through the ark, this exhibit had a profound impact on me. Here are a few photos of the area.
The exhibit was a small room with the name “Fairy Tale Ark” and inside was a display of the many books and toys designed for children about the ark and the story of Noah. As a children’s ministry leader and a former children’s pastor, I often evaluate items to see if they tell the Biblical accounts accurately to children. I will often “throw out” a video or song for a very small inappropriate scene or phrase. Likewise, I am very cautious of story book bibles. I have been critical of bibles that have tried to reach a certain demographic but which I believe went to far and take away from the Truth of the Bible.
As I saw this exhibit I began to wonder if there are times that we shares the stories of the Bible like we would tell a fairy tale, or if we tell it to direct people to the One True God. I do not have the answer to that, we must each examine our own teaching methods and resources we utilize. I do often wonder when religious scenes are made in chocolate, modern settings, toys, VeggieTales, Precious Moments, Little Tykes, etc (I am not “picking on” any of these brands, nor “calling them out”, just using them as examples) if we are doing harm to the Gospel and the Bible. I found it ironic that as I prepared to exit the ark and entered the gift shop that there was a children’s section with resources to tell young children about Noah and the ark.
Atheists will tell you that the Bible is a book of fairy tales. I wonder if we help promote that perspective with some of the items that are marketed and that christians purchase.
Again, I offer no answers, I share because we each must take time to research and evaluate all we use to teach children about the things of God. If we teach them about God as if it is a fairy tale, then that is what they will believe. May we be clear in teaching the Truth of the Bible to the children in our care.