education

5 Prayer Requests from a Christian Science Teacher

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By Dustin Atchley

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky aboveproclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. (Psalm 19:1-2)

I love nature. I grew up playing in the woods and forever searching for a new rock to overturn. I have always been excited by the discovery of something new, of seeing something previously unseen. This was true before I came to faith in Christ and has become even more true since my conversion. This wonder drew me into the arena of science.

Christ grabbed my heart towards the end of my undergraduate studies after I had received a large portion of my formal training in biology and mathematics. After graduation, I pursued a research fellowship in a government lab. While the wonder was still ever-present, I wanted the opportunity to have a greater relational impact on others and make disciples for Christ. As a result, I began teaching courses in biology and chemistry in a public high school.

I don’t believe my narrative is altogether different from many of my Christian colleagues who teach science. I was drawn to science before Christ, persevered in science with Christ and am now responsible for the science education of a great many who do not know Christ. My Christian colleagues and I want to help our students see the wonders of God through His creation in hopes that God would use our relationships and lessons to bring dead hearts to life in Christ (and maybe to pursue science as an added bonus). In my time as a science educator, I have observed a few things that I believe are worth being in the general consciousness of the church as a whole, but specifically in the minds of parents that have students taking science courses at any level.

Pray that God would raise up a generation of thoughtful, inquisitive Christians to invade all realms of society, including science.

1. Many young people lack critical-thinking and logic-based reasoning.

These qualities seem to be rare but have proved valuable to scientists and Christians through the ages. God has given us the ability to reason, and we should foster this ability for the benefit of the church, science as an industry and humanity as a whole.

Prayer Request 1: Pray that God would raise up a generation of thoughtful, inquisitive Christians to invade all realms of society, including science.

2. Scientism is often confused and equated with science.

Science is a methodology and an accumulated body of knowledge. Scientism involves picking parts of that body of knowledge and attempting to develop a holistic belief-system from them. The confusion of science and scientism has led to the popular belief that science is opposed to Christianity. In truth, modern science in the West developed as a result of a Christian world-view, not in opposition to it.

Prayer Request 2: Pray that God would use His people to dispel the myth that science opposes Christianity.

3. Scientists (notice I am not saying science) have made some big claims that are at odds with the Christian faith.

These claims (usually found in the Discussion section of their papers) may even extend beyond what is reasonably deduced from their data. Students generally fail to see the opposition between a particular scientific claim they supposedly believe and the world-view they supposedly hold to. This hodge-podge approach to beliefs characterizes our post-truth, emotionalist culture.

Prayer Request 3: Pray that God would instill the value of Truth over emotion and preference in this generation of students.

Christians should have an otherworldly appreciation for the magnificence of God’s work in creation.

4. Science classes have become bland.

(As a science teacher, I’m allowed to say this.) God is glorious, and so is His creation. I marvel at the way He has designed it to work at the smallest and largest levels and try to communicate this to my students. Christians should have an otherworldly appreciation for the magnificence of God’s work in creation. Christian science teachers should have lessons that taste different because of it.

Prayer Request 4: Pray that Christian science teachers would instill wonder about the natural world in the hearts and minds of their students, which would cause students to give God honor and praise.

5. Christian science teachers are often shy about sharing their faith in public schools.

A variety of policies promote the separation of church and state; however, most of the policies I have read generally prevent teachers from teaching their religious beliefs to students, not sharing them with students. When my students find out that I love Jesus, believe in supernatural miracles and hold to a robust evangelical faith, they are emboldened to ask honest questions and investigate in ways they otherwise would not have. I have found that the knowledge of and relationship with someone who has navigated modern science and consistently holds to historic, orthodox Christianity to be of far greater impact than any philosophical or scientific argument I have ever made.

Prayer Request 5: Pray that God would embolden Christian science teachers and scientists to be open and honest about their faith and use these relationships to save others.

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  • education
  • science
Dustin Atchley

Dustin and his wife Sydney live in Greensboro, NC and attend King's Cross Church. He has co-authored various scientific papers and is currently pursuing his M.Div. at Southeastern Seminary.

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