A nationally-recognized Christian organization that reaches out to children with gospel stories of Jesus Christ is under fire for preaching to impressionable minds about the biblical doctrine of sin and judgment day. The Portland chapter of Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) has been criticized in some areas for conducting voluntary summer camps and trying to host after-school Bible classes in public schools ever since local residents learned of the organization telling their children that each person is a sinner and in need of the Savior.
Those opposing the group have gone on to say that the CEF does not preach mainstream Christianity, as its basic principles are hardcore evangelical and fundamentalist.
“They pretend to be a mainstream Christian Bible study when in fact they’re a very old school fundamentalist sect,” said resident Kaye Schmitt.
Many parents are concerned that preaching to children about sin and judgment could lead to them developing feelings of fear and shame. Robert Aughenbaugh, along with other community members, has set up a group called Protect Portland Children that aims to speak out against the CEF’s passive indoctrination and influence parents from allowing their children to attend CEF programs.
“[The] curriculum teaches young children that they’re born sinners, bound for eternity in hell unless they obey the club’s teachings,” the group asserts.
The CEF has, however, maintained that it is not preaching to children about anything outside the basic and fundamental truths of the gospel.
“The teaching of the core Christian tenets of the Christian faith that have been taught for 2,000 years in the Bible is what we’re teaching. There’s nothing new here,” said CEF Vice President of Ministries Moises Esteves.
The group has partnered with more than 30 churches in the region to present its evangelism to all the youth in Portland.
“We do teach about sin... [But] we’re not nasty. We’re not high pressure. We’re not negative, but we teach what the Bible teaches that every human being is a sinner in need of a savior,” stated Esteves.
CEF, headquartered in Missouri, was set up in 1937 and has approximately 400 offices across America. It offers children several Bible-based programs, which according to the ministry are quick, hour-long initiations designed to familiarize children with the gospel of Christ.
Photo Credit: Child Evangelism Fellowship