Every Child, Every Nation, Every Day
Katherine Stewart’s Book
Katherine Stewart wrote a book titled Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children. She claims to be a journalist, but failed to observe one of the most important elements of journalism when writing her book about Child Evangelism Fellowship and Good News Club. She never contacted the organization’s leadership at our International Headquarters to ask questions. As a matter of fact, she came into one of our conferences and was near many of the CEF® leaders, but never approached any of them to ask questions. This clearly proves her journalism is biased and she wrote this book not to look for the truth about what Good News Clubs are and what impact they are having on children, but to attack the ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship, Good News Clubs and God. Her book is full of inaccuracies and misrepresentations.
We have compiled a list of questions and answers to clarify but a few of the accusatory statements about Child Evangelism Fellowship and Good News Clubs in Stewart’s book:
1. What is the purpose of Child Evangelism Fellowship? Our goal is to tell every child around the world about the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If the child freely believes this message, we offer to disciple the child and help establish him or her in a local church.
2. What message does CEF share with children? Our message is that God loves you and wants you to know Him. He knows and sees that you sin by violating His commands; for example, you lie and hurt others. He knows that you are incapable of paying the penalty for that sin. He sent His perfect Son Jesus Christ to endure this penalty by dying on the cross, so that you can have an eternal loving relationship with God. Three days after Jesus died, He came back to life and now lives in Heaven. If you understand that you sin, are sorry for it and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from it, God will forgive you and you will be saved. He will also help you to change on the inside so you can love Him and other people more. After death, you will go to Heaven to be with Jesus and all those who put their faith in Him. This is the Gospel.
3. Is CEF conducting a stealth assault on America’s children as the book alleges? CEF invites children to attend Good News Clubs, which are after school Bible clubs. These one-hour programs are held in community centers, private homes, public schools, etc. in order to bring the Gospel of Christ to children on their level in their environment and invite them to believe this good news. All children must have the permission of their parents to attend. The required registration forms parents must sign clearly state that the program is sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship. All activities are conducted in the open and parents are welcome to attend.
4. Did Ms. Stewart contact CEF leadership as part of her investigation of CEF? Ms. Stewart has never contacted the CEF leadership or senior staff for comment, to confirm facts or to respond to any of her assertions. Ms. Stewart does say in her book that she attended CEF events for investigative purposes without disclosing her intent.
5. The book alleges that CEF workers bribe children in order to share the Gospel. Good News Clubs routinely provide snacks and treats freely to their attendees. Nothing is required in response from the children. A bribe, by definition, is anything given or promised to induce a person to do something against their wishes. As our name should convey, we are proponents of evangelism, a well-known tenet of Christianity. We encourage children, when they are willing, to share the Gospel with anyone they know, including other children. It is good news, indeed, that God loves us. It is important for children to understand that sharing the Gospel must be done out of love for another and not for personal gain. God alone converts.
6. Must a leader of a Good News Club make a financial donation of $20,000 to CEF Headquarters (p.47)? While some Good News Clubs are taught by local paid CEF staff, most are led by volunteers who are not required to make any financial contribution of any sort to CEF other than purchasing the club curriculum at a cost of less than $200 per year. CEF does not require donations from its workers. Consistent with its charter, a local CEF chapter commits to giving ten percent of its revenue to the state CEF office. State offices, in turn, commit ten percent of the money they receive to CEF Headquarters. Consequently, one percent of all money raised by the local chapters is committed to CEF Headquarters. This money accounts for 2.2 percent of CEF Headquarters’ entire budget and is used to cover administrative costs and strengthen the ministry throughout the country.
7. What is the relationship of CEF Headquarters to the CEF chapters around the country? CEF Headquarters grants charters to the state chapters and these chapters must abide by the policies of the CEF International Board of Trustees. Each state chapter is independently incorporated with its own board. CEF Headquarters trains CEF staff members who, in turn, train volunteers at the local level. The CEF Headquarters also equips staff and volunteers with the literature they will need to teach children and develops new products which may be purchased from CEF Headquarters for use.
8. What relationship does Mr. Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel have with CEF? Mr. Staver is the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, an international litigation, education, and policy organization. Mr. Staver is one of the nation’s preeminent constitutional attorneys. He has argued before the United States Supreme Court and has filed many briefs before the High Court. He is admitted to every federal court of appeals in the country. Liberty Counsel attorneys are well-versed and skilled in Constitutional law and the First Amendment. Liberty Counsel is an independent public interest law firm that represents CEF across the country.
9. Does CEF promote Good News Club to parents as a “Bible study” and then evangelize their children without their knowledge? The main theme of the Bible from cover to cover is the redemption of mankind. Therefore, any Bible study or Bible story at a Good News Club includes teaching on salvation provided by God through His Son Jesus Christ. It is stated on the Good News Club registration form, which parents must sign in order for their children to attend, that the club is sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship. Also, parents are free to come and attend Good News Club to see firsthand what their children are learning.
10. What is the CEF policy toward the public schools? CEF supports the traditional role of the public schools to educate children to become good citizens. Any instruction of children by CEF is intended to supplement and support their school education. The individual citizen who volunteers for CEF may have a personal opinion about the conduct of the schools where he or she resides, as is any citizen’s right.
To read more about false accusations made about CEF see the article, The Other Side of the Story.