Portland, Oregon -- An evangelical group’s decision to focus its ministries on young children at Portland parks, apartments and soon after school programs has some people upset.
Opponents of the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) claim the group is using scary and misleading tactics to recruit children as young as 5-years-old.
“We do teach about sin. 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,” said CEF Vice President of Ministries Moises Esteves.
CEF organizers said their summer camp is just one of 93 5-day Summer Clubs being held across the metro area this week.
Esteves and Pastor John Luck said CEF has been in the community for years. Once each year, the international organization focuses its ministry on a specific city with Portland being this year’s.
In cooperation with local churches, CEF gets permission from parents with children 5-years-old and older for five-day camps in the summer. Soon, organizers said, Good News After School Programs will be added in the fall.
“I understand that a number of people might not like that we are teaching the Bible as an after school Good News Club on public school property, but the reality is we had a legal case that was decided in 2001,” said Esteves.
Meanwhile, opponents who responded via email on Wednesday said the Good News Club is not the “Jesus loves you” main stream Christianity but rather a “hardcore evangelical fundamental.”
“We have nothing to hide,” said Esteves. “Listen, the message 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.”
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