First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., taught kids this summer that dinosaurs died during Noah’s flood.

By Bob Allen

Dueling dinosaurs competed for attention this summer in downtown Jacksonville, Fla.

This summer Jacksonville’s Museum of Science and History – known locally as MOSH – is home for a traveling exhibit called “A T. rex named Sue.” On loan from The Field Museum in Chicago, it features a replica cast of the most complete skeleton ever discovered of a creature that scientists say roamed North America about 67 million years ago.

Nearby a record 2,900 children and volunteers were joined by eight dinosaurs, including the head of a Tyrannosaurus rex, at First Baptist Church for a “Creation Quest” vacation Bible school teaching creation from the first five chapters of Genesis.

Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church, told the Florida Baptist Witness the Bible’s account of creation is critical for children to know in order to counter the “humanistic worldview message that you evolved from some type of lower animal which evolved from some molecule swimming around in a mud puddle somewhere.”

The July 9-13 VBS featured exhibits borrowed from the Creation Truth Foundation, an Oklahoma nonprofit founded in 1989 to convince Americans to reject “Darwinian evolutionism” and return to the “realities of Biblical Creation.”

The Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research helped write curriculum for a similar VBS last year at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. Brunson told the Florida Baptist Convention news journal that local volunteers wrote much of the material, especially for the preschool department.

Along with two rooms full of dinosaurs, fossils and other artifacts, children explored a Noah’s Ark “museum” featuring taxidermy animals and walls covered with wooden crates to resemble the interior hull of an ancient ship. Middle-school students marked off the dimensions of the ark as recorded in the Bible, using red duct tape on sidewalks, around church structures and even into parking garages to measure the height.

“I’m teaching them that there was an actual flood and it covered the earth for more than 40 days and 40 nights,” Stephanie Lundquist, a middle-school teacher at First Baptist Academy of Jacksonville, told the Baptist newspaper. “The Bible teaches that Noah didn’t leave the ark until 368 days later.”

Steve Clifton, the church’s executive pastor for education, said one fossil shows a dinosaur in the middle of giving birth, proving “instantaneous fossilization which occurred during the flood.” The UK Guardian, meanwhile, said the rare fossil find of an ancient marine reptile called Ichthyosaur with pups in her womb, a large eye visible behind the rib cage and one baby stuck in the birth canal indicated that her death was painful, but that it occurred 3.5 billion years ago.

Lundquist told the Witness that Satan had been attacking “the message of the Ark” since before VBS even began, but she and other volunteers committed it to prayer.