The head of an Atlanta-area organization (who has attacked our ministry before)–one that promotes (as a big part of its emphasis) a particular view of eschatology—yesterday posted a web article that attacked our new book Already Gone. The reviewer also gave the impression of being open to rejecting young earth creationism in favor of an old earth belief.
We found it strange that in his book review that criticized the book’s findings, the writer did not put Already Gone in the lengthy endnotes, and it seemed to me (and others who read the article) that this person wrote a critique of the book mostly based on reading an article that appeared recently on WorldNetDaily.
This person seems to get the idea that the book’s main and virtually only thesis is that the teaching of an old earth has driven young people from the church. Based on my reading of his critique, I find it hard to believe he read the book before writing his review of Already Gone. Accordingly, he needs to seriously consider the results of the actual survey done by respected researcher Britt Beemer for our book.
There are many aspects to this research, and it all has to be taken all together—as we have done. It is not just a book about a young earth. There are many reasons why young people have left the church—and this is a statistically valid research study that asked 1,000 young adults (in their 20s) why they left the church. The survey found what those reasons were! Interestingly, the topic of eschatology never came up in the answers to the numerous questions asked concerning these “20 somethings.” Yet this organization’s leader stated:
I could just as easily take the other end of the dog and claim that it’s the last book of the Bible that’s causing young people to abandon Christianity. Creation’s not the problem; it’s eschatology.
Well, no, you can’t just make a guess like that (and use the word easily) without some statistical basis! The book (co-authored by the respected researcher himself, Britt Beemer) is based on real market research—just as pollster George Barna and others do. My question is this: please show me the carefully done statistical research—with professional analysis done of the results—in regard to eschatology and its supposed effect on young people leaving the church!
The author of the critique then stated:
For more than 100 years, Christianity has been dominated by a prophetic belief system that discounts the future by repeatedly claiming that “Jesus is coming back in your generation!” People can only take so much of this after the passage of more than 100 years of assurances!
One can make any claim one wants to about eschatology supposedly being a major factor in young people leaving the church, but please show me the evidence based on real research—where is it? Who has done this? No one to my knowledge.
It is also important to understand that the reason there are so many different views of Genesis is because people have taken the pagan beliefs of the day concerning evolution, millions of years, etc., and used them to reinterpret the natural reading of Genesis. But this is not so for different views of eschatology (except for an extreme view of Preterism in which there are those who have also accepted old earth ideas—thus affecting their view of Genesis!).
Here is the letter I mailed to this reviewer on Thursday. I also enclosed a copy of Already Gone:
Greetings in the Lord.
I’m not sure you had the opportunity to read our new book “Already Gone” before you posted your web article of June 17. The book is not cited in the endnotes, and the quotes of mine that you mentioned were not referenced there and may have come from my other writings rather than “Already Gone.”
Enclosed, with my compliments, is a copy.
If you haven’t yet done so, please read the survey questions and the responses at the end of the book. This was a very thorough national survey, requiring 20,000 phone calls to qualify 1,000 people in their 20s who no longer attend the evangelical church of their youth—and they were asked why they don’t. It was personally overseen by the highly respected researcher Britt Beemer, who formulated the questions and analyzed the results. The data is significant and statistically valid, in accord with normal research procedures and can’t be brushed aside.
Perhaps these results might prompt you to modify your comment that creation and the age of the earth are secondary in importance to eschatology in leading to an exodus of young people from the church. (Your comment was that “Creation’s not the problem; it’s eschatology.”) My guess is that you made this observation without reviewing the survey results; please forgive me if my guess is off base. Also, I am wondering if you know of some study or survey that might back your contention. If not, please consider conducting your own survey to determine if questions and concerns over eschatology are a major part of this exodus of young adults. I would be interested in reviewing the results. Britt, as a believer, might be your man and give you a good price.
Not one person of the 1000 polled now in their 20s (and they were given the opportunity to say it) indicated that they had walked away from the church because of eschatology (p. 168), and not one person said that doubting the Bible came as a result of eschatology (p. 172). Also, when asked why the church was not relevant, not one person said anything about eschatology (p. 173). When asked what makes them question the Bible the most, none said eschatology (p. 178).
Consider this, too. We live in a society that bombards our young people with pro-evolution messages in public schools, the media (e.g., the Ida mania), and science museums. They can cause massive doubt among young people in our churches about the Bible’s reliability and authority, and thus the viability of the whole Christian faith. On the other hand, eschatology is just not used anywhere near as much by the world to attack the authority of the Bible.
If you will be heading our direction and wishing to tour the Creation Museum, please call me ahead of time and I would be happy to greet you should I be in the office, and also offer comp tickets for you and your family (and any staff who might be accompanying you).
Regards in Christ,
Enc. “Already Gone” book
It’s fascinating to see a number of articles and blog items appear about the book, written by people who read some of the news articles and reviews about Already Gone, but it seems have not read the book and studied the associated research—not good scholarship! For instance, on another website, a writer claims (in a sarcastic tone, referring to me as “Kennie”) in his attack on Already Gone:
So why are people leaving the church? All the churches, not just kennie’s excuse for one. One of the reasons, in my opinion, are people like Kennie himself. Think about it. On the one hand you have thousands of scientists with thousands of pieces of evidence supporting an Old Earth (about 4.5 billion years). The evidence is pretty overwhelming. On the other side you have strident voices like Kennie telling you that all the scientists are wrong because God speaks through him. He offers no evidence and completely ignores the evidence that disagrees with his belief. Gee, there is a reason not to go to church, particularly Kennie’s.
But again, this person didn’t quote from the actual research—just emotionally and sarcastically attacked me and the book, obviously not understanding at all what the contents of the research actually show.
Despite such attacks, the book is already in its third printing after just over two weeks since release! And the comments coming back are overwhelmingly positive—pastors are ordering bulk copies for the Christian leaders in their church—people are buying cartons to hand out to others.
Make your count
(Exodus 12:4) And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
To each lost soul we ask the question “Have you made sure that you are personally counted as one who has received the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ?”
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,