A few months ago, I was the keynote speaker for a homeschool conference in Richmond, Virginia. After the conference, the organizers sent us the hundreds of feedback forms. By far, the majority were very positive, but as can be expected, there were some (a very small number) who reacted negatively to my presentations on the accuracy and authority of the Bible beginning in Genesis. One such reaction illustrates the conflict between two worldviews—those who are committed to standing on God’s Word, versus those who willing to make man’s word the authority.
First of all, here are samples of the majority of the positive responses:
- “Thank you for not buckling to the pressure of society and teaching us how to do the same.”
- “Needed shot in the arm to never compromise.”
- “I’m challenged—pumped—ready to take on the world!”
- “Very helpful lecture. I struggled with creation/evolution/gap theory when young. Good to see the STUFF to help educate now.”
- “Mr. Ham brings every point back to the Bible. No compromise, no doubt.”
Now here is a negative feedback from the same event:
Information was ill researched; presentation was not cohesive. This presentation and speaker should not have a repeat in the forum. I was too put off by the elements of the presentation. The presentation was alienating and outrageous. Mr. Ham acted as a fear mongerer against people not of his particular beliefs. His polarizing use of “I’s vs. Them” language was terrifying propaganda and completely un-Christ-like. This address was hateful and ignorant, shallow and predatory. I will never give an ear to this individual in the future, and believe his ideas belong to the Third Reich.
There is so much I could say about those last comments (though much of the hyperbole speaks for itself), but let me at least declare that for the person to challenge the intensive survey of America’s Research Group (which formed the basis of our book Already Gone) as “ill-researched” is preposterous. That is a slap against the respected ARG, who did the research for us. And how would the critic even know that the research was flawed—what was their research?
The same sort of response happened in regard to my blog post a couple days ago on the very sad change that has occurred in “The Doctrine of Creation” statement adopted by the general presbytery of the Assemblies of God (AG) denomination, in session August 9–11, 2010—that no longer takes a stand on a literal Genesis.
First, here is a positive reply—I received responses like this one (and this is the reason I wrote that blog, so that those within the AG denomination would call their leaders to account over this issue, as this person below has done):
After reading Ken Ham’s blog today . . . I am shocked to hear about the latest position from the Assemblies of God. Our church is an Assembly of God church, and we certainly don’t agree with this fundamental change. In both our church and creation ministry we hold true to a young earth position and inerrancy of God’s word. I simply can’t understand how some of those within our own church denomination can look blindly past the truth of God’s word and allow man’s compromise to creep in.
As a result of this, my senior pastor and myself are contacting some of the “higher-ups” that we personally know within the A/G about this problem and hoping to bring some light to this error and compromise. Our pastor has been a prominent Assembly of God pastor . . . for over 35 years, and was shocked to hear about the latest change in our denomination’s doctrinal stance. Within our . . . district, I don’t know too many people that believe or accept anything other than a literal 6-day creation (like the Bible teaches!), but I’m sure there are some. I am getting ready to send some letters to a few Assembly of God leaders that I know, voicing my concerns and convictions on this matter.
[I need] about 20 copies of the “Already Gone” DVD’s . . . so that we can send these out with the letters and follow-up with what the various church leaders have to say? I know that the “Already Gone” DVD is so crucial in helping pastors, teachers, and parents have a clearer understanding of the battle we face. As a youth pastor and creation speaker it has really opened my eyes as well and has helped me shift my priorities in what I teach to our students on an ongoing basis. Because of this we have seen tremendous growth and change in our students lives. I’ve seen more strength and stability this last year than in any of the 9 years previous that I’ve been working with youth. I want to make sure that others have the same understanding of the importance in teaching Genesis and the Bible in today’s world and especially to our students.
There is no doubt that the Already Gone book and DVD have had a tremendous impact on many churches and pastors—similar to the experience this pastor relates. Almost 150,000 copies of Already Gone are now in print—and it is still extremely strong in the numbers being purchased daily. Churches have told me they have radically changed their approaches to youth ministry, Sunday school etc., as a result.
But then, we also saw (sarcastic) responses like this one (from a blog we came across) to my AG item illustrating those who are prepared to let man’s fallible word reinterpret God’s infallible Word:
Oh the horror! Gasp! The AG isn’t taking a literal stand creation in the Genesis creation narrative! Tragic! Weep, Morn, Wail, put on sackcloth and ashes! REPENT. Ham goes on to compare this with the position paper that was written in 1977 where at that time the AG did take a more literal stand on the Genesis narrative (insisting on a literal 6 day creation only, all other views or possibilities are man made, etc) . . .
Aw come on Ken, really? Not taking some strong stand on a specific view of creation is to take a position of unbelief? Hardly. Besides, the position paper doesn’t say science (so-called man made opinions) trumps Scripture (God’s Word). Rather merely that the rise of different (viable) viewpoints should lead to less dogmatism and more unity. Kind of hard to argue with that don’tcha think?
So, according to Ham, moving from a literal interpretation of the creation narrative is a big reason young people, especially college students are leaving the church – without being armed with effective apologetics in creation science the kids get mowed down by their professors and other students and the leave the faith. Well, if you ask me, if they leave the faith over such an issue, I wonder if they really had much of a faith or a real weak faith in God…He goes on and on and on. You can read it for yourself if you want – but far as I am concerned its a GREAT day in the AG and a GREAT day to be a member of the Assemblies of God. (http://sunestauromai.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/the-ag-paper-on-creation-and-ken-ham/)
Then there were the secularists who were gloating about this change on their blogs, as they saw this change by the AG hierarchy as a victory. For them, another denomination had caved into secular belief, which as these secularists know, undermines God’s Word and creates doubt leading to unbelief. This of course is what they want.
And then there are the Christians who don’t like me challenging other Christians as they see it as divisive. Actually, some of Martin Luther’s associates/friends thought he was being too divisive too, but because there were those who stood with him when he declared, “Here I stand [on Scripture], I can do no other, God help me,” it started the Reformation. The Reformation spread God’s Word and the gospel through the Western world. Part of AiG’s mission is to help bring reformation to the church in our day—to call the church (and culture) back to the authority of God’s Word. And if that means challenging a denomination, a Christian college, a seminary, etc. in regard to obvious compromise concerning God’s Word, then that is what we must do.
It may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater
(Isaiah 55:10-12) For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
We are both the eater and the sower, and it is the same Bible that provides both food for our souls and seed for the lost to be saved.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,