This is the first of three posts highlighting stances that I believe can hinder the spread of the Gospel.
An article was written about Ken Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis (AIG) and the modern-day Noah’s Ark. The article—https://decisionmagazine.com/biblical-authority-rooted-genesis/—was written in Decision, and it quotes Franklin Graham’s (head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) affirmation of Ken Ham.
Here are some quotes from the article, and my responses: “In 1994, Ham launched AIG, an apologetics ministry aimed at training and equipping Christians to articulate a Biblical worldview that debunks evolutionary ideas about creation and amplifies the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
I think we can assume that Ken Ham holds a young-Earth (six 24-hour days) creationism view on the origin of things, to the exclusion of other views, and he believes that young-Earth creationism, in contrast to other views, is part of a Biblical worldview. Timothy Keller, a well-known pastor and author was quoted, “The fact is that real orthodox believers with a high view of Scripture are all over the map on this. I can line up ten really smart people in all those difference buckets, which I’ll call ‘theistic evolution,’ ‘young-Earth creationism,’ and let’s call it ‘progressive creationism’ or ‘semi-theistic evolution'” (“An Interview with Timothy Keller,” by Anthony Sacramone on February 25, 2008).
“Atheists had warned public school districts to stay away from AIG’s Creation Museum and the organization’s latest offering, the Ark Encounter, as a field trip option. Noah wasn’t intimidated by atheists in his day, and neither is the builder of the Ark Encounter in Kentucky, Ken Ham. … I really like Ken’s response! He’s offering all of those school districts FREE ADMISSION to students and teachers who come on public school field trips! I hope every school takes him up on the offer. What an opportunity! There’s no question it’s educational and filled with #truth” (These are some lines in the article, as quoted from a social media post written by Franklin Graham).
I think it’s wonderful that public schools are being welcomed for free! They can come and marvel at the wonders of science. They can hear biblical accounts about the Flood, the need for Noah’s ark, and the awesomeness of God as Creator. But don’t narrow down the explanation to a young-Earth creationism view, seeking to debunk evolution theory as wrong and anti-God. Within the short span of a field trip, that will confuse children who are mostly learning in school about the evolution theory, and it will frustrate the science teachers and the parents of the children who hear about the field trip, likely causing those who lack a belief in God, to move further away. In essence, I believe it will do more harm than good for Answers in Genesis’ ultimate goal of pointing people to God. For, as Ken Ham is quoted in the article: “You can’t go away without being presented with the Gospel.”
In closing, I am a fellow believer in God with Ken Ham and Franklin Graham, who holds a high view of Scripture, though I don’t read Genesis 1 and 2 as Ken Ham does, that it was written as a literal scientific account. I believe it is God’s Word, and that God is the Creator, but I am open to how He did it, especially as so much has been discovered, and continues to be learned. (I describe my position in my books—http://peacewithinreach.com/my-books/.) Like for Ken Ham and Franklin Graham, a major cause for me is presenting the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. But, in doing that, I don’t think it is helpful to tie a narrow view of how God originated things to a presentation of the Gospel. Healthy dialogue on views of origin are for another day.
Thought questions: 1) What view do you have about the origins of life, and of the world? Why? 2) Do you agree, or disagree, with my concerns about Ken Ham’s approach of tying together AIG presentations of the Gospel and of a young-Earth (six 24-hour days) creationism view? Why?