Thursday, August 07, 2008

Digging and re-digging wells

Sarita and I received a fund raising appeal letter last week from Ken Ham, President of Answers in Genesis, the young-earth creationist organization that, according to its public-relations materials, is dedicated to equipping the church "to uphold the authority and accuracy of the Bible from the very first verse." [I quoted their PR because in its IRS Form 990 filings, it describes its purpose--or, at least, the purpose of some of its major tax-exempt activities--in somewhat different terms. There you'll read (on pp. 21 and 22, Statement 9, concerning the organization's "Ministry Outreach (Seminars)" and "Ministry Outreach (Radio)) that it seeks "to educate the public/church about scientific, moral and social issues regarding a literal interpretation of the Bible" or to speak on "a wide range of topics related to a literal interpretation of the Bible."]

Personally, I have questioned AiG's interpretation of Scripture at various points. Now, having seen their statements that indicate not merely a concern for the authority of Scripture, but, actually, for a literal interpretation of Scripture, I think I understand how and why we have come into conflict.

But despite the conflict, I have to say I appreciate AiG's commitment to the authority of Scripture first, above all else. So often--I agree with them: modern Christians want to fiddle with Scripture or fudge their interpretations in some kind of false hope that they might "gain a hearing" among unbelievers.

And so I find myself agreeing with Mr. Ham when he writes letters like the one Sarita and I received last week:
I wonder if you had the chance to read the New York Times editorial "The Cons of Creationism" on June 7. The very first line was, ''When it comes to science, creationists tend to struggle with reality."*

The editorial went on to describe belief in a Creator as "nonsense" and to claim that teaching about God belongs only in "church and social studies courses," and to falsely define "science" as "naturalism."

Remember back in Genesis 26:18, when Isaac re-dug Abraham's wells (the ones stopped up by the Philistines) and then went on to dig new wells? I couldn't help thinking of this passage as I read this Times editorial.

You know how often Scripture uses water to symbolize the grace of the Spirit of God. The author of the editorial is clogging up the well of the Word of God, denying our children access to life-giving truth by banning the biblical God from the public school system where their thinking and worldview is formed!

It is important to understand that those who blast creationism, as this New York Times editorial does, are not just against people believing in a literal Genesis account of origins. They are against the very first verse of the Bible, and if that verse is not true, none of the Bible is true. If "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth" is false--so is the Christian faith. . . .

We must re-dig the wells of God's Word so our children will be able to drink from those life-giving springs all their days!

At AiG, we challenge Christians concerning compromise and challenge churches to get back to the authority of God's Word-re-digging wells. And as we provide resources through books, DVDs, radio programs, the Internet, and the Creation Museum, we are digging new wells so the water of the Word will flow freely through the nation and around the world. . . .
Now, I encourage you to re-dig wells and dig new ones of your own. We each need to work in our own homes and churches. If we're honest with ourselves, the "Philistines" have invaded here, too.

The wells have been stopped up. Many church leaders, Christian college and seminary professors have compromised with evolution/the age of the earth and thus undermined the authority of the Word. Many homes don't have dads as the spiritual leaders anymore. Parents are neglecting the call to teach their children to stand on the authority of the Word and equip them to defend their faith in today's world.

And, as you consider your family's education, think about how you can ensure they will experience that cleansing water of the Word and be equipped to stand firm in the spiritual battle for children and teens. . . .

* New York Times, "The Cons of Creationism," June 7, 2008.

I'm impressed, too, when Ham writes as he does in the latest Answers Update, about a difficult question raised by a secular reporter. The reporter asked, "Do you believe Muslims are going to hell?"

Ham says he replied, "My authority is the Bible--God's Word. God tells me in His Word that 'unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God' [John 3:3]. We are also told in Romans 10:9 'that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.'"
I concluded: "So, whether you're a Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Muslim, or Hindu--if you're not born again as the Bible states, and have not received the free gift of salvation in Christ, the Bible clearly teaches you will not spend eternity in heaven with our Creator and Savior. You will be in hell separated from God--forever."

I also shared a number of other verses, such as:

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the Way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me'" (John 14:6).

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live'" (John 11:25).

And, "I [Christ] am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved" (John 10:9).
Would that more Christians knew how to answer succinctly and directly--and without unnecessary offense--such direct questions from the watching world!
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