Editor’s note: This article was adapted from a news release that was recently distributed to the media.
Following previous releases co-authored with renowned researcher Britt Beemer of America’s Research Group (ARG) on how younger generations are leaving the Church, Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, using the Beemer team once again, shares more revealing statistics—this time focusing on the state of the 20s generation inside the Church. Ham states that many of these “20-somethings” do not hold a Christian worldview because they have not been taught the foundational truths of God’s Word beginning in Genesis.
For Ready to Return: Bringing Back the Church’s Lost Generation, thousands of young adults in our churches, as well as thousands more adults in their 40s, were interviewed by ARG with questions about their church participation when growing up, their current levels of church participation, and their beliefs about Bible doctrines, Creation, and Noah’s Ark. The first book in this series, Already Gone, presented the results of a survey dealing with why those who attended church regularly while young are no longer sitting in our pews. This follow-up book shows that many of the 20s generation who still attend church regularly support gay “marriage,” say they are not born again, and 65% believe that if a person is good they will go to heaven. Jeff Kinley assisted Ham in writing this new book.
In addition, this latest study found a lack of understanding of what “inspired” means in relation to the Bible. Ninety percent said they believed it was inspired, but when asked if the Bible contains errors, 25 percent agreed that it did. Many respondents believe that other books, like the Koran, are inspired by God. Ham attributes such beliefs to churches failing to understand how current generations are being educated and the manner in which God’s Word is being taught to them.
“One of the major crises of the Church today is that Christian leaders have begun to treat God’s Holy Word as a fallible human work,” Ham said. “In other words, they choose to either not take it literally, or in some way amend it in order to accommodate a newer, more ‘enlightened’ understanding of the universe, mankind and truth.”
This results in biblical illiteracy, which leads to “spiritual anemia,” Ham contends.
The problem is compounded by the fact that children are taught evolutionary ideas in almost all schools—ideas which contradict Scripture. “These children have been effectively taught that the Bible cannot be trusted,” Ham writes. “Meanwhile, over at the church, these same children are not being taught how to take a stand for the Bible’s authority, beginning with the very first verse. So ultimately, even when the message of Jesus is taught to them, they don’t really believe it because their belief in the book from which it comes has already been severely eroded.”
Ham provides some encouraging strategies to help foster personal ownership of faith for the next generation.
To return young people to a belief in the Scriptures, Ham provides some encouraging strategies to help foster personal ownership of faith for the next generation—ideas for parents to easily incorporate into everyday interaction with their children.
Along with the content of our apologetics, plus the “gospel of God” beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation, Ham suggests the character of our apologetics—how we live our lives in service to others—is equally important for an effective transfer of faith beliefs from one generation to another. “Content without character only makes people smarter. Character without content only gives a good example. We need both, producing a much needed balance.”
One of the main biblical accounts about which young people have many questions—and which evolutionary teaching discounts—is Noah’s Ark, so Ham and his co-authors spend time reinforcing the historicity of a global Flood, posing the most oft-asked questions, and providing answers showing how observable science underscores the reality of this historic event. These answers will also be presented in the life-size Noah’s Ark that Ham is spearheading in Northern Kentucky, due to open late next summer. Ham concludes that the culture is indeed changing around us (and he deals specifically with the recent Supreme Court decision on gay “marriage”), and he lays the blame squarely at the feet of Christians who have compromised their belief in Scripture.
“Our whole Western world is changing. But really, it’s the failure of so many Christian homes and churches who have not understood the times, have not stood uncompromisingly on the authority of the Word of God, and have not trained coming generations in a Christian worldview. It only takes one generation to lose a culture, and that is happening right now.”
Ready to Return is available August 26, 2015, published by Master Books. The 192-page 6x9 paperback retails for $13.99 and is available at Answers in Genesis’ online store or wherever Christian books are sold.