As Answers in Genesis conducts ministry all over the world, it is often important that we understand important elements about what is happening within the cultures in which we plan to bring the AiG message. In 2015, one of our major events on the international ministry calendar is going to be the Northern Ireland Mega Conference. We are expecting people to come from all over the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It would seem by recent news reports that there are some in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who are not entirely happy about any prominence or presence of the Christian message within their borders.
In November 2014, a 16-foot-high cross that graced the summit of Carrauntoohil, the highest peak in Republic of Ireland, was found cut down by vandals. A recent article featured in the Irish Times noted that this unfortunate incident was “a further step in [Ireland’s] move towards ‘a Godless society.’”* While there is little doubt that this act of vandalism is indicative of the intolerance of the modern world to non-secularist views, we can also see in it an example of how non-Christians respond in offense against the Cross of Christ and against the gospel message it represents.
The message of the Cross is inherently offensive to those who have not availed themselves of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Scripture repeatedly indicates the sort of stigma that is commonly associated with the Cross (Matthew 10:38, 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23, 14:27; 1 Corinthians 1:17–18). However, when most people think of Jesus of Nazareth, they do not typically think of a man who was “offensive.” Why then is the Cross of Christ regarded as an offense?
The answer to that question has to do with the purpose of the Cross. Jesus Christ died on the Cross to bear the penalty for man’s sins, to restore him to a right relationship with God by means of grace through faith. However, the recognition of this reality necessarily demands that one also recognizes his or her own sinfulness, that one acknowledges the abhorrence of his or her sin in the sight of a righteous and holy God. Scripture tells us that sin entered the world as a result of Adam’s disobedience against God (Genesis 3:6–11; Romans 5:12) and that, in like manner, all men have sinned (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23). For individuals accustomed to viewing themselves in a positive light as “good” people, seeing the true purpose of the Cross is indeed offensive.
However, Scripture tells us that “The word of the cross is . . . to us who are being saved . . . the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). The same message that is an offense is likewise, to those who believe, a message of the power of God to save. Here at AiG, we want to diligently uphold the literal history that undergirds the purpose of the Cross: because Adam disobeyed God and plunged the human race into sin, humanity is in desperate need of a Savior. However, we do not want to stop with the “bad news” of man’s sin. We want to go on to boldly proclaim the “good news” of the Cross of Christ, of His conquering of sin, and of His Resurrection from the dead. That is the focus of AiG’s international outreach, to reach people everywhere with the message of the Cross of Christ in hope that they will move from seeing the Cross as an offense to seeing the Cross as the way to salvation.
In September of 2015, Ken Ham, Steve Ham, Dr. Andrew Snelling, and Dr. Danny Faulkner will be traveling to Northern Ireland to join with local creation speakers for the Northern Ireland Creation Mega Conference. Our aim is to help to equip the church to stand authoritatively on biblical truth as they go out to the United Kingdom with the offensive message of the gospel of Christ. Too often we misunderstand and underestimate the offense that the message of Christ brings. In our skeptical world, it is time for the church to show that this glorious and yet offensive message can be delivered on very good authority. This message comes from the authoritative Word of God and it is defendable, reliable, and credible.
Please pray for our team as we start to prepare for this very important conference in Ireland.
*“Cross on Summit of Carrauntoohil Cut Down,” The Irish Times, November 22, 2014, http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/cross-on-summit-of-carrauntoohil-cut-down-1.2011907.