I recently spoke at a conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee, along with AiG speaker Bryan Osborne. This was a great time of strengthening and equipping the church to stand on the authority of God’s Word from the very beginning. Pastor Robby Gallaty, the senior pastor of the church where I spoke, wrote a guest post for us about the event and why he invited me and Bryan to come and speak. Here’s what he wrote:
The Apostle Paul, in his final letter to Timothy, closed with these remarks: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:2–4). We live in the day that Paul spoke of—when preachers will be tempted to disregard the Bible for psychosomatic principles, self-help instructions, and feel-good sermonettes. Many feel as if they need to dress the Word up by making it germane. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian, warned against doing this: “Do not try to make the Bible relevant. Its relevance is axiomatic . . . . Do not defend God’s word, but testify to it . . . . Trust to the word. It is a ship loaded to the very limits of its capacity.”*
As an expository preacher, I preach with four suppositions of the Scriptures:
- The Bible is infallible (It will not lead you astray);
- The Bible is inerrant (It is free of errors);
- The Bible is sufficient (It is all you need for salvation); and
- The Bible is authoritative (It is the breath of God).
The word of God through the Power of God transforms the people of God. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Our mission statement at Brainerd Baptist Church, the church I pastor, is to deliver the Word, disciple the believer, and deploy the discipled. Because our people love to get into the Word until the Word gets into them, we knew that AiG would compliment our ministry well.
After spending some time with Ken Ham at the Creation Museum, I soon realized that we both shared the same passion for the word of God. Ken, along with Bryan Osborne and the Answers in Genesis (AiG) team, accepted our invitation to lead an Apologetics conference at Brainerd Baptist the second week of November. The response of our people was overwhelmingly positive. In addition to speaking to the adults, Ken led two sessions for middle school and high school students. Over 2,000 students attended two sessions to hear about “Why Genesis Still Matters Today.” Ken spoke on Adam and Eve, dinosaurs, fossils, creation, the fall, the flood, evolution, “millions of years,” the gap theory, and the tower of Babel.
For years I overlooked the danger of believing in a “millions of years” perspective on the creation of the world. If a person doubts the first eleven chapters of Genesis, the floodgates of skepticism are flung open. When we entertain ideas such as the flood wasn’t global, the tower of Babel was a fable, God created the universe over millions of years, or Adam and Eve were literary figures and not real people, all of which liberal, secular theologians and professors are indoctrinating our children with today, our minds become free to question other sections of the Bible. Ken consistently reminded our people that the Bible is the “history book of the universe,” not some record of Bible stories. I was reminded of the importance of referring to the biblical encounters as historical accounts and not stories. Our modern minds equate stories with myths or legends, which can have a trickle down effect on coming generations. The Bible contains historical facts not fables!
What is distinctive about the AiG apologetics conference is that the sessions undergirded my desire to build a church of disciples who search the Word for answers before seeking counsel from the world. God has given us a roadmap, as reiterated in every one of their sessions, for answers—the Bible.
The South has been referred to as the Bible belt; unfortunately that is not the case any more—the belt is long gone, and only the loops remain. Many literate believers are plagued with illiteracy of the Word. And so I thank God for a ministry that is unapologetic about the truth of God’s word. Numerous people thanked me in person and by email for offering this equipping conference at our church. I would recommend the resources from this ministry to any church leader.
According to the church’s website, “Robby Gallaty (Ph.D., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) is the Senior Pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. He was radically saved out of a life of drug addiction on November 12, 2002. In 2008, he founded Replicate Ministries to educate, equip, and empower believers to make disciples who make disciples. He is the author of Growing Up: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples and Firmly Planted.”
If your church would like to host a faith-affirming AiG conference you can contact us here. Answers in Genesis has a number of dynamic speakers who can give illustrated talks to many age groups. You can also watch the recorded sessions from Brainerd Baptist Church here.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.
*Eberhard Bethge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography (Minneapolis, MN: First Fortress Press, 2000), 442.