Waking Up the Church?

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We thought 2020 was a challenging year and so many people looked forward to seeing it in the rearview mirror! Well, I believe 2021 will bring some incredible challenges as we live in an increasingly post-Christian culture (and we’re less than a month into this new year and that certainly seems to be the case!). So what should the major emphasis of the AiG ministry be in 2021? As 2020 drew to a close, I was really burdened with this question. As I spoke to others in leadership at AiG, they agreed with the direction I was considering. So I want to reveal this year’s major theme to you. But first, a little background.

As I’ve pondered and prayed concerning the AiG ministry in 2021, I reread an article on the AiG website written by Simon Turpin, the Executive Director of our United Kingdom/Europe AiG ministry. Simon holds a BA and MA in theology. Simon wrote this:

Today there is an increasing number of pastors, theologians, churches, and theological institutes that use the term inerrancy, but it may well be a redefined meaning. Much of this is due to the compromise on the Bible with secular ideas like millions of years.

This is because there are evangelicals (like Dr. Mike Licona) who, because of the human element of Scripture, want to define inerrancy as: “God inspired the biblical authors with the concepts . . . and He wasn’t concerned with peripheral details. He wanted to make sure that the concepts and the teaching . . . [were] preserved without error.” The outcome of this definition is the belief that the Bible’s authority is not found in its words but only through its intention.

It’s so sad to see many church leaders going in this terrible direction.

Now a couple of months ago, I wrote a blog about a “Christian” college in the USA:

Recent headlines announced something rather shocking to many Christians—the president of the student body at Calvin University has “come out” as a homosexual. What makes this so shocking is that Calvin University is supposedly a Christian college! What happened?

Well, Calvin University has compromised God’s Word for years. For example, they have compromised Genesis with the pagan religion of evolution and millions of years. They won’t take a stand on a historical Genesis—indeed they teach quite the opposite—and therefore, even though they claim to believe that “human sexuality is a gift from God reserved for expression in the context of marriage between a man and a woman,” they have no foundation from which to do so—after all, marriage, family, and sexuality are grounded in the history in Genesis (see Genesis 1:27, 2:24 and Matthew 19:4–5) . . .

Calvin is not the only college going down this compromising destructive path. Recently Wheaton College published a science textbook they want other colleges to use. But this text is destructive to the authority of God’s Word beginning in Genesis.1

Just to give you a glimpse of the sort of compromise rife throughout this textbook produced by Wheaton College professors (that sadly, from my experience and research, represents the positions of the majority of such Christian institutions), consider these quotes:

Although some Christians have argued that the fall utterly disrupted some kind of original perfection of creation, there is no evidence from either the Bible or the creation, making that a foregone conclusion . . .

Here it is enough to say that geological data to support a flood of massive proportion is lacking. Furthermore, no archaeological evidence lends support to such a flood.2

Such compromise as outlined in the quotes above permeates much of the church and most Christian colleges, seminaries, and Bible colleges.

Such compromise as outlined in the quotes above permeates much of the church and most Christian colleges, seminaries, and Bible colleges.

When I began giving creation apologetics talks in churches in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s in Australia, I was shocked to hear people from churches tell me they had never heard teaching on the importance of believing Genesis. Many told me they thought there was no problem believing in evolution and millions of years. The level of ignorance on this matter astounded me and contributed to the burden the Lord gave me to form a ministry to equip the church.

When I visited the US in the ‘80s for speaking tours in churches across the nation, I was shocked to find the same level of ignorance in much of the church concerning the importance of believing God’s Word in Genesis and rejecting compromise with evolution/millions of years.

If you were to watch videos of my early talks (we have them in our library at AiG), you would see me challenging the church to raise up the coming generations:

  1. To be equipped with apologetics to answer the skeptical questions from what they were being taught in school and through the media that undermined God’s Word in Genesis.
  2. To understand that the literal history in Genesis chapters 1–11 is the foundation for all Christian doctrine, for the Christian worldview, for the gospel, and for the rest of the Bible. Without Genesis 1–11 as the foundation for one’s thinking, we would not know how to deal with issues like gay “marriage,” abortion, euthanasia, gender, racism, etc.

I also warned the church that if we didn’t do these two major tasks, we would lose the coming generations from the church and see a negative impact on the culture, causing it to become more secularized and anti-Christian. And now we are seeing exactly this—an exodus of the younger generations (particularly generations X, Y [millennials], and Z) as they become more secular/atheistic in their thinking, and a culture that is catastrophically changing as a consequence of these less-Christianized younger generations.

Now, the older generations (Greatest, Silent, and Baby Boomer) were more Christianized, in the sense of holding more to a Judeo-Christian ethic (reflecting how the nation was founded). Even if many in these generations weren’t truly born-again Christians, they still held, more or less, to a biblical type of morality.

Many parents and church leaders didn’t seem to understand this change that was occurring and continued to push the importance of kids being in this secular system to supposedly witness to others.

I also believe many in the older generations didn’t really understand how atheistic and anti-Christian much of the public education system was becoming, as the Bible, God, prayer, etc. were, by and large, eliminated, and the teaching of naturalism (atheism—that man’s word is the basis for our worldview in every area) began permeating the system. Now, 90% or more of children from church homes go through the secular education system. Sadly, these kids began to be permeated more and more with evolutionary secular thinking, which created doubt in regard to God’s Word, helping to lead to their exodus from the church.

Many parents and church leaders didn’t seem to understand this change that was occurring and continued to push the importance of kids being in this secular system supposedly to witness to others. But kids can’t be witnesses to proclaim the salt of God’s Word until they have salt:

Have salt in yourselves (Mark 9:50).

And if the salt is contaminated, it is no longer good for anything:

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet (Matthew 5:13).

With a lack of teaching in the majority of homes and churches and an increasing brainwashing in secularism, a recipe for catastrophic change in the younger generations was in place, leading to an ongoing catastrophic change in the culture as it becomes more secular and anti-Christian.

We’ve also seen that, over time, the majority of Christian institutions, started by Christians to help raise up godly generations, have been taken over by teachers/professors—many of whom were trained in the secular system or in liberal institutions—who have changed these institutions to ones that have become destructive to Christianity. One cannot deny the statistics that only 18% of millennials attend church in the US (compared to 52% of the Greatest Generation), and researcher George Barna found that generation Z is the first “truly post-Christian generation,” being twice as likely to be atheist as any previous generation.

But by not teaching Genesis as the foundation for the Christian worldview, the people in these churches weren’t equipped to understand what was happening in the culture or how they should be training up the coming generations.

Even when I’ve spoken in certain theologically conservative churches over the years, many pastors have told me they don’t really deal with Genesis as it creates too much division because of people in the church who believe in evolution/millions of years (and many of those who actively oppose having biblical creationists like me come to those churches are teachers, professors, scientists, etc.). But by not teaching Genesis as the foundation for the Christian worldview, the people in these churches weren’t equipped to understand what was happening in the culture or how they should have been training up the coming generations.

I’ve found in our modern times, so many churches are much more interested in having a conference on the book of Revelation and pushing a particular eschatological view. And while Revelation is an important part of the Word of God, Revelation is not the foundation for all doctrine—Genesis is. Revelation is not the foundation for our Christian worldview—Genesis is. Revelation is not the foundation for the gospel—Genesis is. Revelation is not the foundation for the rest of the Bible—Genesis 1–11 is! (I’ve been saying this for decades; read this article from way back in 1987.)

In many of these churches, in their statements of faith, have only rather basic, generalized statements on Genesis or creation that really do allow all sorts of compromise positions, but then have very specific statements concerning Revelation and eschatology.

Now because I’ve spoken in churches across the world—and have also spoken in hundreds of churches (and many Christian institutions) in all fifty states of the US over the past forty years—I have a bird’s-eye view of the church most people don’t get. By and large, I see music becoming the dominant feature of many churches, with praise teams that, in many instances, have become performance oriented. I see the teaching of the Word of God relegated to a short time, often with shallow teaching and a great lack of the teaching of apologetics and worldview training based in Genesis 1–11. I believe we see a predominantly lukewarm church as described in Revelation:

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:15–16).

When you look at what is happening in the culture, I believe we see God’s hand of judgment (Romans 1). But I also believe we are seeing God’s hand of judgment and warning on the church. (For instance, is the church really taking notice of what the COVID-19 situation has resulted in?) Now don’t get me wrong, there are some great Bible-believing, Bible-teaching churches in America. There are thousands of churches and some Christian institutions that use AiG resources and support our ministry. But they are nonetheless a minority compared to the rest.

Our 2021 theme will be “Waking up the church.”

So, I trust you all understand why in 2021 we are going to increase an emphasis we’ve always had—and that is to challenge and equip the church. Our 2021 theme will be “Waking up the church.” Yes, the church in America (and the whole Western world) needs to wake up from its lukewarm position, repent of compromise and lack of teaching before a Holy God, diligently teach all generations to be “understanding of the times” (like the men of Issachar in 1 Chronicles 12:32), be equipped to impact the culture for the Lord Jesus Christ (be real salt and light), and raise up godly generations.

Yes, we’re waking up the church!

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

Footnotes

  1. A previous version of this item stated that the textbook came from Calvin College, rather than Wheaton. That error has been corrected here.
  2. Robert C. Bishop, Larry L. Funck, Stephen O. Moshier, John H. Walton and Raymond J. Lewis, Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins: Cosmology, Geology, and Biology in Christian Perspective, IVP Academic, (2018):55, 241.

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