Over the years, I’ve had many people, including Christian leaders, say negative things about the Answers in Genesis ministry, claiming what we do is “divisive.” They claim that as Christians, we shouldn’t create division but rather unity. Is AiG’s stand on a historical Genesis and biblical authority causing division in the church?
Now, this may sound confusing and contradictory, but I say we need to create both division and unity. I believe this is what God’s Word clearly teaches.
Do you think that I [Jesus] have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. (Luke 12:51)
Jesus said he came to bring division. What does he mean by that? Well, the light of God’s Word will create two types of division. The first is a type of division that, sadly, an increasing number of professing Christians and Christian leaders don’t seem to want anymore: division from the world.
We live in a world where there is a lot of darkness.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19)
God’s Word has a lot to tell us about shining light in this darkness. In an obvious reference to the future Christ, we read in Isaiah,
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9:2)
And in the New Testament,
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14–16)
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)
Obviously, shining the light of God’s Word in this world darkened with sin will create division. We see the result of this division in those who oppose the ones shining the light.
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12)
Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. (1 John 3:13)
There’s another type of division that the light of God’s Word will create, and that is division in the church. Now, don’t get me wrong—there are kinds of division in the church that are bad and should have no place within the people of God as Scripture appeals and warns against.
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
But take a look at Romans 16:17–18.
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
Shining the light of God’s Word in this world darkened with sin will create division.
The Apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit, is saying that false teachers and others will create division by teaching what is “contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught.” In response to these false teachers and their division, we’re to avoid them—in other words, we’re to divide ourselves from them (until or unless they repent).
We must stop the division created by those who teach error and who do things contrary to Scripture by boldly standing against that error and holding those teachers accountable who try to lead others astray by their error.
This “division” by those who hold to the truth from those who teach error must occur and has occurred over the years to help cleanse the church of error and ensure the truth is being taught. That’s why God, through the Apostle Paul, wrote in 1 Corinthians (a book that’s focused on major problems in the Corinthian church—primarily divisions between believers!),
For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. (1 Corinthians 11:19)
When truth is taught (i.e., light is shone), those who reject and oppose that truth will react against it by creating division. But this is the sort of division that will occur in a fallen world to illuminate those who reject the truth.
Yes, it’s vital that Christians rightly divide the Word of truth.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Yes, the Bible does talk about unity—quite a lot actually. Jesus even prayed for unity among his followers before he went to the cross.
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:20–23)
True unity can only exist when there is unity on God’s Word—our ultimate authority.
But while we can kindly and respectfully disagree on preferences and matters of conscience in order to preserve and strive for unity in the church, this does not mean we tolerate error—God’s Word never tells us to permit error in order to maintain unity. Indeed, quite the opposite. In order to have true unity, we need to be in agreement by having the same mind in regard to God’s Word. That’s right: true unity can only exist when there is unity on God’s Word—our ultimate authority. That’s the unity we need and should always strive for, as it’s the only true unity.
When we at Answers in Genesis insist that we must take God’s Word as written in Genesis—and thus teach that God created in six literal days, death came after sin, Noah’s flood was global, the earth can’t be millions of years old, and God didn’t use evolution to create—some claim we are being divisive. We are told that we should allow people to have other views such as believing in millions of years, theistic evolution, the gap theory, and so on.
But if you analyze these beliefs, you’ll see that we are insisting on unity on God’s Word in Genesis, but those who disagree want unity around man’s word regarding millions of years and evolutionary processes. But you can’t have the right kind of unity on the wrong foundation! So, the division created by insisting on a literal Genesis is the right sort of division to stand up for the truth of God’s Word. We need true unity for all Christians, which means we take God’s Word as written and come against the belief that man’s ideas, such as evolution and millions of years, can be used to reinterpret God’s clear Word.
The bottom line is that the stand Answers in Genesis takes on Genesis is both one of creating division and unity!
In this dark world, and with so much compromise in the church, if you are not creating the right sort of division for the right reasons, I suggest you need to analyze whether your stand on God’s Word is the right one.
I find many pastors don’t want to create any sort of division as they don’t want to lose people or finances from their congregation. But I suggest there needs to be a lot more division when we have so many church leaders and academics who compromise Genesis with man’s ideas. We have such a lukewarm church because of this rampant compromise and the resulting very shallow teaching. There are exceptions, of course, but those who take a stand on God’s Word—including Genesis—as they should are in the minority.
We need to challenge the church concerning the truth of God’s Word beginning in Genesis, creating the right sort of division to lead to much needed unity on the infallible Word. As people are taught the truth, we pray that any division created by this will lead to much more unity on God’s Word as people recognize they must stand on the infallible, inerrant Word of God from the very first verse.
Although I began this blog by sharing that I’ve heard from many Christians over the years who view the AiG ministry negatively, I am thankful that I’ve likewise heard from thousands of supporters who love the AiG ministry and understand how vital it is to call the church back to the authority of the Word of God. They get it—we need unity around the Word of God, not man’s ideas and fallible opinions! It’s only in the Word of God that we get absolute, unchanging truth.
If you’re one of those who loves the AiG ministry and understands the vital importance of the mission God has called us to, I encourage you to consider beginning a career with us! We’re hiring for the AiG ministry, Answers Academy (a K–12 school), the Creation Museum, and the Ark Encounter. Here are just a few of our open job positions (we’re hiring for full-time, part-time, and seasonal jobs):
Check out the full list of jobs at AnswersInGenesis.org/jobs or join us for our upcoming job fair on Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the CCL Center in Florence, KY (8095 Connector Dr., 41042—a few miles south of Cincinnati), to learn more about seasonal positions at the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum.
We’d love to have you join our team!
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.