The Reformation’s Renewed Relevance

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Times have changed over the last 500 years, but some basic challenges never change.

Ken Ham

Illustration by Viktor Miller-Gausa

Ken Ham
Answers in Genesis

When Martin Luther nailed those 95 theses on the Castle Church in Wittenberg (Germany) 500 years ago, on October 31, 1517, what questions might people have asked him?

Do you think anyone came up to him and asked, “Dr. Luther, it’s all very well and good to nail these theses on the church door. But explain how you can trust the Bible when carbon dating gives dates that contradict its genealogies”?

Well, of course no one asked him such a question. Carbon dating was invented over 400 years later, in the 1900s. Similarly, he wouldn’t have been asked about dinosaurs (a term invented in 1841), Lucy (discovered in 1974), the big bang (coined in 1949), Charles Darwin (born in 1809), and so on.

Martin Luther was dealing with a different set of questions, which he understood as attacks on the authority of God’s Word in his era. He was confronting people who were using man’s fallible ideas and imposing them on the unchanging, infallible Word of God.

It was an authority issue. Who is the ultimate authority? God or man?

What Martin Luther boldly accomplished was to start a movement to challenge the church to return to the authority of God’s Word. He specifically was defending justification by faith. And so out of the Reformation came the cry for Sola Scriptura.

Actually five solas (Latin phrases) came out of the Reformation. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”) means the Bible alone is our highest authority. The other solas were Sola Fide (“faith alone”), Sola Gratia (“grace alone”), Solus Christus (“Christ alone”), and Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”).

The Genesis 3 Attack

This year, the theme of the Answers in Genesis ministry (the publisher of this magazine) is “Igniting a New Reformation.” This stresses the first solaSola Scriptura. In fact, God warns us that Sola Scriptura is the focus of the devil’s ongoing attacks on God’s Word in every generation. Second Corinthians 11:3 warns: “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

In other words, the devil will use the same method on us that he used on Eve to get people to not believe the Word of God.

So what method did he use on Eve? We read about it in Genesis 3:1: “He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say . . . ?’” Another translation put it this way: “Did God really say?

The warning then is that the devil will attack the authority of God’s Word by creating doubt in his Word, which in the end can lead to unbelief. I call this the Genesis 3 attack. That attack has never let up; it never changes. But what does change is how the attack manifests itself.

Down through the ages believers have dealt with various attacks on God’s Word. For example, the early church faced attacks on the deity of Christ, Martin Luther’s era faced attacks on justification by faith, and the Enlightenment period of the 1800s faced attacks on Christ’s bodily resurrection.

But what is the main “Genesis 3 attack” today? I suggest the teaching of evolution/millions of years that permeates the culture and church. Evolution is really the pagan religion of this age, which secularists push as their justification for rejecting God and his Word.

Compromise with this pagan religion is a major reason the church is losing so many in the current and coming generations. It’s also a major reason our once-Christianized West is becoming less Christian every day, at least from a worldview perspective.

So many in the church no longer believe God’s Word in Genesis because they believe evolutionary ideas.

Today’s Genesis 3 attack has resulted in a loss of respect for the Bible’s authority. So many in the church no longer believe God’s Word in Genesis because they believe evolutionary ideas. As a result, the culture doesn’t see why they should trust the Bible on anything it speaks about.

Thus, this attack on Genesis’ creation account opened the door for coming generations to reject biblical authority. As a result many people are careening down a slippery slide of doubt and unbelief, resulting in a generational loss from the church, and a very secularized worldview permeating the church and culture.

Call for a New Reformation

That’s why I believe we need a new Reformation. We need (symbolically of course) people across this nation and the world nailing Genesis 1–11 on doors of churches and Christian institutions to call God’s people back to the authority of God’s Word beginning in Genesis. We need to question what’s being taught and hold the teachers accountable. We need to shut the door of compromise in Genesis or we will continue to see the church’s impact on the culture lessening and the culture’s impact on the church increasing!

Yes, once again we need to be proclaiming Sola Scriptura in our generation, and confront the rampant compromise in the church, which makes man’s fallible ideas (evolution/millions of years) the authority over God’s infallible Word.

Ken Ham is the founder and president of Answers in Genesis–US. He has edited and authored many books about the authority of God’s Word and the impact of evolutionary thinking on our culture, including Already Compromised and The Lie.

Answers Magazine

September–October 2017

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