One would think that in Christian settings (Bible colleges and seminaries, churches, Christian radio/TV stations and other religious media) the affirming message that biblical history can be fully trusted from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 would be warmly embraced. Actually, we have discovered the converse to be true time and time again. This is not at all surprising given the age in which we live, when many Christian leaders have chosen to accept the fallible ideas of scientists regarding the historicity of Genesis. Still, it shocks most Christians when they learn that creation organizations are kept at arm’s length by many pastors and ministries.
AiG is grateful for the many opportunities it has had (worldwide) to speak in Bible colleges and seminaries. There have been some occasions, however, when alumni of such colleges and seminaries have approached their alma mater about hosting a creation speaker on campus, and they quickly discover that it can be like pulling teeth to accomplish this. And if they are successful in getting a creation speaker in Christian schools, they often discover that after the chapel session or class lectures, some of the professors will spend the next few days in class trying to refute what had just been said.
Another indication of how so many in the church today reject the creation message and the straightforward history as presented in the Bible is what often occurs in major, locally influential churches. For example, when many creation advocates—who have become enthused about the creation/gospel message—contact the senior leadership of their churches, they are frequently rebuffed with a comment like: “It’s not a relevant ministry, and Genesis is just a side issue. Also, it’s too hard-hitting anyway.” Or the pastor may hold to a compromise view like progressive creation, theistic evolution, the gap theory and so on, and thus is opposed to hosting a creation group that accepts Genesis as literal history.
And then there is the case of a major Christian news service in the US that has steered clear of an age of earth/Grand Canyon story. It was a controversy that generated headlines worldwide earlier this year: the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times (as well as French and Taiwanese papers, etc.) and TV programs (e.g. The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, 27 February). They were all reporting on an attempted book-ban effort by leading evolutionists who tried to remove the anti-evolution book (featuring four AiG contributors), Grand Canyon: A Different View, from the shelves of National Park Service bookstores. (At last report, the book remains on sale.)
Now, wouldn’t you think that a prominent Christian news service (whose parent organization is very well known) would report on a controversy about Genesis that made headlines worldwide and generated over 7,000 emails and faxes to the US National Park Service?
Actually, the lack of reporting by this news service was not a surprise to Answers in Genesis at all. You see, one of the major themes of Grand Canyon: A Different View is that the earth is young, not millions/billions of years old. The Canyon, according to this controversial book, did not take millions of years to form. It just so happens that the leader of this prominent ministry1 is an “old-earth” creationist (yet anti-evolution when it comes to biological evolution), and based upon his previous comments on the historicity of the book of Genesis, this leader’s influence has determined that his ministry will not use its news service to report on this freedom of speech issue affecting the church in America.
AiG submits that the question of the earth’s age is vital because it involves the accuracy of the Genesis record, and more importantly, the Bible’s atonement message itself. You see, if a person accepts the belief that the earth is millions of years old, then it follows that the Curse must have occurred before Adam appeared. In this scenario, then, there would be the remains of dead things before the Fall of Adam—and diseases like cancer. In this way, the atonement message is undermined.
As a part of its 2004 theme of “Operation: Refuting Compromise,” AiG—as a “confrontational” ministry—is alerting Christians to compromise regarding biblical authority that permeates the church (and many ministries). Because the Bible is so obviously straightforward in its teaching about origins and the age of the earth (and since even the atonement message itself is tied into this question), AiG wants to alert church leaders of the “slippery slide” of compromise if they increasingly accept the ideas of fallible men—a mind-set which can “unlock” the door to reinterpreting other parts of the Bible.
If prominent Christian leaders prefer to keep an arm’s length from creation groups which accept a literal Genesis, then all we can do is to ask God to open the eyes of their leaders to the true nature of the battle (i.e. the authority of the Word of God versus the words of fallible men) and then also hope that their followers will contact the leaders of the ministries they support to express their concerns. Unfortunately, many ministry heads are apparently entrenched about a non-literal Genesis—regardless of the biblical evidence.
Worldwide, AiG is blessed to have many more speaking opportunities, radio interviews, etc. to keep it quite busy. At the same time, some of the ministries that could help further proclaim the vital creation/gospel message are sadly quite cool to it. It is a sad sign of the times to see the church continuing its slide away from accepting the full authority of Scripture, starting with its very first verse.