AiG’s Message Deplatformed . . . at a Church?

Popular speaker Dr. Terry Mortensen was deplatformed from a church for comments about social issues—a sad indictment about American Evangelicalism today.

by Ken Ham on April 16, 2021
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It’s an interesting world we live in. Every day we seem to hear unfamiliar terms, such as deplatform. Many dictionaries haven’t even defined this term yet. Wikipedia (I don’t normally recommend this as a resource) defines deplatforming this way: “a form of political activism or prior restraint by an individual, group, or organization with the goal of shutting down controversial speakers or speech, or denying them access to a venue in which to express their opinion.”

Well, I’m sure you’ve heard of Big Tech deplatforming people and organizations recently. In various ways, AiG has been deplatformed by organizations too. This makes many people quite frustrated, angry, and upset. But do you know what is much more upsetting? When AiG is “deplatformed” by a church! And what issues do you think might cause this “deplatforming”? Well, LGBTQ and the age of the earth/universe issues! And actually, I assert that as a result the church itself has been “deplatformed” by the pastor as he is denying people the teaching they need on Genesis. OK, that’s a lot to take in. So let me share with you what happened to our speaker Dr. Terry Mortenson, who was “deplatformed.” Here is Terry’s report in his own words:

Sunday morning [Grace Point Church, Bentonville, AR, on Jan. 17, 2021], I gave a message on the “relevance” of Genesis, similar to what Ken Ham and all our speakers present for a first presentation in a church. I explained that Genesis 1–11 is foundational to the rest of Scripture and showed that the acceptance of millions of years and evolution undermines the Bible’s teaching on sin, marriage, death, the gospel, and morality. With respect to marriage, after quoting Jesus in Matthew 19:4–6, I said that adultery, fornication, pornography, homosexuality, and transgenderism are all wrong because they are contrary to God’s created order and commands.

Dr. Mortenson: “The pastor . . . told me that what I said about the moral issues (especially my brief LGBT comment) was not what he wanted and that I needed to change the message before the second service and essentially replace that marriage section with comments about God’s greatness and design in creation.”

During the last song, the pastor asked me to go backstage to a room. He told me that what I said about the moral issues (especially my brief LGBT comment) was not what he wanted and that I needed to change the message before the second service and essentially replace that marriage section with comments about God’s greatness and design in creation.

Then after lunch the pastor and assistant pastor called me to say that a number of people were upset with my first message feeling that I indicated that anyone who rejected young-earth creation could not be saved. I told the pastors that I neither said nor implied that, for neither I nor AiG believe that. They asked me to state that at the beginning of the evening service—which I happily did.

I found out that the next week in his sermon, the pastor apologized for what I had presented the previous Sunday morning. And all my presentations had also been removed from the church’s website and Facebook page.

Yes, our own Dr. Mortenson, who is a very popular and gracious speaker and has been in ministry for 47 years giving presentations on creation all over the world, including in communist countries, was “deplatformed” by a church in the USA. The pastor even gave an apology to the church about our basic approach on how to understand Genesis. Now the transcription below is long, but I urge you to read it as it represents the type of teaching and compromise on Genesis so many people get in churches in America and so many other countries:

And again, we live in a day where there’s a lot of gender confusion. In this gender confusion world which we live, which is called, has been medically called, gender dysphoria, we struggle with again our identity, sexually. And it’s a touchy situation. And I want to handle all of those topics delicately, and if they’re not handled delicately, and I’ll refer back to last Sunday a little bit—first gathering, especially—I don’t believe it was handled delicately, and so I apologize if you were offended in any way with some of those comments.

Um, there is a right and a wrong, but there’s a right and a wrong way to do things, and talk about things, and address things, and so, who am I, and what am I, and who am I not. And sometimes we attach our identity to our race, to our ethnicity, and that’s a dangerous attachment. Race diversity becomes the topic. And really a life principle is that who I am is less about my ethnicity, and most about my humanity. Who am I is not attached to the skin color, it’s attached to who I am in the sight of the God of the universe!

And then when I realize that every one of us and everyone that’s in this room and not in this room, and everyone on the other side of this world, everyone with a different ethnicity, we all originate from the same beginning! When Paul was speaking in an ethnically diverse city on Mars Hill in Athens, Greece, in Acts 17:26, he said this: “And he made from one man, every nation, every ethnos from one person of mankind to live on the face of the earth.” So, our ethnicity is not what our identity is, and yet that has become a political hot button today. So where is our identity?

Well, if we misappropriate our identity, we put our identity in the wrong thing, then we will misunderstand our identity. And we will misunderstand our identity and we will misplace the priorities on our identity, and then it results in a broken, confused, offended, cancelled culture.

I told you in the beginning of this series that everything I’m going to talk about . . . is going to be countercultural. It’s not going to fit in somebody’s bucket very well. I want to handle it with grace and truth, because what I’m pointing us to is not back to my design, it’s back to God’s design, in a perfect world, in a perfect time, when things were right and good and in order. So how can we move back to where God, what is my identity, and I want to propose to you that my identity is not in what I am, not in what I do, not in what I am not, not in what my race is. My identity is based in a biblical narrative and it’s what God says I am. Who am I in the sight of God? Who cares what other people think about me?! Who am I in the sight of the God of the universe who chose to put breath in my lungs, to give me another day, so that I could live out his story for his glory? What is that story about? That’s the identity I want to attach myself to because that is for time and eternity, good, and right, and proper.

Whenever you look at the creation story, you see some common grounds. And again, we did not do due diligence when we covered a little bit of this last week [with Dr. Mortenson’s presentations], but let me just give you just a broad cover-stroke. When you’re corresponding the creation story you see some parallels here. You see what day one and day four that the heavens and the galaxies are developed and made right, and then the heavenlies are put in order. Then day two and day five you have the waters and the land take form and shape. And then day three and day six you have the living: it’s the living plants, it’s the animals, and it’s people.

But here, if there’s anything I want you to hear in the story of creation in this whole seven days, whether your short-earth or a young-earth theorist or a gap theorist, or, or a day-age theorist, and I believe there are a lot of great believers in all those camps, and so it, whatever you fit yourself into that, here’s what I want you to see in the story of creation. It is about unity and humanity and how God is bringing the divinity and the unity together in this beautiful story. Whenever you look at your Bibles, and turn there if you will, you will notice from day one and day four, that’s when he creates the galaxies, OK. That’s when he created 100 billion stars in 100 billion galaxies. Do you realize that there are only nine verses in Genesis that are devoted to 100 billion stars and 100 billion galaxies?

But when you come to the capstone, the head waters, when you come to the most important crown of God’s work, his creation of humanity, you find that there are in the matter of day six, there’s in the matter of three chapters, 32 verses given to the story of humanity. The crown jewel of the creation narrative is humanity, but in that you see not only the unity of the divinity you also see the unity of humanity. You see the unity of divinity in here because you will see that that it is Godhead coming together, creating it. Every other day of creation he says, “Let there be,” he speaks to the elements. He speaks to the functionality of the elements. Let there be light, let there be water, he separates the water from the earth. He speaks to the elements about the functionality of those elements.

But what you see in day six when he speaks of humanity, he speaks to the Godhead. It’s the only time in the creation story where he doesn’t say, “Let there be humanity.” He said, “Let us.” That is a very important part of the narrative of the story that God is pointing to the Godhead creating us, that God is coming together, this plural, majestic being, is coming together, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and he is creating humanity.

And let me say this again, in case you missed it before, when he creates humanity, he makes us one. He put man and woman together, and he made them one, they were equal. They were one. And he made them one in this perfect order, so any form of racism, fascism, sexism, classism, nationalism, nationalism is where we say, “Our nation is better than your nation,” wherever we say any of that, it is from the pit of hell. It is not a part of God’s original design.

Whew! What was that all about? To me this represents the sad state of much of the church.

Basically, this pastor is saying one can hold whatever position one wants on Genesis as long as you understand God created man.

Basically, this pastor is saying one can hold whatever position one wants on Genesis as long as you understand God created man. The pastor uses a lot of buzz words like “unity” and “identity” that really don’t say much—which is sadly where many church leaders are at today.

Now we at AiG have shown how important the history in Genesis 1–11 is, as it is foundational to all doctrine, the gospel, the rest of the Bible, and to a truly Christian worldview. Sadly, the majority of Christian leaders compromise Genesis in some way.

This month, we joined together on Easter to celebrate the message of the death and resurrection of our Lord when he died on the cross for our sins. We will lift him up in worship because of the great love he displayed at Calvary. But if you can’t believe the details in Genesis as written, then there is no foundation for the gospel. The whole foundation of the gospel is that God created man, man rebelled against God (the origin of sin), and God judged man with death but promised a Savior (Genesis 3:15, 21).

And if a Christian believes in millions of years, then there was death and the shedding of blood millions of years before Adam sinned, which makes Hebrews 9:22 meaningless: without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Once Genesis is “deplatformed” from the church, then the Easter message (the gospel) has been “deplatformed” from its foundational history.

Thank you for being a part of our Answers in Genesis family as we continue in waking up the church (our theme this year) and equipping God’s people to stand boldly, courageously, and uncompromisingly on the authority of God’s Word beginning in Genesis. We want to help the church be “hot” and not lukewarm (Revelation 3:16). A lukewarm, compromising church can’t raise up soldiers of the King prepared for the raging spiritual battle around us.

I urge you to do what you can today to help us uphold the foundation for the gospel! And pray that the ministry of Answers in Genesis might bring many people to faith in our risen Savior.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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