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Coping with Criticism

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When we stand firm on God’s Word, we can expect attacks. How should we respond? It depends on who the opposition is.

Ken Ham

illustration by Viktor Miller-Gausa

Ken Ham
President/CEO
Answers in Genesis

Should born-again Christians expect condemnation for their beliefs?

Consider the following verses of Scripture: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

And people loved the darkness rather than the light” (John 3:19).

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13–14).

The Bible makes it clear that Christians will be criticized and condemned, even persecuted, for their faith. In a world where the majority will reject the truth of God’s Word and the gospel, Christians should expect opposition.

In this ministry of Answers in Genesis, which so obviously challenges Christians and non-Christians alike to believe God’s Word from the very first verse, we receive an enormous amount of opposition and degrees of persecution—all of which are becoming more intense. I have found there are four major types of opposition:

Opposition from Non-Christians

Secularists oppose the AiG ministry in all sorts of ways. They spread false information, carry out ad hominem attacks, blaspheme, swear at us, and sometimes threaten us. Over the years, people have often asked me how I deal with such attacks. I explain that we shouldn’t be surprised at such opposition from the world—in fact, we should expect it. In some ways, I would be worried if we weren’t the target of such hostility for our very public stand on the authority of God’s Word. As Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.” I don’t take such attacks of the world personally. I recognize that those who hate us are ultimately angry at God—not me. They are lost and going to punishment in a Christless eternity. I need to pray for their repentance and continue to try to reach them with the saving gospel message.

Opposition from Church Liberals

These people are publicly claiming to be shepherds but are really like those Jesus described this way: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). I believe it important to publicly rebuke these people and warn the church that they are enemies of God masquerading as friends of God’s people. I have no respect for them because they lead the sheep astray. We need to be prepared to warn the church about these wolves, as Jesus did.

Opposition from Compromising Christians

Many times, I find they have not realized their compromise, and they will quickly change their position when they understand they are not taking God at his Word as they should.

Opposition from those who confess Christ is much harder to deal with. I am so burdened for those who testify to being saved yet vehemently oppose the position we take on Genesis. These are people who will reinterpret parts of Genesis to attempt to fit evolutionary ideas about geology, biology, astronomy, and so on, into the Bible. For me, it is very important to point out publicly that their compromised positions on Genesis undermine the authority of the Word, with the result that coming generations often doubt and then reject the Word of God and the gospel. I don’t question their salvation, but I do warn them (and others in the church) that such compromise is an attack on the Word and leads others astray. I do my best to get such people to recognize their compromise and return to the authority of God’s Word. Many times, I find they have not realized their compromise, and they will quickly change their position when they understand they are not taking God at his Word as they should.

Opposition from Other Christians

I’m sure we’ve all heard something similar to this quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

I find that no matter what a person does, some Christians will complain or find fault or nitpick to death! I pray for wisdom because I recognize none of us is perfect, and we can all learn from others and continue to mature as Christians. So when I hear (or read) such criticism, I always try to consider what we as a ministry are saying or doing and ponder whether any changes should be made—and then make what I believe is the right decision and move on.

Now it is also true that sometimes when I disagree with people they will accuse me of being hateful, judgmental, or intolerant. I’ve learned that usually I can’t convince such people otherwise, so all I can do is my very best to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22–24).

Join me in praying for wisdom and striving to exhibit that kind of Christ-likeness!

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

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