When we stand firm on God’s Word, we can expect attacks. How should we respond? It depends on who the opposition is.
Answers in Genesis
Should born-again Christians expect condemnation for their beliefs?
Consider the following verses of
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”
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:
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 stance
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.
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.
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 in an 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.
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 are 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!