Our Behind-the-Scenes Battle for the Shepherds

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In reading the book of Jeremiah recently, it hit me that in many ways the outreach of Answers in Genesis and the ministry of Jeremiah are similar.

AiG could also easily despair as we look around our decaying Western cultures. But no matter what, we must still “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3)!

AiG fights for the truth of God’s Word on many battlefronts. But two really stand out for me right now. Many people see us fighting on one obvious battlefront, yet there is another one that others don’t see. In fact, it’s a roaring battle being waged behind the scenes that is deceptive and dangerous.

Before I get into that, here’s a recap of a very public struggle.

As background, I want to remind you that the life-size Ark will open July 7 (up to two million guests a year are forecast) and the Creation Museum currently welcomes about 300,000 annual visitors. In addition, the outreaches of Answers in Genesis include our worldwide teaching ministry (reaching hundreds of thousands of people in churches and other venues each year), popular website (over 20 million unique visitors a year), VBS program (now one of the leading programs in the nation), Sunday school curriculum (thousands of churches using it), books, DVDs, radio broadcasts, and other programs to reach both Christian and non-Christian.

Boldly yet with love, these outreaches to the general public and local churches proclaim the truth of God’s Word and the gospel. We bring the biblical messages God has laid on our heart to as many people as we can, in America and overseas.

But because of the intense secular propaganda machines that operate in the media, education systems, and other places, we need to overcome a challenge first described by Hosea in the Old Testament: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).

There is a deceptive and very dangerous battle on another front: in Bible colleges and seminaries.

And there is a deceptive and very dangerous battle on another front: in Bible colleges and seminaries.

You may remember June 26, 2015, as the date of the US Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex “marriage.” But something else happened on June 26 that went unnoticed in much of the church.

One of the leading evangelical seminaries in America, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, announced a new project entitled “Evangelical Theology and the Doctrine of Creation Project.”1 This initiative is actually funded by a $3.4 million grant from the Templeton Foundation (a group not known to support those ministries who stand for the truth of God’s Word beginning in Genesis). It’s largely a secular, pseudo-religious foundation that generously supports the spread of evolutionary beliefs.

The Templeton Foundation has been a significant supporter of the BioLogos Foundation, the leading proponent of theistic evolution (or “evolutionary creation” as BioLogos labels it). On the front page of the BioLogos website we read:

BioLogos invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God's creation.

The creation project announced by the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School will have scientists and theologians interacting on the subject of the doctrine of creation and science. When you read the BioLogos web page, it’s written in vague language about “science” and “the latest discoveries in science.”

There can be no doubt that evolutionary ideas are going to be pumped into this program and be taught to students. Furthermore, the 4,000+ members of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) were recently sent a mailing promoting this new project.

This battle is already having disastrous consequences.

This battle over God’s Word at its very beginning in Genesis is going on behind the scenes, as BioLogos and other compromising groups work hard to influence theologians, pastors, seminarians, and other Christian leaders to believe in evolutionary ideas and reject a literal Genesis. And this battle is already having disastrous consequences.

Two AiG speakers and researchers, Dr. Terry Mortenson and Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson, attended the yearly Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) conference. For over 10 years, AiG has sent key personnel to this conference to host a booth, present papers, and be involved in strategic meetings to do our best to encourage and challenge ETS members to trust God’s Word in Genesis and reject evolutionary compromises.

At the ETS conference late last year, three groups had booths (including BioLogos) that pushed millions of years and evolutionary ideas to the attendees. Only one group, Answers in Genesis, was there to oppose compromising views of Genesis.

BioLogos has been very aggressive in an attempt to influence theologians and students in Bible colleges and seminaries to reject the clear truth of Genesis that AiG defends. On the BioLogos blog about the recent ETS conference, one blogger wrote:

The great majority of the people who came to the [BioLogos] booth—mostly pastors, Christian academics, and graduate students—had heard of BioLogos. This was a massive change even from last year’s ETS conference. Sometimes, sitting here in front of a computer, I can lose a sense of how much BioLogos is impacting the evangelical conversation on faith and science, but it’s fantastic to see our influence firsthand.

Among those who had heard of us, a majority didn’t agree with our position. However, even among these people, we heard many varieties of the following statement: ‘I can’t support evolutionary creationism, but I understand your position and I appreciate your contribution to the conversation.’

Whenever we heard this, Jim and I traded huge smiles, because this is exactly what we want to accomplish at BioLogos. Of course, we’d love for everyone to embrace an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation because we think it is true, but we fully understand that for conservative Evangelicals, this is a long-term proposition.

In the meantime, we count it a huge victory for the BioLogos perspective to be understood and respected as a legitimate position for evangelical Christians to hold.2

This sad account grieves me. But I bring it to your attention to help you understand that what happened at ETS is just the tip of the iceberg as to what is occurring elsewhere and behind the scenes. BioLogos and other groups want to see theologians (who train the future pastors, missionaries, and theologians) adopt evolutionary ideas and reject a literal Genesis. The result is that many theological leaders now doubt or even deny a literal Adam and a literal Fall, which undermines the gospel message.

Answers in Genesis has been doing much behind the scenes to reach theologians. Using solid apologetics resources, we challenge Christian leaders not to compromise God’s Word. Now, we can’t publicly give details about these efforts, as some people might want to disrupt these very important outreaches.

One such program costs us a considerable amount of money each year. But it has been worth it, as it has been so integral in reaching a large number of influential Christian academics. This very special outreach, now with some wonderful testimonies, has been going on behind the scenes for a number of years.

Please know that AiG is fighting a vital battle behind the scenes, and it must continue.

I really want you to know about this fantastic program. But the possibility of these participating academics facing intense peer pressure and academic persecution prevents us from giving details. But please know that AiG is fighting a vital battle behind the scenes, and it must continue.

I started this article with a reference to Jeremiah. Chapter 23 of Jeremiah begins with “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!”

Yes, so many shepherds today are leading the sheep astray. And really, I believe verse 16 in Jeremiah 23 should be applied to many of today’s shepherds, church leaders and academics, Christians though they may be:

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord.”

The compromisers who are trying to influence Christian leaders and who dominate the theological world are speaking a “vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord,” for they are exalting man’s evolutionary ideas over God’s clear Word!

So even though the life-size Ark, the Creation Museum, and many other AiG programs are reaching (and will continue to reach) millions of people with God’s Word and the gospel, AiG is also involved in an intense battle behind the scenes: countering the shepherds who are negatively influencing the church worldwide.

I plead with you to understand how important this battle is over biblical authority. It’s really a type of guerilla warfare.

I know you will probably understand why we can’t share the details of how this wonderful fruit has come about. But the fruit is being seen in academic institutions, churches, and other influential places in the church, and AiG is having a significant impact on the current (and we trust, future) generations of church leaders.

Thanks for your prayers and for supporting AiG.

Footnotes

  1. “Trinity Awarded $3.4 Million Templeton Grant,” Trinity International University, June 26, 2015, http://news.tiu.edu/2015/06/26/trinity-awarded-3-4-million-templeton-grant/.
  2. Brad Kramer, “5 Common Objections to Evolutionary Creationism,” BioLogos, November 30, 2015, http://biologos.org/blogs/brad-kramer-the-evolving-evangelical/5-common-objections-to-evolutionary-creationism.

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