My wife and I had the most incredible blessing recently happen right in our own home.
Our very close friends, Terry and Julie, made life-changing commitments to the Lord Jesus. This is something we had been praying about for over eight years. On a recent Sunday, we saw the amazing way Christ had worked in their lives when Terry gave his testimony before being baptized in our church.
(Listening to Terry’s testimony really emphasized to me that evangelism is so much more than just telling people “Jesus loves you.”)
Both Terry and Julie have experienced a massive transformation in their lives through God’s amazing Word and renewing their minds. In fact, listening to Terry’s testimony reminded me of the Apostle Paul’s statement in Romans 12:2:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
At his baptism, Terry made a solid public stand for Christ his Savior. He explained the circumstances that had brought him to that point. What he said was a phenomenal testimony as to how God used creation evangelism to bring him to salvation.
Consider Terry’s own words (transcribed from a tape of his talk given before a church congregation in Australia):
“Before I came to know Christ, I was your typical human being, going through life with no clear goals or direction … life was one worry after the next.
From a young age I had decided that money would be my saviour. I wanted to make heaps [lots] of money and wanted to have a great career … and I believed that this is what would make me happy, and so my career began.
I, like a lot of people I know, did believe that there was some sort of Creator and believed that you did go somewhere after you die. But I, like most, wanted to believe in God on my own terms. I believed that if you were moral, if you were honest, if you did the right thing by others, if you were, on the whole, good, then you would go to heaven when you die … because let’s face it, if God was really righteous and fair, then He wouldn’t send someone like me to hell … would he? My belief was that there was a God and heaven and that being good was my way to salvation.”
Terry’s way of thinking expressed here is typical of so many people in our society. He did have a vague impression that there could be a God, but had no idea who this God really was. Even though Terry also believed that a Creator was responsible for the existence of this world, he also never correlated the contradiction between this and the evolutionary teaching he had received all through his life. He had never understood that there was a perfect creation and then devastation because of sin (as outlined in Genesis). He had no understanding of a righteous God who had to judge because of sin.
“It’s not that I didn’t like Christians. I just thought that churches were for the weak and that the church was there to take money from people.
I learned some of the basics at school when one of my friends started going to youth group. I went along, as it got me out of the house on a Friday night. I went through the motions but thought that the pastor was a bit loony! He was very passionate about his job, but it all seemed too ‘airy fairy’ to me.
In 1994 I met Steve and Trish Ham. Steve seemed like a nice enough guy; however, he was a Christian, and I couldn’t understand why a person as intelligent as Steve would believe in all that rubbish.
God worked very gently though Steve for a very long time. God is very patient and He does not give up.
I met my wife Julie when I moved to Brisbane in 1999. Little did I know that Julie had grown up in a Christian home and had given herself to the Lord at 15 years of age. Julie’s parents were really good to me, even though deep down they must have been concerned that I would draw Julie away from the Lord.
Steve would meet me for lunch and invite me to church and talk to me about Christ-I would listen and humour him, but kept putting off the commitment … until one day when I took him up on the offer of a Bible study group.
God worked through Steve to get me to believe in the only way He could … show me the proof! I didn’t want the airy-fairy stuff; I wanted rational, logical answers to my questions. God understood this and through the Bible study, I began to realize that Christianity wasn’t just a religion, but a reality that would change my life.”
Terry was also influenced by a number of creationist resources, including the One Blood book and this website.
Our Bible study started with a look at the authority of Scripture, and considering that if there is a God, He has revealed Himself to man-that if this God is the Creator, His revelation must be trustworthy … and it must be the authority. We then worked through the creation account in Genesis. I received the help of Answers in Genesis (Australia) scientist Dr. Don Batten. He provided important foundational teaching that gave Terry and Julie real answers for their questions about the world.
“I was especially influenced by two main truths: the creation, in Genesis, where God shows his amazing power, but I also realized that scientific evidence cannot refute the fact but complements Bible teaching that life was created by God, not by random chance.
The second thing was that during Bible study, Steve showed me all the prophecies about the coming of Jesus, His death and resurrection in the Old Testament, and how every single one of them came true in the New Testament.
I knew all along that Jesus died on the Cross for my sins. But I did not really understand the significance of this until now. I now understand that being a good person, and trying to follow the Ten Commandments is important, but that Jesus dying on the Cross and bearing the punishment for my sins, is the only way to heaven. I understand now that nothing I can do in life will ever be enough to get to heaven on my own.
I am constantly amazed that God would love me so much that He made this sacrifice for me so that I could join Him in heaven.
Life has changed dramatically for me since I made the decision to trust God. Before I became a Christian, I thought that living the Christian life and following all the rules would be difficult. I now realize that following God is far less stressful-I can now place my trust in God, rather than myself.”
Terry and Julie now come to our home every Thursday night to study further the truths of God’s Word. They are excited about the firm foundations that they have in Christ and in his Word. They even have a new sense of commitment in their marriage.
We are now together going through the new Answers Academy curriculum (produced by AiG-USA) to really cement foundations so all of us can have a very strong biblical worldview.
Terry had no concept of Jesus because he had no concept of God as Creator (and thus His authority). Once this was dealt with, Terry became a creationist, and then the most logical next step was to receive Christ as his Saviour, acknowledging that the Creator has given an authoritative and credible revelation (the Bible).
How many more of our friends need Jesus? How many more of our friends need creation evangelism so they will understand their need of salvation? If we sincerely love our friends, we have an obligation to help them understand the foundational history in Genesis, so they will clearly understand the gospel based in that history.
Note: Steve Ham visited the US last month to record some videos with his brother, Ken, AiG-USA president. Visit this website over the next few weeks for ordering information about these DVDs that are now in post-production.