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Before I sat down to write this letter to you, my heart was somewhat heavy. What was I burdened about?
You see, a well-known pastor had just told me that in his conservative denomination, there was a major battle looming. It grieved me when he said that his denomination was about to tackle the question as to whether or not there really were a literal Adam and Eve!
I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised, though. After all, I have been seeing Christian colleges and seminaries, which once took a stand on a literal Genesis, waver . . . and many have even given up the biblical view on Adam and Eve.
I’ve shared with you before that hundreds of years ago, colleges like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale were founded to train preachers in the Word. Now they produce different kinds of preachers: secularists.
Today, some denominations that once defined marriage as between a man and a woman have changed their view to support “gay marriage”.
Even in evangelical churches, we now see many churches that are departing from offering their flocks in-depth teaching on the Word of God. Instead, they have become more entertainment-oriented. And some church leaders are now denying a literal Hell. The list could go on and on.
When I think of such state of affairs, a certain verse resounds in my head: “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
As I consider the growing compromise in churches and notice their general lack of authoritative biblical teaching, I am thankful to think of how God has blessed AiG, the Creation Museum, and now the Ark Encounter project. It really hit home with me when I turned 60 late last year. I realized that I have been in this creation-apologetics ministry for more years than I will probably be living in the future! A sobering thought, isn’t it?
And then I begin to wonder: where will AiG be in the future? Can anything be done to safeguard this ministry from compromising God’s Word in any way, or from starting to lose its boldness in standing on the authority of the Word of God?
Over the years, I have observed many Christian organizations that were once so zealous for the Lord become, over time, ineffective (and even irrelevant). I’ve also seen pastors, as their churches have grown, eventually lose their zeal and become more business-like in running their church (like the CEO of a company).
I’ve also seen examples of Christian leaders who have become less bold in preaching the Word and have adopted ideas/beliefs they would not have done in their early exciting years of their ministry. And in their congregations, the people become less reliant on God—they end up looking more to themselves and others for their main sources of guidance and wisdom. Many of them also seem to have forgotten their history (i.e., the times when they sought the Lord with tears, and He provided miracles of provision).
“Oh Lord,” I cried out to God recently, “how can I, in the position you have placed me, do my best to guide AiG and our staff so we don’t end up like so many others?”
Of course, ultimately the ministry is all in God’s hand. But we still have a human responsibility to do what we can to watch over a ministry the Lord has entrusted to our daily care.
At the time I was considering all of this, I was reading through the book of 2 Chronicles about the various Kings of Judah and Israel. Wow! What lessons we can learn from this history! They can directly relate to how we are to consider AiG’s future, and to each one of us personally (and to our families).
While reading 2 Chronicles, I wrote down a number of notes and constructed a chapel talk I did for the AiG staff recently. I read to them the accounts from 2 Chronicles 14–16 about King Asa. Then, I went through 2 Chronicles 24 concerning King Joash, and 2 Chronicles 25 about King Amaziah. Lastly, it was 2 Chronicles 26 and Uzziah.
What lessons we can learn from these accounts! These kings started well, doing that which was right before the Lord. But they didn’t end well. These kings did evil and turned against the Lord in a variety of ways.
And why did they not end well? Well, power, riches, and success led to an increase in human pride. Instead of trusting in God as they did in their early years, these kings looked to themselves for guidance and wisdom. God had blessed them with power, success, and riches, but because of their sinful human heart, they became prideful. They did not end well at all.
I challenged the AiG staff about how each one of us will “end” and also collectively as a ministry. Will we end well? Will we keep the zeal for the Lord we have? Or will we look to ourselves and let pride destroy us?
It was a sobering time for our staff, but so needed.
I have noticed that when ministries become flush with funds or they become large and “successful,” they can also become proud—and forget to rely on the Lord. Once these leaders begin looking to themselves and not the Lord, and don’t agonize before the Lord in prayer, it seems the effectiveness of the ministry begins to wane. They often become more accommodating with the world—often more business-like. The zeal with which they started is dying.
I told our staff that it’s good to be reminded of our ministry’s history—of God’s many miracles over eighteen years. In tears, many times we have sought the Lord for certain needs and have asked for His direction and wisdom to make various decisions.
I also explained to the staff that one of the reasons I think the Lord has kept us on the edge financially is so that we don’t become proud. In this way, we’ll know that AiG is HIS ministry, not ours.
Now, here’s the reason I share all of this with you. It’s so that you can better understand that as you give financially, you can be assured we are watchful that this ministry will not stray from its “first love”: an uncompromising stand on God’s Word. In this vein, your giving enables this ministry to move forward in boldly proclaiming God’s Word both inside and outside the church.
Your support allows AiG to produce Bible-honoring curricula, new web outreaches (by the way, we were blessed to have just received the “Best Ministry Website” award from the NRB!), more faith-defending books and DVDs, new exhibits at the Creation Museum, and provide excellent speakers to proclaim the authority of God’s Word. And, of course, there is the evangelistic full-size Noah’s Ark!
Please know that we are mindful of not becoming complacent. We recognize that each dollar is a blessing from the Lord—and that we are to be wise stewards of your gifts (as a non-profit ministry, our number one source for revenue is still your donations).
Would you pray with me that we would never be like those kings I mentioned and never lose what I called in chapel “our first love”? (See Revelation 2 concerning the church at Ephesus that had lost its first love.) We never want to lose our passion for the calling the Lord has placed on us to proclaim His Word.