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Answers in Genesis now has a wonderful tool that I have longed for over the past 35 years! Let me share with you some interesting history about this resource.
When I was a public school teacher in Australia, I remember a ministry group that came and addressed a school assembly. They handed every student a copy of the New Testament, plus the Psalms and Proverbs.
In one sense, I was thrilled to see students receiving God’s Word—but in another sense, I sighed.
You see, I had already experienced students challenging my Christian faith because of what they were taught about evolution and millions of years in their textbooks. These teachings were an enormous stumbling block to students at the assembly from even listening to the gospel. What they had been taught in school undermined biblical authority—to them, the Bible, and its gospel message, could no longer be trusted!
I sighed when these students received the New Testament because they did not receive Genesis chapters 1-11 that are the foundational history to fully understanding the gospel. In fact, this history is ultimately foundational to every biblical doctrine.
Back then, I certainly understood why the New Testament was handed out: the gospel is clearly presented. However, I also understood from my day-to-day experience that for students, God’s Word had been shown not to be true in the Old Testament (particularly Genesis)—so why should they even bother to read the New Testament?
I have often thought about this assembly and how it would have been better to hand out the entire Bible to young people, along with apologetics arguments. For these students, they didn’t even open their New Testament; in their mind, its authority had already been undermined by evolution/millions of years.
A Radical Idea
Over time, I was to develop a presentation on what we call “creation evangelism.” This talk is based on the gospel message and how it was presented to the Jews in Acts 2, and how the gospel was presented to the Greeks in Acts 17. Back in the first century, the Jews had a respect of the Scriptures and understood (and even believed) the history in Genesis, including the origin of sin. Thus, they could better understand the gospel when it was presented by the apostle Peter.
The Greeks of Acts 17, however, did not believe the history in Genesis—they had more of an evolutionary-type history (well before Darwin). The Greeks had no understanding of the foundation of the gospel; thus they did not understand the message of sin and the Cross when it was first presented to them by the apostle Paul.
Paul had to define his terms (including who the true God is), and basically started at the beginning (Genesis) to lay the foundation of the gospel. As a result, some people did understand and believed when the message of the cross was presented.
This reminded me of the time I first spoke in Japan. My Japanese translator explained to me that Japan did not have a Christian base. With their Shinto and Buddhist religions, they would not understand the message of sin, repentance, and salvation in Christ if it was presented without the Bible’s foundational history. I realized that I needed to present the gospel the way God does it in the Bible—by starting at the beginning!
Now there’s a radical idea! Present the gospel the way God outlines in His Word!
A Slide to the Greek Side
I’m sure you have seen churches hand out evangelistic tracts with titles like “You must be born again” or similar. Certainly such tracts present the gospel—but increasingly, our culture is becoming more like the Greeks in Acts 17, and different approaches are needed today to reach our secularized society.
We now have generations of young people who have been (or are being) trained in a secular education system. (Did you know most children from church homes attend secular schools?) God, the Bible, prayer, and creation have been all but removed. And for these kids, in most instances, they are being taught a history that contradicts the Bible.
In many ways, the authority of God’s Word is constantly being undermined to generations of children—just like I observed when I was a teacher. Only today, evolutionary humanism is much more pervasive in the education system (and in many TV programs, magazines, science museums, etc.).
Sharing the Gospel . . . from the Beginning
Over the years I have talked to many people who told me they went forward in a church service to commit their lives to the Lord—but fell away later because going forward was really just an experiential moment for them. They told me they never really understood the gospel. But thankfully, many of them tell me that because God used the influence of the Answers in Genesis, they finally gained an understanding of the gospel and then committed their lives to the Lord and were truly saved.
Examples like those above (and many more) have greatly burdened me over the years. I have often thought:
“What if AiG could put together a series of Bible passages, interspersed with short answers to skeptical questions about Scripture today, so that the gospel can be presented the way God does it for us—by starting at the beginning?”
I envisaged a book in which we would include:
- Genesis 1–11 (history that is foundational to all doctrine—including the gospel)
- Exodus 20 (which gives the Law)
- John (which outlines who Jesus is and how He is the God-man and our Savior)
- Romans (which teaches the gospel in depth)
- and the last two chapters of Revelation (which teach about the new Heavens and earth, and that those who trust Christ will be with the Lord forever, and those who don’t will sadly suffer the “second death” being separated from God in Hell forever)
As we put this book together, we decided to start with a brief commentary on the historical events presented in Genesis. Then, to connect the various passages, we needed to include a brief history from Abraham to Moses to the Ten Commandments; then from the ascension of Christ to Paul’s letter to the Romans (with some commentary on why Christians don’t follow all the Old Testament laws); and a comment about Revelation.
Then our book includes short answers to questions about such topics as radiometric dating, the global Flood, one “race,” why there is suffering and death, animal “kinds” and evolution, the uniqueness of man, and how we know the Bible is God’s Word. These are questions the world is asking about the Bible’s accuracy.
The book ends with a summary that explains the gospel again.
Time to Begin
Well—the book is done! My son-in-law Bodie Hodge (who works at AiG) and our publisher (Master Books) assisted me in producing what I believe is a powerful teaching/witnessing book for our times. The title is Begin.
Normally, I would not devote my entire letter to you to discuss a new AiG book. But this one has a very important purpose (evangelism).
And we have developed a different approach in making it available to you and others. For one, it is not a resource that is designed to help support the ministry financially.
Now, the book will be available to purchase individually, but our publisher has worked with us so we can provide you this witnessing book (240 pages) for just over $3 each when ordered in case lots of 48 copies. It’s an amazing 75% discount on this brand-new book.
I am burdened to see churches begin using this book to give away to new Christians and also for the church to use them in sharing our faith with others. Using portions of God’s Word with apologetics answers for today and presenting the gospel by starting at the beginning (and summarizing the history in the Bible), we hope readers will understand a clear presentation of the salvation message. What a powerful new resource!
Not only will the book be a blessing and encouragement to you, but I urge you to show it to your church leaders. Then do your best to convince them to obtain cases of this book to pass out and reach people with the gospel! It would also be great to hand out at church Easter and Christmas pageants, at new believer classes, and so on.
Also, please keep praying about our new Sunday school curriculum (Answers Bible Curriculum). Financially, this has been an extremely big step of faith for us to produce a massive curriculum—from pre-school through adult in an integrated way—that covers the entire Bible. It is a huge project and requires hundreds of thousands of dollars in up-front development costs.
Your gift today—of any amount—will help this critical Sunday school curriculum project stay on target for release next summer.