So, what do the following have in common: Mexico; Psalm 27; Elijah; Kentucky; Oxford; the Sheldonian Theatre; Latimer and Ridley; Channel Islands; Richard Dawkins; The Lie; Birmingham, UK; Ark Encounter; and Creation Museum? Well, they were all associated with a busy, fulfilling, impactful—but stressful—10 days of ministry at the end of October.
I continually stand in awe, praising God for the doors he opens for us at Answers in Genesis, and for the amazing things he enables us to experience. I also praise the Lord for the overwhelming amount of encouraging feedback we receive daily, showing clearly the fruit of the ministry that the Lord called us to do.
I particularly thought about all the remarkable fruit we are seeing—testimonies of salvation, lives changed, families impacted, churches motivated—when I was in Oxford, England, recently.
I stood at the exact place where Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer were burned at the stake for their faith. It’s believed that as they were burning to death, Latimer said to Ridley, "We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."
This event was all part of the Reformation that swept Europe. Those great men didn’t get to see the fruit of their labor and martyrdom, but the light of God’s Word and the freedom to spread the gospel swept England!
Sadly, that light has greatly dimmed in the United Kingdom today. Although there is still freedom to preach God's Word and the gospel (for which Latimer and Ridley fought and were then martyred), the free exercise of Christianity has come under immense attack in the UK. But how I praise the Lord that he opened doors for us to have an Answers in Genesis office in the UK so that we can help be a part of rekindling this candle to shine the light of God’s Word in a secularized culture.
We must continue to boldly and unashamedly spread the truth of God’s Word and the gospel.
As I stood at the place of their martyrdom, I thought that, just as they were prepared to be burned to death for their faith, surely we could be bold too. We should do whatever we can to combat the pervasive religion of atheistic evolutionary naturalism permeating our cultures (and even churches). We must continue to boldly and unashamedly spread the truth of God’s Word and the gospel.
And here’s a great irony. The Latin phrase written on the side of one of the buildings in Oxford, “Dominus Ilumina Tio Mea,” is the motto of the University of Oxford and cites the opening words of Psalm 27, “The Lord is my light.” The motto appears on the university’s arms and has been used since the second half of the sixteenth century. But sadly, there is very little light at Oxford University anymore.
There’s no doubt the UK and the rest of Europe have become spiritually very dark. Yet, last month, the three-day AiG conference we ran near Birmingham, the pastors’ breakfast that followed in Oxford, and a public meeting held in the famed Sheldonian Theater in Oxford were attended by over 1,600 people. They were eager to hear the truth and be equipped so that they can be shining lights in the darkness. These events reminded me that as God told Elijah (and even the Apostle Paul may have alluded to this as well), we are to remind people that God always has his remnant who trust him:
Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him (1 Kings 19:18).
So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace (Romans 11:5).
Always a Remnant
Almost every time I speak at the Ark Encounter or the Creation Museum (and I did just before I left for the UK), I have people tell me how encouraging it is to see so many guests visiting these Christian attractions. Sometimes they tell me how lonely they feel at times as hardly anyone in their church takes the stand Answers in Genesis does on God’s Word.
Guests often tell me that visiting the Ark and Creation Museum reminds them of that passage in 1 Kings, where God told Elijah he had a remnant who trusted him.
Guests often tell me that visiting the Ark and Creation Museum reminds them of that passage in 1 Kings, where God told Elijah he had a remnant who trusted him. We seek to give our visitors increased confidence and zeal to be more fervent in proclaiming his Word and to challenge non-Christians and compromising Christians concerning the truth of Scripture and the saving gospel.
I must admit that it is easy to get discouraged when you experience first-hand how spiritually dark the UK has become. Many at the Birmingham-area AiG conference told me they felt so alone but were so excited to see over 1,200 people (including several pastors) attend this conference.
It’s also easy to get discouraged when you look at the exodus from the church in America and notice the increasingly secularized worldview with its moral relativism permeating the culture. And yet I often ponder the fact that God has let us build the ministry of AiG, the Ark Encounter, and Creation Museum to impact tens of millions of lives across the USA and around the world each year. God has opened these doors, so we need to do our part and do all we can to reach as many people as possible with the truth of his Word and the gospel.
We have found a hunger for God’s Word in Latin America that we just don’t see in the rest of the world.
Right before I left for the UK, I travelled to Mexico. We flew into Mexico City and then drove 90 minutes north to what seemed like the middle of nowhere, and then traveled down a very rough gravel road to a retreat center. The denomination that owns the center worked with Answers in Genesis to run an AiG conference. It was a very basic building, in which they brought thousands of chairs inside and had a company set up screens, projectors, and an AV system. I was blown away! Over 5,000 turned out to hear my presentations—and they stayed all day! We have found a hunger for God’s Word in Latin America that we just don’t see in the rest of the world.
At some of the conferences we’ve been invited to in Latin America, tens of thousands of people will flock to the meetings. God is doing something amazing in those countries south of us, and, as he has opened this door for us, we will go and do whatever we can to minister to these spiritually hungry people. The people don’t complain about the length of our presentations. They want to stay the whole time and not miss out on anything!
We just don’t see many people with that sort of commitment in much of the West. Most people in churches in the USA don’t want sermons longer than about 20 minutes and don’t want to miss out on any meals, their TV programs, or sporting events. They could learn something from these people I saw in Latin America who have very little materially but want so much spiritually.
In many ways, much of the church in most of the Western world is lukewarm, compromised, and more interested in entertainment than Scripture and apologetics. Many church leaders are oblivious of why they’re losing up to 80% of their younger generations! Praise the Lord for allowing us at AiG to be a cutting-edge ministry to challenge the church in these difficult days.
One of the reasons we decided to upgrade one-third of the Creation Museum exhibits is to impact more people in this challenging time We’re thankful for those supporters who financially gave so that the entire section of the Creation Museum leading up to the 7 C’s “walk through history” has now been upgraded. It is now much more impactful. Even more powerfully, these new exhibits present the major message of the AiG ministry regarding the relevance of Genesis, as detailed in my book The Lie.
As I walked through the museum upgrade before I left for the UK (just a couple of weeks before this massive upgrade opened), I kept thanking the Lord for the talented people he has brought to AiG so that we could build such a powerful series of exhibits.
These displays and videos will impact millions of Christians and non-Christians in an incredible way. The Creation Museum has been taken to a whole new level of excellence and teaching! The Lord is so gracious in allowing us the ability to do this! How blessed this nation is to have such Bible-affirming attractions as the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky.
Undoing the Damage
While in the UK, we stayed for one night in an Oxford hotel. Inside was a wall full of photographs of famous people who stayed there. One was of Prof. Richard Dawkins. He was educated at Oxford and is one of the most aggressive atheists in the world today. His goal in speaking and writing is to lead as many people away from God as he can.
When Dr. Purdom and I gave a public presentation in the famed Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, we were told Richard Dawkins had recently given a lecture in that very hall. He was there to summarize his new book, Outgrowing God. We pray our presentations helped those in attendance outgrow the bankrupt atheist religion of Richard Dawkins.
Many people who attended our presentation in the Sheldonian Theatre told us how grateful they were to hear our messages.
Many people who attended our presentation in the Sheldonian Theatre told us how grateful they were to hear our messages. Many had never heard this kind of information before. A number of non-Christians attended the event and also many theology students.
One of the theology students told me how he’s trying to grapple with all he’s being taught in his theology classes that undermines Genesis. Another told me he was at Oxford to study the New Testament, and that he had heard me speak in the UK many years ago. He said that our teaching helps him to stand boldly on God’s Word as he attends Oxford classes, which undermine God’s Word.
During our Birmingham-area AiG conference, Dr. Purdom and I had a lot of people tell us how influential the AiG ministry was on them personally and their church. Two people came all the way from the Channel Islands, and they were thrilled to tell me their church was using the AiG Sunday school curriculum, Answers Bible Curriculum. They said it was having a phenomenal impact in their church.
Another man told me that he heard me speak over 30 years ago in the UK, and now he, his wife, and children are all solid Christians because of what the Lord taught them through the AiG ministry. There were many testimonies like these during our time in the UK.
Several people talked to us about a church problem. They said they wanted to impact their church with apologetics teaching, but the pastor didn’t stand on a literal Genesis. They wanted to know how best to challenge and equip the people in their church with the answers that they were so excited about from the conference.
Over and over again, we gave people ideas on what they could do and what approach to take. in their churches As it happens in the USA, so many people told me they just couldn’t find a church in their area that believes God’s Word in Genesis as we do at AiG. And many told us their churches were dying, with a big exodus of young people from their churches.
That was certainly an exhausting ten days! I feel exhausted just writing this summary of part of what happened abroad and here at AiG! So, that’s what Mexico, Psalm 27, Elijah, Kentucky, Oxford, the Sheldonian Theatre, Latimer and Ridley, Channel Islands, Richard Dawkins, The Lie, Birmingham, Ark Encounter, and Creation Museum all have in common and were all part of what happened in ten days!
I wanted to remind you that we could not do the ministry in the UK, Europe, or Latin America—or many other places we go outside the USA—without your financial support. There just aren’t enough Christians in those countries to support speaking tours, and people don’t have the money to help organize such outreaches. But God has raised up our supporters to take the AiG message (which is to proclaim biblical authority and the gospel) to the USA and across the world. As God opens doors, we want to go through them.
You know, I’ve often wondered why God has let AiG build such a ministry, which includes two large attractions in the USA. I believe it’s because of the faithfulness of so many Christians in the past and the faithfulness of a large remnant of millions today. And God has blessed people materially to support the spread of the gospel around the world.
While we are thankful for you helping us spread the gospel globally, we also thank you for the terrific initial response in helping to fund our “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” pro-life exhibit in the Creation Museum. We’re off to a great start, and we need your continued prayers and support to make this important exhibit a reality. And remember: every gift for this exhibit will be matched dollar for dollar up to $1 million by December 31.
Thank you for being a part of the AiG family and helping us go through the many doors God is opening—even when things (from a human perspective) can seem so dark at times.
Thank you for your faithfulness. The list above is just a summary of ten days of my life in the AiG ministry. Yet throughout the year, AiG speakers, writers, researchers, hundreds and hundreds of other staff, and our supporters are doing so much to spread the gospel to the world. It truly is amazing!
Thank you for being a part of the AiG family and helping us go through the many doors God is opening—even when things (from a human perspective) can seem so dark at times. Yes, God has entrusted all sorts of different resources to us, and he wants and expects us to “engage in business until He comes” (Luke 19:13). Yes, we need to be engaged in the business of the King of Kings to the utmost of what we can do!