Now this may seem a strange way to begin my monthly letter to you as I represent Answers in Genesis. But I wanted to give you my thoughts on what I call the “Donald Trump phenomenon” in America.
Don’t worry—I’m not getting political. And I’m not appraising presidential candidates right now. But the reaction to businessman Donald Trump’s candidacy can be instructive as it relates to ministries like Answers in Genesis.
The reaction to businessman Donald Trump’s candidacy can be instructive as it relates to ministries like Answers in Genesis.
I’ve been intrigued to see the large crowds Trump has been attracting to his rallies and to notice his lead in the polls (at the time I write this letter) among the Republican presidential candidates. Now here is what I personally believe about this phenomenon: many Americans are sick of the political correctness in this nation, as well as the liberal, humanistic agenda of much of the secular media!
Many Americans are tired of “wishy washy” answers from politicians. I personally think many people are rallying behind Donald Trump because in our sea of political correctness and liberal media, Trump (regardless of whether he is correct in some of his beliefs) does speak with authority. It comes across as genuine, and he is also admired by many voters because he really doesn’t care what people think of his answers.
In many ways he is prepared to “call it as he sees it,” even if it’s blunt and not politically correct. And he will deal with the media as he sees fit. Now, Trump says he goes to church (when he can!), but I doubt he truly understands what real Christianity is. He certainly does not promote the Christian worldview.
Regardless, Trump comes across as a new type of candidate as opposed to many politicians, and whether his philosophies are correct or not, he is prepared to stand by them and tell people what he thinks—without scripted teleprompters or folders full of talking points.
Personally, I think the average person will respond positively to such a person—even if they don’t agree with the candidate on everything. That’s because many people want a leader who comes across as genuine and is prepared to lead with authority.
Watching the “Trump phenomenon” actually reminded me of an account in the Scriptures where we read this about Jesus:
And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:28–29)
Now Jesus is the truth, the Son of God, the Word, and the Way, whereas Donald Trump is a sinful fallible human like any of us. But my point is that people often respond positively to those who speak with conviction and authority. I’m also reminded of the passage,
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)
Jesus likened people to sheep who need a shepherd to lead them. However, one of the sad realities is that whether it was the Israelites in the days of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hosea, Nehemiah, or even the 1st century church—there has been a continual problem:
My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold. (Jeremiah 50:6)
From my experience in talking to thousands of people at the Creation Museum and at conferences in churches all across America, and from reading emails and comments we receive on social media, the same situation we read about in Jeremiah 50:6 exists today. So many people have expressed dismay to me that their pastor or Sunday school teacher won’t take an authoritative stand on God’s Word from the very beginning. In fact, increasing numbers of Christian leaders today won’t even take an authoritative stand on marriage being only one man for one woman!
I’ve found that there is a type of political correctness permeating much of the church. So many pastors (not all, of course—God has a remnant of great Christian leaders) have told me over the years not to “rock the boat” when I speak in their pulpit. I’ve been told not to “upset those scientists or teachers in the congregation who might disagree with AiG,” or “don’t give that quote you use from President Obama on religion in America because some of our people voted for him,” and so it goes on.
And yet, I find many laypeople in our churches who desperately want their Christian leaders to speak with authority and “tell it like it is” (with love, of course), and not dilute the truth through compromise!
At Answers in Genesis, we have done our best to stand authoritatively, boldly, and unashamedly on God’s Word from the very beginning. I pray we will always do so, and with humility yet authoritatively, not wavering in our stand. It’s not only God’s people who will respond to this boldness, but non-Christians will, too.
I was recently reminded of this when I read a blog written by a secularist who opposes our message (and certainly doesn’t understand our stand on God’s Word). But this blogger wrote something interesting about a recent church conference he attended and where I spoke:
I’m not going to write some long diatribe about all the falsehoods spilling out of Ken Ham’s mouth . . . So instead of picking apart Ken Ham’s famously faulty arguments, and since Ham used to be an educator – indeed, he still sees himself as one – here are the things I learned at the Answers Conference.
Ken Ham is not a charlatan. At first, it is easy to write off Ham as someone who is just using people’s faith to grow incredibly wealthy. During the first and last 15 minutes of his lecture, Ham plugged his museum and books, so I can see how someone would come to that conclusion. However, I think that Ken Ham not only truly believes that biblical literalism is true, he also truly believes that his museum and homeschool curriculum are important for defending the faith and saving people from eternal damnation.
During the conference, Ham stressed repeatedly that churches are failing to provide their flock with ways to defend their faith. Ham sees his ministry and “educational” material as a way to provide others with the tools needed to defend themselves from those he terms “the secularists.” In fact, during the conference most of the Answers in Genesis material was offered at extremely discounted prices. Some of the primary school material went for as low as $3. Ken Ham isn’t trying to fleece anyone – he really believes he is helping.
Now, this secularist obviously doesn’t agree with our message. But at least he understands our sincere conviction and our true motivation in what we do. And who knows how the Lord will use what he heard (he listened to God’s Word and the gospel that was clearly presented throughout the conference) to work on his heart?
By the way, our uncompromising stand on biblical authority beginning with Genesis has stopped some large Christian foundations from supporting AiG. One Christian foundation was considering giving AiG a major donation. But then we received a call from the foundation to tell us that because we believe in a literal Genesis, including a young Earth, the foundation couldn’t support us.
We’ve had the same sort of response from many people who could have given us major gifts.
I remember in Australia (over 35 years ago) when a man offered to give our small ministry a very valuable piece of property, but with one condition—that we agree not to take such an uncompromising stand on the six literal days of creation! And how long did it take me to consider this gift and condition? Not even a fraction of a second!
As I look back over the years, I just stand in awe of what God has done through AiG, the Creation Museum, and the soon to open Ark Encounter outreach. God has provided in ways I never thought possible. He has raised up so many supporters who have given what they can and also have prayed for us—and look what God has done!
Now, it hasn’t been without struggles. I’m reminded that the Israelites had to do their bit to conquer Jericho or Ai—and they took over the Promised Land “little by little.” At AiG we’ve had our battles (and we will continue to have them). AiG has had our “Red Sea moments,” not knowing how God would get us through. We’ve had many enemies who have threatened our ministry (like those people of Nehemiah’s day).
There are times I feel like I’ve been in a war for 40 years—and actually I have been! The spiritual war that Christians find themselves in will not end until Jesus returns and deals with His enemies.
We continue to fight the spiritual battles in America and around the world—wherever the Lord leads us.
In the meantime, we “do business until he comes” (Luke 19:13). We continue to fight the spiritual battles in America and around the world—wherever the Lord leads us. We continue to step out in faith (which is pleasing to God) to do that which seems impossible (like building a high-tech Creation Museum or a life-size Ark). But God, of course, “specializes” in doing the “impossible.”
Also, I thank you for encouraging us in the stand we take on biblical authority—we do our best to honor God and His Word and proclaim the gospel. And most of all I thank God for the miraculous ways He continues to provide for this ministry. I am reminded of this verse from the book of Psalms:
Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant! (Psalms 35:27)
Oh, in case you were wondering: will I vote for Donald Trump? I will judge any candidate’s beliefs against the absolute authority of God’s Word, and vote accordingly.