Protecting Against Doctrinal Drift!

How we’re ensuring that Answers in Genesis remains biblically faithful for generations to come

by Ken Ham on February 19, 2022
Featured in Ken Ham Blog
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The ministry of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and the Ark Encounter need protecting. Now, I’m not talking about security (although we do have a great public safety department to protect our facilities and staff), but something that is much more destructive. As a result, I want to share with you, our supporters, what we have implemented to help protect the ministry and the investment you have made in it. But first I need to give you some background.

I have had a real burden about a particular matter for many years, and that burden continues to intensify as I observe the state of Christendom in this country and the West in general.

How many of the Ivy League schools (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc.) were once Christian? My understanding is all of them. But today, they are leaders in indoctrinating generations in atheistic secular humanism. And sadly, there are many (actually the majority of) once evangelical, conservative, Christian colleges well on the way to becoming the Harvard, Yale, and Princeton of the future.

And observe how many churches in various denominations (Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.) have become lukewarm or liberal. Many Christian organizations have also followed this pattern.

Now there are a minority of Christian colleges, churches, Christian schools, and Christian organizations that stand boldly and unashamedly on God’s Word as we do at Answers in Genesis. But the reality is that it’s a rather small minority.

It seems to me from all I’ve read and observed that within two to three generations of their founding, the majority of Christian institutions move away from their intended beliefs, mission, and purpose. There are many and varied reasons for this, including: employing someone who is great in one area but doesn’t take the right stand in other areas; not having a detailed-enough statement of faith, resulting in it being interpreted in different ways; allowing too much so-called “academic freedom”; using textbooks that compromise God’s Word in many areas; having a weak leader who won’t enforce the right standards; and compromising one’s position for the sake of financial support.

I’ve seen many Christian institutions who have been given millions of dollars in endowment gifts that are now funding the undermining of the authority of God’s Word and infecting generations with contaminated salt.

A few years ago, I considered the future for AiG and recognized we are now getting closer to the next generation leading this ministry in all its various components.

A few years ago, I considered the future for AiG and recognized we are now getting closer to the next generation leading this ministry in all its various components. I pondered this and thought about how many institutions go off the rails when the founders are gone. I have thought and prayed through what to do at AiG to implement as many levels of protection as possible. Also, I recognize a great responsibility to our supporters. You are a part of the AiG family. You have invested (or may be considering investing) in this ministry financially and in other ways, and it’s important that we steward your investment so it will continue to be used to boldly proclaim and defend the authority of God’s Word and the gospel from the very first verse, as you likely intended.

Here is what we’ve done so far and, from what I can ascertain, we’re somewhat unique in this:

1. Statement of Faith

Our Statement of Faith is very detailed, and every full-time employee must sign agreement to and adherence to this statement of faith which is included in our handbook (along with our mission and vision). Each year we require staff to re-sign this document to ensure they haven’t strayed from it in any way.

2. Editorial Review Board (ERB)

The content we teach and disseminate is a key element in all we do at the ministry. To ensure we never waiver in regard to content, I set up the Editorial Review Board (ERB), headed by Dr. Georgia Purdom, who I know has a passion to ensure AiG will never drift in the wrong direction or compromise God’s Word. The following is Dr. Purdom’s explanation of the role of the ERB:

I remember sitting in Ken’s office when the ERB was first formed. Several colleagues and I had brought concerns about content that AiG was producing and the need for focus, consistency, and accuracy. We were concerned about mission drift even though we didn’t know that terminology at the time. Ken always says that at AiG, “content is king.” We all knew that something needed to be done to ensure that content and the people producing it didn’t drift but remained true to AiG’s goals, vision, and mission. Ken knows that the attacks on AiG will only continue to increase, even from within, and his heart for this ministry is to see it protected for the future. As a result, Ken appointed the ERB to be one of those safeguards.

I think the purpose statement of the ERB sums it up very nicely.

In any organization, growth presents both opportunities and difficulties. Answers in Genesis has grown over the years and has been blessed with many wonderful opportunities for ministry. A large part of this success is due to the emphasis that is placed on resources and equipping the body of Christ.

This growth, however, comes at a cost. With the increasing number of avenues available for distributing our biblical authority message (print, web, internet, radio, Creation Museum, Ark Encounter, monthly newsletter, and others) and the many people involved in the production of these resources, the opportunity for error is greater than ever before. It is for this reason that the Editorial Review Board (ERB) has been created.

The CEO of Answers in Genesis appointed this board for the purpose of reviewing the content of the ministry in order to ensure that the message of the ministry is consistent, correct, and relevant, both scientifically and biblically. The ERB will use the AiG mission statement to guide their review of content to maintain the consistency, integrity, distinctiveness, and relevance of the AiG message.

The ERB began in 2013 and continues to this day. I have served as the chair along with various content people in the ministry, including Roger Patterson, Bodie Hodge, the late Dr. Tommy Mitchell, and more recently Bryan Osborne. It was challenging at first for people to see the value of a review board. It’s hard to be critiqued and hard to change! However, over time, appreciation has grown, and staff realize the value of the ERB, especially in a world where we see ministries fail over and over for not having the appropriate level of checks and balances and drifting from their original mission.

AiG produces a LOT of content, and every single piece goes through ERB review. The ERB also seeks counsel from other staff when the content being reviewed falls outside the expertise represented on the board.

AiG produces a LOT of content, and every single piece goes through ERB review. The ERB also seeks counsel from other staff when the content being reviewed falls outside the expertise represented on the board. For example, we might ask Dr. Andrew Snelling to help with geology or Dr. Danny Faulkner to assist with astronomy. As Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” The content reviewed includes not only written material like magazine and web articles but also presentations by our speakers and educators. Even Ken Ham has his articles, books, and presentations reviewed by ERB! None of us is perfect and “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17) and “in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). With all the content that AiG produces, the ERB stays very busy! It is a blessing to stay busy knowing all the resources that AiG produces are correct (biblically and scientifically), consistent, and relevant.

3. AiG Oversight Council

I also set up the AiG Oversight Council chaired by Bodie Hodge, who also has a passion for ensuring the ministry never gets off track. Here is Bodie’s summary of the purpose of this council:

Purpose: To provide oversight of AiG’s biblical/theological and scientific positions.

Mission: To ensure there is no drift within the organization from AiG’s stand on biblical authority, Statement of Faith, mission and Core Values, and official and unofficial biblical/theological and scientific positions.

In an effort to remain consistent and mitigate risk of drift from AiG’s positions on various matters as outlined above, the Oversight Council has been formed to monitor the entire organization. The Oversight Council (Ken Ham, CEO, Joe Boone, president, Bodie Hodge, chairman, Renee Hodge, Dr. Georgia Purdom, Roger Patterson, Dr. Terry Mortenson, Avery Foley, and Bryan Osborne) will report through the CEO to the board of directors.

Duties will include:

a. Monitor current cultural and church positions to advise whether more detailed/clarifying statements should be made for AiG’s Statement of Faith, Mission Statement, etc.

b. Discuss any concerns in regard to questionable content within the organization or known positions of staff members that may impact AiG.

c. Discuss any needed changes to any of AiG’s official or unofficial positions biblically and/or scientifically.

d. Ensure AiG maintains a nondenominational stand.

The above is a summary of a more detailed statement of purpose. One of the recent projects this council completed was updating AiG’s Statement of Faith, which was sent to you all a few months ago.

4. Answers Research Journal Editorial Review Committee (ARJ ERC)

In 2008, AiG launched an online technical journal Answers Research Journal. It is a professional, peer-reviewed technical journal for the publication of interdisciplinary scientific and other relevant research from the perspective of the recent creation and the global flood within a biblical framework.

The editor-in-chief, Dr. Andrew Snelling, states on the ARJ website the reason for the publication:

Papers in ARJ are reviewed by the best experts we have available to us through a large network of well-qualified creationist researchers, scientists, and theologians, who are the best thinkers in their fields of creationist research. Thus, we give you absolute assurance that the papers we publish are of the highest scientific and theological standard.

ARJ disseminates research conducted by creationist experts in theology, history, archaeology, anthropology, biology, geology, astronomy, and other disciplines of science by providing scientists, students, and supporters the results of cutting-edge research that demonstrates the validity of the young-earth model, the global flood, the non-evolutionary origin of created kinds, and other evidences that are consistent with the biblical account of origins.

Now in its fourteenth year of publication, I have added a layer of protection to ARJ and AiG by the formation of the ARJ Editorial Review Committee. This committee will be chaired by Dr. Terry Mortenson, and members will include Dr. Snelling and all members of AiG’s research department. ARJ is different in nature from other AiG publications in that it allows debate from within the creation community (and even respectful critiques from those outside of it). While the Bible is our ultimate authority and is inerrant, scientific models based on the Bible are open to investigation and critique. ARJ is a perfect forum for allowing this type of debate among scholars, but certain standards must still be kept. The ARJ ERC will provide initial review of all submissions to determine if they meet the criteria. The paper will then go through the peer-review process, as is in place for many secular technical journals. Once this is complete and the author has made changes, the submission will once again be reviewed by the ARJ ERC to make sure it meets the criteria. As with the Editorial Review Board, this provides needed focus, consistency, and accuracy and further safeguards the ministry.

I do hope all this encourages you and gives you peace of mind in regard to the future.

I do hope all this encourages you and gives you peace of mind in regard to the future. The leadership of this ministry continues to look at ways to ensure we do our best to protect every aspect of the organization from drifting away from God’s Word and the purpose he raised it up.

But any ministry is only as good as the people who are leading and working in it. Our staff are our greatest asset. That’s why we carefully vet all staff and train them so they can be involved in carrying on the vision.

The pool of people for us to draw from is quite small as they have to totally agree with our detailed statement of faith and adhere to our mission and vision. As the ministry has expanded, and coming out of the Covid shutdown, we have quite a number of positions open that we would love to fill. You can see a list of the positions available at the “Jobs at Answers in Genesis” page, and I would and ask you to pray God will bring the people needed to us. Perhaps you could advertise this in your church and let others know about the possibility of working in such an organization. Thank you.

Now, even though the leadership is accountable to a board of directors, we also understand we are accountable to our supporters. I pray that the above information is a great help to you in your decision-making as to how you support AiG and its many outreaches as we proclaim the truth of God’s Word and the gospel to the world.

Would you prayerfully consider making a generous gift to our core ministry as we get ready for what we believe will be a very busy year ahead? I’m grateful for your partnership with us in ministry—it is vital to our ministry outreaches and their impact in reaching people for Christ!

I hope you are encouraged by the steps we have taken to preserve the mission of AiG for the long-term as the Lord allows. Two things I ask you to help with this month: (1) please review and share the page on our open staff positions, and (2) prayerfully consider a gift to our core ministry as we begin this year with many opportunities before us to reach people for Christ!

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