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And the sad fact is that statistics indicate that 70-80% of students from church homes who attend public schools will walk away from the church.
As I crisscross America and speak, certain encounters with people really touch my heart. A few weeks ago in North Carolina, I met a rather unusual 11-year-old boy.
Caleb is mentally and physically "handicapped" (some prefer to use the term "challenged"). He is legally blind (although he wears very thick glasses to help him see as much as he's able). He also has problems with his legs and is prone to severe asthma attacks.
He has mental and physical problems most of us can't even comprehend.
My heart really went out to Caleb-and even more so after we found out something about his recent birthday. He was offered the opportunity to go to the pizza restaurant/playground "Chuck E. Cheese."
Caleb, however, told his mother he could go to Chuck E. Cheese anytime-instead, he wanted to go to the Answers in Genesis seminar to hear me and our musician Buddy Davis!
At the conference, Caleb's mom informed us that they had tried for a long time to teach Caleb his alphabet, but with no success. Then one day, someone gave Caleb our children's book D is for Dinosaur along with its accompanying video.
Caleb sat down with the book and watched the video-and enjoyed going through them 2-3 times a day. With that AiG book, Caleb soon learned his ABCs!
We also learned that Caleb listens to our Answers with Ken Ham radio program on a regular basis. Each day he can't wait for it to be played on his local Christian station.
At the AiG seminar in North Carolina, Caleb enrolled in Buddy Davis's children's workshop-twice! He wanted to learn as much as he could about God's Word and His creation.
As I traveled home by plane, I thought a lot about Caleb. Something struck me as I compared him to a totally different situation, and the contrast really struck me … and perhaps it will for you, too.
Recently I was asked to do a live interview on BBC radio in England on the creation/evolution issue. The audience would obviously be primarily a secular one.
After the interviewer had finished with his questions, he asked me to hold on. He had someone else on the line from America (who, unknown to me, had been listening to my answers) associated with a secular humanist group that vehemently opposes AiG and other creation organizations.
The first thing the man said was that he was a "Christian" but believed in evolution. He then went on to say that most pastors in America saw nothing wrong with believing in evolution and millions of years.
This man then added that most Christian colleges and universities in America teach students they can believe in evolution. He named a number of such institutions, beginning with Baylor University in Texas.
My heart really sinks when this occurs in a secular setting. If it is a Christian audience, I can really challenge an opponent from the Bible concerning the obvious compromise he has made and thus how he has undermined biblical authority.
With a secular audience, however (and with an interviewer who just loves to pit Christian against Christian), it is not so easy.
I've found that the secularists just love to use a so-called Christian to oppose those of us who are defending a literal Genesis. Here are some examples:
A supporter of AiG attended a seminar conducted by Dr. Eugenie Scott (an atheist who is the head of the anti-creation NCSE organization) on how to teach evolution in public schools. When dealing with the issue of what to do with Christian students, she offered some sad advice. Our supporter reported:
"I attended the 'Teaching Evolution' seminar yesterday-led by Eugenie Scott. The teachers were advised to suggest to the Bible-believers to consult their clergy who would usually assure them that belief in evolution is OK!!"
I must say, from my experience, Dr. Scott, sadly, is correct. The majority of Christian leaders would tell students that believing in evolution is okay. And the sad fact is that statistics indicate that 70-80% of students from church homes who attend public schools will walk away from the church.
From the transcript of a radio interview, Dr. Scott said
"One of the points I make in my public lectures is that the best-kept secret in this controversy is that Catholics and mainstream Protestants accept evolution as the way God did things. There are a lot of varieties of theistic evolution, but some form of theistic evolution is the standard Christian approach.
"I have found that the most effective allies for evolution are people of the faith community. One clergyman with a backward collar is worth two biologists at a school board meeting any day!" [emphasis ours]
What a sad state of affairs that leading atheists like Dr. Scott can use Christian leaders to further their cause! Indeed, the secular humanists just love it when Christian leaders compromise. And sadly, it is because of such leaders that biblical authority is so effectively being undermined in the church … and culture as a whole.
So, what has this to do with young Caleb? Do you recall Matthew 21:16:
"Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, 'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?"
At the same seminar Caleb attended, I had a number of people come up to me and say (I hear this at every meeting) something like, "We are so saddened that we could not get our pastor to come to the seminar."
They often add: "He just won't really discuss the creation/evolution/millions-of-years issue. People in our church need AiG's message-and they are hungry for it, but our church leaders won't support it."
(By the way, there are, of course, some dedicated pastors-a minority, though-who do attend our conferences and stand on God's Word.)
Caleb has such a simple faith and trust in God's Word. I doubt he'll ever obtain a seminary degree, or could ever be a pastor or professor at a Christian college.
But what really struck me was that the majority of Christian leaders, for all their academic studies, engage in compromise when it comes to Genesis-or they won't take a stand and get involved in the fight for biblical authority.
Yet, I can't help but think that Caleb will receive a great reward in Heaven for his stand on the authority of God's Word. Young, handicapped Caleb gave up Chuck E. Cheese to attend a creation seminar-yet the majority of Christian leaders won't attend because they don't believe it's important.
That's why a major aim of our ministry is to engage Christian leaders. AiG and our publisher, for example, subsidize the printing of the book Refuting Compromise so it can get into the hands of as many pastors and church leaders as possible-tens of thousands have been distributed so far.
One group of teens recently said that their pastor would not support our AiG seminar, so they got together to bring as many young people as they could. They saw the need for the answers AiG gives so they can defend their faith and know they can really trust God's Word.
We are now seeing a significant increase in teens and children at our seminars!
Can I also ask for your prayers and support for a very special outreach that indirectly could reach millions of young people?
For the past few years, and because of some unique circumstances, we have been able to have an AiG display at the largest public school convention in the world, sponsored by the NEA (National Educators Association).
We praise the Lord that we can again have an exhibit at this year's NEA convention in Los Angeles (July 1-3). We don't know how long we will have this opportunity-you can't just have a display at such a convention without being sponsored somehow from within the system. The Lord has opened a door for us and we believe we must go in.
At some of these conventions, by the way, our booth has been placed opposite the "gay and lesbian" exhibit!
Over 15,000 teachers, administrators and school officials attend these conferences. AiG, praise God, has given away thousands of dollars' worth of videos and books at each previous NEA convention. We have even heard back from students who related how their teacher used our materials with them!
Recently we created a new audio CD, Behind the Media Frenzy. In it, I look behind the many headlines nationwide on the growing creation/evolution controversies (including about our future museum) … and especially as they relate to our young people.
I often wonder how many young people like Caleb will be influenced by God using AiG (perhaps even through this new CD).
Thank you for being a part of a ministry that teaches the truth of God's Word to all ages (including Christian leaders) in this scientific age when the Bible's credibility is vehemently attacked!