But joking aside, there are times when nobody listens to what you're trying to say, and in some cases, you really do need to know why. Such was Ken Ham's predicament when he set out to research the deficiencies of modern evangelism.
Answers In Genesis (AIG) is the front lines creation defending ministry of the century. And Ken Ham, the president, is unapologetic when it comes to defending the faith, a trait that has earned him the animosity of atheists and Christians alike. He is passionate about giving answers, and debunks the unhelpful "Just trust in Jesus anyway."
Not, he says, that trusting in Jesus is a problem. But you can't fully trust in Jesus without knowing the reason for it.
In today's review, Why Won't They Listen? by Ken Ham, we'll be looking at the deficiencies of modern evangelism, and a biblical solution to them.
Much of the Church throughout the world is missing out on using what I know to be one of the most successful means of reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This technique is useful, even in cultures that have become increasingly devoid of the knowledge of God and His Word--or cultures that have no Christian basis whatsoever.
It's called "creation evangelism."
This is a highly successful method of evangelism that could change entire nations, if only the Church understood it and used it in today's skeptical world.
There's no doubt that our once-Christianized Western nations are not only becoming more secularized, but that an anti-Christian element is growing with increasing fervor. Other nations that have never had a major Christian influence seem so closed to the gospel. How can we reach all these people with the saving message of Jesus Christ?
There is an answer--a powerful answer!
Thus Ham sets up the rest of his book in chapter one.
The issue of creation vs. evolution is extremely divisive in the church today. Many have chosen to compromise on the creation portion of the Bible. The evolutionists can have our beginnings; we'll just keep preaching Jesus. But a dwindling portion of church attendees and born-again Christians point to something wrong in this tactic. And if you follow this problem to its conclusion, it all points back to Genesis.
Ken Ham and AIG make it clear that they believe you can be saved whether you believe in Genesis or not. But you won't fully know why you need salvation, and nor will those you try to witness to. Ham uses two powerful sermons-Peter's sermon in Acts 2 and Paul's in Acts 17 to illustrate this important principle. Peter was preaching to the Jews at Pentecost, and many others who had come to worship at Jerusalem. Thousands were saved. Paul preached to Epicureans and Stoics at Athens, and 'a few' followed him. Obviously, Peter was more successful, so we should base our evangelism on his tactics.
Or was he?
Think about it. Peter preached to Jews: people who knew what the Judeo-Christian law was. They knew that God created the world, they knew what sin was, they knew the Ten Commandments. Paul, on the other hand, preached to Athenians, who had numerous gods, differing creation legends, and no one moral code. It isn't surprising that since Peter's group only needed an explanation of Jesus that thousands were saved, while since Paul's group needed a whole foundation switch, only 'a few' were saved. Do you think Peter would have had the same success preaching his sermon to Paul's crowd?
So what does this all mean, anyway? In our culture today, many don't know who Jesus is. Nor do they know where they come from, why they're here, or where they're going. And while most have some sort of moral code, they don't know why sin is sin. So this being the case, which evangelism method should we be using-Peter's, or Paul's? You'll have to read Why Won't They Listen? to find out.
Evangelism is the call of every Christian. The eternity of souls depend upon our methods. We want to make doubly sure that we have the right one.
Answering the Questions
"I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak to you of heavenly things?" (John 3:12) If we don't explain to non-believers that our faith is reasonable in such matters as creation and Noah's flood, then how can we expect them to believe us when we tell them about the Virgin birth and Jesus the God/Man?
Here are a few thoughts that your prospective convert needs to understand, especially if they have no understanding of Christian beliefs.
Why do we need Jesus?
To save us from our sin, yes, but if you talk to the average evolutionist, they don't even have a basis of morality. Sin is relative. Stealing might be wrong for you, but that doesn't mean it's wrong for me. So why do we need Jesus? We can only truly understand it in the context of Genesis chapter one. When God created the world, He made a perfect creation. There was no death, no pain, no sorrow or suffering. He also created law: Adam and Eve must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and He created consequences: if they ate from the tree, they would surely die. Because Adam and Eve chose to defy His command, they did die. Perfection died the day they ate it, and later their physical bodies died. Death is a curse, and because all men come from Adam, sin descended upon all men. We are eternally separated from God. But then the last Adam, Jesus Christ, came to earth as a perfect sacrifice to atone for what the first Adam did. "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). Jesus "the perfect Adam" was the only one who could redeem the first Adam's sin. After the person you're talking to understands this, then they will fully understand as you continue the salvation message. They must understand Law before they can understand their need for Grace.
I'm certainly not saying, and nor is AIG, that modern evangelism efforts are worthless; certainly not. But when we are doing God's work, we must do it God's way. The Church's evangelism is certainly bringing much fruit. But sometimes we need to step back and ask, can we be bringing even more and better-lasting fruit? It never hurts to evaluate the times we live in, and to study God's word so that we may best reach those who are lost.
Have a question about creation/evolution? From dinosaurs to C-14 dating, from the laws of logic to "why would a loving God allow suffering?", AIG covers it all. Send me an email using the address on the sidebar, leave a comment, or visit www.answersingenesis.org. Our faith has a foundation, and we can rest on it.