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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « A little less conversation, a little more action | Main | Questions on Slavery, Incest, Polygamy & Genocide in the OT »

    State of the Nation - Why are the Churches losing their young people?

    America has more Christian resources and Bible colleges than ever in its history, yet the nation is on a spiritual downward spiral. What has happened? Why is the church not reaching the culture? Get the full report—find out the reasons behind the collapse of Christianity in the Western world!

    A most shocking and profound message on the state of the nation in America from Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis. Parts 1, 2 and 3 available here.

    Posted by John Samson on September 29, 2009 03:36 AM

    Comments

    It's a shame that so many in the Reformed world have abandoned the truth of a literal Genesis and Adam and Eve, essentially ignoring Sola Scriptura and violating the rules of Reformed hermeneutics on the issue of origins.

    Jesse - there seems to be a growing number of 6 day creationists in the reformed camp, including John Macarthur and R C Sproul.

    John,

    So would you say Tim Keller and others like him are flirting with liberalism and atheistic assumptions, since they hold to many of the positions Ken Ham is advocating against? Just curious ...

    David

    Let me clarify that: "...since they hold to many of the positions within the church Ken Ham is advocating against?"

    David,

    I would simply say that atheistic evolution is a theory in crisis and as time goes on, becomes less and less tenable in light of the facts. I also believe it is undeniable that the theory of evolution (apes to man) is a total denial of Genesis 1-11 as it would mean death, disease, pain and suffering before sin entered the world. Science (properly understood and properly interpreted) is the friend of the Bible, not its enemy, and it is time that message got out to the world and to the church. We do not have to kiss our brains "goodbye" when we say we believe the account of Genesis 1-11. All major doctrines have their root here (the very concepts of sin and redemption would be impossible to define without Genesis) and from the New Testament perspective, both the Apostle Paul (Romans 5:12-14) and Jesus himself (Matthew 19:4-6) treated the Genesis account as historical and literal.

    John,

    I have no issue with anything you said on those points as I believe the same things. To be more specific, I'm just wondering if you believe someone like Tim Keller who holds to old-Earth creationism and a regional (versus global) understanding of the flood account are in part enabling the very problem Ken Ham lays out.

    David

    David,

    Mentioning a name like Tim Keller makes this more of an emotional issue than just talking about the general concepts because in spite of my differences with Dr. Keller on this particular issue, I remain a big admirer of him and his ministry.. but.. my answer is "yes." I believe Dr. Keller's view is drawn more from his understanding of what modern day science teaches than the exegesis of God's word. I wish Dr. Keller would advocate stances on Genesis akin to Drs. Sproul and MacArthur.. that would make such a happy world. :-)

    John,

    I wasn't intending to make it an emotional issue at all. Sorry it came across that way. I was just trying to cite an example of someone popular, particularly within Reformed circles, and he's the only one I could think of. I have no doubt you admire him and his work for the Lord. I'm asking because I'm still pondering many of these same issues and how they affect the church and was just curious as to your stance. Thanks for taking the time to respond!

    David

    David,

    No need to apologize at all. You did not write in an emotional way but simply backing me into a corner to criticize Dr. Keller in even the slightest way in a public forum was not an easy thing to do. I like the guy so much. :-) I just don't think we get old earth and local flood ideas from the text of Scripture - that is something added to the text that we take from science (so called).

    John,

    I really wasn't trying to back you in a corner as it pertained to Keller ... it really does look like that on second glance and I didn't intend to do that. That wasn't my goal. I was just trying to cite an example and of course I picked one of the more high profile individuals out there who is doing a ton of great work for the cause of the Gospel :)

    I agree with much of what is said in the videos concerning the state of the church, how we're teaching our children pertaining to the meta-narrative of Scripture, and the decline of Christianity in America, etc.

    I guess the one issue I have with the conclusion Ham comes to, that old-Earther's and those in that "category" are the cause of the slide toward liberalism, is it seems Ken Ham may be confusing causation with correlation, and is therefore a bit reductionistic.

    What I mean is, it seems instead of saying that there certainly is a correlation between those who teach old-Earth creation, localized flooding, and in some cases theistic evolution with a slide toward liberalism (or rather atheistic Christianity), he makes a reductionistic statement by saying it IS the cause (capitalized "IS" simply for emphasis), and I'm just uncertain about that conclusion.

    Certainly there is a correlation with many who teach those things and liberalism (the statistics are clear in my opinion). But is it the primary cause for liberalism in the church and the decline of Christianity in America? I tend to think the loss of solid Gospel teaching, preaching and living is the primary cause and those things are secondary (though certainly not unimportant by any means).

    In addition, I think of someone like B.B. Warfield, a guy who helped shape and define our understanding of inerrancy to a large degree, and he believed in theistic evolution, and yet has done a tremendous service to the church with his numerous works and teaching. He upheld and defended the cause of Reformed, conservative Christianity.

    What are your thoughts on these things? This is stuff I've been batting around for a while and still feel that the more I dig into it the more questions I have.

    Your Brother in Christ,

    David

    David,

    I would affirm a great deal of all you convey here. I just feel that when we adjust the clear teaching of Scripture to modern day (ever changing) theories of science, we open a door to unbelief and scepticism concerning the biblical text which certainly is the cause of many leaving the Church.

    John,

    Your last comment really is dead on. It's scary for me to see Reformed guys like Tim Keller (now) and B. B. Warfield (way back then) accommodating unbiblical views of Creation, because if they followed the logic they use on that issue on other issues, they would end up denying the faith altogether. By God’s grace, they are inconsistent, but I fear that in coming years not all who follow their lead will be that way.

    Consider how these alternative views of Creation are necessitated by a need to fit with the prevailing theories of science. Genesis 1-11 is twisted or made out to be almost mythological in order to harmonize it with the teachings of men. Now another popular notion in modern science is that resurrections are an impossibility. Should we then be taking another look at the Gospels to make sure we interpret them in a way that fits with that view? If someone reinterprets Genesis 1-11 to stack up with the majority view, why not do so for Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Should we be arguing for a “spiritual” resurrection or a “framework” resurrection or a “poetic” resurrection over against wacky “literalists” that take the accounts of the Gospels at face value? I am afraid people in the Reformed world will start to do just that sort of thing.

    Now, thankfully, Keller and Warfield don’t do what I just suggested, but what’s really to stop them? It’s a slippery slope, to be sure, and history shows us that this sort of thing spreads. Liberalism wasn’t built in a day. It started out small and snowballed into a completely different religion. Just recently Tremper Longman announced he isn’t sure there was really an Adam at all, and to say Genesis teaches such is a “very highly literalistic” understanding. Oh, that dreaded literalism again! Now we aren’t just questioning the length of the Genesis days. We are questioning the entire account! How can Christ be the second Adam in such a case? Just give it a generation and believing in a literal Christ might be seen as a “very highly literalistic” understanding as well.

    I expect this sort of thing from the mainstream of Arminian Evangelicalism. But aren’t the Reformed supposed to be the ones who cling to what the Bible says no matter how unpopular that may be? Isn’t Calvinism just as repulsive to the world as Young Earth Creation? So why do so many of the Reformed seem so eager to tweak Genesis to make it less offensive? I am glad to see guys like Sproul, Duncan, Mohler, and MacArthur holding to the truth on this issue, but I am distressed that so many do not.

    This video was a little scary. This guy believes that we need to push Christian culture onto a secular culture and then people will change. Here is why this makes no sense.

    Having the 10 Commandments in a courthouse and nativity scenes everywhere at Christmas won't convert anyone. The 2 places in the world where where the gospel is spreading the fastest are 1 - India and 2 - China. Why? Because they don't have Christian nations. The gospel there is about Jesus, not Jesus and Christian culture.

    Sometimes we forget that we don't save people, Jesus does. We don't need to push people to Christianity, we need to lead them to Jesus. There is a huge difference.

    So what do we do about young people leaving the church? Make gay marriage an issue? no. Attack them and their culture? no. Show them Jesus.

    The way to do that is teach the Bible in church. Believe it or not, the watered down gospel in many churches today is part of the problem. We need to teach the Bible, all of it. Lamentations, Genesis, Song of Psalms and Revelation. Because all of the Bible points to Jesus. And then, the young people in our churches will actually be equipped to make an impact on their world instead of only being equipped to attack the world.

    I don't live in Seattle but look at Mars Hill. Say what you will about Driscoll but he gets it. His sermons are more than an hour of solid Biblical teaching and 8000 college age students attend his church. Why? Because he has stripped the "Christian Culture" and brought them Jesus. That's a great model to follow. Forget the War on Christmas, forget the 10 commandments in courthouses and prayer in schools. Bring up followers of Christ, not members of Christian Culture.

    I go to college where I see christian young people losing their faith because they have been told that if 6 day creation is wrong than all the bible is wrong.

    Philosophical presuppositions of modernity certainly color evangelicalism and it is a shame when the fact the gospel is combined with modern assumptions making it unbelievable to a postmodern generation.

    The answer is not Rob Bell or the emergent church. We need an orthodox postmodern conception of Christianity. If you think that orthodox postmodern is an oxymoron, then I would submit that you paint postmodernity with an overly broad brush and you fail to understand it.

    Jon,

    I would agree with you that it is Jesus who changes hearts. That is this nation's (and any individual's) only hope. Ken Ham would agree, I am sure. However, I am not sure you are correct in saying, "This guy believes that we need to push Christian culture onto a secular culture and then people will change." It takes more than Christian culture to change the heart.

    However, if the mind rejects the claims of Scripture, the heart will not embrace it. The heart cannot receive what the mind rejects. Part of our spiritual warfare in this world is to destroy arguments and speculations that become strongholds in the mind (2 Cor. 10:3-5). Atheism is one such stronghold, agnosticism is another, and evolution fuels both of these philosophies.

    When young people's confidence in the Bible erodes, it is inevitable that they leave the visible church, and the point he makes about the United Kingdom is valid. I am originally from England and have witnessed first-hand the gradual but very marked decline in church attendance there and much can be attributed to the lack of confidence in Scripture stemming from the theory of evolution being almost universally accepted.

    We need to be able to give a defense - an apologetic - 1 Peter 3:15 -for why we believe the Bible and because Genesis 1-11 is without question the part of the Bible under the most attack, I for one am thankful for Ken Ham's (and many other's) ministry in this regard.

    Gentlemen,
    I have a question. What would the church, specifically the Reformed arena, look like had not B.B. Warfield, William Henry Green, Charles Spurgeon,J. C. Ryle, Arthur Pink, Charles and A. A. Hodge, R. L. Dabney, J. G. Machen, John Murray, E.J. Young, Cornelius Van Til, Francis Schaeffer, G.H. Vos, Riddrbos, Harvey Conn, Ray Dilliard, James Boice, John Gerstner, Walter Kaiser, Bruce Waltke, Jack Collins, R. C. Sproul (now a YEC), Morton Smith (now a YEC) and practically the entire panolpy of Reformed scholars since 1859 capitualted to the tentative and ever-changing conclusions of modern science? We do not have a solid track record in Reformed circles. In fact, we are a main part of the problem. We lend (waste?) our capital of credibility to old-earth creation. We need to repent. Rick Philips, Ligon Duncan, R. C. Sproul, Joseph Pipa,Ben Shaw, Joel Beke please take a stand. Please do not "agree to disagree", and then remain silent and ignore the problem. Speak up, even if it means a loss in ministry funding and a decline in book sales. We little people need your big voices.


    On another note, Someone please tell me how humanistic and pragmatic sociology and anthropology applied in the ecclesiastical setting have blessed the Church? Come on. We are Reformed, i.e., hold to sola scriptura. We are supposed to know better. I personally deeply grieve over the wholesale compromise and accommodation I see in the "biggest and the best" of the Reformed churches...and I am Reformed, a former RE.

    jo



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