There is a disturbing trend among the members of churches across America. As the rise of those disillusioned with a religious past, the future of the Church looks bleak at best, at least from a human perspective. The Church is in danger of losing future generations based on a “western world which is becoming increasingly more anti-Christian, and attempting to remove any vestiges of Christian influence and heritage from these nations.”
In his newest volume, Ready to Return:Bringing Back the Church’s Lost Generation, Ken Ham along with Jeff Kinley and Britt Beemer, unveil some alarming statistics of a Church which may be full of numbers but empty in conversions. “Sadly, so many Christians and Christian leaders today exalt man’s word (like swallowing the lie of evolutionary biology, geology, astronomy, anthropology, etc., which is an attempt to explain life without God) and by twisting God’s infallible Word to fit that false narrative (theistic evolution).”
This brings me to my first contention I have with this volume. Of course the stats are there of the numbers leaving the church to pursue other avenues of truth, but the reasons are legion. Ken Ham sees this exodus based on the fact that many who are leaving are devaluing the authority of Scripture. Surely that is the case, but this devaluing contains in it a broader implication than a literal 6-day creation, debates over the age of the earth, and dinosaur fossils.
This exodus screams Romans 1 in saying that “For what can be made known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them…for although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.:
Without boiling this departure down to a single verse, surely the data points to more of a larger issue present within our culture. Calvin tells us that “man’s nature is a perpetual factory of idols” and nothing could be further from the truth. We have taken God from his throne and plopped ourselves down on it in hopes that we will be a better god than the almighty Creator of the universe. We have placed the ideas of science and philosophy at the center of our worldview and replaced God with relativism, moral deism, and a general agnosticism towards anything of the supernatural realm.
It seems that in each mention of the Scriptures Ham ties the authority therein with a creation apologetic. From hearing him speak and seeing his heart for the future generation, I am aware that this is not the case. Though the reader who has no previous touch with Ham or his organization, Answers in Genesis, will see that when Ham fights for the complete authority of the biblical records, it seems to only include creation research and young-earth ideology.
Ready to Return does exactly what it claims to do. It presents the Church with bleak research on what the future of the Church will look like if we continue to spurn the God of the bible. In my own life as a parent to two young children I am already facing questions of evolution and various religions presented at school. As my children continue to take on a faith all their own, I must be the one to show them the truth of the Christian worldview from the Scriptures. This will definitely include things like the age of the earth, fossil dating, and geological data, but it must also include a refutation of heresy and various philosophies.
I must show them the complete Canon of the bible and pray that by explaining the Word to them and showing them the falsities of other religions that their faith will be seated with Christ securely. Ken Ham has a tremendous heart for the following generation and I could not be more thankful for him and AIG. Together with groups like the ERLC, Focus on the Family, and Stand to Reason (just to name a few), there are voracious Christians who value the sanctity of marriage, the truth of the gospel, and a biblical view of human sexuality and are fighting against a culture which seems to be winning the battle.
We must remember though the fact that one day with people from all tribes and tongues we bow before the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world in praise and adoration. We have hope in the Eschaton and we must not waiver here on Earth while we wait for the consummation of our faith. We need more leaders like Ken Ham and the like who fight for the biblical worldview with unwavering resolve. Praise God for raising more leaders to bring back our future generations.