"Have a Heart & Go Share Your Faith!" - Hearts For The Lost: The Podcast

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Ken Ham on Evangelism

The other week I was able to briefly meet the founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham. My family and I were visiting the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky and he was giving a talk on evangelism within the culture of America. I don’t want to leave you with the impression that Ken Ham and myself are on a first name basis. My meeting consisted of standing in an autograph line. The only thing I had for him to sign was a million dollar gospel tract, which he graciously endorsed it with his John Hancock while commenting, “I’ve seen these before.” Nevertheless, I told him I would be including an overview of his talk here in our newsletter and he indicated he was at least generally familiar with our ministry, much to my surprise: no doubt due to our sponsorship with Wretched Radio via Todd Friel.

Where it Begins

I wanted to discuss Ken Ham’s talk here because it touches on something I have noticed in my conversations with people while witnessing; especially the youth. But let us start at the beginning. The scriptures open with the history the Creation and within this history we learn how sin came into the world. God in six literal days formed a perfect world for His perfect creation: mankind. There was a covenant made with this first man that consisted of a prohibition from eating the fruit of just one tree within the entire garden, that is, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But the man called Adam broke this covenant and brought sin into God’s creation. This sin has permeated the whole nature of man making him of complete ruin. But do you remember what the temptation was that Adam and Eve allowed, affecting their very nature, to bring forth sin into this world? It was an attack on the authority of scripture: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1b)

Undoubtedly if you have been sharing your faith you have been asked questions that seem to be a trap to lead you away from the gospel message. Sometimes these questions are considered red herrings to be ignored. We can dismiss ourselves from answering questions we don’t know by saying, “that a great question and I’ll look into it, but what about…“, but we should not overlook the reality that many questions are a veiled attack on the authority of scripture. In no uncertain terms they are saying, “Did God really say…” which is a result of the biblical ignorance of today’s society. As evangelists we cannot ignore these attacks and must present the biblical evidence for our faith.

Lack of Knowledge

I have witnessed to people across the nation and noticed a lack of biblical knowledge in today’s teenagers and youth. I find this even more prevalent in the north-east. Even the thirty something’s have a hard time understanding even the most basic bible “stories”. Ken Ham points out that these “stories” are part of the problem. In the public school system our children learn about evolution and other unbiblical concepts as facts while on Sunday School they learn “stories” presented in cartoon form. This teaches the children that what they learn on Sunday is nothing more than fables and not to be taken seriously. The Bible is presented as a guide for a relational experience with God rather than His divine word. As a result, most children of Christian families have already begun to question biblical authority by the time they reach middle school. Once they are sent off to college they have already been lost to the secular culture and the professors and other students only reaffirm what they already believe.

Application in Evangelism

So what does this have to do with our evangelistic endeavors you may ask? Well let’s examine two scriptures; Acts 2 and Acts 17. In Acts 2 we see Peter speaking to the men of Judea and of Jerusalem, in other words, Jews. In these verses, Peter uses the law to bring conviction (verse 23) and a call to repentance (verse 38); the fruit of this open air sermon was a conversion of three thousand. What evangelist would not like to see such a massive response to the gospel call?

Now let’s look at Acts 17. Here again, we have an open air sermon but this time it’s by Paul. He is speaking to a group of Greeks in Athens (Verse 22) instead of Jews. Like Peter, Paul preaches sin and judgment (verses 30-31) but with a different outcome: some mocked, some wanted to hear more, and some believed. It is understandable why some preachers and evangelists would rather preach like Peter than Paul.

There is a notable difference in content of these sermons. Peter is speaking to the Jews who have a biblical foundation. To them the stumbling block is Christ. However, for the Greeks there is no foundation, no understanding of the scriptures. For them the preaching of the cross is foolishness. The evangelistic approach of most ministries has been that of Peter. An example of this is Billy Graham’s ministry. When Billy Graham began his ministry the society more resembled the Jews in Acts 2; having a foundation; but this is no longer the case. As Ken Ham pointed out, “the chasm between a Christian view and a non-Christian view is growing.” We are no longer a Christian society but the society of Greeks. Therefore we must define the term. We must speak to the conscience of the person. We must be able to give an answer to the attacks on the authority of scripture. We cannot dismiss the Old Testament and simply proclaim “believe in Jesus” to a people group who have no idea—or a wrong idea—who Jesus is, much less any idea why He died on a cross. We must wake up and realize that we live in an Acts 17 society and that most of the people we meet—including most children in Sunday schools—are Greeks. Our preaching, our witnessing, and our tract material must help the Greeks understand sin. The old idea that people already know they are sinners and what defines sin, is a wrong idea. We need a reformation in our Churches, our Sunday Schools and our evangelism that will bring a correct understanding of the biblical presentation of the gospel.