Creation Evangelism (Part II of Relevance of Creation)
Special liftout section
Why has the Lord raised up Creation Science ministries worldwide? Why is it necessary to have such organizations? One thing we have come to realise in Creation Science is that the Lord has not just called us to knock down evolution, but to help in restoring the foundation of the Gospel in our society. We believe that if the churches took up the tool of Creation Evangelism in society, not only would we see a stemming of the tide of humanistic philosophy, but we would also see the seeds of revival sown in a culture which is becoming increasingly more pagan each day.
Evolution and Society
To return to our observations. When we look at the Western nations today, we see an increase in homosexuality, increase in support for abortion, increase in people not wanting to obey authority, increase in people not wanting to work, people abandoning marriage, abandoning clothes, increase in pornography, to name but a few. We also note the following—the Church is not as effective as it used to be. Christians are fighting to retain their freedom, whereas a few years ago this wasn’t so. Evangelists don’t get the same response today that they used to get. People don’t automatically send their children to Sunday School like they used to. The education system is no longer considered Christian. Churches by and large are either struggling to hold their numbers or are running down—very few are increasing dramatically. Moody, in his day, could add thousands to his Sunday School, but this does not happen today. What has happened in society to bring about this change? Why is it that many people today just scoff when you talk about Christ and don’t seem to be open to the Gospel?
It wasn’t long ago that creation was the basis for society. Creation was taught through the schools and universities. A creation basis meant there were absolutes—God the Creator had a right to set the rules and had told us what was right and wrong. People automatically sent their children to Sunday School because they would learn about these Christian absolutes. People who weren’t Christians by and large respected and obeyed these laws based upon the Bible. Homosexual offenders were put in jail—abortion was considered murder. But what happened? Along came a man called Charles Darwin. He did much valuable work on natural selection and variation, but he then deliberately applied the evolutionary ideas he had learned from his grandfather to try to tie all the facts together and come up with a theory concerning the past. Darwin then popularised his evolutionary theory, promoting it as science to give it ‘respectability’. However, it was not science, and people were misled into thinking it was. Christians today are still hoodwinked into thinking it is. It is a belief. The Church was caught out as they did not know how to handle the situation. Because many were deceived into thinking evolution was science, it began to permeate our society. Now keep in mind that men are sinful. They are biased against God because they are humanists at heart. Men love darkness rather than light. ‘As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.’ Thus we are more likely to accept that which is wrong than that which is right. You can ascertain that easily enough if you put a Playboy magazine and a Bible on a table, and watch which one people pick up and read.
Over the last hundred years, people who were not Christians have readily accepted the evolutionary view, as a belief system which said there was no God, at any rate not the God of the Bible. People were and are the result of chance, i.e. no-one owns you—you own yourself. This means that you are under obligation to no-one. As this view became established in society, people started to ask questions such as—‘If evolution is true, and there is no God who is Creator, why are there laws about marriage? Why are there laws against deviant sexual behaviour? Why are there laws at all? Why can’t we take off our clothes if we want to? Why can’t we carry out abortions-after all, killing a baby by abortion is like getting rid of any animal that is not needed or wanted, isn’t it?’ In other words, the belief system of evolution provided a basis for the humanistic morality which said that you could do what you wanted to because nobody owned you—there was and is no right or wrong.
The fundamental clash we see in our society at present is the clash between the religion of Christianity with its creation basis and therefore absolutes, and the religion of Humanism with its evolution basis and its relative morality that says, ‘anything goes’.
These two systems cannot exist beside each other for very long, for in the end one must dominate and totally suppress the other. When creation was the basis in society, it was the abortionists and pornographers, etc., who were put in jail, i.e. those who disobeyed the absolutes. Now that evolution has become accepted in our society as the basis—who will be the ones jailed in the future? It is likely to be those who say you must obey the absolutes from the Bible! This is not over-emotionalism—there are several legislative trends at present which make it a distinct possibility if there is no change in the direction of our society.
In Australia’s Christian newspaper, ‘New Life’, Thursday, April 15, 1982, Josef Ton, who was a pastor of the largest Baptist Church in Romania, and is now living in exile in the U.S.A. stated, ‘I came to the conclusion that there were two factors which destroyed Christianity in Western Europe. One was the theory of evolution, and the other, liberal theology … Liberal theology is just evolution applied to the Bible and our faith’.
It is also worth noting the comment in the book, ‘By Their Blood-Christian Martyrs of the 20th Century’ (Most Media) by James and Marti Helfi, on page 49 and 50: ‘New philosophies and theologies from the West also helped to erode Chinese confidence in Christianity. A new wave of so-called missionaries from mainline Protestant denominations came teaching evolution and a non-supernatural view of the Bible. Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Northern Baptist schools were especially hard hit. Bertrand Russell came from England preaching atheism and socialism. Destructive books brought by such teachers further undermined orthodox Christianity. The Chinese Intelligentsia who had been schooled by Orthodox Evangelical Missionaries were thus softened for the advent of Marxism.’ Evolution is destroying the Church and society, and Christians need to be awakened to that fact!
Paul and the Greeks
Well, then, what can be done about it? The Lord has provided a phenomenally powerful tool—Creation Evangelism. The major reason we believe the Church is so relatively ineffective today is because it is not evangelising in the right way. The Church is proclaiming the message of the cross and Christ, but it is not as effective as it used to be. We need to take a lesson from the New Testament. In Acts 14 and 17 there are two specific examples of the evangelistic approach used towards the Greeks—it was different from that used for the Jews. When Paul went to the Greeks, he didn’t start preaching about Jesus Christ and the cross, but he began by telling them about the true God who is Creator. From there he went to the rest of the Gospel about Jesus Christ. The Greeks believed in a form of evolution, and thus in their eyes, there was no God who had authority over them. We also read in the New Testament (1 Cor. 1:23) that the preaching of the cross was foolishness to the Gentiles (Greeks!) but a stumbling block to the Jews. When we think about this carefully, we can start to understand why Paul approached the Greeks on the basis of creation. The Greeks did not believe in God as Creator but in some form of evolution instead. This gave them the wrong basis and therefore the wrong framework for thinking about this world. The preaching of the cross therefore was utter foolishness to them. Paul realised that before he could preach about Jesus Christ, he had to establish the basis on which he could build the rest of the Gospel. Thus, he established the creation basis as a foundation and from there he preached the message of the resurrected Christ.
Whenever the Jews were approached, it was not with the message of creation first, but with the teaching of Christ and the cross. The Jews already had the right foundation—they believed in God as Creator—therefore they had the right framework of thinking, but refused to accept who Jesus was.
It is time the Church started to open its eyes to the fact that our society, which used to be like the Jews, is no longer so but has become like the Greeks. In the past the creation basis was there in society, enabling the proclamation of the message of Jesus Christ with great effectiveness and good responses; today that basis has been all but eroded away and replaced with an evolutionary one.
Before we can proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should first establish the creation basis—the foundations upon which the rest of the Gospel can be built. Perhaps, too, we should rethink the method prevalent in Christian circles of handing unbelievers large numbers of copies of the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. If these were to contain Genesis chapter 1 to 11, then the basis would be provided for a Gospel presentation in the same sense Paul used it in Acts 14 and 17. We believe that there would be greater effectiveness in the lives of those who read these Bible portions.
Methods of Evangelism
Many Christians feel that it is sufficient to preach concerning the death of Christ for our sin, the need for repentance, and the receiving of Christ as Saviour, and to leave the results to the Holy Spirit. However, it is quite evident that the early church evangelists did use different presentations according to the people they found before them. Examples abound in the Acts and the gospels:
John 4—Jesus used the ‘living water’ approach at the well.
Acts 2—Peter used the explanation of the circumstances of the Day of Pentecost as a starting point.
Acts 3—Peter used the healing of the lame man to speak of God’s power.
Acts 7—Stephen gives a history lesson to the Sanhedrin.
Acts 13—Paul preaches Jesus as the Christ in the synagogue.
Acts 14 & 17—Paul preaches the Creator God to the Gentiles.
The Lord has raised up Creation Science Ministries worldwide so that necessary tools for evangelizing our society will be available. If God’s people don’t take up the tool of creation evangelism and use it, then we will suffer the consequences of having neglected an effective method of proclaiming the truth to the population. This is why we believe that Creation Science Ministries are amongst the most important ministries in today’s world—they deal with the foundations upon which Christianity depends—the foundations that have been largely removed from our society.
As we have preached this message throughout Australia, the U.S.A. and in other places, people have obtained the materials we produce, the magazine Creation , etc. They have used these to challenge others in the area of creation and have then found them to be open to the Gospel, whereas previously they would just scoff when talking about Jesus Christ. Creation evangelism works.
Sowing and Reaping
Think about the parable of the sower of the seed. When the seed fell on rocky and thorny ground, it could not grow. It only grew when it fell on prepared ground. We throw the seed out; that represents the Gospel. It is falling on the thorny ground of evolutionary philosophy. It is falling on the rocky ground of uniformitarian geology. It needs prepared ground. Creation evangelism enables us to prepare the ground so we can throw out the seed and reap a harvest. Imagine what would happen if our churches started to stand up for creation in our society! Creation evangelism is one of the means whereby we could see revival. Not only that; when new converts come into a Church, the first thing that should happen is that they do a Bible study on the book of Genesis, so that they will know exactly what Christianity is all about, and where all their doctrine has its basis. We are not saying that you don’t get any results from just preaching about Christ in our society today, because there is still a remnant of the Christian creation basis there, and because God is sovereign and the Holy Spirit is not limited by man’s evangelistic failings. But this remnant is disappearing very quickly, and the response certainly is nothing like it used to be. Let’s wake up and use the tools that the Lord has provided for a society that has become like the Greeks, and restore the foundations of Christianity so that the structure can stand.
Today we hear in society the claim that ‘You must tolerate all religious ways, beliefs and practices’, and Christians say, ‘I suppose we must. We must tolerate’. There is a group in Australia which is called ‘Toleration’. They state their main aim as promoting toleration of all religions, ways, beliefs, and practices in Australia. They then list all the things they are against, e.g. they are opposed to creation being taught in schools. Do you know what tolerance of all religious ways, beliefs and practices means? It means an intolerance of absolutes. Christ said, ‘I am the way’, (not one of the ways), ‘the truth’ (not one of several different and acceptable approaches to truth). If anyone is intolerant of absolutes, they are intolerant of Christ.
What we have is not just creation versus evolution, not just an academic debate about science. It is Christianity with its absolutes and its basis in creation, versus humanism and its basis in evolution and its claim that all morality is relative. In other words, the fight is between two religions and you are seeing that clash right now in our society. Christians have been hoodwinked into thinking that the basis for the humanist religion is science. It is not. Evolution, which is not science, is the belief system about the past which they use to justify the religion of humanism which says there are no standards, we can do what we like, there is no king that owns us, and no one has a right over our lives. That is the clash you are seeing in society at the moment. That is what is happening and what the battle is all about.
But are we prepared to do what Paul said, standing fast and holding on to what the Scriptures have taught us? Are we prepared to stand against what philosophers say in the universities? When professors stand up to speak, remember they are sinful creatures with a nature biased against God. There is an interesting prophecy in 2 Peter 3:3-7, which tells us that in the last days men will be ‘willingly ignorant’ of the truth—i.e. they will deliberately reject the truth, no matter what the evidence is. This passage says they will willingly reject three things:
(1) That the Earth was created out of water and covered with water to start with—as described in Genesis. (Modern geology says that the Earth began as a molten blob or similar and that water didn’t come for millions of years, until the Earth cooled.)
(2) That the Earth was covered with water by Noah’s Flood. (Modern geology, and many in the Church, deny there ever was a worldwide flood.)
(3) That there will be a coming judgment by fire. (We are often told we will all die of cold when the sun runs out!)
If modern geology accepted that there was a worldwide flood, they would be agreeing that the Bible is true. Then they would have to accept the teaching of Jesus that as He once judged this world by water, so He will again judge, but next time by fire. But men are willingly ignorant of (or deliberately reject) the truth, no matter what the evidence is. Thus, it is not a fight about evidence, but about beliefs.
As this message is preached, people come to realise that it gives us the key to understanding what is happening to our society and world—why there is rampant lawlessness and homosexuality, and why the pro-abortionists are doing what they are. Because we now know why all this is happening, we quickly realise that we cannot sit back and do nothing. Having the key provides the tool to know how to approach the problem. What a powerful tool the message of creation is! We all need to be fervent in proclaiming this message to as many Christians and non-Christians as we can, remembering that our prime purpose is to glorify God and to promote Christ and His Gospel as the Holy Spirit enables.