I had the privilege of joining close to four hundred people for the uplifting conference in Petersburg, Kentucky, on Oct. 30-31. The conference theme was “Created, Redeemed, Called,” based on Isaiah 43:1, “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.’”
At the opening service Dr. Lamb gave his last conference sermon as Executive Director, and the new Executive Director, Rev. Michael Salemink, was installed. (Please pray for Rev. Salemink in his huge task of carrying on the faithful service of Dr. Lamb.)
The keynote speaker at the banquet was Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum. His talk addressed the moral decline and moral relativism that are pervasive in American culture and even in the Church. Ham stated that from the sin of Adam there has been a battle between God’s Word and man’s word. Ham remained positive about Christian influence on the culture but called for a revolution by sharing the Gospel by starting at the beginning, that is, Genesis. He argued that the foundation of Genesis must be present to reach people with the message of salvation.
Ham has concluded that there are two approaches to evangelism: an Acts 2 model and an Acts 17 model. In Acts 2 the Apostle Peter shared the Gospel with Jews who had a foundational knowledge of God. The Jews knew about creation and the fall of man into sin and death. Therefore, Peter could assume this knowledge and get right to proclaiming Jesus as “a man attested . . . by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him” (Acts 2:22), and the one whose resurrection David announced in the Psalms (Acts 2:25-31).
According to Ham, the situation in Acts 17 was different. So when the Apostle Paul spoke to the Greeks at the Areopagus he had to lay the foundation of the one, true Creator God for these pagans, or polytheists. Ham argued that the Greeks had an evolution-based culture. Therefore, Paul started his proclamation with “the God who made the world and everything in it” (Acts 17:24).
Ham made the point that much of the printed Sunday school and evangelism material is based on a Jewish or Creation foundation. But the problem is that the culture has been “Greekified.” Ham made the charge that public education has turned the youth into Greeks, that is, those awash in many gods. In other words, we are in an Acts 17 setting, not an Acts 2 setting.
Ham also said that liberal pastors were erring gravely by telling their congregations, “You can have millions of years [evolution] as long as you trust in Jesus.” He called for a new Reformation by nailing up Genesis 1.
Another conference speaker who offered compelling words was Timothy Goeglein, LCMS congregation member and former special assistant to President George W. Bush. Goeglein stated his belief that the revolution currently happening in America is bigger than the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s. His reason was that the elites are succeeding in redefining the very matrix of society. This includes redefining families, marriage, and parenting. But even with such a dire assessment, Goeglein stated his belief that ultimately the Pro-Life Movement is going to win.
One other notable speech was made by Dr. David Menton. This accomplished biologist took us into the wonder of life in the “secret place” (Ps. 139:15), that is, the womb. Dr. Menton displayed fascinating slides of life at the cellular level, and he even encouraged us to thank God for cilia because without them the egg would not move down the oviduct. If you would like to hear this lecture titled “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made,” it is currently available for viewing at www.answersingenesis.org. I highly recommend it.
The conference location at the Creation Museum was a special treat. The Museum is well done and well worth a visit. The facility contains a great exhibit of life in the Garden of Eden. It also contains one percent of Noah’s Ark that you are able to walk through. Ken Ham’s next project is to build the full ark. It is certainly under construction and due to open in summer 2016 (www.arkencounter.com). That will certainly be worth a visit as well.
Finally, at this conference I received a gift of fetal models for use in our district. The four models of a baby developing in the womb are meant be touched and held. The models are of a baby at 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 22 weeks, and 26 weeks in the womb. Look for a future article with details on how you can have this set of models delivered to your congregation for use in proclaiming the sanctity of human life.
Rev. Philip Young
Mid-South District Life Coordinator