Two Trips to the Creation Museum

(The following post was written by my wife, Mary.)

Speaking On "Using Not Abusing the World"

Speaking On “Using Not Abusing the World”

June 11–13, 2015

The Creation Museum was the setting for the Reforming Families Conference sponsored by the Free Presbyterian Church and Sermon Audio. It’s a great combination as families can tour the museum as well as take in the conference. The theme was “The Christian’s War against the World.” The addresses were, “Biblical Marriage and Gender Distinction” by Steve Ham (younger brother of Ken Ham), “Using, not Abusing the World” by my husband Joel, “The World Wants Your Affections” by Armen Thomassian, “Equipped to Take on the World” by Michael Barrett, and “Overcoming Evil with Good” by Kevin Swanson. This was the first time we met Pastor Thomassian—he is Irish, though his father was Armenian. He was brought up in the church, but rebelled, then was dramatically converted from atheism to Christ at age 19. He pastors a church in Calgary. He is young, serious, eager to learn from the older pastors, and a good preacher. Bill Noonkesser, Steven Lee’s assistant, presented the mission of sermonaudio.com. Our daughter Esther drove our van down, loaded with Reformation Heritage Books. As it was a family conference, we brought many books for children and parents, as well as our signature books—the KJV Study Bible and books on the Puritans.

On Friday afternoon, we flew to Atlanta, rented a car, and drove two hours northwest to Mountain City, Georgia. Grace Bible Church held a men’s conference. The theme was “The Necessity of Godly Men Leading in the Home and the Church.” Joel gave four addresses on how (1) men should conduct family worship, (2) love their wives, and (3) lead their families as office-bearers and (4) in the church. One man was broken as he was convicted of his sins that were causing his wife to divorce him. He was going to go home and confess to her. Pray that their marriage can still be salvaged. Even though this conference was small, we pray that it will impact these men and their families for good in a powerful way.

As I sat through some of the addresses, I couldn’t help but silently thank God for a husband who passionately preaches and practices this leadership. Our country needs a revolution of godly fathers taking back leadership that is strong, compassionate, responsible, and pure. We experienced real fellowship and quickly felt very close to our hosts, Pastor Kevin and Pam Hurt, Pastor Zack and Brittni Ford, and Jim and Dianne Anderson. They took us to Dillard’s Restaurant (we also stayed at the hotel) for Southern family style dining. What an experience! Plates of food—various meats, vegetables, potatoes—free refills—delicious! On Sunday, Joel preached on “Running the Race.” After dinner at the Hurts, we headed to dear friends, Dr. David and Ann Hall in Powder Springs (a suburb of Atlanta). A cup of tea, a bit of catching up, and off to church. Joel preached on “The Utopian Marriage: Christ and His Church” in their beautiful, new sanctuary. Their church just paid off their new building, and they have set a goal to raise a considerable sum of money over the next ten years to seminaries and to the translation and promotion of sound Christian books all around the world.

With Steve and Ken Ham

With Steve and Ken Ham

June 24–26, 2015

Two weeks later, we found ourselves at the Creation Museum again, this time for the Answers in Genesis (AiG) Mega Conference. Normal attendance is close to 2,000, but many folks are waiting for next year, when the life-size replica of Noah’s Ark is slated to be finished. Still there were 600 people there.

The theme of the conference was “Answering the Skeptics.” Most of the speakers are on staff at Answers in Genesis and have their background in the sciences or engineering. Each firmly believes in six-day creation, a young earth, the inerrancy of the Bible and its authority to answer questions of today. They seek to take the complexities of astronomy or biology or geology or structural design and distill it down to the level of everyday people like you and me. Their ultimate goal is to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to lost sinners and to equip believers to do the same. It was fascinating to see the intricate design of creatures and plants, which are so complex and work so well that they can only point to a great Designer. Also, engineers and inventors find the most success when they follow nature’s design when building a machine.

Many of the speakers pointed out the numerous and blatant gaps in evolution theory and the Big Bang theory. It was encouraging to hear that many secular scientists are skeptical of the Big Bang, but it was discouraging to learn of the peer pressure (or persecution or loss of employment) they face if they question these theories. These theories cannot even stand up to the very principles of science itself—that they can be observed, repeated, and documented. I may be very simple, but I will believe eyewitness accounts of stories (Adam→Noah→Moses, and their families) which were passed on down through the years, first by oral tradition then written, over someone who looks all around and guesses what happened (Darwin, etc.). Sadly, many Christians today are also skeptical of creation. AiG teaches that if you start toying with the validity of scripture, where do you stop? Man’s word soon overtakes God’s word. They teach how science supports the Bible rather than being at odds with it.

In his two addresses, Joel was asked to address the historical perspective—what Calvin and the Reformers believed about creation, as well as the spiritual perspective—the only way to live and die (Phil. 1:21). The van-load of RHB books that we drove down was very well received. We were able to spend some time with Ken Ham. He is very excited about the construction of the ark as an avenue to reach millions of people. We spent more time with his brother, Steve Ham, who gave us a personal tour of the museum.

A sense of sadness descended on the last hours of the conference as we learned of the Supreme Court’s decision to legitimize gay marriage as a constitutional right. How ironic that the very symbol—the beautiful rainbow—that God designed to show His mercy, after destroying the earth because of its evil, is the same symbol that the homosexual movement has taken as its own in promoting a lifestyle contrary to Scripture. What must God think? Lord, have mercy on America!

What Is at Stake in Adam?

HistoricalAdamWhat is at stake if the church rejects a literal understanding of the Genesis account of Adam? Tim Challies recently asked that question of my colleague Dr. William VanDoodewaard, author of The Quest for the Historical Adam.

Dr. VanDoodewaard replied, “The teaching of God’s Word is at stake here. God’s character is at stake. The gospel of Jesus Christ is at stake. Accepting an Adam with evolutionary origins immediately impacts what it means to be human, created by God in His image. It opens a Pandora’s box of theological problems—from Adam’s relationship with his animal parents and surrounding community, to the doctrine of sin and the fall, to God’s holiness, goodness, and justice. It immediately impacts the doctrine of Christ as the One by whom all things were created, as well as His incarnation and work of salvation. It’s an issue that touches so many others: from soteriology to race relations to sexual ethics to the new creation at the second coming.”

To read the rest of the interview, go here.

Tour of Israel #19: The Tomb in Joseph’s Garden

With Tour Group at Empty Tomb

With Tour Group at Empty Tomb

The Gospels record that in the later afternoon of the day when Jesus died, Joseph of Arimathaea requested permission from Pilate to take the corpse of our Lord. Wrapping it in a clean linen clothe, Joseph laid it in his own tomb cut from the rock, and sealed the tomb by rolling a large stone over its door (Matt. 27:57–60; Mark 15:42–46; Luke 23:50–54). The tomb was located in a garden (John 19:41; 20:15). Joseph was helped by Nicodemus, who had once visited Christ by night and heard Him speak of the new birth by the Holy Spirit (John 19:38–42; cf. John 3:1–8). Though it was a terrible risk for them to identify with a man condemned by the Jewish Sanhedrin and killed like a criminal by the Roman governor, they honored Jesus even in His death because their hope was in the kingdom of God (Mark 15:43; Luke 23:51).

On the third day, the kingdom of God came with an earthquake, for the King rose from the dead (Matt. 28:2, 6). Just as Adam fell in a garden, so the last Adam rose up in a garden as the Firstborn of a new creation. His resurrection was no mere resuscitation of a dead body, but God’s decisive victory over death and hell (1 Cor. 15:21–22; Rev. 1:18), the exercise of the exceeding greatness of God’s mighty power for His people (Eph. 1:19–20). When God raised up Jesus Christ, He raised up with Him all of His chosen people from spiritual death to spiritual life, and ultimately to eternal glory (Eph. 2:6–7). No wonder the earth shook!

While we glory in the atoning death of Jesus Christ, we do not serve a dead Savior. The faithful covenant God raised up Jesus and exalted Him to God’s right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins to His people, both Jew and Gentile (Acts 5:30–31; 11:18). Though we cannot see the living Lord, the presence of the Holy Spirit in believers is a living testimony that Christ is risen.

Do you know the power of the empty tomb? Many people believe in Jesus as a past historical figure, a great teacher and perhaps even a Savior who died so that they could go to heaven. But do you know the living Lord Jesus? Is He alive and at work in you by His Spirit? True Christianity is not just a philosophy of life, but union and communion with the risen Lord. May He dwell in all our hearts by faith, and do so more and more until we are filled with all the fullness of God, so that He who works powerfully within His church will be glorified in Christ Jesus through all ages, forever and ever. Amen (Eph. 3:16–21).

Preaching on Christ's Resurrection at the Garden of the Tomb

Preaching on Christ’s Resurrection at the Garden of the Tomb