Evangelical leader celebrates the MLJ Trust’s Recent Landmarks
Answers in Genesis Founder Ken Ham Reflects on Dr Lloyd-Jones’s Ministry as the Trust hits 10 Year and 20M download milestones
“The doctor was bold and challenging to both the church and to its leaders. And we need to be too” - Ken Ham on Scripture's Authority and Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones's Influence
Ken Ham speaks about why the undermining of the authority of Scripture is the greatest crisis facing the global church today and how the sermons of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones influenced him as he founded what is now the ‘Answers In Genesis’ ministry.
Ken Ham is the founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis – an apologetics ministry dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus – and its two popular attractions: the acclaimed Creation Museum and the internationally known Ark Encounter.
Question 1: Why did you set up the ‘Answers In Genesis’ ministry what was the problem that you were responding to?
I was brought up in a Christian home where my parents were emphatic on teaching us God’s Word as the absolute authority. My parents saturated themselves with the Word of God and did not believe that Scripture should be compromised on. They were big fans of 20th century Welsh preacher Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones who also held to the ultimate authority of the Bible and was passionate in his sermons on the subject.
When I went to high school and came home with textbooks on evolution my dad said “If we give up on Genesis then we may as well throw out the rest of the Bible as well” because everything is founded on it. At university they taught evolution as fact but I had found a book which emphasised the fact that you can’t have death and disease before sin and that was when I understood theologically that you can’t have fossils before Adam and Eve.
Whilst I was a high school science teacher in Australia in 1975 a student came up to me and said “How can you be a Christian when you know that the Bible isn’t true”? After I asked him how he knew that the Bible isn’t true he said “because of evolution”. After that I started to teach the students the biblical answers to questions about Genesis and put together talks on creation apologetics which I gave at my church. The first time I delivered that talk so many people come up to me to say that they’d never heard any of it before.
After this the Lord gave me a burden: why can’t we have a creation museum that teaches the truth? At Australia’s first ever apologetics convention in 1977 I displayed some of the books I had obtained on creation apologetics and people asked me where they could get their hands on them. I was reminded of Nehemiah’s righteous anger when he saw that nobody was repairing wall around Jerusalem and for me it was “why doesn’t somebody do something about getting these books to these people?”.
And so we started a little bookstore in our home in 1977 and that’s when the ministry started in earnest. I went into ministry full time in 1979 before moving to the US where we set up the Answers In Genesis ministry in 1993.
Question 2: In what way did the preaching of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones influence the creation of ‘Answers In Genesis?’
My father loved Dr Lloyd-Jones’ stance on biblical authority and said that Christians should always start with Scripture instead of bringing ideas into it from outside and then reinterpreting it which is what many church leaders are unfortunately doing today. Many people misunderstand ‘Answers In Genesis’ and assume that we’re just young Earth creationists when in fact we are actually a ministry about the authority of the Bible and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What I love about Martyn Lloyd-Jones is the way he not only exegetes Scripture but teaches Scripture from a biblical perspective with the emphasis on biblical authority and not compromising with man’s fallible ideas. His sermons from over 60 years ago talked about problems in the church that we’re still seeing today.
I also love the way he applied his sermons to culture. A lot of pastors today just speak from the Bible within the Bible. Sermons are often much shallower and more watered down and many churches have resorted to music being a larger part of the service as a result. For Dr Lloyd-Jones the teaching of the Word was the priority and he applied it to the culture he was speaking to dealing with cultural and church issues in his sermons.
The doctor was bold and challenging to both the church and to its leaders. And we need to be too.
Question 3: What do you think are the main challenges facing the churches in America today?
Firstly what we are seeing is an incredible undermining of biblical authority. We’re seeing a catastrophic generational loss of church attendance which we’re also seeing in other Western countries such as the UK and Australia. In the US less than 9% of church attendees are from the Generation Z demographic. At the same time we have seen the increasing secularisation of culture which is no coincidence.
In 2 Corinthians 11 the Apostle Paul warns that the devil is going to use the same methods to us that he used on Eve which was an attack on the authority of the Word of God. That is why we at ‘Answers In Genesis’ have been so emphatic about standing up for the authority of Scripture as Dr Lloyd-Jones did.
It’s important to note that this isn’t a new method which the devil has only recently started to use. Over the centuries there have been various attacks on biblical authority including the virgin birth, bodily resurrection, and salvation. But the attack in modern times began in the 1800’s when atheists and deists rejected the supernatural and wanted to explain everything by ‘natural’ processes. The idea that evolution took place over millions of years came out of naturalism.
Then many Christian leaders such as Thomas Chalmers the founder of the Free Church of Scotland began taking these ideas (eg: millions of years) and adding them to Scripture. Many of these including Gap Theory which taught that the millions of years fitted in between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 or The Day Age Theory the idea that the 7 days of creation took place over millions of years started to become popular. Even high profile preachers such as Charles Spurgeon sadly were led astray by this supposed ‘scientific’ teaching of millions of years.
Now these were great men of God. We have Spurgeon’s sermons on our website. They were people of their time and I believe did not understand issues in regard to assumptions in regard to how the age of fossil layers was supposedly determined as we do today. And I believe they were unaware of the consequences of adopting these beliefs that were based on naturalism. In fact many of the great preachers of the past adopted the Gap Theory and other positions to accommodate the supposed long ages.
This is a problem because what eventually happens is that people end up thinking that Genesis isn’t important. I rarely see it get taught in churches today meaning that we’ve got generations of children growing up with only secular teaching on the topic. Most don’t even know what sin is anymore or what the Bible says because they’ve been taught against it. Ideas designed to reconcile biblical truth with supposed ‘scientific’ discoveries have infected the church and ultimately undermine the authority of Scripture.
These ideas must be challenged and we must prioritise the teaching of apologetics among our leaders. If we continue to compromise on God’s Word then we will continue to lose people from our churches both in the US and worldwide.
To find out more about Dr Lloyd-Jones you can visit the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Trust’s website, app, and YouTube channel. For more information about ‘Answers In Genesis’ visit: https://answersingenesis.org/about/.