In our recent Christians Have Become Confused post we talked about how some believers think that symbols are a light unto the world and that their destruction means that a testimony to Christ is lost. They are confused as they misplace Jesus’ words on to inanimate objects instead of themselves. Inanimate objects cannot receive salvation, they cannot receive the Holy Spirit nor can they promote the gospel, take care of needs, visit the sick or imprisoned and on it goes.
Symbols can do nothing and they can hold multiple meanings which undermine and confuse those who do not believe. This doesn’t just happen in China though as we see a prominent Christian organization placing a lot of emphasis on a symbol. We quote Ken Ham’s words:
As Ken Ham (cofounder and president of Answers in Genesis) always says, this Ark will be one of the greatest Christian outreaches of our day (it’s estimated to attract more than 1.4 million guests in the first year alone),” the Ark Encounter website said in a message on Tuesday. (http://www.christianpost.com/news/ken-hams-ark-encounter-takes-shape-in-aerial-video-ahead-of-40-days-40-nights-opening-161014/)
With no biblical instruction to build such a structure, how can it be the ‘greatest Christian outreach’? Since that structure cannot visit the sick or imprisoned, feed the poor, solve problems and so on how can it be the ‘greatest Christian outreach’? it seems that Ken Ham is confused and forgets that Jesus said that the light unto this world would be people not replicas of past events.
This replica will also fail because there is so much information missing concerning its use, the materials, how Noah and his family behaved and so on. Everything presented about this replica will be from subjective, fallible human opinion read into the event and not taken out of it. I remember back when the congregation I grew up in started constructing its 3rd sanctuary and the reasoning was ‘we need it to show the world that we are successful and to draw people in’. Both parts of that reasoning are not biblical as we do not need to look successful as the world defines success nor do we need a structure to draw people in to attend or find Christ.
Jesus said that if ‘I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me’ giving us clear instruction that it is not a building, a replica or anything inanimate that will bring people to Christ.Too much of the secular world’s thinking has entered into the minds of church leaders and they forget whom they serve and what he has said. This AIG venture may be a Christian outreach but it is misguided and may cause more stumbling blocks and hardened hearts than reaching them for Christ. it is hard to say as we are not privy to all conversations in the world.
One thing is clear though, people, including good men like Ham, will justify anything they want to do making it sound like they are being spiritual when in reality they are not totally following God and his word. Then if you are wondering why it will cause stumbling blocks and harden hearts here is the reason for that statement:
The $33.5 million Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, is set to open on July 7, and has been attracting media attention around the world.
Resources that can be used in a better way are lost on building this inanimate object.Evangelism is not just preaching a gospel message and then leaving people to fend for themselves. Also, when people see that price tag, then compare the words we preach to not only this action(and the other large expenditures on inanimate objects) but to the condition of the people of the world hearts will become hard as they see hypocrisy not obedience to biblical instruction.
Something has gone wrong in the church and when I was an undergrad in bible college we used to laugh at the large amounts the Roman Catholic Church spent on its cathedrals throughout history yet now we can’t laugh as the evangelical/protestant church has followed that example with a priority on expensive structures and not people.
Today’s evangelistic efforts are grossly misguided and narrowly focused.They certainly do not follow the example of Christ. Meeting the physical needs of people opened and softened more hearts than if he spent his and his disciples’ time and money building large structures in which to preach. What most participants in evangelistic efforts do not realize is that there is a silent group of people watching how a church responds to physical needs. They are the friends and relatives of those in need and what the church does has influence upon their lives as well. Evangelism is not limited to just those few we may encounter. There is a larger audience that God knows about which we do not include in our evangelistic strategies.
Ham may have 1.4 million visitors in the first year but what about the other 300+/- million people of American and the billions around the world who won’t visited that attraction? The approx. 33 million spent on that one structure could reach all of those people in far better ways than making them pay their own expenses to view something that cannot represent the past correctly.
But as you know, Mr. Ham is not the only one who likes to spend millions on inanimate objects and those church leaders contribute to the harden hearts of unbelievers as much as this project will. We just do not hear about them as much as we do this project. The billionaire spending hundreds of millions on a Bible museum is just as guilty and at fault as Mr. Ham and AIG.
Our priorities have become confused and we are losing souls not gaining them. It is no wonder the church has problems with homosexuals and those who ignore biblical teaching on women and other modern issues leading church members away from the truth. We have spawned that attitude by ignoring biblical teaching when it comes to basic evangelism and making disciples.
We have listened to the wrong voices and now we are reaping what we have sown. We are reaping confusion and other aspects of life that are not of God and we cannot complain when our children leave the faith for they were never given the correct faith when they were growing up. We cannot complain when our young adults stop believing the Bible when they are students in academic institutions. They are only doing what their parents did–listen to the wrong people.
We can’t stop people like Mr. Ham because they are convinced they are doing what they should and we are not their boss but we can register our disappointment, our opposing views and let them make their own choices. We just need to make sure our contrary views are biblically correct so that even believers know when they have erred and hopefully they will make changes to their attitudes and behavior.
We are not opposed to the use of structures but when they become the priority over people and their needs then something must be said.When they replace people as the light of the world, then we must speak up for Jesus never said that symbols and structures are the light unto the dark world and we believers need to understand that. Jesus’ silence on the issue of construction is not permission to let inanimate objects do what he has told us to be.
It is too late to stop this Ark park and we have talked to AIG people directly long before this but as you see, they made up their minds and closed their ears to any constructive dissent. It is sad that they went ahead with this project for it makes the work of Christ for the rest of us much more difficult. We are not perfect either but we can still see when people go beyond their call and take their ministries to places they should not go.