By Bob Wilkin
My sister, Pam, sent me a very interesting message by Dr. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis. It is called “Divided Nation: Cultures in Chaos.” I believe that Genesis 1-11 reports literal history, not poetic history, and not a mix of what actually happened and things that did not happen. I believe in a young earth and that Noah’s flood was a worldwide flood. So, I agree with Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis on these points.
However, Ham has long been known to hold to Lordship Salvation. I accept the fact that he is wrong about the saving message, even though he is right about the Creation and the Flood and inerrancy. I rejoice in the former and lament the latter.
But in the message Pam sent me, Ham slipped up. It was what theologians call an unguarded statement. This is when a pastor or theologian is speaking off the cuff and says something that either was a mistake that he failed to correct or else his actual opinion without the normal qualifiers that he would add to make it sound better. I found a jarring comment by Ham that falls into that second category.
Ham was saying that when asked what our race is, we should not say, “African American,” “Hispanic,” “Caucasian,” “Asian,” or “Native American.” Instead, he suggested that we say, “Adam’s race.” I thought that was very clever and a great point. We are all children of Adam and Eve. He then said that we should use that as an opportunity to evangelize. Here is a transcript of what he said at that point:
You [the unbeliever being witnessed to] are going to die. That’s why God sent His Son to die on the cross and be raised from the dead. He offers us the free gift of salvation. You can get on your knees and repent right now.
See, you [Ham’s believing audience] can present the gospel.1
I rejoiced when he spoke of “the free gift of salvation.” I recoiled when his very next words were, “You can get on your knees and repent right now.”
Notice that he said nothing about believing in Jesus. Lordship Salvation people, including Ken Ham, normally say that if you truly believe in Jesus, then you are saved. They then go on to explain what true faith in Jesus supposedly looks like. Here, however, Ham says nothing about faith in Christ. The condition of gaining the free gift of salvation, he says, is bowing in submission before God and repenting. Is that what he really believes? I think it is. As he understands it, the condition to receive the gift of salvation is submission to God and turning from one’s sins, not believing in Jesus.
Do you know what the audience did when Ham said that about getting on your knees and repenting right now? They clapped. Hundreds of people clapped. They loved what he said.
I’m a fan of Answers in Genesis and of Ken Ham, at least in terms of his teachings on Creation and the Flood. But I’m not a fan of his evangelistic message.
Would you have clapped? Or, like me, would you have grieved over this false gospel being proclaimed?
Bob Wilkin is Executive Director of Grace Evangelical Society. He lives in Highland Village, TX, with his wife of 46 years, Sharon. He is an avid race walker and marathon walker.
1 This occurred between 44:20-44:33. Visit https://uni4m.org/2022/03/02/divided-nation-cultures-in-chaos-a-conflictedchurch-ken-ham/ for entire message.