The problem is that it doesn’t go far enough, and the part that is lacking is no small matter.
What is the problem? Why don’t we jump on their bandwagon, join hands, and do these wonderful works together? (Again, I am not talking about using some of their materials; I am talking about joining hands together for ministry, inviting them to our churches, conferences, and schools, etc.)
A major difference pertains to the issue of biblical separation. They don’t believe in it, and we do.
The rejection of separatism has been the heart of New Evangelicalism since the middle of the 20th century. Harold Ockenga, one of the fathers of the movement, said, “WE REPUDIATE SEPARATISM.” (For documentation see our free eBook New Evangelicalism: Its History, Characteristics, and Fruit, www.wayoflife.org.) Billy Graham epitomized and popularized this philosophy.
If the creation science ministries believe in separation at all, they believe that it only has to do with the “cardinal doctrines.” When I visited the Creation Museum in 2009, I was treated well and thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I recommend a visit to the museum and the Ark Encounter. But Ken Ham told me personally that since Answers in Genesis is “not a church,” they don’t have to concern themselves with issues other than creationism.
This is why such organizations typically do not take a clear stand against unscriptural modes of baptism (e.g., infant baptism, pouring, sprinkling), women pastors, allegorical interpretation of prophecy (AiG says their staff “represent a wide range of eschatological frameworks), the heresy that a born-again believer can lose his salvation, errors pertaining to Holy Spirit baptism and Spirit filling, ecumenical evangelism, the errors of the church growth movement (e.g., Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, and Bill Hybels), the error of Christian psychology, the heresy of modern textual criticism and the bewildering variety of modern Bible versions, “Christian” rock, contemporary worship, and contemporary Southern Gospel, contemplative prayer, and biblical modesty.
Henry Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), was a sincere Christian man who did a lot of good for the cause of Christ, but he was a convinced ecumenist. He believed that the defense of creation was more important than maintaining doctrinal purity. In the History of Modern Creationism, he described the role that Seventh-day Adventists have played in the field of creation science and he reproved evangelicals for not working more closely with Adventists. Dr. Morris joined the Creation-Deluge Society which was founded in 1938 by Adventists. He said the fact that the organization did not draw more non-Adventists is “a rebuke to the conservatives and fundamentalists in the other denominations, who were either so unconcerned with these basic scientific issues or so enamored with their schemes of evolutionary compromise that they had nothing significant to contribute” (p. 135).
Dr. Morris apparently did not consider the possibility of a third option, which was that evangelicals and fundamentalists of that day wanted to obey God’s Word by not yoking together in joint ministry and close association with heretics who followed a deceived female “prophetess” (Ellen G. White).
Dr. Morris’ philosophy was that only a few “fundamentals of the faith” are essential for fellowship. His rejection of the biblical doctrine of separation is evident in the fact that he remained a member of the liberal American Scientific Affiliation for 32 years.
The representatives of Institute for Creation Research (ICR), Answers in Genesis (AiG), and similar ministries speak in churches that represent a wide variety of doctrine. They will be in a Baptist church one Sunday, a Methodist church the next, a Calvinist church the next, and a charismatic church the next.
For example, on August 31, 2014, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis spoke at the LifeLight Festival in South Dakota. Instead of being in a sound church that Sunday morning and encouraging others to be in church, Ken was at a rock concert. LifeLight is an ecumenical ministry that focuses on Christian rock and social work. LifeLight’s founders testify that they were converted through Christian rock music. Sponsors of the August 2014 LifeLight conference included Reformed, Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God, Evangelical Free, Charismatic, Pentecostal, Lutheran, and Cowboy churches. Contemporary Christian musicians who performed included such radical ecumenists as Michael W. Smith, Skillit, and Sanctus Real. In 1993, Smith performed for the Roman Catholic World Youth Day in Denver, attended by Pope John Paul II. In 1997, Smith joined the Roman Catholic Kathy Troccoli and 40 other CCM artists to record Love One Another, an ecumenical song that talks about tearing down the walls of denominational division. In 2009, Smith joined Roman Catholic Matt Maher on the New Hallelujah Tour. Maher believes in praying to Mary as Queen of Heaven.
Ken Ham’s presence in this mixed multitude is irrefutable evidence of Answers in Genesis’ deep compromise in regard to doctrinal purity and its rejection of biblical separatism.
In 2021, the Ark Encounter hosted a “40 Days and Nights of Gospel Music” event. It featured contemporary, hard rocking Southern Gospel groups (e.g., Brian Free, the Perrys, Inspirations, Kingsmen, Earnie Haase) plus a slate of high profile Southern Baptist speakers, including David Jeremiah, Johnny Hunt, and Robert Jeffress. See the free eVideos CCM A Bridge to Dangerous Waters and A Plea to Southern Gospel Fans - https://www.wayoflife.org/s3/satanic_attack_on_sacred_music.php
The reason the representatives of the major creation science ministries can be comfortable in a wide variety of forums is that they narrow down their message and focus only on creation science (or basic apologetics or evangelism or the family or some other single-issue orientation).
Actually they might have more than one issue. They might have ten or twenty. The problem is that they refuse to make an issue of the WHOLE counsel of God. In contrast, the apostle Paul exemplified exactly what they neglect to do, and we are told to follow him:
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you ALL the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
In this, Paul was merely following in His Master’s footsteps. Jesus commanded His disciples to teach converts “to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat. 28:20).
Paul instructed God’s people to be followers of him. See 1 Co. 4:16; 11:1; Php. 4:9; 2 Th. 3:7, 9.
Paul instructed Timothy to keep the truth “without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Tim. 6:14). A spot is a small thing.
Jude instructed every believer to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). As Jude didn’t delineate what part of the faith is to be defended, the obvious meaning is that all of it is to be defended. Whatever aspect of the faith is under attack at any given time, God’s people should rally to its defense rather than claim that it is a “non-essential.”
I challenge anyone to show me where the Scripture instructs the believer to “stand for the cardinal truths and downplay the peripherals.” I have been issuing that challenge for decades, and no one has even attempted to produce such a Scripture.
IN ESSENTIALS UNITY
The New Evangelical philosophy is often stated by the dictum, “In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity” (commonly attributed to Augustine, but apparently first spoken by a 17th-century Lutheran named Rupertus Meldenius). This became the rallying cry of the Moravians, who did many good things but refused to reject the serious heresy of infant baptism, among other errors, and promoted unity above the absolute truth of God’s Word.
The same dictum has been heartily adopted by New Evangelicals and most “fundamentalists.”
The rejection of biblical separation by New Evangelical ministries is also evident in their refusal to take a stand against the worldliness and compromise that characterizes the contemporary church growth philosophy, with its love for rock music, sensual fashions, Hollywood entertainment, and pretty much everything the pop culture produces. Some of them might say privately they are opposed to the increasing worldliness in the churches, but they do not preach plainly against it. Rather, they accept invitations from contemporary churches and are willing to teach on creationism and other such things in such churches while avoiding “controversial side” issues.
I call ministries like Answers In Genesis “one string” ministries. Instead of playing all of the strings of the New Testament faith, they play one. In the case of Ken Ham and Answers In Genesis, they play that string vigorously and most expertly, but at the end of the day it is only one string, and that isn’t enough.
They also need to take a stand for the New Testament church, for the preservation of Scripture as opposed to the heresy of modern textual criticism, for biblical baptism, for the cessation of apostolic gifts, for eternal security, for the purity of churches in the midst of end-times apostasy, for sacred music, for God’s sincere offer of salvation to all men, for modest dress, for distinct separation from the filthy pop culture, and many other things.
The failure to preach and practice separation has very real consequences. For example, in his book Already Gone, Ken Ham admits that the churches he is associated with loose most of their young people. The reason for that is not just because they are weak on defending literal creation. The problem is far deeper and broader. It has to do with an overall weak approach to the Word of God, Christian living, and discipleship. Typically, preachers in these churches don’t boldly proclaim the WHOLE counsel of God and reprove the pop culture and other forms of worldliness in a plain manner and preach sold-out discipleship, and as a consequence the people tend to live much like the world. These churches build bridges to the world and to the “broader church” by their contemporary rock music and contemporary Southern Gospel. These churches don’t produce strong Christian homes in which the father is the spiritual head and overseer and the mother is the keeper or guide of the home. These are foundational errors that are not addressed clearly in any of the materials I have read by Answers in Genesis, because they are determined to focus only on creation-science and basic apologetics.
Mr. Ham doesn’t even deal clearly with the salvation issue. His book Already Gone, which describes the departure of youth from evangelical churches, though excellent in some ways, doesn’t deal sufficiently with the most foundational issue, which is the fact that a vast number of the young people in these churches aren’t born again. That is an issue that is truly “essential,” but it is neglected.
If someone argues that these ministries (e.g., Answers in Genesis, Institute for Creation Research) aren’t New Evangelical and that they do not actually reject separatism, I would like for them to send me the documented answers to the following questions:
First, when has that ministry issued a statement delineating and supporting the doctrine of biblical separation as it applies both to ecclesiology and to the world?
Second, when has that ministry renounced the unscriptural philosophy “In essential unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity”?
Third, when has that ministry supported and promoted a “fundamentalist,” separatist ministry?
Fourth, when has that ministry taken a stand against Billy Graham and all of the evil he did through his New Evangelical philosophy and ecumenical evangelism?
Send me the published statements or the sermons and lectures in which these organizations have taken such stands, and I will be glad to say that I have been wrong about them.
SOME BIBLE PASSAGES ON SEPARATION
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1).
“I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers” (Psalm 26:4).
“Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away” (Proverbs 4:14-15).
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18).
“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils” (1 Corinthians 10:21).
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:6-8).
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11).
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6).
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (1 Timothy 6:3-5).
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5).
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).
“ Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).
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