Gospel Reset: Salvation Made Relevant Book Review

October 10, 2018 at 12:04 PM 2 comments

Just finished reading Ken Ham’s small book called, Gospel Reset – Salvation Made Relevant (2018), so I thought I’d put my thoughts in an article. The book is relatively short – at 125 pages – so it’s not at all hard to digest. Ham brings out some interesting points; some I agree with and a few I believe he may be missing the point on, but I’ll discuss that.

For those who are not aware, Ken Ham is the CEO of Answers in Genesis and creator of the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum, both in the United States. His concern is that the gospel, at least the way it is often presented today, has become moot simply due to the way it is often presented.

In essence, because of our growing pluralistic society, one with a good deal of Marxism pushed into the mix, if someone were to ask another person about “God,” it is very likely that the “God” being referred to would have nothing to do with the historical concept of the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible. The answer to that question might often be, “To which god are you referring?”

In fact, Ham’s great concern is that the gospel has lost its flavor, not because it is no longer relevant or important, but because too many Christians are completely unaware of how to best present the Gospel to all people. Too many Christians, he argues, seem to take it for granted that terms used today are simply understood as meant.

I would like to say up front that I like Ken Ham’s book. There are numerous good points. However, there are several things concern me that Mr. Ham seems either to not notice or glides over without really dealing with things.

I agree with him that we as Christians must understand how to present the Gospel effectively. That is extremely important.

Often, southerners who have been raised in the church hold that up as proof that they are Christian. Their friends also go to church. The south is virtually a churched culture. These people see themselves as “saved,” but can they explain what that really means? Often, they cannot or when they do, it becomes a list of things they do that allegedly proves they are Christian.

Jesus met the same problem during His day as did Paul and the other apostles. Of course Jesus’ society was emphatically Jewish and because of that, there was a general knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures, though it did not mean that people lived it realistically. It really is the same now.

Ken Ham believes our society today is much like the Greek society of Paul’s day as seen in Acts 17 at Mars Hill. The people he tried to talk to about Jesus were Greeks, Stoics, and philosophers. They had no Jewish Scriptural background. The Greeks, though very intelligent, were also very superstitious at times, and often anti-theistic (atheist), though they also believed in the pantheon of classical Greek gods (pantheism).

Ham believes we should be looking at the average person in the world as Paul looked at the Greeks at Mars Hill. I agree that we need to present the Gospel message in terms that today’s “Greeks” can understand. This is why Ham says we need to have a “reset” of the way in which we present the Gospel today.

Millennials that are coming of age today have come from educational backgrounds where “state” schools have brainwashed them with anti-theistic ideas. In fact, Marxism and Socialism are almost universally the norm being taught in public education. When kids graduate, whether they think so or not, they often lean toward a Socialistic outlook and ideology. They’ve been taught that Socialism (which ultimately leads to Communism), is the answer to life’s problems.

Because of the largely anti-theistic viewpoint of much of society today, Ham argues that more needs to be explained to people. We cannot simply say to them, all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. The first question would be, “what do you mean by ‘sin’?” Ham’s argument is that Christians assume too much today when attempting to communicate the Gospel to the lost of today’s world, which is far different from the society of Jesus’ and Paul’s day.

When Peter gave his sermon in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost, 3,000 people believed what he said and were added to the Kingdom that day. But we must remember that his was a largely Jewish audience who had come from miles around to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. However, even with all of those Jews who were necessarily steeped in knowledge of the Scriptures, there were many who did not come to the Lord that day.

If we compare this with the situation in Acts 17 where Paul tries his best to convince those on Mars Hill of the “unknown God,” we find that many thought Paul a “babbler.” Even though Paul tried to approach these individuals in terms they could understand, looking at the situation outwardly, Paul failed, humanly speaking.

Ken Ham is correct. Christians need to understand how to explain the Gospel message to people like the Greeks, people who are not born into and raised with a deep knowledge of the Bible. In fact, society seems to increasingly becoming more and more godless. Because of this, Christians must become apologists for the faith. It is not enough to simply have a very basic set of Scriptures ready to unroll at people who need Jesus. People today are like Greeks in that they love to discuss and pick apart. Even when they don’t, they assume they think critically.

If Christians cannot explain for instance, why the Bible is true, why it should be believed and why it contains large areas of scientific thought, then our message of salvation will be lacking. Society’s god today is evolution.

Ken Ham argues that there are scientific facts that actually support Creationism. In fact, both his museum and the Ark Encounter provide many facts that support Creationism, not Evolution. Of course, Evolution is acceptable by many today because no God is needed. As someone who has visited the Ark Encounter, I can attest to the fact that they have done quite a lot to cast doubt on Evolution and support Creationism. Of course, atheists and evolutionists alike downplay this.

Again though, Christians should be more adept, not at convincing others (that’s not our job), but at presenting convincing arguments that support Creationism, the Bible itself, the deity of Christ, and numerous other areas that are foundational to Christianity. If Christians cannot do this, then we come up short.

However, let me say this regarding knowledge and trying to convince via argumentation. No matter how well a point can be argued, it does not mean it will convince or open someone’s eyes to the truth. That is God’s department; His job. Our job is to tell people and to do so in a way that addresses their questions. If we see in the first 12 or so chapters of Matthew regarding Jesus’ run-ins with the Pharisees and other religious leaders, it becomes clear that in their hearts, they actually knew who He was, but their pride kept them from embracing Him. They rejected Him and the truth He represented. We could say that Jesus was unsuccessful in opening their eyes to the truth because they fought against it because of their entrenched pride.

We also need to consider these last days (and Ken Ham believes we are in the last days, just not sure where in these last days). It is important to understand that as this age moves toward its appointment with judgment (the Tribulation, followed by the return of Jesus, immediately followed by the Sheep and the Goats judgment; Matthew 24 onward), it is very clear that the rejection of God will become bolder by the average person alive during this time. It will be more difficult to embrace the truth.

I firmly believe, according to Scripture, that we are living in the days not long before the start of the coming Tribulation. The Church can be raptured at any time. Once the Church is gone, the Holy Spirit will no longer have that vehicle through which to work. Because of it that vacuum, Satan will seek to fill it and will do so with himself and his evil minions. However, God does not lose control at all. Those people who were alive before the Rapture and who may have thought they were “good” people or even “Christian” but were not, will be alive after the Rapture. Imagine the shock to their systems, having heard about a Rapture, the Bride of Christ being taken up to the clouds to meet Christ and be with Him forever. Consider what they will be thinking and their fear at being left behind. Because of this, I believe many will desire to truly come to know Jesus at any cost!

I believe – and the Bible supports this notion – that after the Rapture, when millions of people will disappear from the face of this earth in an instant, those remaining will do whatever it takes to ensure their own salvation. All the preaching they heard throughout their lives that never “took,” will begin its work. They will seek God and not stop until they find Him.

In Revelation 6, we read of the fifth seal that is opened and all at once, because of it, we see millions of martyrs and this of course is inside the coming Tribulation period. Millions of people martyred for their faith in Jesus. Where did they come from?

9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:9-11 KJV)

There is a point at which regardless of how much we know and how well we may get our points across, people will not embrace the truth we speak and will remain in darkness. However, it is also clear from Scripture that God will not cast out any who come to Him for salvation (John 6:37).

Yes, Christians have a responsibility to be able to adequately explain the Gospel and sometimes that means using terms that the listener understands instead of the terms we’ve always used. Sometimes, we must present proofs that God’s Word is filled with integrity and presents truth.

In Appendix A of Ken Ham’s book, he presents a modified Romans Road. This version includes aspects of Genesis. In fact, Ham starts at Genesis 1:1 – God made everything, followed by Genesis 1:31 – God made everything perfectly – no death or suffering. Then comes Genesis 3:17-19 – The punishment for sin is death; due to sin, the world is no longer perfect. Ham then goes to Romans; Romans 3:12 – Because our mutual grandfather Adam sinned, we now sin too, followed by Romans 3:23 – We need to realize all are sinners, including ourselves (and we need to be able to explain what “sin” is to lost people). The conclusion is Romans 10:9 – We must trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Christians need to be able to understand how to present the Gospel to people today who are largely godless and have no real concept of a loving God who hates sin. Most when they hear the word “sin” think of the archaic Dark Ages. Too many today believe God is simply “love” and that’s it. What they fail to understand is that God is also holy, perfect, righteous and for those who never come to Him in need of salvation, He becomes their Judge.

Ken Ham’s book is short, to the point, and merits a good read-through. It is also important to understand that we Christians bear the responsibility of being able to adequately express why we place our hope in a risen Savior. If the reaction that Jesus received is any indication, most of the world will laugh and balk at the notion that people need to be saved. We Christians must do all we can to ensure that people at least intellectually understand our message. We may not be able to convince people (and again, that is not our job), but it will be interesting to learn in eternity the number of people that eventually came to Him because either we planted a seed or watered a seed someone else planted. Ultimately, as Paul says, God is the One who makes it grow (1 Corinthians 3:7).

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Push Toward Globalism Continues Can People Be Good?

2 Comments

  • 1. rutnerh  |  October 11, 2018 at 10:15 PM

    Amen, re your conclusion: We Christians must do all we can to ensure that people at least intellectually understand our message. We may not be able to convince people (and again, that is not our job), but it will be interesting to learn in eternity the number of people that eventually came to Him because either we planted a seed or watered a seed someone else planted. Ultimately, as Paul says, God is the One who makes it grow (1 Corinthians 3:7).

    I also agree with your critique of Ken Ham who is more focused on commercial exploitation of Bible stories than in rescuing souls from among the ” many” destined to an eternity in a literal hell. This is our primary purpose on earth. And calling unbelievers sinners in need of His love and salvation often invites ridicule, thus is ineffective.
    I prefer the proven fire and brimstone preaching of Jonathan Edwards, and revivalist CG Finney and the early Billy Graham who literaly scared the hell out of his listeners.
    Unbelievers need to have a clear understanding of eternity in hell compared to our short prep time on earth, intended to be used to prepare for eternity by making the most important choice in our lives: seeking Jesus as our Lord and Savior, not merely as Savior. Failure to choose means choosing hell by default.
    All we can do is pray with and for them that this salvation seed will sprout before their death.

    • 2. modres  |  October 12, 2018 at 7:09 AM

      As always thanks for your thoughts👍🏼


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