ALREADY GONE Review

5 01 2010

  

 

 

 

 

MY QUESTIONS

(a critique, with responses)

by David and Julia Kautt

 

Julia: Some people have concerns about this book, ALREADY GONE. For instance:

Concern #1: Why do we need a survey to tell us the obvious: that things are bad. People’s hearts are wicked. They do bad things, including leaving the Church. We already knew that. The Bible has the answers.

Why do we need a survey to tell us that we should or shouldn’t be doing certain things? The Scriptures already delineate those things. Why do we need a survey? Why not just give parents the Scriptural mandates?

Julia’s Response: Why not just give parents the Scriptural mandates? Because many professing Christians do not trust the Scriptures. The Church has permitted Biblical authority to be undermined by bad science (i.e., evolutionary thinking and millions of years). As for why we needed this survey, see David’s response to the next “Concern.”

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Concern #2: Aren’t this survey, it’s results and the book’s advice just so much pragmatism? (“Pragmatism” – doing whatever works to get the job done, regardless of morality. “The end justifies the means.”)

David’s Response: The intention of ALREADY GONE is to help parents and church leaders to see what they have been denying, as it were. The book is not written as an Athenian apologetic, but to the church leaders and parents to say, “this is why your children are leaving the faith in droves.”

In order to communicate to people from the Word, you not only have to know the Word, but also know what people are thinking, the questions they ask. Then you can utilize the Word to answer those questions. This survey helps us know what questions people are asking.

The Apostle Paul on Mars Hill used Genesis, after connecting with their worldview and using one of their poets (Acts 17:15-33). That’s not pragmatism. He was meeting them where they were and then leading them to the Word.

Julia: Which is not to say that handing out tracts to someone whom you’ll never see again is wrong. God can use that method as well. But if we are to obey the Lord’s mandate in Matthew 28:18-20 to “go, and make disciples,” that is more involved. David says the Greek reads “as you are going, make disciples,” which would be more of a day-in, day-out walking alongside the same people; for instance, your children and your neighbors. It’s building a relationship with a context for discovering the questions your disciples have. Like David says, it requires meeting them where they are in their understanding, and taking them to the Word.

I like the point Ken Ham makes. He says, if we’re not targeting their own specific questions, then we’re “not in the battle.” In ALREADY GONE, Mr. Ham quotes Martin Luther:

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point. {From Luther’s Works, Weimer Edition. Friefwechsel [Correspondence], vol. 3, p 81f., as translated by Dr. Werner Gitt from the German.}

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Concern #3: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3-4). The Bible only is enough to win them to Christ. We don’t need any help from science.

David’s Response: When Jesus fed the 5,000, he brought forth much food from 5 loaves and 2 fish. That was a creative act. (Think “science.”) The next day He talked with them about their spiritual needs. His miracle established that He was divine, and they listened to His words, His teachings. He did something “scientific” (creating), and then He talked with them.

Jesus Himself said, “If I have told you earthy things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” (John 3:12).

Psalm 19 says that the heavens declare the glory of God. What does the word “declare” mean? That is verbal communication. In a sense, creation is a word of God. Yes, we can’t go out to the trees and say, “Can you tell me how I as a sinner can get right with my Creator?” That’s expecting the creation to do something it cannot do. But the creation does speak to us. (See the following chart.)

The Thompson’s Chain Reference Bible has a diagram showing a stack of seven books (p. 78)

SEVEN EDITIONS OF DIVINE LAW

“In this drawing the divine method of the gradual revelation and publication of the law is illustrated.

 “It was first written up-on nature (Ps. 19:1), next upon man’s conscience (Rom. 2:15), then the fundamental principles upon the tables of stone (Ex. 24:12).

 “Later the entire Scriptures contained a larger and more complete edition (Rom.15:4). In due time Jesus appeared as the perfect embodiment of the truth which he illustrated in his own sinless life (Jn. 1:14)

 “It was the divine purpose that the law, at last, should be written in the hearts of men, (Heb. 8:10), and the final publication of its precepts be found in their outward lives (2 Cor 3:2,3).”

 Concern #4: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” The Bible only is enough to win them to Christ. We don’t need any help from science.

 Julia’s Response: Read the rest of the verse: “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” The Bible is the main and trustworthy way we have knowledge of Him. He also reveals Himself to us through the Holy Spirit. He often uses another human as an instrument for leading someone to Christ. And His power many times uses His creation to draw men to Himself. (A caution here: all extra-Biblical revelation must be filtered through – and be in harmony with – the Scriptures themselves.)

God’s general revelation, found in creation, is frequently the first thing that points people to Christ. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).

How many times have we heard of an atheistic or agnostic scientist or doctor who, after looking into a microscope or telescope, admits to himself or herself that these things couldn’t just have happened by chance random processes, but indeed must certainly be the result of design. And design demands a Designer. How many times has God used His creation to spark interest in spiritual things? Of course, one will not find out about special revelation unless he reads the Holy Scriptures.

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Concern #4 Re-visited: The “Bible only” is enough to win them to Christ. We don’t need any help from science.

Julia’s Response: When we study God’s creation, what do we call that? Science. Is studying God’s creation bad? No. It can glorify God and show others His majesty, His creativity, His humor (think duck-billed platypus), His orderliness, His loving concern for His creatures, and so much more. Therefore, if we equate the study of God’s creation with science, and a study of God’s creation is good, then honestly conducted science is good. The thing we must guard against is worshipping the things that are created, rather than worshipping Him who created them (Romans 1:25). And we must filter science through the lens of Scripture.

Julia’s Response: If knowledge about His creation is not important in causing men to understand there is a Creator, then why does Romans 1:18-20 say “they are without excuse” if they do not glorify Him as God? “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse….” (emphasis added).

So if someone is hung up on the millions of years idea and lacks confidence in the Bible, would it be wrong to use science to help them? What if we showed them evidence, for example, from what happened at the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in just a few days, and asked them to compare it to the Grand Canyon? Might that get their attention? Might we be able to show that the Grand Canyon was formed in much the same way, on a grander scale? This would provide evidence consistent with a worldwide flood in Noah’s day. It would show that all those layers had been deposited over a matter of days, weeks and months, not millions of years. It would show that a substantial canyon could be cut quite rapidly by runoff; it would show the absurdity of a tiny river cutting down that deeply into the earth. It would confirm that the Bible account about a lot of water acting in a short period of time makes more sense than the evolutionary concepts of a little water and a long period of time.

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Concern #4 Re-visited Again: The “Bible only” is enough to win them to Christ. We don’t need any help from science.

Response: The following is perhaps the most succinct answer we can give, quoting scientist Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson: “Creationism is unique among the apologetic fields, first by virtue of the nature of the arguments used against Scripture. If the major objections to Genesis were based solely on nuances of Hebrew prose, the creation model could be buttressed by additional language studies. However, since many challenges to Genesis come from scientific data, scientific data must be used to counter these attacks. Further, since the purpose of Genesis does not include many scientific details of the events recorded, research is needed to fill in these details and to resolve apparent discrepancies between science and the Bible. Finally, one of the best defenses against evolution is a good offense; as we are able to build a comprehensive creation model that explains the scientific data better than evolution does, evolutionists would become defensive and creationism would become determinative.” [Nathaniel Jeanson, Ph.D, Research Associate with Institute for Creation Research, Acts & Facts, December 2009, p.5.]

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Concern #5: Of course, if they’re unsaved, young adults are going to leave the Church when they are out from under the thumb of their parents. Just because they attended church, Sunday School and youth programs regularly doesn’t mean they have genuine faith.

Julia’s Response: This is true. If the Holy Spirit does not indwell a young person, he might walk away from the Church. Just because they’re in a Christian home, doesn’t mean they’re a part of the Body of Christ.

Here is something related. A veritable sticky wicket. We fear that there are many professing Christians who are deceived into believing they are saved, including parents as well as their children. They think they’re saved because they attend church services regularly or have made some kind of emotional response to an altar call or they do other religious activities, when in fact they have “a form of godliness” but are denying “the power thereof.” That power comes from the regeneration and indwelling by the Holy Spirit, which only a genuine child of God possesses. All that to say this: unsaved parents aren’t likely to lead their children to Christ.

This is all the more reason for the Church to uphold the authority of Scriptures and to preach the Truth, in order for that class of people to realize their true condition and repent. And as ALREADY GONE shows, the Truth must be presented authoritatively. God’s Holy Word is authoritative; the Church is at fault – it has drifted away from affirming that. In some cases, the Church is actually undermining the authority, perhaps unwittingly.

Church leaders have their work cut out for them in re-affirming the authority of Scriptures. One way they can do it is to show that evolutionary thinking is wrong. The Church must equip the parents, first by presenting their need to humble themselves before their Creator and submitting their lives to His will. Then the leaders must build on that foundation to equip the parents with the ability to, in turn, equip their children with the answers to their questions. This will include talking about science.

In conclusion, ALREADY GONE is an extremely important book. The Church ignores its contents to its detriment. We are grateful that Mr. Ham and Mr. Beemer care enough to ask the questions and give us help in this realm.

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 A FEW MORE THOUGHTS ON THE SUBJECT OF DWINDLING CHURCHES

 by Julia Kautt

Have you ever been bombarded with information coming at you from several different angles – a radio broadcast, your preacher’s sermon, a devotional, a book? Suddenly you realize they have a common theme. It is almost as if the Lord is tapping you on the shoulder and saying, “I want you to pay close attention. This is important.” That is precisely what has been happening to me lately.

A couple of days before I read ALREADY GONE, I listened to an audio recording of Baptist preacher Dr. Voddie Baucham, called “The Centrality of the Home in Evangelism and Discipleship” (The Vision Forum). I’ve also been reading to David portions of a book called FAITH UNDONE (Roger Oakland, Lighthouse Trails Publishing). They dovetail with ALREADY GONE.

Dr. Baucham cites birthrate statistics from several prominent nations: Zero population growth is 2.1 children. The replacement birthrate in the United States is 1.8%; Japan’s replacement rate is 1.2% and France’s is 0.9-1.1%. The Muslims are averaging 6 children per family. In France, the Muslim population will soon outnumber the native population there. They will become a Muslim nation simply by default.

He then talks about how three out of four teenagers from Christian homes walk away from the Church for good.

D. Baucham takes us through a little math exercise: If Americans are having an average of two children per family, and if 75% of teens from Christian homes leave, then “it currently takes two Christian families in one generation to get one single Christian into the next.” I don’t know about you, but I think that’s appalling. Tragic. And what are we true believers going to do about it? How about having more children, to start with! And I like the suggestion of the authors at the end of the book: Defend the Word and live the Word in integrity before our children and the watching world. Amen.

As for FAITH UNDONE, it’s more along the lines of Biblical illiteracy, which is related to Ham’s and Beemer’s charge to “defend the Word.” FAITH UNDONE is about the dangers of the emerging church. Mr. Oakland exposes their false and faulty theology, how it is mysticism on the half-shell. My question is, how have we come to the point in the Church in America that we would tolerate “another gospel?” Ken Ham would have something to say about that. Could it be that we have abdicated the authority of Scriptures to the evolutionists and secular humanists? Could it be that those who profess to be Christians have been so lazy as not to know the Scriptures, or are not practicing the discernment to realize they are being hoodwinked by the emerging church movement? Could it be that their children are susceptible to deception because the parents cannot give them something they themselves do not possess?

These three resources – ALREADY GONE, Baucham’s talk, and FAITH UNDONE – have given me a more complete picture of the condition of the Church in America, and have provided suggestions for solutions. Here I find a divinely orchestrated synthesis.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have a serious problem, an urgent need that requires our immediate attention and action. Our prayer is that you will prayerfully sign up for fighting in this battle alongside us. Know your Bible; stay prayed up; keep short accounts with the Lord – deal mercilessly with your own sin and graciously with the sins of others; obey the Word; love others; jettison distractions; get informed; get in the battle.

Soli Deo Gloria,

David and Julia Kautt

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