To answer the question, why won’t this current generation listen to the truth of the Gospel? Ken Ham argues that it is due to the foundation of evolution embraced by this generation, which causes them to doubt God’s Word and, consequently, to reject not only the message of God’s Word, His standard of living, and His truth, but also the message of salvation.
Why Won't They Listen starts by identifying the cause of the rejection of this current generation’s belief in the Gospel. Then using 1 Corinthians 1:23, “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,” Ham examines how the Jews differed from the Greeks in their theology and how Peter and Paul had to use different witnessing methods to reach their audience. Ham suggests that preachers of the Gospel today need to be aware of this comparison in order to effectively reach today’s generation. Ham then introduces a way to reach this generation called creation evangelism to do so.
It is obvious that there is something different about the receptiveness of the Millennials and Gen Z to the message of the Gospel than previous generations. Large percentages of Millennials who have grown up in the church are leaving it after they get into college and there is a more outward rejection of the Gospel from those that haven’t even been in the church when they do hear the message of salvation. (See the book Already Gone for statics and further explanation).
Ham believes that people stop listening to the Gospel because they are taught evolution; if they cannot believe God’s Word from verse one, why should they believe the rest of the Bible, including the message of the Lord Jesus Christ?
For example, 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 states that the Gospel is that Christ died for our sin, was buried, resurrected, and was seen by many. Verses 21-22, explains the reason why Jesus had to die and how those who are saved can be resurrected—“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” If evolution were true and Adam was not a real person, then there would be no need for Jesus Christ, the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45), because there would be no original sin. When a person holds to evolution, the reason Jesus Christ came to earth is inadvertently nullified.
“If one preaches the gospel without the message of the Creator, and the origin of sin and death, then one preaches it without the foundational knowledge that is necessary to understand the rest of the gospel” (Ham, pg 29).
One of the keys to successful evangelism is to understand your audience and to know what communication gaps or problems might occur based on cultural factors. This is demonstrated by Peter in Acts 2 and by Paul in Acts 17. They both began “at the level of understanding these people had in relation to Christian beliefs” (pg 33).
The Jews to whom Peter preached were “creation-based" (a Genesis-believing culture) (pg 42). They already believed in the Creator God, understood what sin was, and its death penalty. They had the foundation of the Gospel, knowledge, and understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures, and only needed to hear their Messiah had come.
Paul on the other hand was preaching to a Greek culture. The Greeks did not have the theological foundation of the Jews: they didn't believe that God was the Creator, they didn’t have knowledge of the grievousness of sin against God and its punishment, and they didn’t believe the Scriptures. Therefore, Paul had to start with something that they could identify with (the altar to the unknown God) (Acts 17:23). Then he introduced the Creator (vss 24-25), the first man (vs 26), how God was the ruler and would judge sin (vss 26, 31), and finally the resurrection (vs 31).
Sometimes people say that there must have been something wrong with Paul’s preaching since he didn’t have as many people believe in Jesus Christ in this situation as Peter did, but Paul’s situation was different. Peter’s foundation was already laid and was ripe for harvest. Paul had to prepare the ground; in his sermon, he was doing “pre-evangelism.” This pioneer evangelism is vitally important when the foundation is not already in place.
If Paul had jumped in and started with the resurrection, his audience would not have understood a need for the Gospel because they did not have that foundation. They had to be “pre-evangelized” to understand their need for the message of the Gospel. In the same way, Ham believes that our current generation needs some “pre-evangelism” and he calls this creation evangelism (pg 59).
America, England, and other Western nations used to be like the “Jews” in that they had the foundational knowledge of God’s Word, which may be why the Billy Graham crusades were so effective. By now, these cultures have become like the Greeks in that they are devoid of a Scriptural foundation. The foundation has been replaced with evolution and evolution has eroded people’s belief in the Bible, God, and truth.
Evolution is not just the idea that the world evolved over time. To believe in evolution is to believe there can be a world without God. If there is no God to create the world, then there is no God to hold a person to a moral standard. All there is is humanism, which is the idea that man is supreme. The idea of evolution, that there can be existence without God, has ruined the very foundation of Christian belief.
Many Christians have not done a very good job in defending the truth. Some have embraced evolution and either replaced God’s Word with evolution or added it to God’s Word. Some have rejected it but cannot articulate very well to others why evolution is wrong and, therefore, have not been effective in this battle. We have let the enemy destroy our foundation of the Bible by attacking the first few chapters of the first book; if you can’t trust the beginning why trust the middle (Jesus) or the end (eternity in Heaven or Hell). “After all, if God is not Creator, then nothing else matters. All is meaningless” (pg 101).
We need to rebuild the foundation of the authority of God’s Word, while attacking the enemy, humanism, at its foundation (evolution), and also addressing the key issues of abortion, homosexuality, and pornography, which result from humanism and are destroying the culture. To rebuild our foundation, believers need to know how to defend the Bible and how to answer questions about the Bible. The Church also needs to clean up its theology, witness from within, and stop acting like the world. We need to take our example and standard from God’s Word, not from what is popular in current trends or from what will get us approval from those outside the Church.
Ham shares his unique approach to sharing the message of the Bible called “the 7 C’s of History” (chapter 10): creation, corruption, catastrophe, confusion, Christ, Cross, and consummation (pg 114). These accounts give a framework to help outline the Bible and make sense of the world around us, answering such questions as how did we get here? Why is there death, pain, and suffering? And how can we be rescued from death? He also shares resources from his ministry, Answers in Genesis, to help parents, church teachers, and educators to build up God’s foundation and be alert to Satan’s tool of evolution. In the last few chapters, Ham shows how evolution has led to different groups based on how their belief in God’s Word has been eroded. He briefly addresses the problems of these seven groups, how each group was taken captive by Satan’s lies, and some resources that are helpful in providing them God’s truth.
It is important to keep in mind that when Ham says evolution is the reason people do not follow God, he is not only talking about evolution, as in development of species; he’s talking about the idea that the world can exist without God. Because if the world can exist without God, then people become their own authority and god. When people follow their own standard of morality, want to destroy the authority of God’s Word, and reject salvation, they have bought into the lie of evolution that there is no Creator of the universe who reigns over everything, including truth. If they acknowledge a Creator, they also must acknowledge the standard to which they are accountable.
Answers in Genesis is the main resource recommended in this book but be sure to check out other good resources for additional Creation support and apologetics resources. See our RESOURCE page for suggestions.
The book is filled with helpful drawings to illustrate key points.
Why won’t they listen? Because this generation has been taught that they are their own authority because there is no Creator of the universe Who has created all things. Christians have not only been ineffective in speaking the truth about Genesis 1 to non-believers but they have also bought into the lies themselves. This generation is walking away from the Church because they see the hypocrisy that if you can’t trust the first verse, you can’t trust the rest of it. Sunday school teachers keep teaching the stories of the Bible, while ignoring that today’s youth are continually taught by TV, movies, books, and education that there is no God; after all, they say, we got here on our own. Christians are not showing that the Bible is trustworthy and so this generation is not listening. Teachers of the faith need to start pre-evangelism with today’s generation in order to reach them. We need to start with creation-evangelism to lay the foundation for the Gospel which has been lost. Why do we need a Savior? It begins in Genesis.