After nearly 30 years of international speaking experience, Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, has collected seven common mistakes teachers make about their audiences when speaking on creation. A correct understanding of your audience can improve your effectiveness a hundredfold!
ASSUMPTION 1: “My audience knows a lot about the creation/evolution issue.”
REALITY: They probably don’t, so explain your message from the ground up.
ASSUMPTION 2: “My audience has not been influenced by evolutionary ideas or belief in history over millions of years.”
REALITY: Even those who believe in creation over six literal days and a young earth have been evolutionized to some degree, but they just don’t realize it. Help your audience understand the true nature of science and avoid common misconceptions about the term evolution.
ASSUMPTION 3: “My audience recognizes that the creation message is important for everyone, not just students, to understand.”
REALITY: Most people think that origins questions are primarily an academic concern for students in school. Explain that they have not yet seen how years of wrong teaching about earth history has undermined biblical authority throughout the culture and hinders the church’s effectiveness in evangelizing today.
ASSUMPTION 4: “My audience already knows the importance of studying the Old Testament.”
REALITY: Most people don’t realize that the Old Testament—beginning with Genesis 1–11—is foundational to every New Testament doctrine that we hold dear.
ASSUMPTION 5: “My audience already knows the answers to basic questions.”
REALITY: You’d be surprised how few people can articulate a clear, simple answer to basic questions about the trustworthiness and authority of the Bible. So help them out!
ASSUMPTION 6: “People think in terms of the ‘big picture’ perspective.”
REALITY: Most people actually get bogged down in small details. Help them to stand back and view the present through biblical glasses. All of us need to do better at this.
ASSUMPTION 7: “People understand that all of our thinking is built on presuppositions, or starting assumptions.”
REALITY: That’s not true. Most people today have been trained to think that we know “facts” about the distant past, such as when dinosaurs lived and died. Help them understand that evidence is found only in the present, so it must be interpreted.
—adapted from Creation College 3, an apologetics equipping conference held in July 2009
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