1. Some Facts about Ken Ham’s Ark Exhibit. 2. California and Illinois Laws Promote Abortion. 3. Rome Canonizes Mother Teresa.

Some Facts about Ken Ham’s Ark Exhibit1

  • It is HUGE — 510-feet long, 85-feet wide, and 51- feet high. According to the exhibit’s homepage the ark is “the largest timber-frame structure in the world.”
  • Inside the ark are cages filled with life-sized animals in order to give a sense of how the animals lived on Noah’s ark.
  • It is not sea-worthy (some of you are wondering!).
  • The first phase of the exhibit cost $91 million. The second phase (including a replica of the Tower of Babel) is estimated to cost another $50 million.
  • Tickets for the park are $40 for adults and $28 for children.
  • Ken Ham believes that the ark exhibit is “one of the greatest Christian outreaches of our era.”

My evaluation:

  • Ken Ham’s ark is not Noah’s ark. Although the Bible mentions the dimensions of the ark built by Noah, there is remarkably little information about Noah’s ark in the Bible. The creators of the “Ark Encounter” admit that they took “creative license” in many ways. The replicated ark includes a library and a blacksmith shop, and assertions are made about Noah’s early life and his marriage that are not mentioned in Scripture.
  • There is no biblical warrant for believing that Ken Ham’s ark will serve as an effective instrument for the ingathering of the saints. In terms of numbers of converts, the original ark was not a successful evangelism tool. During the 120 years that Noah built the ark he was a “preacher of righteousness” (II Pet. 2:5). Nevertheless, I Peter 3:20 tells us that only “eight souls were saved by water.” And there is always this question: Why didn’t God preserve the original ark if He wanted the church to use it as an outreach tool?
  • The “Ark Encounter” is potentially dangerous. Ham evidently thinks of it as part of a Christian amusement park and compares it to Disney World and Hollywood. One can easily see how the “Ark Encounter” could encourage Christians to put more confidence in impressive “biblical” exhibits than in the preaching of the gospel.
  • I have reservations about the “Ark Encounter,” but I still want to see it in person.

California and Illinois Laws Promote Abortion

Not content with the legalization of the murder of unborn children, California and Illinois are determined to make it as easy as possible for women to have an abortion. At the same time these states are hindering the efforts of pregnancy centers that work to encourage women not to abort their babies. Both states provide funding for abortions so that women will not be deterred because of financial considerations from committing murder. And the states are determined to inform pregnant women that ‘affordable’ abortions are available. Maybe lawmakers in these states will appropriate funds for advertising campaigns with the slogan, “Need an abortion? Come get one, it’s on us! (Paid for by the state of…).” Perhaps the lawmakers will run their ad campaigns on billboards along interstates or on television and radio. Actually, they thought of something even more effective: “Let’s make anti-abortion pregnancy centers promote the availability of government-funded abortions!”

In California, according to the Washington Times, Governor Jerry Brown signed a law on October 9, 2015, requiring “pregnancy centers that discourage women from getting abortions in California…to provide information about abortions and other services.”2 The law requires posting a public notice in 22-point font and distributing a copy of the notice to every patient in no less than 14-point font. It reads (in 14-point font):

California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].

In another article, the same news organization reported on August 2, 2016 that the

Republican Governor of Illinois [Bruce Rauner] signed a bill forcing medical professionals and pregnancy centers to promote abortion, regardless of their religious or moral convictions. SB 1564 amends the state’s Health Care Right of Conscience Act so as to compel pro-life doctors and clinics to refer patients to health care providers who perform abortions.3

The Illinois law requires the pregnancy centers to give every pregnant woman “a written document that contains the names of and contact information for health care facilities, physicians, or health care personnel that can provide the particular form of health service refused because of a conscience-based objection to the health care service.” This means that a doctor in Illinois, who will not perform an abortion because he believes it is immoral, is obligated to provide each patient with information about the availability of abortions. You see, as far as the state of Illinois is concerned, abortion is a “health care service,” not murder. And every patient has the right to know all of her “health care” options.

The California law is being challenged in federal court. The Illinois law is also likely to face legal challenges.

Rome Canonizes Mother Teresa

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Pope Francis proclaimed Mother Teresa a saint on Sunday [September 4, 2016], bestowing the Catholic Church’s highest honor on one of the most widely admired public figures in recent history.”4 Canonization requirements include “an enduring reputation for sanctity among the faithful” and the performance of two miracles.5

Mother Teresa’s humanitarian efforts continue to be lauded as evidence of her “sanctity.” According to the Roman Catholic Church she also performed two miracles. These miracles are important because “a person worthy of sainthood must demonstrably be in heaven, actually interceding with God on behalf of those in need of healing.”6 Roman Catholics pray to their saints. For obvious reasons, they do not want to pray to anyone who is not in heaven. So to prove that Mother Teresa is in heaven, Rome has “documented” two miracles that she performed.

Both of the miracles attributed to St. Teresa are miracles of healing that occurred after her death. It is reported that “a woman in India whose stomach tumor disappeared and a man in Brazil with brain abscesses who awoke from a coma both credited their dramatic recovery to prayers offered to the nun after her death in 1997.”7 Doctors who work for the Vatican have determined that there is no other (natural or medical) explanation for these recoveries. Therefore Rome has determined that St. Teresa must have heard these prayers and miraculously healed these individuals.

Rome’s canonization of Mother Teresa is ridiculous but also very instructive. Rome continues to deny that all believers are equal in Christ Jesus by elevating some to “hero” status in the church. She continues to show that she knows nothing about what holiness is—the grace of God to fight sin and to begin to observe His commandments. She continues to hold to unbiblical views about the afterlife. Most people go to purgatory but “saints” go directly to heaven. And Rome continues to promote the wicked theology that denies Jesus is the only Savior by teaching her members to pray to saints and look to them for salvation in addition to Jesus (Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 30).

Pope Francis has a reputation for being a “progressive.” Prior to him, many people have looked for (rooted for?) changes in the Roman Catholic Church. For some reason, many people want to find reason to make peace with Rome, including people in Reformed churches. The canonization of Mother Teresa proves that Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church have not departed at all from the false doctrines and superstitions that our Reformed fathers condemned in the sixteenth century. What John Calvin said then still applies:

Divine worship being vitiated by so many false opinions, and perverted by so many impious and foul superstitions, the sacred Majesty of God is insulted…, His holy name profaned…Nay, while the whole Christian world is openly polluted with idolatry, men adore, instead of Him, their own fictions. A thousand superstitions reign, superstitions which are just so many open insults to Him. The power of Christ is almost obliterated from the minds of men, the hope of salvation is transferred from Him to empty, frivolous, and nugatory ceremonies…religion throughout has degenerated into an entirely different form.

1 These facts were gleaned from arkencounter.com and from christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/july-web-only/ken-ham-arkencounter-visit.html.

2 Juliet Williams, “California Governor Signs Crisis Pregnancy Centers Bill,” The Washington Times, October 9, 2015, http:// www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/9/California-governor-signs-crisis-pregnancy-centers.

3 Bradford Richardson, “Illinois governor signs bill forcing prelife doctors to promote abortion,” The Washington Times, August 2, 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/2/bruce-rauner-illinois-governor-signs-bill-forcing.

4 Francis X. Rocca and Daniel Stacey, “Mother Teresa Canonized as a Saint by Pope Francis,” The Wall Street Journal, September 4, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/mother-teresa-canonized-as-a-saint-by-pope-francis-1472980320.

5 https://www.ewtn.com/johnpaul2/cause/process.asp.

6 Tom Gjelten, “How the Catholic Church Documented Mother Teresa’s Two Miracles,” National Pubic Radio, August 31, 2016, http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/08/31/491937448/how-the-catholic-church-documented-mother-teresas-two-miracles.

7 Gjelten.