The Ark Encounter, a life-sized Noah’s ark replica located in Williamstown, Kentucky, has made international headlines ever since it opened in 2016. A stunning architectural achievement, the ark brings a key biblical account to life in a truly unprecedented way.
“I had parents who believed God’s word — who stood on God’s word,” Ham recently told “The Pure Flix Insider,” noting that his father was “always looking at what the liberal critics were saying,” because he wanted to make sure he had well-thought out answers.
Despite growing up in Australia — a country Ham described as “very secular” — the apologist had an upbringing that was firmly rooted in the Christian gospel.
“My father and mother would teach us God’s word,” he said. “But not just teach us what it said, but also give us answers to what the skeptics, what the critics were saying that would undermine God’s word.”
Ham said he felt a calling to Christian ministry at a very young age. In fact, it all started when he was 10 years old and a missionary arrived with a challenge for him and fellow children.
That missionary asked if the kids would want to commit to go wherever God wanted them — a prospect Ham willingly accepted, knowing from that point on that he would devote his life to spreading biblical truth.
“I was committing to be a missionary for the Lord,” he said. “I meant that 100 percent.”
As time went on and Ham grew up, he became a science teacher and started to work in Australian schools. But a key moment in his journey came after two students made some comments about the Bible — critiques that left Ham truly feeling compelled to right some educational wrongs.
“One of the students said, ‘How can you be a Christian when you know the Bible’s not true?’” Ham recounted. “I said, ‘How do you know the Bible isn’t true?’”
The student responded by noting that their textbooks make it clear that evolution is the truth and, thus, the Bible cannot be valid. Then, another student said the Bible couldn’t possibly be true, as it seemed implausible that Noah could have fit all the animals on the ark.
This all deeply disturbed Ham.
“I had a real burden that I believe came from the Lord, a fire in my bones,” he said, noting that he began to wonder, “Why can’t we have a creation museum, one that teaches about creation, not evolution?”
Ham soon began to teach all over Australia and then throughout the U.S. in the 1980s. It was in 1987 that he and his wife came to America as missionaries, assuming they’d eventually return to Australia within a few years.
Flashforward more than 30 years and Ham is still in America and has become one of the most prominent creationist voices in the nation. His Ark Encounter and Creation Museum are two of the biggest Christian-themed attractions in the world; he has strategically placed them in a key location aimed at maximizing visitor attendance.
“We looked for a destination location,” Ham said of the decision to place these attractions in Kentucky. “We didn’t want to compete with the Disneys or others.”
Ham said one of the most frequently asked questions he has contended with is: “How can Noah fit the animals on the ark?” Through the Ark Encounter he’s responding to that curiosity, showing audiences why he believes the biblical account is entirely accurate.
“It is the biggest timber frame structure in the world,” he said. “[And it was built] according to the dimensions of the Bible.”
Ham said he often finds himself in awe when he is at either the Creation Museum or Ark Encounter, as he is overwhelmed by gratitude when he hears stories of how these attractions have spiritually impacted visitors.
“It’s very humbling, because you sit back and say to yourself, ‘It’s amazing to think that God would even allow us that privilege and opportunity of sharing the gospel in this way and hearing this feedback,’” he said. “We just thank Him.”
Ham is set to host a powerful event from April 17-21 at the Ark Encounter. The Answering Atheists conference, sponsored by PureFlix.com, will center around Easter and will include well-known speakers like Ham and apologist Ray Comfort.
“Not only do we need to reach atheists, but we need to equip people to know how to reach atheists,” Ham said. “They need to know how to talk to people. They need to have answers.”
Irish Bishop Against Practicing Yoga in Christian Schools
An Irish bishop has written to Catholic schools urging them to ban yoga as it is ‘not of Christian origin’ and the children should spend their time ‘in adoration of Jesus’ instead.
Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, wrote to principals, teachers and school staff members in Waterford City and County, Ireland, on October 10.
In his letter, he said: ‘Yoga is not of Christian origin and is not suitable for our parish school setting and especially not during religious education time.
‘I have been asked by several people to say a word on yoga and mindfulness. My question is, ‘Will they bring us closer to God or replace him?’
The bishop claimed that Christian Mindfulness is ‘meditation on Christ’ which empties the mind of ‘everything unnecessary’ in order to become ‘aware of the presence and love of Christ’.
While he also quoted Pope Francis that practices like yoga are ‘not capable of opening our hearts up to God’.
The bishop added how people can ‘take a million courses in spirituality’ but this activity ‘will never be able to give you freedom’, echoing Pope Francis’s speech in 2015.
He said Pope Francis’s philosophy was in keeping with Ireland’s Grow In Love programme. This touches on Christian doctrine, Scripture, morality and prayer.
Teacher’s were reminded that October is the ‘month of the Rosary’ and they should each pray in a bid to get closer to Jesus, in the letter.
But the primary school curriculum allows a degree of flexibility about how its implemented, according to the Irish National Teachers Organisation, who hit-back at his view.
John Stokes, a yoga instructor in Waterford, said the practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness should be ’embraced’ in ‘an age where children are really suffering from anxiety and stress’.
‘There is no dogma taught in our classes and Yoga in it’s truest sense is a movement and breath awareness practice for health and wellbeing.
They said ‘here’s to tolerance, love and unity’ and invited him to a one-to-one yoga session or class of his choice’ at their Wellness Centre in Youghal, Ireland.
The Irish National Teachers Organisation said the primary school curriculum allows schools a certain amount of flexibility and autonomy with regard to its implementation.
They said the schools ‘are best placed’ to make the decisions about how the subjects are taught, taking into consideration the ‘school culture, ethos and needs of the pupils’.
This is not the first time Bishop Cullinan has received backlash for his views as he said he was to establish a ‘delivery ministry’ group to rid people of the devil through exorcism, last year.
He also claimed the cervical cancer vaccine could lead to promiscuity in 2017.
The bishop said the vaccine ‘lulls girls into false sense of security’ and encourages sexual activity, adding: ‘Prevention, the number one and most effective protection, is abstinence. A good old traditional value.’
He later apologised and admitted he was not fully informed about the vaccination programme. Cullinan’s ‘intention was solely motivated to protect people from HPV’.
China Demolishes 3,000-Seat Megachurch during Worship Service
The People’s Republic of China destroyed a church that reportedly could seat 3,000 people and detained its pastors, according to a human rights organization.
An international nonprofit Christian human rights group based in Texas, reported the incident in a statement released Saturday. According to the group, Chinese authorities provided no legal papers to justify the demolition.
The church was located in Funan, Anhui province. Its pastors, Geng Yimin and Sun Yongyao, were detained under suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.”
China Aid President Bob Fu said in a statement that the incident was “yet another clear example showing the escalation of religious persecution today by the Chinese Communist regime.”
“The total disregard of religious freedom’s protection as enshrined in the Communist Party’s own Constitution tells the whole world President Xi is determined to continue his war against the peaceful Christian faithful. This campaign will surely fail in the end.”
While China’s persecution of religious groups has existed for many years, recently under President Xi Jinping a wave of crackdowns on religious practices in China has taken place.
The Communist government has destroyed or damaged several churches, reflecting concerns about the increasing Christian population of the country.
In the summer, True Jesus Church in Henan province was razed to the ground, according to persecution watchdog Bitter Winter. Police officers reportedly dragged out all believers from the church before they demolished the property.
Bitter Winter also reported last month that the Ten Commandments have been removed from nearly every Three-Self church and meeting venue in a county of Luoyang city and replaced with the President Xi Jinping’s quotes as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to “sinicize” Christianity.
In addition to cracking down on its Christian minority, China has engaged in violent persecution of its Uighur Muslim and Falun Gong communities.
The China Tribunal, a human rights group, told the United Nations Human Rights Council last month that the Chinese government is harvesting organs from religious minorities, with possibly hundreds of thousands of victims.
“Forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including the religious minorities of Falun Gong and Uighurs, has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale, and that it continues today. This involves hundreds of thousands of victims.”
“Victim for victim and death for death, cutting out the hearts and other organs from living, blameless, harmless, peaceable people constitutes one of the worst mass atrocities of this century.”
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