File this one under confession, contemplation, opinion and praise…
So there is this huge boat now in Kentucky, as part of a new theme park. According to the Ark Encounter website:
“Ark Encounter features a full-size Noah’s Ark, built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, this modern engineering marvel amazes visitors young and old. Ark Encounter is situated in the beautiful Williamstown, Kentucky, halfway between Cincinnati and Lexington on I-75. From the moment you turn the corner and the towering Ark comes into view, to the friendly animals in the zoo, to the jaw-dropping exhibits inside the Ark, you’ll experience the pages of the Bible like never before.”
It’s certainly getting some attention, though it sounds like not as much as Ken Ham had hoped, from a financial/profit perspective (At least according to some searches I did).
It’s also stirring up, in some circles, controversy. The argument over whether it is historically accurate (If it ever happened, how the ark could have housed all the animals, how they would have survived, etc.). But also, things like money are brought up, in objections from non-believers AND believers.
- $18 million in tax breaks. First of all – that tax break is due to the cost of the ark being built, and the fact that ANY theme park is entitled to this tax break (read here for more information). To be clear, it’s NOT $18 million of our cash in their pocket. The money would never have been given to the government, if the ark were never built. It’s not like Ken Ham and his company got kick-backs personally. Again – it’s something any theme park, including Disney, 6 flags, you name it, are entitled to
- $92 million to build this thing??? Woah! What??? How many hungry people could be fed, or homeless could be housed, with $92 million??? Well, I don’t know, I bet a lot. But honestly, nobody asked that about our new Vikings stadium, which by the way a good portion of it WAS paid for out of my tax paying pocket.
To be fair, many do object to a stadium being built, when money could be used in other ways. The difference here is that none of the money raised by tax dollars (Again – a tax BREAK is NOT tax dollars)
- Still – that’s a tone of money. And even if it came from donors, why wouldn’t they donate their money to a “better cause”?
I kinda think of Jesus response to those who objected to the woman “wasting an expensive bottle of perfume” on Jesus’ head. From Mark chapter 14:
While He was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head.
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Jesus told them, point blank, “The poor you will always have, and you can help them any time you want”. I take that also to mean, “The poor have always been here, why haven’t YOU, the one who wants to condemn this woman for her devotion to me, done anything about it before? Why do you bring it up now?”
Yes, I know $92 million is a ridiculous amount of money. And I also assume the majority of attenders will be believers, not so much useful as a tool to reach the lost. But I don’t know, can you honestly say God did not tell Ken Ham in some way to build it? Can you? People did think Noah was crazy too, when he built the first ark.
Oh wait – it doesn’t really SAY in the bible that Noah and his family were mocked! I always THOUGHT it said that, because I inferred or was taught that. But I can’t find where exactly it SAYS he was mocked. Nor can others. He may have been. I probably would have mocked him, if I were around then.
Bottom line though, if I’m being honest, I think the boat silly and a bit much. Maybe foolish, if you’ll forgive me for being blunt and judgmental. But Ken Ham. He’s certainly not afraid of being a fool for Christ. I don’t say this to insult him, nor to defend him. Just stating what I see – Ken Ham is not ashamed of the Gospel. And while I may even look at something as large as this big boat, and question the logic in building it, when I see a video of him sharing the gospel with Bill Nye the Science Guy, I tend to think, maybe it’s all worth it.
I can only find this video, from Facebook, so if you don’t have a Facebook account and can’t see it, I’m sorry.
And yes, I am quite sure that Mr. Nye’s respectful silence during Mr. Ham’s Gospel presentation, was most likely out of respect. Very likely not the first time Bill Nye has heard the Gospel (Heck – he’s debated bible scholars many times, including Ken Ham a couple years ago. Likely the message fell on deaf ears.
But as a believer, I know that God’s word does not return void. I know that there is no such thing as “falling on deaf ears”.
“As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it”
The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
“For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17)
God is giving Bill Nye, and many others, every chance to come to repentance. This is not a matter of Ken Ham winning a debate or argument – I don’t really care if ANYONE wins a debate or argument, and that is not the point of my post. Ken Ham was simply a tool, an instrument in that moment, to deliver the good news of Jesus Christ. For that, I commend Ken Ham for his obedience.
And Bill Nye is the one precious lost sheep we read about in Luke 15:
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
I have no idea if that means some day Bill Nye will repent and have eternal life. Neither do you. That’s between Mr. Nye and God. But I do rejoice in the good news being spread. However I do know that to God, Bill Nye’s life is worth a million times 92 million… And so is yours… And that big dumb boat just might have served its one purpose. 🙂