WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Rev. Ken Ham, who received international attention in February for defending creationism during a debate with TV’s “Science Guy” Bill Nye, told the 2014 graduates of Piedmont International University that they must defend Christianity amid challenges to the Bible and the Book of Genesis.
He said proponents of gay marriages, the educational system and the media are negatively influencing too many churches. American religious leaders must push back against those trends to reach young adults and restore their faith in God and the Bible, he said.
“We need to understand what is happening,” Ham said. “Satan will get you not to believe in the word of God.”
Ham was the keynote speaker Friday night at the 67th annual commencement of Piedmont International University, which recently changed its name from Piedmont Bible College.
Piedmont, a private Bible school, is known for training ministers and missionaries.
Ham, 52, is the president of Answers in Genesis, an organization that operates the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky.
The organization also promotes that the Earth is 6,000 years old.
A group of 89 students received degrees during the graduation ceremony, which was held at Salem Baptist Church across the street from the school in West Salem. About 1,200 people attended the event.
Ham told the audience that secularists are changing American culture in ways that are negatively affecting many churches.
He asked why has the United States, whose founding fathers wanted to be free to worship God, turned aside biblical teachings found in the Book of Genesis.
Ham also reminded the students that they must study hard to reach their goals.
Nick Decker, 22, of Winston-Salem said he majored in Christian ministry and plans to become a pastor.
Decker added that graduating from Piedmont International is the proudest moment in his life.
Danielle Noble, 21, of Raleigh said that the academic work was difficult at the university, but it prepared her for the future.
“Now that I have done that, I can come do anything,” said Noble, also a graduating senior. “I’m ready to go out into the real world.”