Book Review: Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer

Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it
by Ken Ham & Britt Beemer with Todd Hillard
© 2009 by Ken Ham
Master Books: Green Forest, AR, 190 pp.

“I dare you. I dare you to try it this Sunday. Look to the right, and look to the left… Look at the children and look at the teens around you…. Now, imagine that two-thirds of them have just disappeared” (p. 21).

That’s the startling opening to Chapter 1 of Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer, who convincingly make the case that two-thirds of the youth in our churches are already gone in terms of their commitment to the Christian faith.

For the last several years Christian leaders have become increasingly alarmed about studies that show a growing number of young people leaving the church. In Already Gone, creationist Ken Ham teams up with analyst Britt Beemer to explore the reasons behind this exodus flood. With writing assistance from Todd Hillard, these men present the results of their extensive survey as well as provide suggestions for turning the tide.

Both statistics and solutions may shock you. Most people tend to think the church is losing its youth in college, but Already Gone shows that the problem starts long before that. Of the twenty-somethings who no longer believe all of the accounts in the Bible are true, only 10.6% first doubted in college. A surprising 43.7% had their first doubts in high school and 39.8% initially doubted in middle school (p. 32).

You may think these sobering statistics reflect trends in liberal, mainline denominations, but the authors focused on young adults from conservative, Bible-believing churches.

If that isn’t enough to jolt you out of complacency, they additionally discovered that those who had attended Sunday school were more likely to doubt the Bible’s accounts, defend abortion, defend premarital sex, accept evolution, view the church as hypocritical, and believe that good people don’t need to go to church (p. 39).

These young people fail to connect what they’ve learned in Sunday school with what they encounter in other areas of life. Bible “stories” lack the authenticity they ascribe to history and science. Too many youth in our churches are not equipped to defend their faith in the face of life’s challenges.

What can be done?

Ham and Beemer advocate a “revolution” of radical proportions. They call parents, church educators, youth leaders, and pastors to defend the Word and live the Word. From Scripture, the authors show each group their biblical mandate and list “Action Points” that provide practical suggestions for implementation. They also list additional resources in an appendix.

Already Gone impresses on the reader the urgent need to incorporate apologetics and application into home and church education in a way that will banish doubts and keep young people strongly committed to their Christian faith.


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