The following is by contributor John Mitchell of the Christian Restoration Association

As many of you know, our daughter is a rising fifth grader. Last fall, during her fourth-grade year, she was assigned a project to research and report on the RMS Titanic, the famous ill-fated ship that sunk during her maiden voyage 108 years ago. Unexpectedly, this project resulted in her developing a more than curious interest in the Titanic and all that surrounded her building, sailing, and sinking.

As a result, last December our family travelled to Pigeon Forge, TN, to visit the Titanic Museum. It may look a little weird as you drive by on Highway 441, but it was a fascinating museum, well worth the time and money to visit. The museum contains many full-size replicas, numerous artifacts recovered from the wreckage, and details about the construction and operation of the ship. Complete with a 28°F reservoir of water, so you can experience first-hand how cold the water was that night, into which the passengers were mercilessly plunged.

Because we knew that our return trip home would take us right by it, the day following our visit to the Titanic Museum, we stopped and visited the Ark Encounter, the full-size replica of Noah’s Ark. This massive display, built by the Answers in Genesis Ministry, is also well worth the time and money to visit. This Ark project was designed primarily to demonstrate that the Ark as detailed in Genesis 6 could in fact have accomplished its designed mission. One trip through the Ark Encounter and one is left with the clear conclusion that “Yes, indeed, the Ark certainly could work as God intended.”

Construction of the Titanic began on March 31st, 1909, by the White Star Line owned by J.P. Morgan. A little over two years later, the ship was launched at 12:13 pm, Wednesday, May 31st, 1911, in the presence of 100,000 onlookers. Much is known about the construction of the Titanic — from the over three million iron and steel rivets used to construct the hull, to the magnificent, spacious, and elegant first-class quarters outfitted with amenities that would seem “first-class” even today. Complete with a swimming pool, Turkish baths, barber shop, and gymnasium the Titanic truly had it all — what a ship!

The crowning feature of the Titanic was the Grand Staircase, an exact replica of which one ascends at the museum in Pigeon Forge. The staircase featured elaborate balustrades and a huge glass dome overhead. Perhaps the most interesting feature was located at the top of the Grand Staircase. Here was a large carved panel that contained a clock surrounded by two classical figures symbolizing Honor and Glory crowning Time.

Honor … Glory … Time … Titanic tossed her lines overboard and got underway for her maiden voyage April 10th, 1912. She sank at 2:02 am April 15th, a few short days later. For all the pomp and circumstance, she was in service less than five days.

Meanwhile, Noah built an Ark. All we know of the construction, materials, and layout of the Ark fits in a whopping ten verses in Genesis, namely Genesis 6:13-22. The entire design and instructions take only three verses! The Ark was constructed of “gopherwood,” a transliteration of the Hebrew whose exact identity is uncertain. Noah was instructed to “make rooms in the Ark,” but the questions of how many, how big, how crude, how fancy, etc. remain unanswered. Who, if anyone, helped build the Ark? How long did the project take? In sharp contrast with the Titanic, it is staggering what we don’t know about the Ark.

Looking closely at Genesis 6, we see that Noah is told two simple things. First, how to build the Ark. Second, what to do after the Ark was built. Genesis 6:22 simply says, “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.” The rest was up to God.

A Tale of Two Ships. The most obvious contrast between these two huge sea-going vessels lies in the success of each. Only the most hard-hearted and calloused individual does not feel for the more than 1500 people who lost their lives that fateful night onboard the Titanic. We can’t help but observe, however, that the most magnificent ship that man had ever imagined, designed, and built failed to achieve its simple mission, namely, to transport passengers on a one-way journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Stunningly, she was in service for less than five days!

The Ark, on the other hand, imagined, designed, and built according to God’s exact specifications performed flawlessly. Unsurprisingly, the Ark delivered Noah, his family, and all the “passengers” safely through the global, world-altering flood.

What can we learn from this tale? The Titanic was built by man on a foundation of steel plates. The Ark was built by Noah on a foundation of gopherwood. The Church is being built by the Lord on the foundation of “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Are we building the Church like Noah, following the Lord’s simple instructions to the letter, doing exactly what the Lord has told us to do, exactly like the Lord has told us, and then leaving the rest to Him? Conversely, are we building it like the Harland and Wolff shipyard would, trying to outfit the Church with the latest and greatest manmade comforts, entertainments, societal customs, and eye-catching displays? The answer is simple — it is up to us.

I’m just We here at the Christian Restoration Association are committed to the pure simple New Testament message — take God at His word, build the Church His way, and leave the rest to Him.

By John Mitchell

John currently serves as Executive Director of the Christian Restoration Association and & Editor of the Restoration Herald.

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