Around the web 5/17/2013 — A Christian leader who is really a Baal worshiper, Old-Earth Christian homeschooling, and more…

TO REJECT YEC IS LIKE BAAL WORSHIP? — If you don’t agree with Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham, you are a compromiser. You might even be a closet Baal worshiper. Mr. Ham recently singled out Hank Hanegraff (who is “The Bible Answer Man” on the radio) as a compromiser because he doesn’t believe that leviathan and behemoth (in Job 40-41) were something like a plesiosaur and a brachiosaurus, respectively. Ham equates Hanegraff’s “compromise” with the Israelite’s worship of Baal, and states that The Bible Answer Man is attacking and undermining the authority of God’s infallible word by accepting an old Earth and rejecting the YEC reading of dinosaurs into the Bible.

I’m not making this up. If you don’t believe that dinosaurs are in the Bible, you are a compromiser.

I’ve written about the YEC “dinosaurs in the Bible” invention previously: The ESV Study Bible on creation — Dinosaurs in Job?

THE NEED FOR OLD-EARTH HOMESCHOOLING — From Christianity Today: A New Creation Story: Why do more homeschoolers want evolution in their textbooks?

“Many homeschool parents contact me or show up at my office and quietly say, ‘Is there anything besides [YEC]?’ ” said Kenneth Turner, a theology professor at the traditionally YEC [Bryan] college who homeschools.

(It is interesting that Bryan College is a YEC school, while William Jennings Bryan was an old-Earther).

GLOBAL WARMING AND JESUS’ SECOND COMING — Climate Change Study: Religious Belief In Second Coming Of Christ Could Slow Global Warming Action. This doesn’t surprise me, given the “disposable Earth” attitude toward the environment of many conservative Evangelicals. Like young-Earth creationism, this attitude towards the Earth is neither Biblically correct nor scientifically valid.

SAUDI ARABIA ON MY DOORSTEP — The Bakken is booming. Companies line up to drill after survey shows Dakota oil, gas fields far bigger than believed.

“These world-class formations contain even more energy resource potential than previously understood, which is important information as we continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil,” newly confirmed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Tuesday in a statement.

The new U.S. Geological Survey estimates there are 7.4 billion barrels of oil, 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 0.53 billion barrels of natural gas liquids in the Bakken and Three Forks Formations in the Williston Basin Province of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Ken Ham, home schooling, and theological orthodoxy

From Christianity Today: Creation Museum Founder Disinvited from Homeschooling Conferences

Ken Ham, founder and president of Answers in Genesis, was disinvited from several homeschooling conferences after he criticized a fellow speaker at two Great Homeschool Conventions conferences and on his blog.

“The Board believes that Ken’s public criticism of the convention itself and other speakers at our convention require him to surrender the spiritual privilege of addressing our homeschool audience,” wrote Great Homeschool Conventions conference organizer Brennan Dean in the email dismissing Ham.

“Our expression of sacrifice and extraordinary kindness towards Ken and AIG has been returned to us and our attendees with Ken publicly attacking our conventions and other speakers,” Dean wrote. “Our Board believes Ken’s comments to be unnecessary, ungodly, and mean-spirited statements that are divisive at best and defamatory at worst.”

Back in the mid- to late-1990s, we were a home school family. Our children were in their early elementary years, and I am convinced that my wife gave them an excellent educational foundation. While we were deep into home schooling (which requires the commitment and involvement of both parents when possible) we attended a number of meetings of a Christian home school parents’ group in St. Louis. As I expected, the parents and leadership of this group seemed to be largely made up of young-earth creationists, but due to our strong commitment to both Christ and the Scriptures I felt we still had enough in common with them to make our participation worth while. Over time, it became clear that the leader had a rather authoritative side to her, and that any viewpoint other than young-earth creationism would not be tolerated. The last meeting I was at I remember her warning—perhaps ordering would be a better word—parents not to take their children to the St. Louis Zoo because of the new talking statue of Charles Darwin. I wouldn’t be surprised fifteen years later if some parent were feeling guilty because they did take their son or daughter to the zoo, with possible spiritual damage to the child.

Many Christian home school conventions and curriculum fairs do not allow exhibitors or speakers who teach any sort of old-earth creationism or theistic evolution. That is why it is refreshing that some home school organizations have recently invited a broader range of speakers to their conventions. I first read about the present controversy regarding Ken Ham almost two weeks ago on Dr. Jay Wile’s Proslogion blog, where he wrote An Opportunity for Critical Thinking! Dr. Wile, a young-Earth creationist himself, acknowledges that there has always been somewhat of a diversity within the church regarding the interpretation of Genesis 1, that as a Christian one can believe in an old Earth and still be within the bounds of Biblical orthodoxy, and that it is healthy for home schooled Christian students to be exposed to a variety of viewpoints. Wile pointed out that Ham was quite upset that a Christian home school group would invite a theologian who accepts both an old Earth and evolutionary biology, Dr. Peter Enns, to speak at the same convention that Ham himself was speaking at. Ham wrote the following on his Around the World with Ken Ham blog:

Sadly, one of the speakers also listed to give presentations does not believe in a historical Adam or historical Fall (he will also be promoting his “Bible” curriculum for homeschoolers). In fact, what he teaches about Genesis is not just compromising Genesis with evolution, it is outright liberal theology that totally undermines the authority of the Word of God. It is an attack on the Word—on Christ.

Ham continued to criticize both the convention and Dr. Enns, and eventually it became too much for the convention organizers, and they “disinvited” him from future conventions.

The present controversy has nothing to do with Ken Ham’s outspoken advocacy of young-Earth creationism. The convention organizers specifically state that they themselves are YECs. Ham has always been rather outspoken and passionate, and I don’t think anyone has a problem with that. What hung Ham in this case was the way in which he criticized both his opponents, such as Dr. Enns, and the organizers of the convention. The convention organizers gave their reasons for their decision in their public statement about the situation:

Dr. Ham was removed for his spirit not for his message. As an invited guest, Dr. Ham’s spirit toward our convention was unkind. Dr. Ham’s spirit toward our attendees was not gracious. Dr. Ham’s spirit toward other speakers was unprofessional. In short, a proud, ungrateful and divisive spirit was projected from Dr. Ham. Regardless of the message, Dr. Ham’s approach sullied the atmosphere of the convention.

It wasn’t about Ham disagreeing with Enns or others at the convention, but how he went about doing it.

My personal experience in interaction with Ken Ham has been positive. Back in November, I had wrote a post entitled Ken Ham and I are in complete agreement, in which I applauded Ham for his clear presentation of the gospel of Christ. Somehow Answers in Genesis took notice of this, and Ham responded with Do Old Earthers and Young Earthers Agree on Anything? in which he acknowledged that he doesn’t tie salvation to belief in a young Earth. He went on to state that he viewed acceptance of an old Earth as a distortion of Scripture, but I in no way took this as a personal attack.

Perhaps his passions got the best of him this time.

My hope and prayer is that good would come out of this kerfuffle. Specifically, I would like to see the following happen:

  • That there would be a restoration of fellowship between all parties involved that would demonstrate Christian love and forgiveness.
  • An acknowledgement from young-Earth creationist leaders that one can be an old-Earther and be thoroughly orthodox in their Christian beliefs. One’s interpretation of Genesis in regards to the age of the Earth or the extent of biological evolution is secondary, or even tertiary, compared to doctrines such as the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith in Christ. I get rather weary of the if-you-don’t-agree-with-AiG/ICR-you-are-a-compromiser attitude that is often expressed.

Grace and Peace


Related articles:


This stirred up a bit of a hornets nest for Wile (the creator of the popular Apologia science curriculum, though he no longer owns the company), as evidenced by the 508 comments (as of this morning) on Wile’s post. Many wrote to support Wile’s “bigger box” view that a greater diversity should be encouraged within the Christian home school movement, but there were plenty of comments such as the following:

Years ago I read Dr Wiles [sic] position statement on vaccinations [Wile is a supporter of childhood vaccinations]. In my correspondence I found Dr Wile to be arrogant and anything but a “critical thinker”. So it comes as no surprise to me that he is in the camp of those who pay lip service to inspiration while supporting those who would undermine it. Frankly, I am happy to see the real Jay Wile exposing himself for what he really is, a fraud.

——————–

You are a wolf in sheep’s clothing spreading lies just like the rest of the perishing world. Repent.

——————–

It is time heretics such as this Enns fellow and you are silenced. Where do you get your money from anyway? Is someone paying you to blaspheme the Word of God? You know like Richard Dawkins or Larry Krauss? Repent while there is yet time.

I guess one can be a young-Earth creationist and still not be able to pronounce all of the YEC shibboleths correctly.

YEC college scores #1 in academics

A week ago I blogged about the possible link between creationism, home-schooling, and apostasy. I am the first to admit that my hypothesis that there is a link between creationism and apostasy (falling away from the faith) was anecdotal, and I am pleased that there are many home-schooled kids raised on young-Earth materials come out of that with their faith intact (as always, by the grace of God).

Patrick Henry College is a classical, Christian, liberal arts university in Virginia, with a student body that consists mostly of students who were home-schooled. The school recently scored highest in the nation on the ETS Proficiency Profile. Gene Edward Veith, provost of Patrick Henry (and author of the blog Cranach, which is one of a handful of blogs that I read on a daily basis) boasts about his school:

On the ETS Proficiency Profile, a recognized and widely-used standardized test of academic proficiency in higher education, Patrick Henry College students posted the highest average scores of all institutions that took the test. Those 261 schools taking the test included liberal arts colleges and large research, doctoral-granting universities. Among those taking that test, PHC’s academic performance is #1.

The school is unabashedly young-Earth creationist, as stated in its catalog:

Any biology, Bible, or other courses at PHC dealing with creation will teach creation from the understanding of Scripture that God’s creative work, as described in Genesis 1:1-31, was completed in six twenty-four hour days. All faculty for such courses will be chosen on the basis of their personal adherence to this view. PHC expects its faculty in these courses, as in all courses, to expose students to alternate theories and the data, if any, which support those theories. In this context, PHC in particular expects its biology faculty to provide a full exposition of the claims of the theory of Darwinian evolution, intelligent design, and other major theories while, in the end, to teach creation as both biblically true and as the best fit to observed data.

Of course I would disagree with most of that statement, including the conclusion. Young-Earth creationism is biblically unnecessary and a poor fit to observed data, especially in the field of geology. But that is not my main point for now.

Patrick Henry College scored first in all categories, including Natural Science. This is despite the fact that the college catalog only lists five science courses: Biology, Biology Laboratory, Physics, Physics Laboratory, and Origins.

Do you have any speculations as to how a young-Earth creationist college that places almost no emphasis on science can score #1 in Natural Science?

I’ve got a few ideas:

  • High admission standards
  • An emphasis on writing
  • An emphasis on logic and reasoning
  • The breadth provided by a liberal education (as opposed to the narrow specialization of many university degrees)
  • The test might not have a sufficiently comprehensive science section

One additional thought: PHC has the highest average score in Natural Science. That does not mean that they had an unusually high number of students who scored high on the Natural Science section.

Grace and Peace

(P.S. I write this as one who has been both a home-school parent and a science teacher in a classical Christian school)