Ken Ham tells the truth

Ken Ham finally comes clean (photo by John Foxe, via Wikimedia Commons).

Some months ago, I wrote a post in which I accused Ken Ham of being a fibber.

I am not above changing my views to accommodate new facts (I’m not a young-earth creationist, after all), so I feel obligated to share with you an article at Answers in Genesis’ website in which the unthinkable happens: Ken Ham tells the truth.

Ostensibly a response to these gracious words by Deborah Haarsma, president of The BioLogos Foundation, Ham’s post is jarring in its candid presentation of what he actually believes.

No longer do people like me have to speculate, infer, imply and otherwise intimate that Ham is an arrogant and self-righteous prig, who believes young-earth creationism trumps the gospel and fancies himself to be in a lonely and Quixotic battle against anyone who finds reason to see allegory in Genesis; in this article, he makes that quite plain all by himself.

Haarsma’s article was a concerned yet cogent and respectful letter addressing Ken Ham’s views of both her organization and Hugh Ross, of the old-earth group Reasons to Believe. Haarsma quite accurately details where the three organizations differ, but points out the much larger common ground that exists between them, namely, a shared belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and his saving work on the cross (this is also known as “the gospel,” or “the only thing that really, really, really matters, when it comes to the Christian faith”).

Haarsma writes:

All three organizations love the Bible and strive to follow Christ. While we disagree significantly on how best to interpret the Bible and the scientific evidence, we would agree that these are secondary issues to the gospel. We are all still believers together. Can we refrain from so quickly calling each other “compromised Christians” or flat-out “wrong”?

Sounds fair to me. So what does Ham think? “No thanks,” he says. In his piece, he comes out swinging:

This is a reminder to everyone that today, just because someone states they believe the Bible is inspired or authoritative does not mean they take it as written! As I explain in the book Already Compromised there is a “Newspeak” in the church today, and it has become a stumbling block to many people. It’s really a form of double-speak. People like Dr. Haarsma make it sound like they have such a high view of the Bible, whereas in reality, she has a low view of Scripture and a high view of man’s fallible beliefs about origins!

Wow, this is amazing! Ken Ham not only understands scripture better than anyone else who has ever lived, and knows far more about science than such feeble mortal minds as Stephen Hawking, he also possesses secret knowledge about the hearts and minds of others that even they themselves don’t know!

Dr. Haarsma may think she holds the Bible in high regard, but Ham knows otherwise. He doesn’t explain exactly how he knows this, which leads to the only possible assumption: Ham “knows” Haarsma does not have a high view of scripture, because if she did, she would agree with him. It’s fallacious reasoning, but with a twist of egotism so deep and sinister it would make a wicked witch dizzy.

In a simple blog post, Ham has declared himself the arbiter between God and man. His views are the standard by which Christians are to be judged. Am I being unfair? See for yourself. Like I said, Ham is coming clean:

We have written a number of articles on the AiG website to warn people that compromising God’s Word in Genesis is an authority issue, a gospel issue, and, indirectly, a salvation issue.

But wait a minute… I thought Ham said in an article criticizing me that evolution wasn’t a salvation issue? Yep, here it is. He wrote, “I would like to point out that I agree with Francke that the creation/evolution debate is not a salvation issue. Like I’ve said before, salvation is dependent on faith in Christ Jesus alone and not on your view of origins.”

Now, he’s saying it is a salvation issue. Seems like a contradiction, but since Ken Ham is apparently speaking directly for God now, probably best not to question him. Here’s more about Haarsma:

Dr. Haarsma really wants me to say that they have a view of Genesis that’s valid, and that I just happen to hold a different view—but that we can all agree to disagree! In other words, she does not really want me to judge her view against Scripture, and she does not want AiG to be bold and unashamed in contending for the faith, like the watchman in Ezekiel to warn people about those who undermine the authority of God’s Word.

Actually, Mr. Ham, I don’t think Dr. Haarsma would mind if you judge her views against scripture, as long as she reserves the right to do the same with yours. But hang on, readers, it gets worse from here:

So what is my response to the dinner invitation?

I’m reminded of how Nehemiah responded when opponents who knew what he was doing and why—and they knew what Nehemiah believed (and rejected his stand)—wanted to meet with him:

“Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono…” (Nehemiah 6:1–2)

And the response from Nehemiah was the following:

“So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3)

We at AiG are busy “rebuilding a wall.” We are equipping God’s people to defend the Christian faith, and I believe we are doing a great work for God. We are busy being “watchmen”—warning people of those who undermine the authority of the Word of God. Now, of course, I don’t consider Dr. Ross a personal enemy (as Nehemiah considered some of his detractors)—he is actually a pleasant person. But he is what I would call an enemy of biblical authority.

“Biblical authority,” which we’ve already established is — in Ham’s mind — synonymous with whatever he happens to believe at that moment. But I do actually agree with this last little bit. Ken Ham and co. are most certainly “building a wall” — a wall between their peculiar little sect and the rest of the outside world, especially other Christians.

That’s the only possible takeaway I see from a rant like this. Ham has no use for other believers, unless their beliefs are identical to his on every fine point of doctrine. Not only is this a nauseatingly arrogant point of view (for anyone, but particularly for those who claim to be ministers of God’s word), but it also poisons the gospel because it makes the precious message of Jesus into little more than an afterthought.

Remember, as Haarsma said — and Ham did not argue otherwise — there is absolutely no significant disagreement about the nature of God, Christ or salvation in the statements of faith adhered to by BioLogos, Reasons to Believe and AiG. By nevertheless regarding them as enemies of the faith — to the point that he wouldn’t even be interested in meeting them in fellowship for a meal and discussion — Ham is clearly demonstrating by word and deed that he believes the accurate presentation of the gospel to be less important than the belief that the universe was created more recently than the invention of beer by the Mesopotamians.

Let me explain it by way of analogy. I believe people should not drink cyanide, because it will kill them, because cyanide is one of the most potent and fastest-acting toxins known to mankind. I also believe people should not drink scotch, because it tastes like kerosene, and because beer exists (thank you, Mesopotamia). Though I believe both of these things, and I have reasons for both beliefs, and I happen to think I am correct about both of them, I do not hold them to be equally important.

If someone disagreed with me in regard to my beliefs about cyanide, I would be prepared to argue in favor of my position quite forcefully. I would, in fact, do whatever was in my power to prevent another person from drinking cyanide. If, on the other hand, someone — like my brother-in-law — disagrees with me in regard to my beliefs about scotch, and argues that scotch is delicious, and in fact, insists on offering me a sample from his collection of Glenliver and Laga-whatever every time I come to visit, well, I would think that his taste buds have probably been damaged by over-exposure to the fire water, but I would be perfectly willing to agree to disagree.

Now, let’s put it in terms of the Christian faith. I believe Christians should believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he died and rose again to atone for the sins of humanity. I also believe that Christians should not read the Genesis creation accounts literally, because I think it is an overly simplistic, childish view that misses the intended point of the stories, and because I think there are clear internal cues that indicate the text is an allegory.

If a Christian disagreed with me in regard to my beliefs about Christ, I would certainly argue the point. I would die on that hill, because Christ is — as far as I’m concerned — the bedrock and cornerstone and foundation of the Christian faith, and without the biblical view of who he is and what he’s done for us, Christianity as a concept loses all meaning. If a Christian disagreed with me in regard to my beliefs about evolution and Genesis (it’s hard to imagine, I know), then I’d be happy to discuss my views with them, but I would have no problem ultimately agreeing to disagree.

Indeed, I maintain friendships and working ministerial relationships with hundreds of people who think I’m wrong about my interpretation of Genesis 1-3 (for the record, the feeling’s mutual), and we get along just fine, because it’s a nonessential issue. It doesn’t change our view of Christ, it doesn’t change our view of God’s will for how he would have us live our lives in the world today, it does not — contrary to the hoarse claims of AiG — change our view of the authority of God’s word.

This, I believe, is the same perspective held by Deb Haarsma and her staff at BioLogos. This is the spirit in which she extended the hand of friendship and brotherly love to Ken Ham, but he slapped it away.

I admire Dr. Haarsma for her grace, class and poise. It’s not her fault she extended an invitation to a man and organization who are so convinced they’re right that couldn’t care less what any other believer has to say.

Tyler Francke is the founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached here.

  • Caleb Robbins

    “We have written a number of articles on the AiG website to warn people that compromising God’s Word in Genesis is an authority issue, a gospel issue, and, indirectly, a salvation issue.”

    I don’t think we’ve learned anything new about Mr. Ham from this statement, to be honest. That word ‘indirectly’ I think fully saves it from being absolutely contradictory to his previously stated views.

    • I don’t think it does, though I think Ham will say it means everything when backed into a corner. He has made it VERY clear that Genesis is a foundational text to him and without a 1:1 literal reading of it, everything falls apart. Yes, Ham is not going to outright say “you are going to hell if you do not agree with me” he’s too tactful for that (plus, that’s what aliens are for. 1-way ticket to hell for anyone not born on Earth). But he makes it clear that without every word and syllable being literal, then none of it is true. So yes, it is a salvation issue in that if you do not believe in Creation, the fall, the flood, original sin, Vegetarian T-Rex, etc. Then you can’t believe in Jesus’ death and ressurection.

      Ironically, Ham plays into the Athiest mindset with his views. It takes work to ignore the MOUNTAINS of evidence for evolution and an Old Earth and then you have Ham saying that its one or the other. What the hell is any rational person gonna choose? A book that is hundreds of thousands of years old (older than the earth according to YECs) or the well documented and well researched discoveries of modern science?

      • Caleb Robbins

        Completely agree with you – I think Ham is very tactful!

      • I kind of agree with you both. I don’t think this quote really represents anything new from Ken Ham, because I’ve always said he was talking out of both sides of his mouth any time he tried to claim he doesn’t “really” believe creationism is a salvation issue. He may give lip service to the idea, but anything else he says or does supports the idea that he thinks young-earth creationism is more important than anything else in the world.

        I will say I think this “indirectly” comment is more honest than his previous statements, but that’s about it. If he were being completely honest, I really would guess that he believes you cannot actually be a “true Christian” unless you believe the universe is less than 10,000 years old.

      • Thom Foolery

        Ham and his ilk are responsible for creating more atheists than Richard Dawkins could ever hope to be. By insisting that one must believe that which is false on its face in order to believe the rest, you are in effect telling people that you can either be (1) a mindless Christian or a (2) thinking atheist. The ginormous continuum of options between those two poles is lost and everyone loses. Atheists think all Christians are wooden-headed literalists, etc., when in fact you have a diversity of positions that can be downright mind-boggling. (That, I think, is part of the larger problem. Ham apparently had his mind-boggled early on, and has nothing but contempt for those who learn to deal with confusion, doubt, uncertainty, etc. in their own faith journeys. I know my fundamentalist parents simply cannot understand why I have any doubts, since they don’t, and they are “normal Christians.”)

        And my Dad has thrown the “if you toss one part out, you toss the whole thing out” canard at me for four decades, never realizing when he “tosses out parts” or chooses to read things metaphorically instead of literally. As Tyler suggested, it is less about agreeing with the truth of the Bible and more about agreeing with the truth of a particular person’s reading of the Bible. The folks who can’t tell the difference between the former and the latter need my forgiveness, for sure (and I theirs, though you won’t see me request it very often), but they also need to be told in no uncertain terms that they are actively killing the cause they seek to promote, that of Jesus as savior and healer of the cosmos.

  • Once again, does anyone know Ham’s mailing address? I would LOVE to see his response to this one.

    • Wow, Christopher, I thought we were friends, man. Now I see your true colors 😉

    • Thom Foolery

      I’m ecumenical when it comes to varieties of alcohol, and love scotch and beer equally!

  • rmwilliamsjr

    i think there are 2 big issues involved in this discussion of the borders/boundaries of fellowship.

    KH/AiG like most polarizing with a strong-appeal-to-emotions, get out the vote and motivate people to move organizations has to empty out the middle ground. as far as they are concerned there are only two positions: their’s and Satans, yec and atheistic evolutionists. that is why all the middle positions are just compromisers and useful idiots to them. there isn’t a spectrum, there are just the two endpoints. that is why putting flat earthers on the spectrum to their RIGHT and showing how AiG has compromised the clear Biblical teaching on a flat 3 storey universe is so important.

    KH/AiG really do believe strongly that they are right, &can not be wrong, this overwhelming confidence is attractive to lots of believers. to widening the corral, to open up the lager even a little bit by publicly accepting a dinner invite from a known compromisers put him in a weaker position if you need to keep the walls drawn in tightly. he can’t even appear to compromise or be listening to anyone else, because to do so means the truth is not solely surrounded by their walls. afraid that some might have leaked out is not of concern if you never look seriously outside your camp. so don’t look!

  • Biologos is indeed compromised, though not in the way Ham says. It is compromised by asking people not to say that ham is ‘flat-out “wrong”.’ Separate creationism IS flat-out wrong, and Young earth creationism a metastasizing cancer in the bosom of the Church, which suffers deservedly in the eyes of those outside it for its reluctance to say so.

  • I still think of Ken Ham as a carnie (or carnival barker), out to rake in as much loot from the rubes as he can get away with.

    Wow, this is amazing! Ken Ham not only understands scripture better than anyone else who has ever lived, …

    I guess he should, since his whole career has been about making up what the scripture supposedly says.

  • Thom Foolery

    ““Biblical authority,” which we’ve already established is — in Ham’s mind — synonymous with whatever he happens to believe at that moment.”

    Sounds just like my old man. This is precisely the sort of ego-ridden “religiosity,” married to a slave mentality, that drives many thinking people (it drove me!) away from Christianity.

    • I’m sorry to hear that. It’s something I’ve encountered many times in the church as well, and it drives me absolutely nuts. I simply don’t understand why so many modern Christians seem to be afraid of thinking.

      • Thom Foolery

        My guess, based on my own faith journey, is that thinking can lead to doubts, which are then equated to disbelief. It also comes back to that slave mentality – “does the clay question the potter?” – and a general culture of submission to authority. Doubts and uncertainty are much harder, at least apparently, than confidence and certainty, although I submit that faith without doubt isn’t faith at all, and is shaken by every idea that passes by, hence the need to control what kids learn about science, the need to have a fake museum teaching fake stories, the need to censor, etc.

        • Christian Schmemann

          Thom, doubt does not equate disbelief. The Protestants who teach this are wrong. Remember St Thomas who did not see the Risen Christ on that first Sunday doubted that Christ had resurrected. Lord Jesus did not chastise St Thomas the following Sunday; Lord Jesus merely showed his nail marks and the spear mark, and this was sufficient for St Thomas.

          You are completely correct when you say that “faith without doubt isn’t faith at all.” Doubt is how Faith articulates itself to people, how it meets people where they are to bring them to Christ God, just as Christ met St Thomas where he was in his doubt.

          The entire fact that many Protestants so brutally suppress doubt belies a fundamental truth, and that is that these Protestant clergy are not convinced in their heart of hearts that they themselves have the Truth, but at the same time their ideology sure is useful for monetary gain. They take that “clay questioning the potter” verse out of context and pervert it to mean blind submission to their arbitrary authority. What this really means is that if God is forming somebody to be a monk, then that somebody will not be happy or successful pursing a lucrative career in investment banking executive.

          I attend both Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and I can express whatever doubt I have to any priest or deacon or monk in either Church. I never have to worry about being chastised for a lack of Faith, but amazingly the clergy in both Church almost always have answers to my doubts. Authority is something that is earned and built in both Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

          BTW, YEC is for all practical purposes is banned in Catholic schools.

        • I once heard a quote that the opposite of faith is not doubt, the opposite of faith is certainty. Certainly, the self-assured, arrogant certainty exhibited by the likes of Ken Ham does not appear to be conducive to the humble, self-emptying reliance on God that I believe to be at the heart of the New Testament’s teachings on faith.

  • Mariaeire

    Ken Ham and his ilk (Comfort, Hovind etc), uphold that the greatest sin, and the only sin that cannot be forgiven, is the sin of not believing what they believe. In that manner, they are no different from the WBC.

    • As radical as Ken Ham is, and he seems to be letting more and more of it show as the years wear on, I’m quite sure his radical roots go even deeper than what’s been revealed to the public so far. You’ve heard of the recent very large donation to AiG by Michael Peroutka, a man who was until recently a leader of the white supremacist hate group League of the South? Ever heard that old saying about smoke and fire?

      Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/08/17/3383746/non-christians-need-not-apply.html#storylink=cpy

      • Alan S

        Yep. Peroutka is running for County Council in MY county, Anne Arundel Co., MD. And the great Ham will be speaking with him in a church about 15 minutes from my home this Saturday. Bummer, I won’t be able to make it.

        • Too bad! I’d love to be there.

          • Alan S

            If I wasn’t having dinner with family, I’d love to go, if only to the Q&A session. He’s smart though, he’s charging a $75 fee, which will keep troublemakers like me away.

          • Very smart. Keep away the riff-raff, and you make a mint! Win-win.

  • Alan S

    Well said, Tyler!! Mr. Ham, “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” McCarthy, errr, I mean Ham, couldn’t even extend a polite “thank you for your kind offer, Dr. Haarsma, but I will have to decline”. He could have declined the offer in a gentlemanly, respectful, humble way, but…he didn’t. Not sure if I’m using this expression correctly, but I wonder if Ham has “jumped the shark” with this post. This may (HOPEFULLY!) be the thing that turns people away from him as a Christian leader. As far as I’m concerned, the pastors of his church need to speak to him about this, and counsel him to issue an apology. This was just over the top. Excuse the illustration, but Ham’s post was nothing more than a big fat middle finger at Dr. Haarsma (and Ross). If anybody’s salvation (or at least spiritual maturity!) should be in question, it should be Ham’s.

    What would be REALLY nice is if some other creationists and other conservative theologians, pastors, etc., would call Ham out on this one. An open letter of rebuke and demand for an apology, signed by multiple well-known creationists (NOT OECs of ECs, since that would have no truck with Ham or his followers).

    • I have to show this one because this has origins on that movement and what do you guys make of it The Gethsemane Church. I called Ken Ham out on my birthday when I also addressed Hovind — I am trying to get Hovind to talk about the weirdness growing up Hovind.

    • That would be fantastic, but I’m becoming increasingly cynical about that. This is certainly not the first time Ham has said something so far over the top and so obviously wrong that I was sure even his own followers would snap to their senses and realize something’s off with this guy. But, every single time, I’m disappointed. Every single time, I see nothing but fawning adoration and obsequious devotion to His Holiness Ken Ham and his every word by folks who supposedly possess their own copies of the Bible, not to mention the supernatural discernment of the in-dwelling Holy Spirit.

      I’ve kind of stopped paying attention to it. The more I read their comments, the more I feel like I must be insane, because I obviously think so differently than they do.

    • Let’s not ourselves forget to respond to Ham in the Spirit of love and grace who alone can bring him to repentance; above all, let us not forget to pray earnestly for his repentance.

      • Alan S

        I hope I responded in the right way. I can’t deny getting really irritated and angry at the man.

  • Ian Derthal

    I’ve said on a number of occasions that Ken Ham is actually redefining what it means to be a Christian.

    How can belief a 6,000 year old Eart5h/universe be a foundational issue when it’s mentioned nowhere in scripture ? Likewise flood geology or dinosaurs living alongside humans. ?

    None of this has got anything remotely to do with Christianity or what it means to be saved.

    • Want to weigh in on this one; Evolution isn’t stupid — but it is arguing with God and a good chance you try to argue with a YEC they are going to end up getting their tail crawling between your legs. I guess Kent Hovind never read Catcher in the Rye and it’s a chance where if you understand evolution you will be also reading actual authors like H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Kent Hovind is a piece of work. I love asking questions to YECS how the hell can they see science from the pulpit? I want to debate Hovind at the very spot where my self-portrait was taken. I have on of these King James Version Preachers — in the begin God created the was a matter of when.

    • Insane, isn’t it? I always like to bring up the example of Christ. Here is an example of where — we Christians believe — we had God in the flesh, actually explaining to humans what the kingdom of God and the Bible was all about. And, funnily enough, he never once mentioned a six-day creation, or said the belief in a six-day creation was remotely important.

      • BRIAN HUGH GRIFFITH BHG

        because everybody he talked to believe it already since Jesus spoke to Torah observant Jews

        • Right, because in Roman-occupied, first-century Palestine, Jesus managed to never once encounter a Gentile or a pagan or anyone who wasn’t an orthodox Jew.

          • BRIAN HUGH GRIFFITH BHG

            Tyler

            Gentiles running around pretending to be Jews quoting Mathew ‘s Gospel or the Gospels in general always seem to avoid Matthew 15:22-28

            “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

            ” Lord, help me. 26But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs”

            Gentiles were equal to dogs to Jesus Christ the racist Jew have a look see at Matthew 15:22-28

            22And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 28Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Matthew 15:22-28

            “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

            ” Lord, help me. 26But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs”

            God is racist Tyler and God was was the very first racist

            The Hebrews the Jews are God’s chosen race, the Gentiles were equal to dogs to God

            you have been affected by secular humanism politically correct nonsense.
            I’m a Gentile dog saved by the grace of God

          • Well, I’ll give you points for uniqueness.

          • BRIAN HUGH GRIFFITH BHG

            Tyler,
            Jesus did not need to speak on Young Earth Creationism just as he did not need to speak on homosexual stuff because the Jews knew it had been just approx. 4,000 years since creation from their own genealogies so they were all young earth creationists.

            Jesus didn’t have to reiterate that homosexual activity was evil because they were also all familiar with Leviticus 20:13

            If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13
            Jesus preaching Young Earth Creationism and preaching against homosexuality to his audience at that time would be like going to get your Driver’s license renewed and being told that red lights mean stop and green means go
            would be a big ole DUH!!!!!!

          • It’s fascinating how well you understand the thoughts and feelings of every single person who lived in a heavily populated and extremely diverse region thousands of years ago, almost all of whom left behind no historical record of their existence whatsoever. You must be an incredibly gifted scholar.

          • BRIAN HUGH GRIFFITH BHG

            Yes it’s amazing when you actually believe The Bible instead of calling God a liar while asking him to save your soul from hell at the same time.
            I’M A KING JAMES BIBLE BELIEVER
            GEOCENTRIST
            YOUNG EARTH CREATIONIST
            Or Born again saved biblical Christian yet most times have to clarify since most people claiming to be Christians are following Satan in 95% of their doctrine

          • We certainly are lucky to have you, BHG. Thanks for all that you do.

          • BRIAN HUGH GRIFFITH BHG

            Quite obvious that if The Sagnac experiment , Michelson-Morley experiment , .Airey’s experiment and The Michelson-Gale experiment had first been done back in 1620 instead of the 1800’s and 1900’s there never would have been any heliocentrism in the mainstream and the Copernican Principle would not even exist today.
            With the Copernican principle shown to be false then long ages then evolution would also be thrown out.
            Your compromise started by calling God a liar about GEOCENTRISM

    • James

      Ian, I wholeheartedly agree!

  • Sounds like he’s Kent Hovind with loads of cash and sees what line he can feed us — Hovind got really mad when I found the thesis I downloaded from a college psychology study site. Flat Ken you had done more than enough to F put two letters then a K us over. What has that equal number of letters as that as you hear horror writers say it — I am trying to show Victoria Jackson there is something in between what she believes and what your site, Old Earth, myself and Pat Robertson says, “Let’s not make a joke of ourselves.” Christians Evolutionists and Old Earth Creationists — are like the Bareans if I remember right and YECS the direct result of this is the King James Version Only Sect. This is the reason we need to bring Evolution as a science into Christian High Schools because hucksters like Kent Hovind and this joker are believing every word a church like this feeds them

    • Thom Foolery

      “King James Version Only Sect”

      Oy, don’t get me started. Taking sola scriptura to the next level.

      • Have fun with this one as I have the blog tag on them and man this is more Twilight Zone than Christianity — nothing different in the dark than with the lights turned on so that justifies why I do challenging and provocative horror and science fiction with alt. history traits @thom_foolery:disqus believe me when I engaged Hovind it was very funny because my buddies in the heavy metal community saw what I did and said, “HEAVY METAL THANX YOU NICK!”    &bnsp; That when you have a birthday shared with James Hetfield you have to be a strong delegate either as a writer, a Christian or historian as illusions will die with the KIng James Only Movement man because they are a Midwest thing more so as it has origins in Ohio *(the modern movement.) They respond quite strongly to when the f-bomb is dropped and when you have Five Finger Death Punch blasting when you combine it with your blog as I did — I went at them full guns blazing using a New Living Translation purposely to hammer into them and this comes in handy too.. I can’t help looking at their old videos thinking what can I develop as a horror author because I keep picturing these preachers being the set up for a Gothic Horror story because of what I published in Tabloid Purposes with Preacher Creature aka Southern Exposure.

      • Here we go! I had went at it with Just Six Days where you heard a few unbleeped statements and in the e-mail I had let the bs, mf, and f-bomb fly at him in that order. To get your point across with them you have almost have to throw a few f-bombs at them to remind them to take their head out of their…… I am sure Ty saw a few unbleeped comments directed at Hammy as this is what happens when you allow KJVO money and ask them where they get all their funding from to get their so called project off the ground; I want you guys to go over to my company page where I use a movie to illustrate what that world is really like. Ty made a grisly analogy I just gave it more venom with Carnosaur. 😀

  • Christian Schmemann

    Good article Tyler. I am going to have to agree to disagree with you about tolerating Ken Ham and his odious views.

    I do not think that the Church should at all tolerate Ken Ham, AiG, and all their other ilk. St Paul proclaimed a Gospel based on Christ crucified, but Ken Ham proclaims a pseudo-Gospel, an ideology really that God created the world and all like in 6 calendar days 7,000 years ago against all evidence to the otherwise, and that Salvation can come only from blindly accepting this ideology. There is no longer any place for Lord Jesus, the Cross and His Resurrection and especially the seven Sacraments that Christ God instituted. Furthermore, Ken Ham is chasing a growing number of people away from Christ with his ideology. Mother Church needs to declare this all a heresy straight from the bowels of Hell, that Ken Ham is a wicked servant of Satan who is actively trying to chase people away from the Kingdom of Heaven while not entering it himself.

    • Alan S

      Who’s Mother Church?

      • Christian Schmemann

        Primarily, by Mother Church, I mean the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

        • Thom Foolery

          Christian, you raise another interesting question, at least for me, which is – how much does the Protestant emphasis on sola scriptura drive these sorts of “debates”?

          For my Missouri Synod Lutheran family, the Bible was the beginning and end of all evidence. Church traditions that preceded the Bible or the “still, small voice” so beloved of Quakers were both irrelevant. If it ain’t in the Bible, it is false, and if it is in the Bible, it is true, no questions asked.

          The Catholic notion that the Bible is a tool of the church, rather than the other way around, seems to provide a lot more room for Christians to come to terms with modernity and postmodernity than does over-reliance on a single text. Add to that the fact that far too many Protestants equate that text with their own interpretation (which, alas, is far too often an interpretation by a reader without much reading experience or critical reading skills) and you are in for a whole mess of trouble.

          Or not, if you have big backers, a “museum,” and an entire political movement with a vested interest in having your delusions, I mean “interpretations,” made public policy.

          • How much does the Protestant emphasis on sola scriptura drive [these] sorts of issues? For my Missouri Synod Lutheran family, the Bible was the beginning and end of all evidence.

            The Bible being the beginning and end of all evidence is “solo scriptura,” which is a revisionist distortion of the historical Reformation doctrine contained in the five solas and no less problematic and dangerous today than it was in previous centuries. It remains unbiblical, illogical, and unworkable (Mathison 2007). Sola scriptura does not advocate for “the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible,” as Charles Beecher desired. According to the Cambridge Declaration, the doctrine of sola scriptura is this:

            We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. (Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, 1996)

            ———-
            Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (1996). “Thesis One – Sola Scriptura.” Cambridge Declaration.

            Mathison, Keith A. (2007). “Solo Scriptura: The Difference a Vowel Makes.” Modern Reformation, 16(2): 25–29.

          • Christian Schmemann

            You express some interesting thoughts Evolutionary Creation, but I have to agree to disagree with you.

            Both “solo scriptura” and “sola scriptura” ignore the basic fact of history that the Bible itself is a product of Church Tradition, or that the Church under guidance of the Holy Spirit had to decide what would the Bible would be. Have you ever asked why the gnostic “Gospel” of “St Thomas” is not included in the New Testament? The answer is that the Church made decision that this gnostic Gospel was contrary to the Tradition and Teaching of the Apostles.

            Being that both “solo scriptura” and “sola scriptura” ultimately sever the Bible from the Church, the Bible still is forced to stand on its own authority in “sola scriptura” as well as “solo scriptura.” “Solo scriptura” sadly is not “sola scriptura” taken to a perverse logical extreme; “solo scriptura” is the logical conclusion of “sola scriptura.” “Sola Scriptura” may not be comfortable with all of its logical implications and honestly try to duck from things like rejection of Science, Bible being the beginning and end of evidence, and so forth.

            Though this point does not directly involve Evolution (though debates about Evolution are one example of many contentions involving Protestants), if “sola scriptura” or “solo scriptura” were legitimate Christian doctrines, then why do Protestants have so many contradictory ideas about critically important matters of Faith? God, we are told is not a God of confusion, but a God of peace (1 Corinthians 14,33).

            When do we finally get to admit that however well intentioned and however understandable his intentions in the face of grievous Papal corruption was in the 16th century Martin Luther was when he developed “sola scriptura,” that at the end of the day he was just wrong?

          • Both “solo scriptura” and “sola scriptura” ignore the basic fact of history that the Bible itself is a product of Church Tradition … Being that both “solo scriptura” and “sola scriptura” ultimately sever the Bible from the Church, the Bible still is forced to stand on its own authority in “sola scriptura” as well as “solo scriptura.”

            These statements are clear and definitive evidence that you did not bother reading the referenced material.

            When do we finally get to admit that … at the end of the day [Martin Luther] was just wrong?

            Loaded question fallacy.

          • Christian Schmemann

            How did the existence of the Bible come about if it was not put together by the Church? How do both “sola scriptura” and “solo scriptura” not force the Bible to be its own authority?

            Let me ask you something else, if “sola scriptura” originally did make provisions for a Protestant to accept Science when it went against the literal reading of the Bible, then why was Martin Luther so vehemently opposed to Copernicus’s theory of heliocentrism? And why was John Calvin like opposed to Copernicus and his theory of heliocentrism? When one sees how the Protestant Reformers implemented “sola scriptura” themselves, the only logical conclusion that can possibly be reached is “sola scriptura” and Protestantism indeed force the Bible to be its own authority.

            When I was a terminally disaffected Protestant and about ready to fall into atheism a very long time ago, I asked a Fundamentalist preacher why he rejected theistic evolution, and his answer was that every word of the Bible HAD to be understood as inerrant, expressing perfect scientific, historical, and archaeological truth, This is “solo scriptura” in action; this is “sola scriptura” in action, and it acts the same way that it did when Martin Luther and John Calvin implemented it.

            The only thing that saved my Faith was that when I felt drawn into a Catholic Church and had an opportunity to talk with an old priest for about an hour or so after Mass, which led me to start RCIA and now I’ve been an at first Roman-rite and now a Byzantine-rite Catholic for almost 14 years.

            Let me as again, when do we finally get to admit that however well intentioned and however
            understandable his intentions in the face of grievous Papal corruption
            was in the 16th century Martin Luther was when he developed “sola
            scriptura,” that at the end of the day he was just wrong?

          • Christian Schmemann

            BTW, if I had the misfortune of having to have lived from the 15th through the 17th century, I would not have been Catholic, nor would I have been Protestant. I would have elected instead to be Eastern Orthodox, and yes I would have found the authoritarianism of the Russian Tsars to be more tolerable than the seemingly endless spiritual crises of Western Europe.

          • How did the existence of the Bible come about if it was not put together by the Church? How do both “sola scriptura” and “solo scriptura” not force the Bible to be its own authority?

            Such questions were addressed by Mathison (2007, cited earlier).

            Why [were] Martin Luther [and John Calvin] so vehemently opposed to Copernicus’s theory of heliocentrism?

            Red herring fallacy. My contention was that “the Bible being the beginning and end of all evidence is ‘solo scriptura’,” which is not the case on sola scriptura, a fact that I supported with two references—one of which was complete enough to anticipate these subsequent remarks from you.

            A Fundamentalist preacher [said] that every word of the Bible HAD to be understood as inerrant, expressing perfect scientific, historical, and archaeological truth. This is “solo scriptura” in action; this is “sola scriptura” in action.

            Ipse dixit. Repeatedly claiming that they’re the same will not magically make it so. (It would seem that Mathison anticipated this fundamentalist preacher as well. Your opinions desperately need the credibility afforded by being informed.)

            The only thing that saved my Faith was that when I felt drawn into a Catholic Church and had an opportunity to talk with an old priest for about an hour or so after Mass …

            I am very sorry to hear that’s what saved your faith.

            When do we finally get to admit … that at the end of the day [Martin Luther] was just wrong?

            This is still an example of the loaded question fallacy. Repeating the fallacy does not resolve it.

          • Alan S

            I am a Reformed Baptist going to a Presbyterian church, and so I agree with pretty much everything you have written here. I own and have read Mathison’s book, and also have read James White’s book on Sola Scriptura. Your discussion with Schemann is worthwhile, but it is pretty far afield from Tyler’s post. Perhaps it would be more profitable for you two to exchange emails and discuss offline? Just a suggestion. But I am looking forward to the start of your blog in December!

          • It may be a bit removed from Tyler Francke’s original article, but surely it is more worthwhile than discussing the unloving way in which Ken Ham treated Deborah Haarsma. What Ham wrote was indefensible, self-aggrandizing, and fosters disunity in the body of Christ. But let us not ourselves forget to respond to Ham in the Spirit of love and grace who alone can bring him to repentance; above all, let us not forget to pray earnestly for his repentance.

            Nevertheless, the fact that this discussion is a bit removed from Francke’s original article is why my responses to Schmemann amount to little more than indicating his ignorance and fallacies. A great deal more could be said—especially by me, as this subject is a favorite of mine—but it’s tangential so I restrain myself.

            It is good to meet a Reformed brother in Christ. And I pray the December launch stays on schedule.

          • Christian Schmemann

            I read through Mathison’s article, and nowhere does he take up the question of how the New Testament came into existence. Nowhere does he say how the books that make up the New Testament were selected; nowhere does he say why Matthew, Mark Luke and John are the Gospel books. The only reasonable answer is that the Canon of the New Testament is itself a product of the regula fidei.

            I agree with you that scholastic philosophers had quite a few debates about the relationship between the Bible and Tradition. I, however, am not a Latin Christian; I am a Byzantine Christian, and I just plain don’t think much about useless scholasticism! The problem with scholasticism is that it takes the theology out of theology, leaving only philosophy. Now, philosophy is important, very important, but philosophy is incomplete in Christian theology. At this point, St Gregory the Theologian (or Gergory Nazanizus for Latin Catholics and Protestants) would remind us both that, “A theologian is one who prays and one who prays is a theologian.”

            How can you possibly say that it is a red herring to point out that both Martin Luther and John Calvin opposed Copernicus and his heliocentric model, because (in their minds) the Bible sates otherwise? How is this a red herring?!

            I assure you that this is no red herring; this is direct historical evidence of how the first Protestant ‘Reformers’ themselves understood the doctrine “sola scriptura” that they invented, and how they used “sola scriptura.” And the way the Protestant ‘Reformers’ used “sola scriptura” indeed was that the Bible is inerrant in matters of science- something the Fathers never taught, absent in the Ecumenical Councils and the regula fidea those Councils form, and was explicitly rejected by St Augustine. For the Protestant ‘Reformers’ themselves, a “literal” reading of the Bible is to be believed over and against Science, even in the face of mountains of evidence pointing to the contrary. The way the Protestant ‘Reformers’ themselves viewed “sola scriptura” comes much closer to Hen Ham’s “solo scriptura” than it does Mathison’s more refined “sola scriptura.”

            I’m sorry to tell you, but weighing the historical evidence, the truth is that the way Ken Ham uses “sola scriptura” is the way that John Calvin and Martin Luther used “sola scriptura.” I have no doubt that both Martin Luther and John Calvin would be YEC advocates today, and that St Augustine would be tearing both Luther and Calvin up one side and right down the other, after he got done having Ken Ham for breakfast.

            So, let me ask the “loaded question” again: When do we finally get to admit that however well intentioned and however understandable his intentions in the face of grievous Papal corruption was in the 16th century Martin Luther was when he developed “sola scriptura,” that at the end of the day he was just wrong?

          • Christian Schmemann

            Evolving Creation, you can read another view of “sola scriptura” versus “solo scriptura” here:
            http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxyandheterodoxy/2014/10/04/protestants-churchless-tradition-sola-vs-solo-scriptura/

          • I read through Mathison’s article, and nowhere does he take up the question of how the New Testament came into existence.

            How did you manage to read his article without realizing that his argument had nothing to do with the nature and history of the canon of scripture? He was arguing against the revisionist distortion of sola scriptura as seen in modern evangelical churches and exemplified by your fundamentalist preacher, Ken Ham, and others of such ilk—an argument which necessarily presupposes several things, including the canon of scripture.

            I have no doubt that both Martin Luther and John Calvin would be YEC advocates today …

            The fundamentalist Protestant Benjamin Warfield would disagree with you (Warfield 1931/1981, 5:303–305).

            So unless you can find some way to reconnect our conversation to Ken Ham and Deborah Haarsma, I will let you have the last word.

            ———-
            Warfield, Benjamin B. (1981). The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, 10 vols. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker. (Original work published 1931) “It should scarcely be passed without remark that Calvin’s doctrine of creation is, if we have understood it aright, for all except the souls of men, an evolutionary one. … Calvin doubtless had no theory whatever of evolution; but he teaches a doctrine of evolution.”

          • Christian Schmemann

            I understand completely that Mathison was not taking up the question of the nature and history of the Canon of the New Testament. The problem remains for any formulation of “sola scriptura” is that it is impossible to know what the Bible is apart from the Church, because ultimately the Church had to make decisions about what would constitute the Bible; therefore, the Bible itself is a Tradition of the Church. It is therefore illogical to speak of the Bible existing apart from Tradition. “Sola scriptura” fundamentally is untenable from a logical and a historical perspective.

            About the only difference I see between “sola scriptura” and “solo scriptura” is that “solo scriptura” is crude, vulgar, but also fully honest about what it is and what its intentions are. “Sola scriptura” and “solo scriptura” are made of the same substance, and ultimately make the believer (or perhaps any reader of Scripture) the ultimate arbiter of what constitutes spiritual Truth, rather than the Tradition of the Church which ultimately comes down from the Apostles. You can read more at http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxyandheterodoxy/2014/10/04/protestants-churchless-tradition-sola-vs-solo-scriptura/

            Why would Martin Luther and John Calvin be fine with Evolution when they opposed heliocentrism? Biblical “support” for geocentrism was based on an obscure verse in Joshua while YEC has an entire chapter (or three) in Genesis.

          • First, sola scriptura presupposes a canon of scripture, so Schmemann’s arguments regarding canon hit the wrong target (the ignoratio elenchi fallacy). Second, anyone who has read Mathison knows the Bible doesn’t exist apart from tradition (straw man fallacy). Therefore, Schmemann has not shown that “[sola scriptura is fundamentally] untenable from a logical and a historical perspective” at all. Of course, if he was doing this on purpose, the irony would be that his arguments against sola scriptura are what have been logically and historically untenable.

            Schmemann wonders why Calvin’s theology of creation would be an evolutionary one, given his opposition to heliocentricism. To this I can only respond, “Read Warfield, cited earlier.” The very reason why I supply citations is so that readers can develop a more informed opinion (and also to give my arguments more reliable credibility). Furthermore, I have to thank Schmemann for his allegation that Luther and Calvin opposed Copernicus and his heliocentric model. I was vaguely familiar with something Luther had said about it, but I was not aware that Calvin ever said anything about Copernicus so I had to do some investigating. I learned a great deal more about Calvin than I knew before, for which I am grateful. And what I learned makes Warfield’s argument even more plausible and credible, given Calvin’s inherent skepticism and attitude toward science as theology. (His skepticism is very evident in his dispute with Sebastian Castellio, a former student of his.)

            ———-
            Keith Mathison, “Chapter 4 – Luther, Calvin, and Copernicus,” A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture [free ebook] (2013).

            Wyatt Houtz, “John Calvin on Nicolaus Copernicus and Heliocentrism,” Post-Barthian [blog] (May 21, 2014).

            Matthew Fullerton Dowd, “Calvin and the Astronomical Revolution,” University of Notre Dame [personal web page]. This is a very well referenced and argued paper written in his final year as a Master’s student at Duke Divinity School.

            Keith C. Sewell, “Calvin and the Stars, Kuyper and the Fossils: Some Historiographical Reflections,” Pro Rege, 32 (2003): 10–22.

          • Christian Schmemann

            Evolutionary Creation, you just claimed (correctly) that the Canon of the New Testament cannot be separated from the Tradition of the Church. It is illogical then to argue that the Bible can possibly exist apart from the Tradition of the Church, or that the Canon of the New Testament can be separated from other Traditions of the Church. The New Testament cannot be separated from the interpretations of the Fathers and from the canons of the Ecumenical Councils. Ultimately, it makes no sense to speak of any possibility of separating the Bible from these other Traditions.

            You just admitted that John Calvin had a inherent skepticism and attitude toward science as theology. How then, can you coherently claim that Calvin would have been supportive of Evolution, despite the overt hostility he displayed towards science during his lifetime? And, I’m sure that you are now all too familiar with the fact that Calvin used “sola scriptura” as a weapon against Copernicus (only for Copernicus to be proven right).

            Being that you now do know that Calvin (and Luther) rejected heliocentrism based on sola scriptur, are you now willing to admit (even if you don’t agree with Fundie Protestants’ crude “solo scriptura”), that there is indeed a historical continuity between modern Fundie Protestant rejection of Evolution and Calvin’s and Luther’s rejection of heliocentrism?

            This is all I’m asking for. I’m not asking that you agree with the Fundie Protestants use “solo scriptura,” I’m just asking that you acknowledge that there is a historical continuity between modern Fundie rejection of Evolution and Calvin’s rejection of heliocentrism.

          • I will simply trust that the readers can observe that Schmemann is not even hearing me. (For example, anyone who has read the material I cited will know that Calvin never addressed Copernicus.)

          • Alan S

            Btw, I hope I didn’t come across rudely with my suggestion. Wasn’t trying to be “bossy”. 😀 I certainly enjoy a good debate.

          • Your comment did not strike me as rude in the slightest.

          • Hey EC, thanks for your comments. I certainly agree and take to heart your point about not responding to Ken Ham in the same spirit with which he attacks and belittles us. I know that this is something I have trouble with, and I recognize it as a weakness.

            (For the record, I do pray for the repentance and restoration of teachers like Ken Ham and other YEC proponents who put YECism on the same level as the gospel, I just don’t mention it much because it reminds me too much of Christians with whom I’ve had discussions, who are unable to refute my points so they say they’ll “pray for God to show me the error of my ways,” or something similar.)

            And I don’t mind side discussions, so long as they remain respectful and relevant in some way to the discussion of Christianity, evolution and biblical interpretation. I do appreciate your participation on my blog, and also look forward to the launch of your site.

          • Thom Foolery

            I think Martin Luther’s primary error, which I also see in Ken Ham, my father, and many others (Christian and otherwise), is that he mistook his reading of the Bible for the only reading of the Bible and therefore saw everyone else’s (different) readings as varying degrees of interpretive heresy. Of course, no one with a spiritual bone in their body could tolerate such arrogance, so they erase the evidence from their mind of their interpretation and redefine their interpretation as the “plain meaning.” (What a great rhetorical strategy – my reading is the truth, while your reading is just a reading.)

          • This is quite true. Rarely do you see Ken Ham or anyone at his organization use language like, “I think,” or “My view is this.” It’s “The Bible says.” It doesn’t matter if the Bible actually says that or not, they’ve been doing this long enough that they’ve learned that their followers take them at their word.

          • Kele

            I think a lot of the controversy you’re getting at (“his reading of the Bible”) stems back to the reality that both historical and modern Protestantism have no universal, authoritative interpretive community for the Bible. No work is ever written in complete isolation from an interpretive community. The Old Testament was written in the context of Old Israel (A wee bit of a a generalization, I know), and the New Testament was written in the context of the Early Church. The Bible as we have it today was written, compiled, and translated in the context of the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, it makes sense that the Church would have an authoritative interpretive community for the Bible–and that community relies not on the Bible alone but on their 2000+ years of Tradition and Church Philosophy to interpret the book.

          • Preston Garrison

            The famous “quote” from Calvin about Copernicus in fact can’t be found in Calvin’s work. I’m not really interested in getting into this argument, but you might find this recent Biologos post and the comments, especially Ted Davis’s, interesting. http://biologos.org/blog/john-calvin-on-nicolaus-copernicus-and-heliocentrism

          • Guest

            BTW, if I had the misfortune of having to have lived from the 15th through the 17th century, I would not have been Catholic, nor would I have been Protestant. The prospect of living in Russia under the domain of the hyper-authoritarian Tsars would have been a price I would have gladly paid to be Eastern Orthodox. Yes, I would have found Ivan the Terrible to be more tolerable than the seemingly endless spiritual crises of Western Europe.

          • This is my understanding of sola scriptura as well: not that the Bible is the ultimate source of truth about everything, but rather it is the complete and wholly accurate source of truth about all things that pertain to God, the spiritual condition of mankind and salvation.

          • Christian Schmemann

            Rejection of Evolution, Big Bang cosmology and so forth are utterly illogical apart from sola scriptura. The only possible justification that can possibly be given for YEC is the Protestant demand that the Bible be its own authority, that the Bible interpret itself, and that every word of the Bible is scientifically, historically and factually true free from every conceivable error. I don’t know about you, this this Protestant view of Scripture sounds much more like fanatical Sunni Islam than the Christianity of the Apostles and the Ecumenical Councils and the Fathers, all of which by the way never mention one thing about sola scriptura.

          • Christian Schmemann

            Even more telling that YEC is tied to sola scriptura is that Protestants insist on scientifically and historically and archaeologically precise understandings of the Bible despite all contradictory evidence and without offering alternative scientific theories that are consistent with observable data. They do all this in direct contradiction of St Augustine who wrote (ironically for the 21st century) in his book “On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis:

            “Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the
            heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and
            even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and
            moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones,
            and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience.
            Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian,
            presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics;
            and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people
            show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so
            much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of
            faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for
            whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as
            unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves
            know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they
            going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope
            of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of
            falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learned from experience and the light of
            reason?

            Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on
            their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and
            are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books.
            For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try
            to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they
            think support their position, although “they understand neither what they say nor the
            things about which they make assertions”

          • Even more telling that YEC is tied to sola scriptura is that Protestants insist on scientifically and historically and archaeologically precise understandings of the Bible despite all contradictory evidence and without offering alternative scientific theories that are consistent with observable data.

            This statement is undone by the vast number of Protestants who don’t insist anything of the sort, including some very hardcore conservative evangelicals. On the contrary, an informed opinion knows that reality paints a very different picture about Protestants, with a list of examples far too extensive to provide here and reaching all the way back to the 18th century—and possibly further, but I’ve only just begun to explore the reception of science among Protestants, including the fundamentalists of the early 20th century (e.g., Benjamin B. Warfield).

            Schmemann is attacking a caricature of fundamentalism represented by Ken Ham and his ilk who have fashioned scripture into an idol, as if that’s where supreme authority is invested. (The authoritative Word of God is actually Jesus Christ, whose revelations are enscripturated in the Old and New Testaments by inspiration of his Spirit.) Maybe the maintenance of Schmemann’s faith requires this caricature being true, and so perhaps he has never dug into the truth of the matter, but the historical evidence defies this caricature of all Protestants.

            Unless what he meant to say was “some” Protestants, in which case I would have no argument with him. (And if he wants to say “most” Protestants, then I would hope that such a conclusion is based on solid, responsible evidence.)

          • Thom Foolery

            Hi EC,

            I strive to say “some but not all” whenever possible. If the blanket statement was mine, I apologize. That said, I also wanted to note that it was all of the Protestants in my upbringing (except the ones who stayed silent for fear of joining juvenile heretics like myself in the stocks) who were insane in their unwillingness to be self-critical or to question their own opinions. I know this is only true of “some but not all,” but the irony of a room of functional illiterates explaining to me how all the answers were to be found in their book was not, and is not, lost on me.

          • If the blanket statement was mine, I apologize.

            It wasn’t. I was responding to Christian Schmemann.

            That said, I also wanted to note that it was all of the Protestants in my upbringing (except the ones who stayed silent for fear of joining juvenile heretics like myself in the stocks) …

            Then even in this case it wasn’t really “all” of the Protestants, just all the vocal ones. I’m not sure how much this observation matters, but I’m curious if you notice.

            But having said that, this is one reason why I think it is so important for leadership in the church who are open to, or affirm, an evolutionary view to speak up on these matters, taking a visible and accountable stand on creation being revelational (i.e., God is no less the author of general revelation than he is of special revelation, both being equally infallible). And it should be the leadership and those strong in the faith so they can not only take the heat off the weaker brethren—those who stay silent “for fear of joining juvenile heretics … in the stocks”—but also, and perhaps more importantly, to show them that they’re not alone, that godly and accountable men of robust faith are inclined the same way, thereby creating a safe space for them to ask and explore these difficult and perplexing questions. That’s the job of leadership and those with stronger faith.

            And it’s happening, I think. Very slowly, maybe too slowly, but it’s happening.

          • BRIAN HUGH GRIFFITH BHG

            The Big Bang does not line up with The Bible nor with science and there is no evidence of macro evolution ever occurring because macro evolution never occurred outside of drawings in textbooks and stuffed dummies in museums.

            Long ages evolution and The big bang all came from The Copernican Principle and now science has proven The Copernican principle is false and down goes heliocentricity, long ages, big bang cosmology and macro evolution theory with it.

            Quite obvious that if The Sagnac experiment , Michelson-Morley experiment , .Airy’s experiment and The Michelson-Gale experiment had first been done back in 1620 instead of the 1800’s and 1900’s there never would have been any heliocentrism in the mainstream and the Copernican Principle would not even exist and long ages, and macro evolution would not exist either.

            I believe that Ken Ham AIG ICR and CMI are right on the YEC stuff but dead wrong on helocentricity and it makes no sense whatsoever for Young Earth Creationists not to be geocentrists ) ( neo-tychonic model) if The Bible really is their is their authority.

            http://oldpathsbaptistchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ALL-281-GEOCENTRIC-REFERENCES.pdf

            I’m a King James Bible believer http://www.whichbiblewouldJeusus.com

            Geocentrist ( neo-tychonic model) http://www.geocentricity.com/

            Young Earth Creationist ( Matt 19:4) (Ex 20:11)

            born again (John 3:3)

            Saved (Romans 10:9-10)

            I believe that true science agrees with The Bible yet naturalism based scientific theories will never be able to explain supernatural miracles

          • Christian Schmemann

            1. Anybody who believes that the Michelson-Morley experiment proves that the Sun revolves around the Earth has very little idea of how Science works. This isn’t even rational. Do you believe that the Earth is flat also?

            2. You are going to have to show me in the Bible where it claims to have any authority on issues of Science, and where the Bible declares matters of Science to be “salvation issues.” Simply put, you can’t find this anywhere in the Bible because none of this is in the Bible, and never has been part of Christian tradition before the 16th century Protestant Deformation.

            3. If St Augustine were alive today, he would go on Bill Maher’s show and the Daily Show with John Stewart and ridicule you and Ken Ham by name, along with all your ilk.

          • BRIAN HUGH GRIFFITH BHG

            Airy’s failure showed the earth is stationary

            The Bible has had it right for 3,000 years All -281-GEOCENTRIC-REFERENCES in below .pdf

            http://oldpathsbaptistchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ALL-281-GEOCENTRIC-REFERENCES.pdf

            Airy’s failure , Michelson-Morley and Michelson-Gale and The Sagnac experiment accidently proved the earth is stationary while trying to prove the opposite
            The Bible wins Copernican principle and heliocentrism fails

          • Christian Schmemann

            Tell me where the Bible proclaims itself to be authoritative in matters of Science! I don’t believe your interpretation of the Bible; I militantly reject your Sola Scriptura heresy, and to be brutally honest, I regard you as a heretic. The Holy Fathers who lived long before the rise of the Protestant heresies in the 16th century never saw any place in the Bible where it claimed to be authoritative and infallible in matters of Science.

            If you are right, you will be able to point to places in the Bible that definitely point to its claiming to be authoritative and infallible in matters of Science. But I caution you, that you’ll be attempting to find things that the greatest Bible scholars of the Ancient World, people such as St John Chrysostom and St Basil the Great and St Augustine (far better Bible scholars than Martin Luther or John Calvin!) were not ever able top find. Sola Scriptura is nothing but an ideology, an ideology straight from the depths of Hell, that cannot be found in the Bible. I never found any place in the Bible that asserted its own authority, but I find plenty of places in the Bible that speak of the authority of the Church, and this is why I fled Protestantism like Lot and his family fled Sodom and into the Byzantine-rite Catholic Church.

            As far as geocentrism is concerned, you have no idea of what you’re talking about, and you and your Baptist community are probably the only people in the entire world who interpret the Sagnac experiment, Airy’s experiment and the Michelson- Morley experiments as proving geocentrism. I find it ironic that you are fighting so hard to defend the Inquisition of the Catholic Church that you believe to be the Whore of Babylon.

          • BRIAN HUGH GRIFFITH BHG

            You and your type calling me a heretic is a compliment

            But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: Acts 24:14

            If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? John 3:12

            O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 1 Timothy 6:20

          • “If St Augustine were alive today, he would go on Bill Maher’s show and the Daily Show with John Stewart and ridicule you and Ken Ham by name, along with all your ilk.” Man I would love to see that.

    • Thanks, Christian. I appreciate your thoughts. To be clear, I was simply saying that I am perfectly happy to rub elbows with folks with whom I disagree about Genesis and the age of the earth, but who are willing to agree to disagree. I think this is in the interest of church unity, when it comes to doctrinal matters that are non-essential to the faith.

      I see Ken Ham and his teachings as being a bit of a different animal. I completely agree that they are wrong, heretical and ultimately harmful to the health of the church and the efficacy of its work in spreading the good news of the gospel. That’s why I argue against his views so forcefully on this blog.

      • Louie

        Tyler, I don’t think Haarsma’s approach is correct. She, like the many Christians out there, has an “I’m ok – you’re ok” attitude as long as we agree on the milk (vs. the meat) of the word, but we are told to GROW in knowledge. Of course I think Ham is wrong on Genesis, but I do agree Christians should only be united around truth.

        What Ham should’ve added though, is Christians should debate these things – not just say we agree on Christ. These so-called “essentials vs. secondary” things in the Bible have caused an apethetic attitude among Christians that has caused MASSIVE DECEPTIONS. Check out this article …

        http://thechristianmythbusterseries.com/interpretation-keeping-people-christ/

    • Thom Foolery

      “Furthermore, Ken Ham is chasing a growing number of people away from Christ with his ideology.”

      Absolutely spot on. His ilk chased me away, for sure.

      • Christian Schmemann

        Thom, I gently ask that you reconsider your rejection of Christianity. Find a decent Catholic, Orthodox, ELCA Lutheran or Episcopalian Church; these Churches by and large do NOT believe that Genesis 1 has to be read “literally” as natural history and scientific fact, and definitely do not require such views of their members.

        Personally, I think that the Eastern-rite Byzantine Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox Churches have the most beautiful Liturgy, which does require some explanation.

        • Thom Foolery

          Christian, I appreciate your concern and gentleness. I also appreciate your recommendations of Eastern-rite and Eastern Orthodox churches. I have considered visiting our local Antiochian and Greek Orthodox churches and am doubly interested after your comments here and below. Thanks again!

          • Christian Schmemann

            I strongly, very strongly recommend the Antiochian Orthodox Church. Sometimes, Greek Orthodox Churches can be Greek cultural clubs as much as Churches (and sometimes Russian Orthodox Churches are just as bad, though Russians do strongly like people of German ancestry).

  • Larry Bunce

    I posted a comment on BioLogos that in earlier centuries Ken Ham would have been the Grand Inquisitor, and that we should regard it as progress that his worst weapon today is name calling.
    Since he is oblivious to criticism, it would be better for his critics to ignore him, even if that would enable him to say he has silenced his critics, and his views call out for refutation. Criticism only confirms his belief that he is right. He wants and has gotten attention. Silence would be his worst nightmare.

  • Adão Lincon Bezerra Montel

    For Ken Ham : ‘The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: PRIDE, and ARROGANCY and the evil way, and the FROWARD MOUTH, do I hate’ (Proverbs 8:13)

  • Louie

    I don’t think Haarsma’s approach is correct. She, like the many Christians out there, has an “I’m ok – you’re ok” attitude as long as we agree on the milk (vs. the meat) of the word, but we are told to GROW in knowledge. Of course I think Ham is wrong on Genesis, but I do agree Christians should only be united around truth.

    What Ham should’ve added though, is Christians should debate these things – not just say we agree on Christ. These so-called “essentials vs. secondary” things in the Bible have caused an apethetic attitude among Christians that has caused MASSIVE DECEPTIONS. Check out this article …

    http://thechristianmythbusterseries.com/interpretation-keeping-people-christ/

  • Neil C Griffen

    What should I believe, a book written two thousand years ago when I was not around? There is an alternative, science which re-establishes itself every day. It applies to the whole world, not just a few people. It is based on what I can see, feel, hear, smell and touch. How can someone without scientific knowledge, the Bible, address such issues as creation? The mind can be led to believe anything but science is the arbitrator.

  • Chris Crawford

    To be honest, that’s not really a fair offer by Haarsma. Biologos and RtB have nothing to lose from meeting with AiG and each other on those terms. AiG, on the other hand, is an organization based solely on protecting their position by making evolution and big bang an enemy. By finding common ground with those Christians who feel otherwise, they’re legitimizing them as “thought options”. And you can’t fund a Creation museum and an Ark Encounter if the secular alternatives are valid ideas for Christians to have.

    There was a man who’d been an elder in a Church of Christ for forty years, whose children had fallen from the traditional beliefs by worshiping in a church with musical instruments and more mainstream views on baptism and grace. He found himself unable to argue against his children’s reasoning, yet he still held onto his strict beliefs. “If I am wrong about this,” he said, “then I’ve been misleading people for most of my life.”

    If Ham changed his mind, the fallout would be tremendous. He’d lose everything. He has no choice but to elevate creationist dogma, and to reject any Christian who believes anything different. For a man so dead set against “man’s fallible opinions”, he’s made himself entirely subject to them.

    • Just to be clear, what BioLogos and Reasons to Believe advocate are not “secular options.”

      • Chris Crawford

        Yeah, that was badly phrased on my part.

    • I understand how agreeing to such a meeting would put Ham in a tough spot politically and idealogically. What I don’t understand is how his followers can’t see that his refusal demonstrates clearly that he holds young-earth creationism to be of more importance than the gospel. The fact that he, Deb Haarsma and Hugh Ross agree 100 percent on the nature of God, Christ and salvation is irrelevant to Ken Ham. The fact that they disagree about evolution and the age of the earth is unforgivable.

      • Chris Crawford

        I think it might be a case of the tail wagging the dog, at least a little. I’d imagine quite a few of his followers like him because he tells them what they want to hear, and says it with absolute certainty. If Ham or even all of AiG came out next week and said the evidence for evolution was undeniable and they were changing their mind, I’m of the opinion that the number of followers who’d come with them would be a tiny fraction.

        YEC is, in my opinion, only a symptom of a larger issue. I’ve read enough to see that his followers tend to be less accepting of other opinions than he claims to be. And that’s scary.

        • Interesting! This is an age-old discussion that I remember from journalism classes: Does the media guide and influence public opinion, or does it merely reflect public opinion? In my opinion, I think we’d be naive not to realize that elements of both are at work, whether we’re talking about the news media, or an organization like Answers in Genesis.

          However, I would suggest that in the case of AiG, it is a “two-way street.” Certainly, it has the following it does because Christians are inclined to agree with them anyway, because they tend to inherently distrust the secular world and inherently trust anything that’s openly Christian and claims to be in line with God’s word. But I do think they exert an influence, simply because I see so many comments from young-earther both on this site and in the culture that may as well have been lifted directly from Ken Ham’s blog posts.

          I’d suggest that you’re right, there was and is a larger issue at work here, separate of the work of Ham and AiG. But they’ve taken that larger issue, and they’ve made it worse.

  • “In academic debates, like any other argument, personal desire goes beyond just being right. When I’m in a heated argument, I want my opponent to admit that I’m right. If I didn’t, there wouldn’t be an argument in the first place. … In reality, arguments get heated when we want the opponents to concede to our superior understanding. That’s a vain and selfish desire if ever I heard one. For us to move forward in this creation debate, we must surrender that desire.” — Todd C. Wood, scientist and young-earth creationist. See his article “Surrender” at the Colossian Forum (June 1, 2012).

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Ken Ham not only understands scripture better than anyone else who has
    ever lived, and knows far more about science than such feeble mortal
    minds as Stephen Hawking, he also possesses secret knowledge about the hearts and minds of others that even they themselves don’t know

    “Secret Knowledge” as in “Occult Gnosis”?
    After all, “Gnostic” means “He Who KNOWS Things”.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    That’s the only possible takeaway I see from a rant like this. Ham has
    no use for other believers, unless their beliefs are identical to his on
    every fine point of doctrine.

    Purity of Ideology, Comrade.
    Purity of Ideology.

  • Alan S

    These guys (AiG) are just not teachable, and they will not admit to being wrong. In a recent blog entry, Ken quotes another AiG employee named Mark, who speaking in Ken’s defense against a detractor (aka compromising Christian) says the following:

    “Ken was not comparing himself to Nehemiah—Ken was using an example from Scripture that any Bible-believing Christian could apply today. By the same logic expressed by [Gavin], if any one of us quoted Jesus or cited one of His deeds to make our point, we would be accused of comparing ourselves to Jesus.”
    http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2014/10/21/dinner-and-discussion-with-deborah/

    Can anyone really take that claim seriously? Let’s revisit Ham’s original words:

    “So what is my response to the dinner invitation?

    I’m reminded of how Nehemiah responded when opponents who knew what he was doing and why—and they knew what Nehemiah believed (and rejected his stand)—wanted to meet with him:

    Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono . . . ” (Nehemiah 6:1–2)

    And the response from Nehemiah was the following:

    So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3)

    We at AiG are busy “rebuilding a wall.” We are equipping God’s people to defend the Christian faith, and I believe we are doing a great work for God. We are busy being “watchmen”—warning people of those who undermine the authority of the Word of God. Now, of course, I don’t consider Dr. Ross a personal enemy (as Nehemiah considered some of his detractors)—he is actually a pleasant person. But he is what I would call an enemy of biblical authority. He already knows our views, and we know his.”

    So after asking rhetorically what HIS RESPONSE to Harsmaa should be, Ham tells us he is reminded of NEHEMIAH’S RESPONSE. Nope, no comparison THERE!!

    Earlier in the post, Ken goes on about how Haarsma and Ross (his opponents!) already know what he and AiG believe. In the quote above, he mentions Nehemiah’s opponents, “who knew what he was doing and why—and they knew what Nehemiah believed (and rejected his stand)”. Again, NOPE, CAN’T see how people would think that Ham is comparing himself to Nehemiah.

    Finally, what had Nehemiah done? “Rebuilt a wall”. Then Ham says “We at AiG are busy ‘rebuilding a wall’ “. How ludicrous for anyone to think Ham was comparing himself to Nehemiah; clearly only an IDIOT would draw such a conclusion!

    To me, however, what’s worse is that Ham compares Haarsma and Ross to Sanballat and Tobiah. That’s where the real problem lies, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think it’s despicable for Ham to compare himself to Nehemiah; what IS despicable is to compare his brothers in Christ to the enemies of the people of God.

    • If there’s anyone out there who honestly believes that article by Ham was simply a humble servant sharing a few Bible verses, and not an arrogant prig on a self-aggrandizing ego trip, please get in touch with me. I’ve got some property on the moon I’d like to sell you.

  • Yewnique
  • Go_4_tli

    I agree with you that we can “agree to disagree” about matters of faith with creationists. But the question of whether or not we can “agree to disagree” on whether or not creationism is compatible with science is also an important one, albeit a separate one — and that is not a bit of rhetoric I can allow to sit unchallenged.

    • Just to be clear, I absolutely think young-earth creationism is wrong, but it’s a question of whether it’s really worth taking the time and energy to convince someone who refuses to be convinced, for whatever reason. For me, I don’t really care enough, as long as they aren’t trying to make it into a salvation or gospel issue

  • Catch 22

    If God etched in stone that He created all inanimate things with all living animals inside them in six days, would you believe it to be six days or to be allegory, Tyler? Or anyone.

    • It’s a question of how the text was intended to be interpreted. In general, texts that contain plot elements such as magical trees and talking serpents and flaming swords are not considered literal history. Why would the medium on which the text was written matter?

      • Catch 22

        Tyler. Read the 4TH Commandment of Exodus 20:10-11. It says that the earth, heavens, seas and all that dwell was created in six days. Are the Ten Commandments, in which were etched by God’s very finger, an allegory? Prose? Or was the Ten Commandments was meant as literal?

        • Great question! I think it’s helpful to look at how Jesus interpreted the Old Testament. After all, he was God in the flesh. So what were his views of the Fourth Commandment?

          As you probably know, Jesus performed healing miracles on the Sabbath, and this was one of the biggest sources of conflict between him and the Pharisees. The Pharisees took the Fourth Commandment literally: that God rested, and therefore, we should rest. So what did Jesus say? ” “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” (John 5:16-18) In other words, God has never rested, so why should he rest?

          This makes intuitive sense as well. To suggest that God rested would imply that he needs rest, that he is tired by exertion and is therefore limited, as we are. But God, of course, has no limits.

          Exodus 20:11: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

          So, if even Jesus didn’t take the part about God resting literally, doesn’t it make sense to at least consider that the part about the six days might not be literal either?

          And before you try and claim “rested” just means a “cessation,” read the parallel verse in Exodus 31:17, which explicitly describes the “resting” as a period of refreshment and restoration: “It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.”

  • Catch 22

    The way I see it is that Ken Ham agrees that evolution is not a salvation issue. Then he says that evolution is indirectly a salvation issue. Those two statements agree with each other. Evolution belief can act as a stepping stone for the believer’s children to disbelieve when they see that they can’t trust God’s words because of allegory defies plain words. If saved children are convinced that evolution’s deep time and it’s contradiction to Genesis may skip teaching their children about Jesus Christ. So. Directly? No. Indirectly? Yes.

    No lie occurred.

    • By your definition, “thinking” and questioning religious leaders would be, “indirectly,” a salvation issue. Since the Bible commands believers to think (1 Corinthians 14:20), and Jesus left behind a pretty firm example of questioning religious authorities, I think I’ll side with them over you. But thanks anyway.

  • Well, Ken Ham does NOT take the Bible “as written” so he is quite a hypocrite. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/creation-young-earth-ham-nye-genesis-one/

  • Preston Garrison

    It seems quite clear at this point that Ham is not someone that you can have a conversation with. He worships his interpretation of the Bible, not the real God who isn’t so easy to predict or pin down. He makes me think of this song by David Wilcox. http://davidwilcox.com/index.php?page=songs&category=Musical_Medicine&display=2148

    • That is a cool song, and very appropriate. Thanks for sharing.