Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Noted Creationist Disinvited From National Home School Conference Itinerary

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Ken HamThe founder of the creationist group Answers in Genesis (AIG) and one of the chief architects of the planned “Ark Encounter” creationist museum in Kentucky, has been un-invited from two important home school conferences because of controversial comments he made about another conference speaker. As reported by OneNewsNow.com, the sponsor of the conferences, Great Homeschool Conventions, e-mailed noted creationist Dr. Ken Ham to inform him that he was no longer welcome at scheduled or future events because of “ungodly” and “mean-spirited” statements he had made about the convention and other speakers.

“We believe that what Ken has said and done is un-Christian and sinful,” the event organizers said in their e-mail to Ham, and his “public criticism of the convention itself and other speakers at our convention require him to surrender the spiritual privilege of addressing our home school audience.”

At issue is Ham’s criticism of another regular home school conference speaker, Dr. Peter Enns, whose organization BioLogos Foundation seeks to promote harmony between science and the Christian faith. As opposed to Ham and his organization, Enns and BioLogos do not promote a “young earth” interpretation of the Genesis creation account, which posits that God created the Earth in six 24-hour days, but believe that “evolution, properly understood, best describes God’s work of creation.” The group’s stated mission is to help “the church — and students, in part — develop worldviews ... that allow science and faith to co-exist peacefully.”

Ham, however, believes that Enns’ teachings boil down to a compromise of the scriptural account of creation, and has been openly critical of Enns, even at public presentations. “Ham, who spoke at the Great Homeschool Conventions’ earlier events in Greenville, S.C. and in Memphis, Tenn., had made presentations on how Enns was promoting unbiblical teachings and compromising the faith,” reported the Christian Post. “The AIG founder also took to Facebook to criticize Enns, who was also invited to speak at the conventions to promote a Bible curriculum for home schoolers.”

In a recent posting on his blog, Ham took issue with the Great Homeschool Conferences for inviting Dr. Enns to speak at their events, writing that Enns “does not believe in a historical Adam or historical Fall.... 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.”

As proof of his colleague’s liberal leanings, Ham quoted Enns directly from the BioLogos website as suggesting that “the Adam story could be viewed symbolically as a story of Israel’s beginnings, not as the story of humanity from ground zero.” In one of his own blog postings, Enns writes: “The biblical depiction of human origins, if taken literally, presents Adam as the very first human being ever created. He was not the product of an evolutionary process, but a special creation of God a few thousand years before Jesus — roughly speaking, about 6000 years ago. Every single human being that has ever lived can trace his/her genetic history to that one person.” Enns views such a belief as problematic, “because it is at odds with everything else we know about the past from the natural sciences and cultural remains.”

Ham argued that Enns’ writing and presentations prove that he “accepts what the secular world teaches concerning evolution and millions of years, and it is so obvious this determines how he approaches the Bible.” He concluded that Enns “does not have the same view of inspiration as I do. In fact, he doesn’t have the biblical view of inspiration," which he said was defined by the biblical admonition that all Scripture “is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness’ (2 Timothy 3:16).”

On Facebook Ham warned that home-schooled children were in danger of being exposed to Enns’ erroneous teaching through a curriculum he was selling at the conferences. “Someone needs to stand against the compromise that is pouring into the church from many directions,” he said. He also complained about the decision of the convention’s organizers to pull him and his group from their conferences, noting, “Because we publicly exposed one of their speakers and his curriculum because his beliefs clearly undermine the authority of Scripture, we apparently come under the heading of ‘anti-Christian’ in our actions.”

Ham isn’t the only conservative evangelical leader to challenge the opinions of Enns and BioLogos. Over the past year the Rev. Albert Mohler, head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, has repeatedly sparred with the group over its apparent compromise on the Genesis account. In November 2010, Mohler accused BioLogos of attempting to “persuade evangelical Christians to embrace some form of evolutionary theory,” and attempting to “convince the evangelical public that an acceptance of evolution is a means of furthering the gospel.”

Mohler charged the group’s spokesmen with leveling their guns “at the Intelligent Design movement, at young earth creationism, and against virtually all resistance to the embrace of evolution,” and with insisting that “the embrace of evolution is necessary if evangelicalism is not to be intellectually marginalized in the larger culture.” The conservative Baptist theologian argued that writers for BioLogos “have repeatedly made the case that we must relinquish the inerrancy of the Bible and accept that the biblical writers worked from a defective understanding of the world and its origins.”

Officials with the home-school conference insisted that like the majority of the attendees at their convention, they agree with Ham and AIG on the biblical account of creation, explaining that Ham was removed as a speaker “for his spirit, not for his message.” Noting the importance of Christian unity in their home school conferences, the event officials explained, “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.”

In defending their decision to welcome Dr. Enns and BioLogos Fondation despite their apparent disagreement with the group’s stand on the inerrancy of Scripture, the conference organizers expressed their belief that “Christian scholars should be heard without the fear of ostracism or ad hominem attacks.” They emphasized that “a well-rounded education is not possible without knowing and understanding all sides of an issue. Such a process will, understandably, confirm one in their conviction or persuade them to make a change.”

The convention organizers also announced that they had replaced Ham and AIG with Dr. Jonathan D. Sarfati of Creation Ministries International, an organization that, like AIG, promotes a biblical view of the Earth’s creation.

Photo of Dr. Ken Ham: AP Images