Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ken Ham - Susan Wise Bauer - Peter Enns

It seems these three have been in the news recently because Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis have been dis-invited from a couple of homeschool conferences. I have always appreciated Ken's straightforward defense of the Genesis account of creation after discovering for myself how plausible the biblical account is and teaching from his materials, so imagine my shock that he was asked not to speak at these two conferences because he dared mention, by name, people who are putting out a Bible curriculum which denies the historical Adam of creation and other Old Testament history as symbolic or mythology.

From the Biologos website, Peter Enns:
"In my last post I suggested that the Adam story could be viewed symbolically as a story of Israel’s beginnings, not as the story of humanity from ground zero.
But some might ask, “Why go through all this trouble? Why not just take it literally? The Bible says Adam was the first man. That’s the end of it.”
It’s not that simple, and if it were, people wouldn’t be talking it about it so much. First of all, reading the Adam story symbolically rather than as a literal description of history is not a whim, and it is certainly not driven by a desire to undermine the Bible. Rather, as we have seen, the Bible itself invites a symbolic reading by using cosmic battle imagery and by drawing parallels between Adam and Israel (to name two factors).
There is also considerable external evidence that works against the “just read it literally” mentality.
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.
This is a problem because it is at odds with everything else we know about the past from the natural sciences and cultural remains". (
So he admits that his "truth" comes from man's ideas. And if that is how you feel, then by all means teach that to your kids. They will get the same from public school, so I really don't see the point of homeschooling as a Christian if I follow what I turned away from as a young adult. 

Enns wrote the controversial book: Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament which you can see reviews of here on Amazon.

Susan Wise Bauer seems to defend him, (See highlighted part below) which she well should since he's publishing through her publishing company. She seems to indicate that things have been taken out of context, but when you get down to brass tacks does Enns support the biblical account or not? It regretfully seems not.

Posting this because I expect it to disappear in a few days-
From a comment by Bev at Ms Bauer's site:

Mrs. Bauer,
When I left my first comment on Mar 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm, I thought you were being attacked for your history books as I was not clued in to the whole Enns/Ham/convention story until yesterday evening. After researching the facts myself about Dr. Enns and his beliefs out of his own mouth, I’m at a loss for why you chose him to produce a Bible curriculum that you endorse by selling. I really wanted some answers, so I left a reply on a sticky on the forum asking what your views were, etc. My reply, along with all the other posts on a full page of replies got deleted. Then I asked why my reply got deleted and then that reply got deleted. I pm’d Justin and still haven’t received any explanation.
Others have told me that you (or your webmasters) are not letting any opposing view of “Telling God’s Story” to stay on the forum, only good reviews. Well, mine wasn’t either but merely a polite question, wanting to know YOUR personal beliefs or did you know Enns believed in evolution and a metaphoric Adam, etc.?
I can’t help but say this puts a sour taste in my mouth for your publishing company and that saddens me as I thoroughly enjoy your curriculum and we use it all and I’ve even recruited several women in my church to use your curriculum. I’m hoping that you stop selling the Bible curriculum and distance yourself from Dr. Enns to show that you do not support evolution and a skewed sense of the Bible as he does, but I’m afraid, since you haven’t, that you do have those beliefs.
I watched Dr. Enns lecture as he told of his interpretation of creation, Adam, and even his views on Paul which astonished me. My husband, who is a preacher, was shocked at these outrageous interpretations as well. We would never purchase anything this man wrote about the Bible and will advise others not to do so as well as it is error.
If you would take the time to answer my questions, or give an explanation, that would be much appreciated, as I prefer to receive my answers direct from the source, not hearsay.
Thank you for your time.

The answer: 
Mar 26, 2011 at 7:36 am

We decided to publish the curriculum because we thought that the idea of starting an elementary Bible program in the Gospels, with Jesus, was a different and valuable approach, and because Dr. Enns has both a wonderful voice for young children and the ability to explain clearly to parents. You can read the entire first year for free now on Scribd, at (You can also read samples from the activity book on Scribd and Google Books.) She also publishes Telling God's Story, which IS a book in which he denies the Bible's true historicity.
The information others have told you about the boards is incorrect. As with all other topics, threads are removed when board rules about civility and courtesy are broken. (I’m sure that has been a difficult job for the mods, with many judgment calls.)
Of course I fully support your decision not to use the materials. Every parent needs to decide for themselves which books are useful for their family, and which are not.
I also want to point something out–I know this will not relieve your concerns, and again, your convictions on this matter will guide you–but you should keep in mind that the Westmont College video (I assume that’s the one you’re talking about?) was given in an academic setting, to faculty and students. I have already heard several times sentences from that lecture pulled completely out of context. In an academic lecture, a professor has an entire hour to develop ideas, talk about possible interpretations and their problems, and discuss different theories. I would hate to have two or three sentences from one of my lectures pulled out of context and used against me–I could easily be made to sound like a complete idiot. And an academic lecture is not a sermon. It is not a place where the lecturer tells you: This is what you should believe. It is a place in which to say: What about this? What if this were the case? Is it possible to see this from another direction? Academic lectures are meant to be questioned, not accepted as the final statement on a matter.
Once again, please be guided by your own convictions, but I do encourage you to read the book that we actually published. I think it stands on its own merit.

So she's hinting that the book they "actually published" is innocent, but they have also published: Telling God's Story: A Parent's Guide to Teaching The Bible. Which is the book in which he denies biblical truth of the Old Testament. I have a novel idea! Let's use THE BIBLE to teach the Bible. 

"...Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:12-16


Danny said...

It's interesting that she demands context for Enns. No one is demanding context for Ken Ham.

Anonymous said...

Paul warns Gal 1:6-9: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

LauraW said...

I was wondering what all the "who-ha" was all about. Thank you for the post - clear, simple, concise - well done :)