This post will be my last post on Ken Ham for at least a week. I promise. I may still tweet one-liners, though. @panth_ian
Many of the posts on #POPChrist and on my friend Joel’s blog ‘resurrecting orthodoxy’ have been about Ken Ham and the teachings of AiG. Below, there is a link to Joel’s initial post on this topic called “Why I am Not Teaching This Year” and will give you (my wonderful readers) a better understanding of why Ham is on our minds at the moment.
As I express in my post “The Heresy of Ham” and Joel expresses in his post “My Ultimate Frustration with Ken Ham”, both of us have many interests beyond challenging Ken Ham and the folks at AiG. In a way our interest in Ken Ham is only because the teachings of Ham and even more significantly his “uncompromising” either/or presentation of this non-central Christian doctrine get in the way of our true passion. Joel and I are Christian educators. We love teaching and we have a particular passion for teaching young Christians, young Christian men and women who are eager to love God with all their minds. Ken Ham and AiG get in the way. They place a stumbling block in front of our students and in front of many well meaning Christians under their influence.
Do I exaggerate? Ask my friend, if I exaggerate. My friend Joel has been a dedicated secondary school teacher for longer than I have know him and I have known him for twenty years. Twice in the past decade, after being hired not only to teach but to develop the biblical studies and worldview curriculum at Christian secondary schools, he “did not have his contract renewed” when new leadership arrived on the scene. In both cases, the new principal or headmaster was already under the influence of Ken Ham or YEC teaching and began openly “promoting” the teachings of AiG or YEC.
In his role as teacher, was Joel as his accusers suggested teaching his students the theory of evolution and promoting their acceptance of it regularly in his classroom. No. As a teacher of biblical studies and worldview classes, that would be outside his purview and was at the time outside his comfort zone in terms of knowledge. No, teaching what biologists mean by evolution is best left to the science department.
So, what did Joel teach? In the biblical studies class, he taught his students to take the historical context and the literary genre of Genesis 1-11 seriously when they interpret it. He was making accessible to them not liberal scholarship but conservative Christian scholarship that they will later encounter when they (as their parents want them to do) attend Wheaton, Baylor, Duke, the list could go on.
In his worldview class, in the senior year, as students prepare to go off to college and be confronted with new ideas, he taught them about influential figures like Charles Darwin. In light of the kind of debate which the media tends to promote, he taught them that there are different views with respect to Darwin’s theory. He taught them that Christians have differing ways of engaging Darwin’s theory, i.e. Young Earth Creationism (AiG), Intelligent Design Theory, Theistic Evolution (biologos), etc. Did he promote anyone of these views? At the time, as he states in his blog, he did not particularly care to which view his student’s were drawn. His job as a high school teacher in a worldview class was not to “sell” one of these Christian views but to present them. Just as he presented the views of Marx, Hitler, Communists, and Capitalists without selling them. Just as he presented the views of Freud and Jung, etc.
Apparently, teaching his students to take Israel’s history seriously (notice how Ham’s biblical narrative jumps from Genesis 11 to Matthew 1:1, for instance see 1h 17m in Nye/Ham debate) and not “selling” Young Earth Creationism to his students is already enough to make Joel a “compromised Christian”, “a spokesperson for the serpent”, etc. in the eyes of the Hamites. So, Joel who has dedicated his life to educating evangelical Christians, who has two Masters degrees from respected Christian Graduate institutions and a doctorate in the Old Testament studies, is “let go” and replaced by someone with less experience, less credentials and for likely the same amount of money who will teach the Hamite doctrine.
I doubt Joel is alone in his experience but read Joel’s own words. If you have a similar experience, please share it with us. Please read Joel’s post. Follow the link below: