Or The Litmus Test of Young Earth Creationists
The Web of Gnosis
Over the past year, I have been openly critical of the teachings of Ken Ham and his organization Answers in Genesis. The more I attended to their teachings — beyond the obvious and overt commitment to Young Earth Creationism — the more I discovered that this fundamental commitment is bolstered and defended by a web of less obvious commitments. Many of these commitments are simply bizarre (i.e. Dragons in literature are evidence that human beings lived at the same time as dinosaurs) but others are outright heretical with respect to the traditional teachings of the Christian Churches.
If the Wool Sweater Fits
While my primary aim in using social media is to point out problems with the teachings of Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis, this activity occasionally garners response from Ham’s defenders. In these brief exchanges, when I identify myself as a Christian, it is not long before I am demonized as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Or more gently, I have exchanged man’s fallible word for God’s infallible word. On occasion, I have even been accused of being an atheist pretending to be a Christian for the purpose of leading ‘true believers’ astray. I have never been an atheist but I have not always been a Christian. What an elaborate hoax I have played over the past twenty years of my life! I guess the joke is on me. 😉
No Creed is the New Creed
Ironically, I am most often charged with being a false teacher when I am stating a traditionally orthodox position and my conversation partner is defending a traditionally heretical position. These situations might be amusing if they did not reveal the pervasive ignorance of many Christians with respect to Christian doctrine. Further, it would not be so problematic if when the error is revealed the individual showed a willingness to learn and consider this seemingly new information. Yet, any new information about the historical teaching of the Church’s great theologians past and present or positions affirmed at Christian creeds and councils is treated as further sly and slippery words from the serpent.
Sola Scriptura Sine Mente
Of course, I am aware that YECs claim to have a strong commitment to Scripture. After all, they pride themselves on their commitment to reading the Bible literally. Yet, even when I support the Orthodox doctrine with a Biblical citation, I generally find myself accused of “taking the verse out of context” and of interpreting the text according to man’s fallible understanding. To which I respond, since I am a human being, that is the only way of interpreting the Bible or any text for that matter. In a brief twitter exchange, one revisits though with less erudition the extended arguments of the past that preceded and often succeeded Christian councils. Yes, Arius quoted the Bible, too. Likewise it seems that the Pharisees had also attended Awanas!
Literally, You’re Wrong!
Many of these Christians seem be to under the delusion that they simply read the text without interpretation. When pressed about who and what they read, they usually indicate a selection of secondary sources that espouse the same commitments and they balk at any suggestion that they try reading other Christians who offer other perspectives and counter-arguments. Yet, as Joel E. Anderson has pointed out on his blog, even the original Fundamentalists of the early twentieth century are suspect, now. They just weren’t fundamentalist enough!
Next time, I will discuss Apollinarianism. This Christological heresy is the one I encounter most frequently in exchanges with adherents to YECism and with Hamites in particular. What did Jesus know and how and when did he know it? (Tap here for next installment of Heresy is the New Orthodoxy: Apollinarianism Abounding)
If you enjoyed this post, please like it and/or share it. Leave a comment. Tell me about your own experiences with being called a heretic when presenting an orthodox doctrine.
Related Posts: Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis
Recommended Reading: Joel Edmund Anderson’s The Heresy of Ham