Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A mission without a mission field

Peter Enns and BioLogos are on a mission. Unfortunately for them, they are foreign missionaries, packed for travel, but they have no takers.

Not surprisingly, Enns & Co. usually come under fire from those on their right, but there are critics on their left. They try to snuggle up to the Darwinians, and use that as a weapon against Christians, but the bullet ricochets:



  1. What do you think about this debate mostly between Hugh Ross and Ken Ham ?

    (others are there and comment - Sean McDowell (son of Josh M.), Dr. John Bloom of Biola University) and Eric Hovind (related to Kent Hovind), and Ray Comfort is there, although he makes no comment on this clip. It is an edited version of a longer video.

    1. Realize you weren't asking me, but I'll give my two cents anyway since I saw the "debate." I don't think Ken Ham is a good debater (at least on this subject, never seen him on others). Sometimes I agree with his basic points, but I think he makes it in the wrong way or sometimes he his missing the mark a little.

      He wants to say that he is trying to defend the integrity of the Bible or whether we can trust God's Word. He tries to make that the main point and convince people that's what is at stake. But that's a fruitless exercise against someone like Hugh Ross. And Ken Ham ends up coming off as senseless fundy.

      Ham might have some good arguments (e.g., death), but he doesn't make good use of them. He's probably a good organizer and leader for the AiG ministry, but I don't think he should be their figure-head apologist.

    2. By the way, check out the June 17th 2012 Unbelievable? podcast to hear another debate between two young earth creationists, Steve Lloyd and Andy Macintosh and Hugh Ross and Ken Samples. I think the young earth creationist Steve Lloyd did a much better job than I've ever heard Ken Ham do. However, I didn't think too much of his partner Andy Macintosh.

    3. Thanks "Janitor" - good information; I am listening to the Unbelievable program you recommended right now.

    4. Let me know what you think of the debate.

    5. I thought the debate was very good - I was impressed with all 4 speakers. Lloyd and MacIntosh have the Biblical exegesis and theological consistency (with the fall, death and the gospel) edge and Lloyd brought home the problem of animal death before the fall with a good emphasis. Ross had lots of scientific information. Samples makes the point that secular/skeptics will listen to you better if you don't believe in the 6,000 year age of the earth. (that is one of the main strengths of their position, that people will at least listen to you against the other problems of naturalistic evolution, if you don't hold the literal 6 day, 24 hour view. but Exodus 20:11 seems clear that Moses meant it as 6 - 24 hour periods.

      The examples of "day" that Samples and Ross give are examples that do seem to mean that "yom" is a "general time period", (Genesis 2:1-4 - "in the day the Lord created" - seems to cover all 6 days) but don't have ordinal numbers with it, except for Hosea 6:1-3, and Ham pointed out that that was a poetic form of prophesy, not narrative. [Ken Ham made that point in another different debate]

      The Younger Earth Creationists ( I forget which one) pointed out that Hebrew scholar, John Currid (Reformed Seminary), shows that Genesis 1-2 is narrative, not poetry.

      I downloaded the slides and will have to go over it several more times. It was good and seemed to get all the main issues out in the open.

      I did not see a problem with McIntosh; I thought he made some excellent points. But Lloyd was better.

      Hugh Ross talked about "Dark Matter" and "Dark" something else. (Dark Energy ?) the others disputed that and said there is no proof for it's existence. What is it? a theory? Is it from Genesis 1:2, "the earth was formless and empty and darkness was over the deep" ??

    6. Thanks for getting back on this. I don't think there is as much truth to Samples' claim that skeptics listen to you better if you're an OEC as he and Ross like to pretend. In my experience, some people are willing to listen to you and take you seriously so long as you show that you've taken the issue seriously yourself and that you've listened to the other side. Other people won't take you seriously no matter what, even if you're an OEC or a theistic evolutionist. There are some people who may not take you seriously if you are a YEC but will take you seriously if you're an OEC. But what does that have to do with the truth of OEC? Nothing. More people will also probably take you seriously if you deny the virgin birth or physical resurrection. So what? It's odd that OEC think that's a fact worth appealing to in the context of these debates.

      Furthermore, the truth of naturalistic evolution seems just as obvious to most folks as the idea that the earth is millions of years old. In fact the data usually goes hand in hand for them. So I think it's also mistaken to view the OEC position as a foot in the door for critiquing evolution.

      Dark matter and energy aren't terms from Gen. 1:2. They are theoretical entities postulated to exist because we don't find the amount of energy or matter we would expect.

    7. Ultimately, you are correct about the skeptics vs. OEC and YEC, but in my own experience in witnessing and teaching to people who struggle with the issue, I found that they listened to arguments against Evolution that YEC and OEC and ID folks agree on first, if the "day/yom" issue is put off until later for discussion. That has been my experience - I have seen people calm down and listen, because they want to bring that issue up first (or dinosaurs, etc.); and if we start with talking about macro vs. micro evolution, the Evolutionists confessions that there is not much solid evidence for transitional forms, and the irreducible complexity issues that point to an Intelligent creator (Michael Behe and Philip Johnson and Stephen Meyer type of arguments) - people seem to listen to those arguments, and we could get to to day/yom issue later.

      I guess it seems to me those 3 issues (off the top of my head), especially number 3 - the irreducible complexity of life - that all parts have to be there all at once in order for the species to survive - those seem to be more important to begin with in evangelism/apologetics with skeptics and intellectual unbelievers, and then the day/yom issue can come later, after the issue of sin and death and the gospel.

      But, as you say, some people are going to mock and not believe even if we walk carefully through the order I have laid out below. What do you think of that as a practical tool?

      It seems to me that a practical order to how to approach skeptics is still a good general practice, but keeping in mind that God uses truth and situations in no particular order.

      1. Irreducible complexity
      2. Evidence of design and a Designer
      3. confessions of leading Evolutionists against their own position (Philip Johnson has a lot of this in "Darwin on Trial" and "Defeating Evolution by Opening Minds")
      4. micro-evolution (change within species - the peppered moths, for example) vs. macro-evolution
      5. the lack of solid evidence for transitional forms
      6. Sin, death, and the gospel

      1. yom/day issues
      2. What happened to the Dinosaurs?

    8. Ken,

      I don't find any formulas for discussion helpful in apologetics, personally. I don't think I've ever had two conversations that were the same. Mostly, I guess I'm reacting to wherever the other person is coming from. Sometimes that involves talking about intelligent design (without reference to age-of-earth issues) and sometimes it involves talking about the age of the earth (without reference to biological evolution).

      In other words, I wouldn't hash out a 'practical order' in the abstract. If I were teaching a class on the subject I would probably start with explaining the various positions (the varieties of OEC and YEC) and then I might start with theistic evolution, since I see that as the most problematic and move on from there.

    9. Thanks. You are right in that we must be ready to respond to where people are at and it does not follow a particular formula or order.

      Here is a debate I found of Hugh Ross and Walter Kaiser vs. Ken Ham and Jason Lisle. It looks good. Have you seen or listened to this?



    10. I have seen it. I didn't care much for it. Ken Ham did most of the talking on the YEC side and John Ankerberg, the host/moderator, is an OEC and it seemed like he favored Kaiser and Ross.

      Debates are interesting and have the potential to be helpful in that they might show you what the debater considers his strongest arguments to be or, if you have a good debater who can think on his feet, what some responses to common objections might be. But ultimately if you're trying to learn the issue I think you should read the books where they aren't under pressure or time constraints.

  2. I haven't listened to the debate. However, Ham and Ross aren't in the same weight class. Ham is far less qualified.

    To have a good debate, you'd need someone who's the equal of Ross. There are clearly more qualified YEC proponents than Ham. Ham is mainly a good organizer and promotional figure.

  3. It also depends on whether we're debating science, exegesis, or theology. Someone who's qualified to debate one aspect of the issue may be less competent on another aspect of the issue.

  4. Yes, I was impressed with Ross' science knowledge and his demeanor was very good; I had not heard some of that before.

    Who are the more YEC proponents more qualified ? From my church background, etc. and want is mostly promoted, Answers in Genesis is the main ministry that is promoted to refute Evolution. Answers in Genesis have many scientists on their staff, but I don't know if they could be equal with Ross. Ross disputed one of the main things that the AiG group makes - the difference between Observational Science and Historical Science. Ross brought out something I had never considered before - he is an astro-physicist and brought out the issue of time and the speed of light and how long it takes for information from the Universe to get back to us - and that necessitates millions of years - based on the space, it seems. It seems like a good point that I had never thought of before, and Ken Ham did not seem prepared to deal with that.

    I always appreciated Philip Johnson's books years ago, before I was exposed to Ken Ham's ministry. I wish Young Earth view were more agreeable with Intelligent Design and Old Earth paradigm without accusing them of secretly holding to Evolution. (and without being like BioLogos and promotion of Theistic Evolution - Enns and Waltke, etc.

    1. Ken

      "Who are the more YEC proponents more qualified?"

      John Byl, Jason Lisle, Andrew Snelling, Kurt Wise, Todd Wood, Jonathan Sarfati, Marcus Ross.

    2. Thanks for that list. I recognize Jason Lisle from his lectures at Answers in Genesis, (I have watched him maybe within the last 2-3 years, but don't remember his credentials until I looked him just now.) and the name Jonathan Sarfati - see it on books refuting Evolution. the others I don't recognize, but now I will look into them. Thanks again.

      I see now that Jason L. is also an Astronomer and Astro-physicist - Given that Lisle is also an Astro-Physicist, it would seem he should debate Hugh Ross.

    3. I see now that Andrew Snelling is at Answers in Genesis also.

      Marcus Ross was interesting - according to the article online, Wikipedia (I think), he agreed with 65 million years in order to get his degree and so that the secular scientists would listen to him; but says he really always was a young earth creationist. That would seem to give questions to his integrity. He is at Liberty.

    4. I'd want to add Leonard Brand, Paul Garner and a few others to that list of more qualified YEC.

    5. the issue of time and the speed of light and how long it takes for information from the Universe to get back to us - and that necessitates millions of years - based on the space, it seems.

      Unless God along with the Earth and the celestial bodies also created the light beams in transit or partway to the Earth from the emitting body in question.
      I've never understood why so many seem to think this argument is compelling.

    6. Thanks Rhology - I did not think about that either.
      Good point. That is the bottom line - since God is all powerful we just don't know how He make things suddenly as Genesis says "let there be ....." etc. and he can make things with age within them (Adam and Eve already being around 19-21 years old when created, trees with rings, etc. and as you point out, earth and other planted and light rays in transit already.

      Mind you, I didn't say I was convinced by that, just that I honestly thought Ross made a good point, and he did not seem like an outright heretic, nor does he believe in Darwinian Evolution. At times, 6 day creation folks ( I am also one) seem to lump the old earth guys and ID guys in with Darwinian atheists and theistic evolutionists.

      Ross' view of a local flood that covered the Middle East and known world to the writers of the Bible is wrong-headed in my opinion. I think Genesis 7 makes it clear that all the mountains were covered and it involved the whole earth.

      I was glad to hear that he believes Adam and Eve were specially created and that human history is young - 6-10 thousand years.

    7. and other planted and light rays in transit already.

      Should have been -

      and other planets and light rays in transit already.

    8. Actually Ross accepts the standard vie that humans came on the scene several hundred thousand years ago.

    9. oh, I heard him say "thousands"; but I accept what you say. I have not had a chance to listen to all of it yet - had to stop listening and do other work. A lot of the science goes over my head. I will need to listen several times.

      Doesn't Ross also believe in some kind of soul-less humanoid beings before Adam? - that's how he explains fossils of other supposed Ape like beings?

  5. It also depends on whether we're debating science, exegesis, or theology. Someone who's qualified to debate one aspect of the issue may be less competent on another aspect of the issue.

    It would seem to me that we Evangelicals and Reformed need something that combines all of it, for a good apologetic in our evangelism. I am frustrated over the lack of integrating exegesis with science information. They seem to be too separated. And when the science folks do talk and lecture, it is way over my head a lot of times.

  6. Here is another atheist commenting on theistic evolution:

    If you want to redefine original sin, or summon forth strained interpretations of Genesis to reconcile evolution with Adam and Eve, then go right ahead. But please do not pretend that this represents some convergence of ancient wisdom with modern understandings. This is not science and religion in conversation. This is science telling it like it is, and religion trying desperately to catch up

    Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionist Front Line, p. 177

  7. I'm open to the the possible truth of YEC (though, I lean toward OEC).

    YEC author Jonathan Sarfati's books Refuting Evolution and the sequel Refuting Evolution 2 are online. Either in their entirety, or partially at the following links.

    Refuting Evolution

    Refuting Evolution 2