On the nationwide Bible Answer Man broadcast on May 27, host Hank Hanegraaff falsely accused me of teaching something I never have and, in fact, have repeatedly stated the exact opposite. Now, some people will ask if I have personally confronted Hank on this serious matter—and yes I did, on the basis of Matthew 18. But we did not resolve the issue, and so my next step is to publicly deal with a very public accusation.
You can listen to the section of the May 27 broadcast here (and I transcribed it below):
[Caller:] Hey Hank, first I want to say this. Your guest this morning . . . I am a young earth creationist, but his respect for me, that is very welcome in this whole debate. I really think that we have so much more in common than the evolutionists do. I hate it when we just attack each other and . . .
[Hanegraaff:] . . . or make it an acid test for orthodoxy. I mean we have some of the best young earth creationists on the Bible Answers Man broadcast who have who have written probably as eloquently about the creation evolution debate as anyone has ever done so. Also in some of the videos that we have featured on the broadcast with respect to flight or metamorphosis, we have a young earth creationist named Paul Nelson. I have the utmost respect for him. He is wise, he is discerning, he is gentle, he is kind, he does what he does with gentleness and with respect.
On the other hand there are young earth creationists that make their particular position an acid test for orthodoxy and therefore if you don’t hold their position, you are not a Christian. And unfortunately, Ken Ham has come very close to doing that or has actually done that. Sometimes I wonder if you give him the utmost charity you can say almost done that, but it seems like he has oftentimes pointed to individuals who hold to a position that the universe is old, as those who have given up the Christian faith.
Now, for those of you who know AiG, and know what I have stated over and over again through the many years of ministry about such things. I have never made believing in a young earth a test for orthodoxy. I have neither stated nor implied that if people don’t believe in a young earth (like Hank), then they “have given up the Christian faith.”
Below, I document this assertion as I provide quotes from various articles I have written—this is just a sampling of the many articles by me on the AiG website that deal with this issue. So here are quotations from articles I personally wrote:
Scripture plainly teaches that salvation is conditioned upon faith in Christ, with no requirement for what one believes about the age of the earth or universe.
Even though it is not a salvation issue, the belief that earth history spans millions of years has very severe consequences. Let me summarize some of these.
By dying on a cross and being raised from the dead, Jesus conquered death and paid the penalty for sin. Although millions of years of death before sin is not a salvation issue per se, I personally believe that it is really an attack on Jesus’ work on the cross.
Nowhere does the Bible even imply salvation in Christ is conditioned upon one’s belief concerning the days of creation or the age of the earth or universe.
Salvation is conditional upon faith in Christ—not belief about the six days of creation or the earth’s age. So, the age of the earth and universe is not a salvation issue per se—somebody can be saved even without believing what the Bible says on this issue. But it is a salvation issue indirectly. Christians who compromise on millions of years can encourage others toward unbelief concerning God’s Word and the gospel.
Obviously the age of the earth is not a salvation issue, but it is an authority issue! And we have been losing biblical authority from the culture. I challenge pastors not to compromise God’s Word in any way with ideas from outside of Scripture!
As one walks through the Creation Museum, nowhere does it even suggest that ‘belief in a young earth is the only way to salvation.’ In fact, in the theatre where the climax of the 7 C’s walk-through occurs, people watch a program called The Last Adam. This is one of the most powerful presentations of the gospel I have ever seen. This program clearly sets out the way of salvation—and it has nothing to do with believing in a young earth.
The point is, believing in a young earth won’t ultimately affect one’s salvation, but it sure does affect what those that person influences believe concerning how to approach Scripture. Such compromise in the church with millions of years and Darwinian evolution etc., we believe has greatly contributed to the loss of the Christian foundation in the culture.
As I have said so many times, the age of the earth and six days of creation aren’t salvation issues, but they are authority issues.
The point I want to make again that I’ve made in churches many times over the past thirty-five years is that, although Christian acceptance of millions of years or evolution is not a salvation issue, it is a gospel issue, and it is an authority issue.
You see, when Christian leaders compromise in Genesis, they undermine Scriptural authority, creating doubt, that erodes confidence in the infallibility of God’s Word. Although such compromise is not a salvation issue per se, it is an authority issue.
Although this is not a salvation issue per se (salvation is conditioned upon faith in Christ, not what one believes about the age of the earth), it is an important authority issue.
Although such compromise may not affect one’s salvation, it does influence how the next generation views Scripture.
I also want to make sure people understand that we do not call the age of the earth a salvation issue, but it is an authority issue.(The references for the quotes above can be found at the bottom of this blog post.)
NOW, HOW MANY MORE TIMES DO I HAVE TO SAY THIS?
Now, some people object to me saying that when Christians compromise God’s Word in Genesis with evolution and/or millions of years, it is no different than the Israelites compromising God’s Word with the pagan religion of their day. Well, I do believe that evolution and millions of years really do constitute the pagan religion of our day to attempt to explain life without God. But just because Christians compromise with God’s Word in this regard does not mean they can’t be a Christian. Christians can and do hold to all sorts of ideas inconsistent with Scripture. Even though I believe they are undermining the authority of God’s Word, this doesn’t negate the fact that salvation is conditioned upon faith in Christ, as the Scripture so obviously teaches.
All I’m asking is that Hank Hanegraaff publicly withdraws his very public false statement about me. I consider Hank a brother in Christ. In no way do I doubt his Christian testimony. I certainly don’t agree with Hank’s position on Genesis and, yes, I do believe he is undermining the authority of Scripture—and have publicly stated so. But it does not even cross my mind to question his salvation in Christ even though I believe he has compromised God’s Word in Genesis.
I have provided more than enough documentation above to demonstrate that the accusation is absolutely false. I pray Hank will set the record straight.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
References for quotes above:
- Does the Gospel Depend on a Young Earth?
- Millions of Years—Are Souls at Stake?
- A Young Earth—It’s Not the Issue!
- Do Young-Earth Creationists “Mess Up”?
- Is “Belief in a Young Earth the Only Way to Salvation”?
- Authority of God’s Word Is at Stake
- Homeschooling—Beware the Roaring Lion
- Hear—the Lie!
- To Help Bring Reformation
- What Southern Baptist Professor Proposes/Teaches This?