I have been invited to dinner. BioLogos published an article this week with the following headline: Ken Ham, We Need a Better Conversation (Perhaps Over Dinner?)
But should I go to this proposed dinner?
Dr. Deborah Haarsma, president of the theistic evolution organization BioLogos, was responding to my recent blog about statements made by Dr. Hugh Ross (known for aggressively disseminating a compromise view of Genesis called progressive creation) on a Canadian talk show, where he was discussing his new book. (AiG writer/researcher Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell also published a review of Hugh Ross’s new book on our website.)
Now, the views of Hugh Ross are widely known. He has had a number of books published that outline what he believes about Genesis. He accepts astronomical evolution and geological evolution as taught by secular scientists. Ross also accepts the basic order of biological evolution, with the modification that God created new species over millions of years, leading up to soulless humans, before God created Adam and Eve. There are a number of articles about the teaching of Hugh Ross on the AiG website.
BioLogos states of itself, “We at BioLogos believe that God used the process of evolution to create all the life on earth today . . . We at BioLogos agree with the modern scientific consensus on the age of the earth and evolutionary development of all species, seeing these as descriptions of how God created.”
In a blog I wrote last year about Dr. Haarsma, I stated the following:
Dr. Deborah Haarsma (previously a professor at Calvin College, a Christian college in Michigan) is the newest president of BioLogos (an organization attempting to get the church to reject a literal Genesis). She recently contributed to a series of articles on whether there really was an historical Adam. Her article, “Historical Adam: Embracing the Questions," does just that—it embraces questions and provides no answers. In fact, it sows more doubt and confusion than anything . . . So what does Dr. Haarsma have to say about a historical Adam? Not much. She does offer a series of questions, however, such as “Who were Adam and Eve? When did they live? . . . Where [sic] they two individuals, or leaders of a group or a symbol for all early humans? Did God create them with a special miracle? . . . How did sin and death enter the world?” She continues, “Some Christians look at this list of questions and see an exciting area of investigation, but most find it daunting!'” My response to Deborah Haarsma in that blog was this: “Actually, do you want to know what I think when I look at these questions? I think, “God has provided the answers to all these questions in the history in Genesis—case closed!”In her recent dinner invitation to me, Dr. Haarsma states the following about BioLogos and Reasons to Believe (the organization led by Hugh Ross):
Both groups strongly agree that the entire Bible is inspired by God and is his authoritative word for our lives.This is a reminder to everyone that today, just because someone states they believe the Bible is inspired or authoritative does not mean they take it as written! As I explain in the book Already Compromised there is a “Newspeak” in the church today, and it has become a stumbling block to many people. It’s really a form of double-speak. People like Dr. Haarsma make it sound like they have such a high view of the Bible, whereas in reality, she has a low view of Scripture and a high view of man’s fallible beliefs about origins!
Dr. Haarsma of BioLogos and others like her want us to all sit down together and “agree to disagree.” You see, in her recent blog she states the following:
While we disagree significantly on how best to interpret the Bible and the scientific evidence, we would agree that these are secondary issues to the gospel. We are all still believers together. Can we refrain from so quickly calling each other “compromised Christians” or flat-out “wrong”? Instead, we could work together to explain our differing positions to the church. BioLogos has begun joint presentations in churches with Reasons to Believe, and have found that Christians are thirsty for this kind of gracious and thoughtful conversation.Dr. Haarsma really wants me to say that they have a view of Genesis that’s valid, and that I just happen to hold a different view—but that we can all agree to disagree! In other words, she does not really want me to judge her view against Scripture, and she does not want AiG to be bold and unashamed in contending for the faith, like the watchman in Ezekiel to warn people about those who undermine the authority of God’s Word.
We have written a number of articles on the AiG website to warn people that compromising God’s Word in Genesis is an authority issue, a gospel issue, and, indirectly, a salvation issue.
At the end of her recent blog, Haarsma states the following:
All three organizations are also concerned about the departure of young people from the church over origins issues. Each tends to think that the positions of the others are contributing to the problem! But studies have shown that it is the acrimony over this issue that drives young people away. We respect the commitment that Reasons to Believe has demonstrated to gracious dialogue with those of other positions. We completely agree with Hugh Ross that “If we Christians can resolve this issue in a peaceful way it’s going to attract non-Christians to enter into dialogue with us. But if we continue to fight . . . it turns them off.” Perhaps Ken Ham could join Hugh Ross and me for a friendly conversation over dinner? My treat.So should I really accept this dinner invitation?
- BioLogos and Hugh Ross have heard all our arguments from Scripture. They have rejected them. They have access to our thousands of articles on the AiG website. Both have critiqued our position on God’s Word over and over again. We have responded to their critiques, and they are very aware of the biblical and scientific arguments we use.
- AiG has interacted with Hugh Ross on a number of occasions. I have personally been involved in two debates with Hugh Ross (both of them are available for people to view):
- I spent two hours with Hugh Ross and others on a panel discussion on TBN television. This discussion really turned into a debate between Hugh Ross and me. This is probably the best interaction we both have had. Our positions were clearly outlined, and we were at a total impasse. Neither of us gave even a fraction of an inch in our views. I encourage you to watch this interaction if you have never seen it.
- Along with Dr. Jason Lisle, I debated Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Walter Kaiser on the John Ankerberg television program. This debate is available on DVD.
So what is my response to the dinner invitation?
I’m reminded of how Nehemiah responded when opponents who knew what he was doing and why—and they knew what Nehemiah believed (and rejected his stand)—wanted to meet with him:
Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono . . . ” (Nehemiah 6:1–2)And the response from Nehemiah was the following:
So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3)We at AiG are busy “rebuilding a wall.” We are equipping God’s people to defend the Christian faith, and I believe we are doing a great work for God. We are busy being “watchmen”—warning people of those who undermine the authority of the Word of God. Now, of course, I don’t consider Dr. Ross a personal enemy (as Nehemiah considered some of his detractors)—he is actually a pleasant person. But he is what I would call an enemy of biblical authority. He already knows our views, and we know his.
So, we will just continue to be busy proclaiming the gospel message with authority!
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,