I was quite aware that my blog about Dr. Deborah Haarsma, head of the theistic evolution group BioLogos, would generate a lot of feedback. Although I received an overwhelming amount of support for the blog, some people still questioned why I turned down her invitation to have dinner and talk about possible common ground concerning Genesis. But I believe they missed the point of why.
A man named Gavin wrote us an email to express his opinion. Here it is in its entirety, followed by a response to Gavin from one of our staff members—who not only looks at Gavin’s theological perspective in this matter (e.g., his misuse of Matthew 7:1 about judging people), but also elaborates on why AiG declined the “common ground” discussion with BioLogos.
Interesting conclusions—from someone [i.e., Ken Ham] who compares himself to a divinely ordained watchman [Nehemiah]—with a divine calling to pass sentence as the supreme authority on what Scripture says & means (when a huge portion of the Christian church, if not the majority, disagree with your views), when our Lord specifically stated that we are not to judge one another (we answer to God individually for our faithfulness—do not impugn God’s other servants—no matter how self-righteous you feel), but demonstrate our love that the world might see the truth of our faith that we do not compromise on.Our CCO, Mark Looy, sent an email to staff members who had read Gavin’s email and also to Gavin himself—I think you will find it instructive, not only in the way he elaborates on our decision to turn down the dinner discussion, but also how he exposes Gavin’s poor theology:
In humility and patience maintain the unity & peace we have in Christ. That is what we are to watch out for along with the other essentials of the faith. Would you really extol your work as comparable to God’s example to us of Nehemiah—be careful not to tear down God’s walls in other ministries than your own, and above all other members of the Bride of Christ bought with His precious blood.
Go to dinner—not to change your views of Genesis, but to demonstrate humility and love as a brother in Christ, who genuinely affirms the essentials of the faith in common with other blood-bought believers, and affirms the character of Christ more important than disagreements on interpretations of Genesis, and affirms other Christians as God’s people even above yourself. There is no greater work to be involved in. All else will burn away and should be counted as dung. It is a stench in God’s nostrils.
Ironically, there is a judgmental attitude being expressed by [Gavin] toward Ken.Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Second, Ken was not comparing himself to Nehemiah—Ken was using an example from Scripture that any Bible-believing Christian could apply today. By the same logic expressed by [Gavin], if any one of us quoted Jesus or cited one of His deeds to make our point, we would be accused of comparing ourselves to Jesus.
Third, using Scripture, we can certainly judge others’ actions and teachings—that’s why we have biblical teaching on matters like church discipline, the Ten Commandments, etc. That “judging” verse from Matthew 7:1 is so misused today—it is taken grossly out of context. In fact, just a few verses later (7:6), Jesus says that his followers should not cast their pearls before the swine, which to obey would require believers to use discernment and then make judgments.
Similarly, [Gavin] apparently would believe that the Apostles Paul and John should not have “impugned” Christians in their writings. The New Testament is full of examples of people being called out by name for their errors (e.g., Paul publicly accusing Peter of hypocrisy in Galatians 2:11–14, also 1 Timothy 1:20, 2 Timothy 1:15, 2:17–18, 4:14–15, and 3 John 1:9). Were those unloving things for John and Paul to do? No, love for Christ and the spiritual health of His Church—and love for the truth—required it. The same love motivates us.
Finally, [Gavin] did not seem to understand the observation in Ken’s blog that Dr. Haarsma’s intent to dialogue with us (and as also expressed by others at BioLogos) is for the purpose to try to show Christians that we can all agree to disagree. We will not, however, send out such a kumbaya message. (Though we would certainly welcome Dr. Haarsma to tour our Creation Museum, as we would [Gavin]; if they have not yet visited, they may not know how the entire museum points to Christ and is highly evangelistic.) Biblical authority matters deeply to us, and we will not pretend to be conciliatory towards those who already know our position and yet clearly want to reinterpret the plain reading of Genesis to match fallible human opinion held by the scientific majority—which is a dangerous hermeneutic.
These are just a few quick thoughts—they are not meant to be an exhaustive treatment of [Gavin]’s points.