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One of Ken’s columns in HSE brought out the ire of a reader. Here is that email to HSE and a slightly modified version of our response.
Answers in Genesis is pleased to have a number of ministry partners that help us proclaim the vital message that Christ is our Creator, Savior, and Lord (Colossians 1:15–20). These friends include not only dozens of creationist groups worldwide but also other like-minded ministries that, though not necessarily defending Genesis as their primary mission, still seek to proclaim a biblical worldview through their outreaches.
One such ministry friend is Home School Enrichment Magazine (HSE). Because the publishers have taken a strong stand in their public support of AiG’s position on a literal Genesis, they sometimes find themselves in the crosshairs of some Christian critics who take a non-literal view of the Bible’s very first book.
AiG President Ken Ham is a regular columnist of Home School Enrichment Magazine. One of his columns brought out the ire of an HSE reader in Colorado. Here is a truncated version of the reader’s long criticism; please note that we have tried to be scrupulously fair in our editing so as not to be accused of taking comments out of context. Here is that email to HSE and a slightly modified version of our response.
Subject: Ken Ham article—remove from mailing list
I am writing to complain in the strongest possible terms about the article written by Ken Ham on pages 70 through 73 of your Issue #54 Nov/Dec 2011.
If this article is setting a standard of academic and scholarly content, then Christians are in real trouble if they are homeschooled according to these methods.
Allow me please to de-construct and analyze Mr. Ham’s article on topics that he clearly has little actual knowledge or formal training. He appears to be a dinosaur himself making assertions without foundation, logical errors, a complete lack of understanding of either “creation” (of which I wholeheartedly agree), or evolution (macro or micro of which he seems to be completely ignorant) or history.
Mr. Ham is not a formal scientist, he has an undergraduate degree only, and not a particularly credible or useful on [sic] to talk with authority on these matters, has no doctorate, and no peer-reviewed publications. Why do you oermit [sic] somebody so unqualified to speak on matters scientific and technical, complex and detailed, without a formal training or credentials. Perhaps credentials don’t matter to Christian homeschoolers?
In reference to the article itself …
Mr. Ham makes the assertion that requisite to salvation is a detailed knowledge of the book of Genesis. Nonsense and historically untenable. Fragments of the New Testament in circulation in the first few hundred years of the church were sufficient to send men and women and children to martyrdom for their faith in Jesus Christ. Many of those individuals may never have heard of the Torah or of Genesis. …
I implore you to consider a retraction of this article, to more closely police your content, and to expect and deliver a higher standard of scholarship from your contributors.
Please remove my name and all details from your mailing list.
– P.S., Colorado
Jonathan and HSE,
The critic of your magazine and our ministry of Answers in Genesis exhibited little grace and engaged in ad hominem attacks on AiG President Ken Ham (e.g., calling Ken a “dinosaur”). He also writes that Ken has “little actual knowledge” of science. But we point out that Ken has studied science for 35 years, taught it in public schools of Australia, has been surrounded by PhD scientists for 25 years, and, contrary to the man’s false contention, Ken has a degree beyond the bachelor’s (called a “diploma” in Australia, roughly equivalent to a master’s degree in the U.S.).
Regardless, using an ad hominem argument to attack a person’s credentials or lack thereof cannot determine the validity of an argument. See Ad Hominem. AiG emphasizes the use of the a biblical worldview, beginning with Genesis, to come to truth. One doesn’t have to be a physiologist or a rocket scientist to learn and then teach the biblical worldview.
His most egregious error was in declaring that Ken believes that “requisite to salvation is a detailed knowledge of the book of Genesis.” That is a horribly wrong assertion. Ken has never stated such a thing. Ken’s accuser is bearing false witness to you. As we say so often and as we present in our evangelistic Creation Museum, salvation is dependent upon faith in Christ, not knowledge of Genesis. Ken’s article in HSE merely stated that in the many societies today in which there is little knowledge of the message of Christian redemption and the Fall (Genesis 3), it is good to start a presentation of Christ’s gospel message with the book of Genesis, its account of the Fall, and hence the need for the Redeemer. It’s a method the Apostle Paul employed when he spoke to the Greeks who gathered at Mars’ Hill 2,000 years ago (Acts 17).
Our staff geneticist, Dr. Georgia Purdom (PhD from Ohio State), has added this message for our critic:
In your letter you state that Ken Ham’s ideas do not have credibility because he does not hold an advanced degree in science and has no peer-reviewed publications. However, Ken employs several scientists who hold doctorates in the fields of molecular genetics, astrophysics, cell biology, geology, and medicine that have multiple publications in peer-reviewed journals. We unwaveringly affirm the material that Ken Ham presents and writes to be of the highest scientific merit. – Sincerely, Georgia Purdom, PhD
It’s interesting to note that the critic heavily criticizes Ken about his theology but then proceeds to act as if he is a theological expert himself. In reading his bio, however, I saw no mention of his qualifications/training in theology. In and of itself, this does not make him wrong, but his incorrect comments about the genre of Genesis and the way in which the church fathers viewed the book confirm his lack of understanding in both theology and history. (By the way, I have qualifications in history at the graduate level, and one of the reviewers of my email holds a ThM in church history and theology.)
The accuser also appears to lack expertise in genetics yet attempts to come across as knowledgeable about such things as “micro” and “macro” evolution. Would he be willing to participate in a public forum with our staff geneticist, Dr. Purdom?
Feel free to forward this email in its entirety to the critic. Perhaps he will retract his false statements made to you. Meanwhile, this sad episode can be instructive on how not to express a concern with a brother in the Lord (i.e., with, frankly, nastiness and lack of grace) and how not to make wildly inaccurate accusations.
Thank you, Jonathan.
Editor’s note: Since sending this response several weeks ago, neither AiG nor the magazine has heard back from the former HSE subscriber. Thus he has tacitly rejected our offer to have him participate in some kind of public forum with Dr. Purdom.