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Does AiG engage in bullying when we call out biblical compromise? Are we using ad hominem attacks? Mark Looy, AiG–U.S., explains.
I would like to know how AiG reconciles engaging in bullying tactics with following Jesus.
Especially in [Ken] Ham’s blog, he is constantly using his bully pulpit to “call out” individuals (like an unfortunate buyer for Baker book house, hope the man gets to keep his job after this exposure), schools, organizations etc, essentially blacklisting them for the vast AiG audience while implying that these are in the process of falling from the faith where they disagree. The entire tenor of the site is thoroughly ad hominem and I’m much afraid of the verbal schoolyard wedgie I may get for disagreeing (luckily, not being well known, I expect to be ignored and to escape the wrath).
The AiG audience is wielded by Ham in such a way as to cow anyone with a “clientele” that overlaps with that of AiG into submission since any dissention will be publically called out and implicitly branded as heresy. This is an inquisitional strategy and is shameful in the light of Jesus.
Why do you do this?
– B. G., Canada
[Editor’s Note: This reply has been slightly edited for the web.]
Greetings in the Lord. Thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis with your concern.
Please know that when we criticize a Christian’s beliefs regarding the authority of Scripture, it is not an attack on the person or his commitment to the Lord. It is not (as you allege) an ad hominem attack. Rather, and as you ask why we name names, AiG exposes blatant biblical compromise because we have a biblical model to follow.
For example, the Apostle Paul mentioned two individuals—Hymenaeus and Philetus—whose teachings “
spread like cancer” or gangrene. They had not only wandered away from the truth but had also upset the faith of some people (2 Timothy 2:17–18; cf. 1 Timothy 1:18–20). Also, in 2 Timothy 4:14–15, Paul said that a metalworker by the name of Alexander did him “
much harm,” (Alexander “
greatly resisted our words” said Paul, implying Alexander opposed the doctrine Paul taught) and Paul told Timothy to be on his guard against him. John also wrote against a man named Diotrephes who caused great harm to the congregation the apostle was addressing (3 John 9–10). You would not charge Paul or John (and ultimately the Holy Spirit who inspired His Word) with “blacklisting” (to use your word), would you?
It is not required by Scripture to deal in private with Christians whose teachings are very public and well-known.By the way (and this may not necessarily be your concern), it is not required by Scripture to deal in private with Christians whose teachings are very public and well-known, especially if we are aware that they know the counter-arguments from Scripture. Matthew 18, which some might cite in arguing that AiG should not expose compromise, deals with personal matters that need to be reconciled (i.e., if someone sinned against you personally). On the contrary, Paul chastised the Apostle Peter for poor doctrine and did so “
before them all” rather than rebuking Peter privately. Paul did this publicly because he wanted to offer correction that would also be heard by those who had been influenced by Peter’s error (Galatians 2:14).
Perhaps you are not aware that our ministry’s primary mission within the church is to call Christians back to the authority of the Word of God. This includes challenging compromise in the church when biblical authority is under attack. Just as Paul named names in some of his epistles, we have a model to use today as we point out instances in which influential church leaders have compromised the authority of the Bible.
No, the “entire tenor” of our site is not ad hominem. We have several thousand positive articles and blogs on this website that proclaim a very helpful and hopeful message, namely that the Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation and that the salvation message—dependent on a literal Fall in Genesis and a literal Resurrection in the Gospels—is true. AiG encourages you to visit our site more often and discover its true tenor.
Today, the book of the Bible most under attack is Genesis. By re-interpreting Genesis, compromising Christians—trying to accommodate the secular ideas of evolution and/or millions of years—are also undermining the precious atonement message. The substitutionary atonement of Christ is affected when the age of the earth is claimed to be very old, for an old earth has millions of years of death and suffering occurring before the Fall. What did Adam’s sin do if suffering and death had already been happening (Romans 5:12–19; 1 Corinthians 15:21–22)?
We attempt to be careful (though we are fallible in this regard) in how we expose troublesome quotes from Christian leaders who do not take the first 11 chapters of Genesis at face value. AiG often states that we all have feet of clay and are prone to error. And we often note that many worthwhile things have come from Christian leaders who have problems with the Genesis text and that our intent is not to judge their Christian character. AiG attempts to follow the example of the Bereans in Acts 17 who constantly searched the Scriptures to make sure that teachings were in accord with God’s Word.
If you read or hear anything from our ministry that would suggest we are judging the commitment of a fellow believer and his relationship with the Lord and have engaged in actual ad hominem arguments, please bring it to our attention. I hope you have noticed that AiG often states that Christian leaders who don’t uphold Genesis 1–11 can be excellent theologians from Genesis 12 onward. Therefore, we reject outright your charge that we “implicitly [brand] as heresy” any attempt by a person to disagree with us.
Ironically, we find it unfortunate that you resorted to a kind of ad hominem attack yourself in railing against Ken and his alleged “inquisitional strategy” in dealing with “heresy.” You linked our exposing of compromise to the infamous Spanish inquisitors who tortured and interrogated people over possible heresy.1
Christians mistakenly believe that demonstrating Christian love means tolerating others’ views, even if unbiblical. This is not loving at all, but unloving, for it disrespects God’s Word for the sake of “getting along,” and it allows those people to remain in error. We are to love our neighbors after we first love God (Matthew 22:38–39). This means loving the Word He has given to us. It is certainly our desire to be “following Jesus”—who is called the Word (John 1:1)—and in God’s Word, we notice that Jesus often rebuked those in error, whether hypocritical religious leaders (Matthew 23) or church leaders in error (Revelation 2–3).
Furthermore, the Word of God teaches that divisions are created by people who do not accept what has been clearly taught in His Word (Romans 16:17). Additionally, Luke 12:51 has Jesus declaring, “
Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.”
Unity in the church should be accomplished within the framework of embracing biblical teachings, not by tolerating error. Unbiblical beliefs, according to the book of Jude, will cause divisions. That short book even states that these divisions can be caused by worldly thinking. Likewise, we point out that since the 1800s, many Christians have been influenced by the worldly idea of an earth that is supposedly millions of years old, and this old-age belief took hold in many denominations. We now see various compromise views within the church to accommodate secular science, such as the gap theory, progressive creation, the framework hypothesis, and even theistic evolution, plus other perspectives that have millions of years of bloodshed, disease, and death before Adam’s sin.
So, in conclusion, we have not ignored you. In fact, by choosing not to ignore you, we have had this teaching opportunity to provide biblical instruction for our web readers on how to deal with dangerous compromise in the church—and how not to ignore it.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.