Providing Things Honest In the Sight of All Men: Ken Ham, Susan Wise Bauer and the Great Homeschool Convention


A comment on Brother Joel’s site brought my attention to a post on Susan Wise Bauer’s forums, entitled, With reluctance, trying to set the record straight:

“After moderating the comments on my blogs this morning, it has become clear to me that there’s some misinformation out there. I don’t know where it’s coming from, because I am not keeping up with blog/Facebook posts on the subject. However, I feel that I need to address some of the assumptions that those commenting on my blog are making.

1. I neither disinvited Mr. Ham nor asked that he be disinvited. I was informed of the decision after it was made.Those who disagree with the decision should express their opinions to the conference organizers.

2. I have absolutely no connection with Biologos. At all.

3. Peter Enns, who has written a book for the Olive Branch imprint of Peace Hill Press, sometimes blogs for Biologos. To my knowledge, he has a publisher-author relationship with them. He has a publisher-author relationship with Olive Branch Books.

4. On my blog, I posted the following paragraph as part of a very lengthy post on more general matters:

“And in the middle of all this, people would come up to our booth and say, “Are you aware that other speakers are telling people in their workshops that Dr. Bauer is out to remove all Christianity from homeschooling and that’s she’s not even a Christian and that we shouldn’t buy any of her materials?” This was accompanied by Facebook and blog posts with big WARNING! headlines, explaining how I was part of a plan to destablize the kingdom of God.”

Please notice that I mentioned no names. That’s because I didn’t know what speakers were recommending this. This is a direct quote from several of our customers–who, very discreetly, simply said, “Other speakers.” I didn’t know who was saying this about us. (In fact I thought it was someone else. )

The Facebook and blog posts mentioning my name were posted during the convention and are public.

I did not know until yesterday morning that Mr. Ham had mentioned me specifically in one of his workshops. I only know it now because he said so himself, publicly, in his response to the convention organizers.

5. When asked, I will offer my reservations about particular curricula and methods of teaching. That’s part of my job as an educator. But I did not, and will not, criticize another speaker by name.

6. I support every parent’s right NOT to use the Bible curriculum published by Olive Branch Books. However, it is absolutely untrue to say that this curriculum attacks the Bible. Please read it before making such accusations. That seems to me to be the most basic requirement for critiquing materials.

I do not believe that a battle of words is an appropriate way to resolve the current situation. (The moderators will continue to prevent battles of words on this board.) But I do believe that it is proper for me to clear the record when misinformation is circulating.

I am convicted that in this matter I should obey James 1:19-20:

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

SWB”

To me, this post is most disturbing. Dr. Bauer is a minister’s wife and a self-proclaimed “American Christian.” Thus, she should be aware that the Bible admonishes us to “Provide things honest in the sight of all men” [Romans 12:17]. Likewise, 2 Corinthians 8:21 admonishes us that we should be “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”

So when Dr. Bauer claims she has no connections to BioLogos at all, notwithstanding that Dr. Peter Enns is the Senior Fellow of Biblical Studies for BioLogos, and then proceeds to state that “Peter Enns, who has written a book for the Olive Branch imprint of Peace Hill Press, sometimes blogs for Biologos. To my knowledge, he has a publisher-author relationship with them. He has a publisher-author relationship with Olive Branch Books,” who is she trying to fool? Olive Branch is an imprint of Peace Hill Press. I contacted Olive Branch by phone and spoke with a person identifying herself as Kim, asking her:

“I read on your website that Olive Branch Books is a religious instruction imprint of Peace Hill Press. Does that mean Olive Branch owned by Peace Hill Press?” She answered directly: “Yes.”  I then asked her who owns Peace Hill Press. She responded: “Peace Hill press is owned by Susan Wise Bauer.”

So why does Dr. Bauer refer to Olive Branch Books as if they had nothing to do with her?

As another blogger has made a suggestion that I consider deplorable but entirely possible, given her disingenuous comments regarding BioLogos and Olive Branch Books on her forum:

“What is nearly certain is that Mr. Ham’s criticism of Dr. Enns adversely affects sales of Dr. Enns’ new homeschool curriculum.  Dr. Enns’ curriculum is published by Peace Hill Press, the publishing arm of The Well-Trained Mind.  Peace Hill Press is owned and operated by Dr. Susan Wise Bauer and her family.  Ms. Bauer is the corporate Vice President.  Mr. Ham’s criticism is not good business for a major homeschool vendor and a prominent speaker within the homeschool community.  It appears to me that Mr. Dean made a decision to protect vendor sales at his conventions. Ken heavily criticized many compromisers of Scripture. Mr. Dean’s midnight email explanation only took issue with Ken’s criticism aimed at other vendors though. It’s Mr. Dean’s right to make this decision to protect his sales forum and vendors.  He should not, however, dress this decision up in “spirituality.” 

The blogger who authored the quote above, Tony Biller, also mentioned something I’ve written to the Great Homeschool Convention concenring twice now [with zero response; I’m sure they’re busy]: who exactly comprises this Advisory Board at GHC? These guys made a subjective judgment about Ken Ham’s “spirit” and summarily banned him and Answers in Genesis until Christ comes! [A bit over the top, guys.] Who are they? Are any of them connected with Dr. Enns, Dr. Bauer or Dr. Jay A. Wile? What specific incidents was this subjective determination based on?

Great Homeschool Conventions is not forthcoming regarding any of this. They are refusing to provide things honest in the sight of God and all men. I suspect it’s because GHC made a bad economic decision they hoped would serve their bottom line and then compounded their error by adding an artificial spiritual glaze to the situation, a fuzzy notion of Ken’s “spirit” that could not be engaged or refuted directly without specifics.

Meanwhile, homeschoolers and Christendom in general are profaned amongst the heathen on account of GHC’s reeeeeeeeeally BAD decision. C’mon, guys; you seriously still want us to think you prayed about this? Perhaps you should have prayed longer!

Their judgment is especially hypocrtical in light of the fact that they claim they don’t filter speakers or vendors [in order to allow non-Christians into these roles at their conventions] and that they don’t want speakers and vendors to feel ostracized. They correct note that “The Bible admonishes us that we should be zealous to maintain the ‘unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,'” but if they suppose they have either [1] managed to maintain that unity of the Spirit by this bad decision rather than letting speakers air their views without censorship and ostracization or [2] the right to say that maintaining this unity of Spirit forbears us from pointing out error, sin and compromise where we find it, they are sadly – nay, cataclysmically mistaken!

What they have done is to render irreparable damage to the unity of the homeschooling movement and made clear that their idea of tolerance is no better than the world: disagree, but never do so publicly. After all, they cannot tolerate such intolerance.

Perhaps the most disturbing factor is that this as-yet-anonymous Advisory Board is allegedly Young Earth Creationist but their decision was to permanently ban one of the most influentual YEC aorganizations on the planet and keep the compromiser from BioLogos. wow. 

-Rev Tony Breeden

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64 Comments Add yours

  1. Glenn Mehltretter says:

    Yup, I think you pretty much nailed it… I don’t know any of the people involved personally. But, this whole thing stinks of $$$ being the root of the issue. Especially the way they (the convention) have ignored the thousands of emails, tons of facebook posts, and phone calls. They have continued to update their facebook without commenting on the issue. So they have time for that… But, not this HUGE issue, that will be so much worse when it becomes a national headline.

    Clearly they acted irrationally, and need to apologize, as this stunt will just damage homeschooling as the opponents are always looking for issues like this to trumpet from the rooftops to demean Creationists. The longer they wait to respond and change this “lifetime” ban the closer we come to national news coverage of this story and the irreparable harm that will result from those stories. (Because we all know they won’t look into the $ ties that probably led to this decision, but will only use it to try and destroy Christian ideology, and the Homeschool movement by further demeaning their faith based beliefs, while promoting the “real” science found in evolution, and the elimination of God).

  2. Cathy Lewis says:

    It is increasingly, eerily reminiscent of the new church doctrine that is coming out these days…don’t disagree unless you will “dialogue” and not “discuss” the issues. They even have congregants sign a covenant stating that they will never speak against the doctrine no matter what. If they do disagree, they are told to leave.

    True wolves in sheeps clothing are now coming out in droves..you can bet that if there is a wolf among the fold that he has every intention of eating the sheep! How are we supposed to protect ourselves (especially if the ‘shepards’ purposely have blinders on) if we ourselves don’t apply scripture to what is going on and how to deal with it?

    If doctrine is in error, its in ERROR, and needs to be spoken about nice and loud! And, in my personal opinion, in public.

    Jesus wasn’t quiet or agreeable or ‘private’ when He castigated the pharisees of His day. He called them names. He tipped over tables. He whipped them with a whip He made with His own hands for that very purpose. He told them they were not going to heaven and that they were stopping those who wanted to go. He told them like it was.

    The Christian church, which is the body of Christ in this world, needs to do the same, in His name. If nothing else, to speak out with Truth to an increasingly untruthful and hostile world.

  3. Cathy Lewis says:

    I have read a news story which is very sad, that a young highly intelligent, highly educated home schooled girl will be made by the courts to go to public school, because they think she ‘needs’ exposure to other things besides Christianity for a religion. They want to make her change her religion!!

    I am glad my children are now grown up, because I would be in contempt of court and obey the Lord rather than men…

  4. Justin says:

    I’m an editor at Olive Branch Books, and I’d like to clarify something: Dr. Bauer didn’t say or imply that she had “nothing to do” with Olive Branch Books. In the very excerpt you quoted, she said that Olive Branch Books is an imprint of Peace Hill Press (a company which she founded, it is widely known and publicly stated). This is absolutely true. She’s said it before, and will again. And the Olive Branch Books website and advertisements and promotional materials always say prominently “an imprint of Peace Hill Press” or some similar phrase. We obviously are not trying to hide it.

    1. Justin,

      Dr. Bauer danced around the truth, refering to Olive Branch Books as “them” and speaking in the dry third-person language generally reserved for talking about someone else. She was being disingenous.

      Rather than saying “To my knowledge, he has a publisher-author relationship with them. He has a publisher-author relationship with Olive Branch Books,” she could have been more up-front by stating, “I own both Olive Branch Books and Peace Hill Press, so I have a publisher-author relationship with Dr. Enns.” It doesn’t take a PhD to speak plainly. Nor does it take a PhD to see that Dr. Bauer was dissembling.

      I hope you haven’t fired or otherwise reprimanded Kim for plainly speaking the truth.

      Btw, didn’t Dr. Bauer and Dr Enns both go to Westminster?

      -revTony

      1. Justin says:

        revTony: Dr. Bauer didn’t dance around the truth. Have you read her other posts on this issue? She has been quite up front, on the Well-Trained Mind forums and in other places, about the fact that she and Dr. Enns met during their Westminster days in the late 1980s. (Don’t have the link handy but it was in the past few days…discussed in front of 25,000 forum users…certainly not hidden). She (and we) honestly have to say “to our knowledge” when we speak about Dr. Enns’ relationship with BioLogos, because we basically know what the public knows. We aren’t affiliated with BioLogos so we aren’t privy to the details of Dr. Enns’ scholar/blogger contract with them.

        You’ve essentially accused Dr. Bauer of lying (“dissembling”). But she has NOWHERE made it a secret that Dr. Enns is one of our authors, or that she owns our press.
        And of course we haven’t fired or “reprimanded” Kim for giving out public information in her phone call with you. I was in the next room when you called, and heard the conversation…and if I had answered the phone, I would have said the exact same thing. Kim told the truth, as she always does.
        Go ahead and disagree with the curriculum if you feel it is mistaken. That’s your right. But please don’t accuse us of dishonesty, especially not when we have never made a secret of any of these connections.

      2. Justin, editor at Olive Branch Books,

        Dissembling is not the same thing as lying. It is hiding the full truth, especially elements which could be damaging to oneself. It IS a form of deception.

        My post discusses the post she made. She may have been forthright on other posts and articles concerning her relationship with Dr. Enns, but she dissembled on this particular response, though she was allegedly to set the record straight. Since this is the post which was to respond to the the GHC debacle, as a PhD she should have been a lot more plainspoken.

        Did Dr Bauer complain to GHC about these “attacks” before she asked Ken ham about it first? Did she threaten to pull herself out of future GHC conventions over this? Her reports, unless she’s added something today, indicate that she heard others complaining [which is hearsay, by definition] but it does not indicate what actions she took upon hearing these reports. I suspect that she is not being totally forthcoming in these matters for a reason.

        -revTony

      3. Thank you for this. Needed to be said and you said it well.

  5. NOTE TO READERS: It appears that there were links to this post from Dr. Susan Wise Bauer’s forums, but they were deleted as being from an “attack site.” I was likewise accused of providing erroneous information.

    -revTony

    1. Angie says:

      I placed links on the WTM forum to several sites including some very simple and non-controversial sites that had reviewed the curriculum weeks before this ‘controversy’ and they removed them. Later they removed every single post related to the book that spoke against it. it didn’t matter if the posts were factual and gracious, if they voiced concerns, they were removed…no free exchange of ideas there.

      1. Angie,

        The pattern you have noticed [and been subjected to] places this entire GHC debacle in a bad light where Dr Bauer is concerned. She and GHC have displayed an utter intolerance of any voice critical of their views; they characterize any criticism as an “attack.” Yet they are censoring their critics, having them kicked out of conferences and libeling their spirit without providing concrete and specific evidence of their claims!

        My guess is that they’ve made mountains out of molehills. I doubt we’ll see evidence to back their verdict. Certainly not of the caliber which would warrant such a permanent punishment! AiG has been open and up front from the beginning. GHC acts like it has something to hide. My guess is that they made a [bad] economic decision, possibly under duress from Bauer and/or her supporters and then tried to add a spiritual justification for it. More to their shame! Compromise has a safe voice at GHC but truth gets kicked to the curb for naming the compromise that GHC never should have allowed to begin with!

        -revTony

  6. Angie says:

    I want a copy of the talk where ken Ham said these things. They tape all of thes sessions and make them available on MP3. I don’t doubt that Ken Ham spoke against any curriculum that questions the final authority of scripture, specifically the Genesis account, but I want to hear the tape myself to decide if he was speaking in a mean spirited way as they claim. Ken ham consistently speaks against anyone who questions the literal truth of the Genesis account. It was not a problem before…until the person he was speaking against was a vendor at the convention.

    1. Angie,

      You’re right on track! A subjective judgment against Ken Ham’s “spirit” must be backed with objective evidence, specifically the incidents where he allegedly “attacked” others. Pointing out where they’re inconsistent with a high view of Scripture would not, in my view, be an attack per se, because Scripture is profitable for not only doctrine and edification but also rebuke and reproof.

      We need to see those recordings, as I have emailed GHC a couple of times regarding with only a form response for my efforts.

      -revTony

      1. Angie says:

        you should also know that I engaged in some conversation about this issue in the Well Trained Mind forums and today they deleted ALL of it, including comments from people asking where it all went. I got many personal messages thanking me for an intelligent debate on the issue, but people are afraid to comment publicly. Is this what Christendom has become?

      2. Angie,

        I was reading some of Charles Spurgeon’s remarks concerning the down-grade controversy of his day [A.D. 1887] , and I believe what he said is appropros of this age as well:

        “A little plain speaking would do a world of good just now. These gentlemen desire to be let alone. They want no noise raised. Of course thieves hate watchdogs, and love darkness. It is time that somebody should spring his rattle, and call attention to the way in which God is being robbed of His glory, and man of his hope!”

        God bless and keep your rattle ready,
        revTony

  7. Kathryn B says:

    Thanks for the honesty!!

  8. Matt says:

    I have an idea, as many other people I’ve been reading many blogs, twitter comments, Facebook posts, etc. I think GHC could have brought in literally 5,000+ more people and the vendor sales would have gone through the roof and people would have been talking about this conference for the next 10 years in a positive light.
    As Paul did many times throughout Acts, let there be DEBATE! Reserve a large conference room and let Peter Enn and Kin Ham debate the issues for all to hear. It would be performed in a respectful manner and in a real debate format (no clapping, or cheering, not allowed to personally dine grade anyone, etc.). I think there would be a great response from the homeschoolers. Also for the children it would show that we must defend what we believe and to do it in a civilized manner.

    Just a thought.

    1. Matt,

      You’re absolutely correct. My working theory is that publisher Dr Bauer complained loudly about Ken Ham’s criticisms of her author to GHC, possibly stating or implying that she might pull out if vendor sales were affected. Nothing else seems to make sense. Only a threatened loss Dr. Bauer’s money and influence is sufficient to account for why GHC would PERMANENTLY ban Ken Ham and AiG on such a subjective charge as his “spirit.” I should mengtion that a subjective charge like that must be accounted for with specific incidents, which have not been forthcoming, though I understand speaker presentations are recorded. My guess at this point is that nothing on a recording would justify this overkill if someone like Dr Bauer [and a coupe of affiliates like Wile and Stonestreet] did not resort to economic extortion if extreme actions were not taken to their liking.

      By ostracizing Answers in Genesis to allegedly keep others with erroneous views of the Bible from feeling ostracised is hypocrisy and has only damaged the unity of Spirit these homeschool conventions once enjoyed. Your suggestion that there ought to have been a debate is a good one. Their decision to ban Ken Ham was extraordinarily not-well-thought-out.

      -revTony

  9. Mollie says:

    I would appreciate it if you would post my colleague Justin’s comment, which was as follows:

    revTony: Dr. Bauer didn’t dance around the truth. Have you read her other posts on this issue? She has been quite up front, on the Well-Trained Mind forums and in other places, about the fact that she and Dr. Enns met during their Westminster days in the late 1980s. (Don’t have the link handy but it was in the past few days…discussed in front of 25,000 forum users…certainly not hidden). She (and we) honestly have to say “to our knowledge” when we speak about Dr. Enns’ relationship with BioLogos, because we basically know what the public knows. We aren’t affiliated with BioLogos so we aren’t privy to the details of Dr. Enns’ scholar/blogger contract with them.

    You’ve essentially accused Dr. Bauer of lying (“dissembling”). But she has NOWHERE made it a secret that Dr. Enns is one of our authors, or that she owns our press.
    And of course we haven’t fired or “reprimanded” Kim for giving out public information in her phone call with you. I was in the next room when you called, and heard the conversation…and if I had answered the phone, I would have said the exact same thing. Kim told the truth, as she always does.
    Go ahead and disagree with the curriculum if you feel it is mistaken. That’s your right. But please don’t accuse us of dishonesty, especially not when we have never made a secret of any of these connections.

    1. Mollie from WelltrainedMind.com,

      I don’t spend all day hooked up to a computer, so I haven’t gotten around to moderating all of the comments I’ve received, most of which seemed to be coming from fans of Bauer. I should make a point to note that the fact that I moderate comments means that I don’t necessarily approve all comments. Those affiliated with Dr. Bauer should understand this, especially since links to this post from WellTrainedMind’s forums were removed from her site as being from an “attack site.”

      Patience.

      -revTony

  10. TomH says:

    Thanks for the clarity. This post is very helpful.

  11. AmyCW says:

    I am not sure that you are reading the quote correctly. “Them” is referring to Biologos.

    1. Amy,

      That doesn’t seem likely. BioLogog Books has thus far only published the works of Karl Giberson, Francis Collins and Darrell Falk. If Bauer meant that Enns has an author/publisher relationship with BioLogos regarding blog articles, well, that would be overstating things and doing so in a manner that no one else uses [ie, the publisher/author relationship is almost exclusively used in reference to books; I’ve never seen it used any other way, to be honest].

      Thank you,
      -revTony

      1. AmyCW says:

        Overstating, or as Justin says above, “She (and we) honestly have to say “to our knowledge” when we speak about Dr. Enns’ relationship with BioLogos, because we basically know what the public knows. We aren’t affiliated with BioLogos so we aren’t privy to the details of Dr. Enns’ scholar/blogger contract with them?”

        And, no, I am not affiliated in any way with Susan Wise Bauer or Peace Hill Press.

      2. AmyCW,

        A quick check at Biologos informs us that Dr Enns is the Senior Fellow for Biblical Studies for Biologos. This feigned ignorance of her client’s role at Biologos is beneath someone of her credentials.

        Obviously, I am not affiliated in any way with Susan Wise Bauer or Peae Hill Press, either. Justin’s actually labelled me as an “attack blog” based on this single post. As another commenter, Angie, noted, Dr Bauer and her constituents do not like criticism or non-affirmation of any form. Welcome to the new evangelical tolerance: where any sin or compromise is tolerated except the “sin” of naming one’s sin or compromise. Where they will ostracize those who name compromise to keep anyone from feeling ostracized. Where they subjectively judge against your spirit without backing it with the specific incidents or details upon which this subjective judgment was based, yet allow undeniable compromise to remain in their midst for the sake of the “unity of the Spirit.” But what hath Christ to do with Belial? And doesn’t the Bible admonish us to be “first pure, then peaceable.” Keeping the peace was never meant to be a free pass for bad doctrine!

        -revTony

  12. There is a short 2-minute clip from Ken Ham’s comments concerning Dr Enns on Ken Ham’s blog: http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2011/03/25/listen-to-this/

    -revTony

    1. Angie says:

      Does anyone know if this is the only reference to Enns that Ken Ham makes in his talk? (the two minute clip) If that is all there is, they definitely overreacted! There is no way they banned him over that…it had to be pressure from somewhere.

      1. Angie,

        That’s one of the key problems with this entire fiasco. I’ve emailed GHC several times, asking them to specify the incidents [I was looking for the video but I would have accepted anecodote] they based their fuzzy charge against Ken Ham’s spirit upon. The only response I’ve received is an off-topic form letter. I submit that without specifying the indicents their subjective judgment was based on, they’ve simply libeled Ken Ham and expected everyone to take their word for it.

        When you take into account that Dr. Jay Wile said that Ken Ham got “really nasty” when he called Dr. Enns a compromiser “really nasty” and that Wile characterized Ham pointing out where Enns errs on Scripture an “attack,” I’m relatively sure they’ve made mountains out of molehills whatever the specific incidents are. I do think there was pressure from somewhere; my suspicions are that Bauer was involved. She has considerable influence in homeschooling circles and, as his publisher, she has a vested interest in Enns being protected from criticism. I think she threatened to take her ball and go home. I also think GHC should have let her. Bauer was going to get flak for publishing Enns’ book no matter what happened. The textbook is written by someone with a low view of Scripture, who was kicked out of Westminster for his views on Scripture after teaching there for over a decade. I think Bauer had hoped to get Enns’ books a boost at the homeschool conventions – before everyone caught on to the truth of the matter. Ken Ham’s criticisms of Enns’ compromise was threatening her bottom line. It’s a shame that GHC made the decision they did, for she was going to have to account for publishing a compromiser’s textbook no matter what and now GHC has been dragged down with her. They should have told her to act according to her conscience, but told her they would stand either for the truth [preferable] or by their stated inclusive policy [tolerable]. Either way, they had no cause to libel Ken Ham on such a subjective charge without producing evidence to support it. If the as-yet-anonymous Advisory Board were a part of my church, they’d be charged to produce the incidents they based this fuzzy charge against Ham’s spirit upon immediately!

        At this point, I suspect we will never see GHC produce anything to back their indictment.

        -revTony

        Note something

  13. AmyCW says:

    I’m sorry. I have to reply one more time as this is so clear to me. Please, step back from what you think is going on and read Susan’s #3 above. She uses “them” referrring to Biologos. The previous sentence mentions Biologos. Then the pronoun is used in place of Biologos. Would it help to insert “Just as he” at the beginning of the next sentence?
    “Just as he has a publisher-author relationship with Olive Branch Books.”

    It just makes no sense to say Olive Branch is an imprint of her own company and then say she has no relationship with them.

    1. Amy,

      Again, if you weren’t so enamored of Dr Bauer, you would readily note that an author/publisher relationship is not indicative of a blog contributor. A scholar of Dr Bauer’s qualifications should be able to speak with more clarity if she so chose.

      Do you honestly believe that Dr Susan Wise Bauer did not have a vested interest in silencing Ken Ham’s criticisms of an author she was publishing? Please note that she is intentionally skirting this pressing question! She states that she heard others speaking about what Ken Ham was saying; she never indicates what her response was to either Mr. Ham or to GHC… and this is noteworthy.

      Think about it,
      revTony

      1. Justin says:

        Let’s just be really clear here. You, revTony, are calling Susan Wise Bauer a liar. I know that you have read her statement from March 24, because you link to it near the beginning of this post. The very first point of her statement says “I neither disinvited Mr. Ham nor asked that he be disinvited. I was informed of the decision after it was made.Those who disagree with the decision should express their opinions to the conference organizers.”
        So you have read that statement, and despite not being able to produce a shred of evidence to the contrary, you have decided to call a sister in Christ a liar, and to do so on a public website, because it fits your theory as to why Peter Enns was disinvited.

      2. Justin,

        I do think she’s lying and you should know enough Christians to realize that being a Christian doesn’t preclude people from sin or hypocrisy. At the very least, she’s being deceptive by withholding the full truth.

        Tell me what other scenario makes sense. Stating that you neither disinvited [not in her power unless she’s on the as-yet-anonymous Advisory Board] nor asked that someone be disinvited is not the same thing as saying you’ll take your ball and go home if something isn’t done to silence someone. She may not have passed down the verdict, but it seems rather naive to suggest Dr Bauer had nothing to do with this mess as she insinuates.

        I doubt I shall have the pleasure of having my theory disappointed. That is, I doubt either Dr. Bauer or GHC will be as forthcoming as the Bible commands. [hint: read the title of this article]

        -revTony

  14. Angie says:

    There is now a clip from the talk that Ken ham gave on the AiG website. Doesn’t sound rude or ugly to me. Ken used clips from Dr. Enns himself and they were QUITE incriminating in that he stated that Adam was a metaphorical creature not the literal first man created…this is NOT about Christian values and all that nonsense the convention people said…it is about trying to please Susan Wise Bauer. Give me a break. I like her work, but it has always smacked of intellectual snobbery that usually comes out of the universities. And it has always borderlined on liberalism, especially her history materials. Dr. Enns approach to the Bible is the typical intellectual high-mindedness that looks at the Bible as just another literary work that needs to be analyzed. The word of God works in him that BELIEVES. To someone who sees it as an antique book that doesn’t apply to today (which Dr. Enns clearly states), he has not experienced the supernatural impact of the book that those of us who believe it have. SWB is more worried about profit (thus the need to appeal to the secular world) than she is about honoring Christian values. That’s it. I am boycotting the convention.

      1. Angie says:

        Regarding the clip, Ken Ham asks “If Adam is Isreal, then who is Eve?” He doesn’t go on to say but lets think about that. If Isreal is betrothed to Jesus then is Eve a metaphor for Christ? She was the first sinner… This whole issue upsets me but my husband reminds me that thanks to public school, more and more Christians are being turned into evolutionists and don’t really get the issue at all…

      2. I thought it was an excellent point in support of the inconsistency in Dr. Enns’ non-historical interpretation of Genesis.

  15. Angie says:

    Rev Tony – is it true that GHC has put another creation scientist on the agenda for the conference to replace AiG? Damage control I assume. I don’t know who it is though.

    1. Dr Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International will be speaking in ken Ham’s stead.
      -revTony

  16. Angie says:

    I put this on the WTM forum…we’ll see if they delete it too:
    “I am saddened that any comments that attempted to discuss the specific concerns of this curriculum were scrubbed from the site, effectively removing any opportunity for dialog. Only cheerleading is allowed. I would think anyone wanting to take an intellectually honest look at the book would be willing to hear the perspectives of others. Who is really being the intolerant then?”

  17. TomH says:

    Neither Ham nor Bauer allows controversial comments on their blogs. Ham doesn’t allow any comments on his blog.

    1. Ham’s blog is not a forum; Bauer’s is. You’re comparing apples to oranges, sir.

      1. TomH says:

        Sure, Ham doesn’t pretend to enable the free discussion of ideas since AiG doesn’t host a public forum.

        Bauer’s site also notes its lack of glasnost regarding “word battles,” also known as “the discussion of controversial issues.” I think that it’s simply a forum for rah-rah and informational posts. Kind of feminine, like Bauer.

        Both sites don’t enable the discussion of controversial ideas.

        I’m a member of the Creation Research Society, which is quite open to debate on its own internal email list. It may sponsor a public forum–I’m not sure. It doesn’t have a lot of resources.

        I would hope that we agree that it’s a good thing for issues to be debated. Else, why would you host a public forum? It takes resources to moderate it. Maybe AiG sees a public forum as unprofitable in terms of contributing to the discussion of ideas or advancing its agenda.

        I definitely see Enns as behaving like a wolf, so I’m considerably more judgmental than Wile. Wile mystifies me. Is he deceived or a wolf in sheep’s clothing? He seems to think that novel attacks on doctrine ended in the fourth century. Does he seriously think that there can be no new attacks on doctrine? He seems to think that the creeds are the be-all and end-all of doctrine. That position requires a very superficial view of doctrine.

        My position regarding old-earthers is that they are worshipping Science, which is idolatry. They necessarily deny the words of Genesis and affirm the words of “Science.” In denying the words of Genesis, two positions are possible, it seems to me. They either deny the omniscience of God as regards His creation or else else they deny His truthfulness. They will try to defend with hermeneutic vagueness, but that defense has always failed in the past. Those who advocate an old earth must be wolves, it seems to me.

      2. Tom,

        I agree that debate is good to a certain point, though certainly not to doubtful disputing. Respectfully, that wasn’t the point I was making.

        My point was simply that AiG’s format never considered such an exchange, being informational only. By contrast, Dr. Bauer’s site has a forum for discussion, but she sees any critical feedback as an “attack” against her or her company.

        I will be posting more on Dr. Wile in the near future. Suffice it to say that, like Spurgeon, I see those who would artificially marry Christ with Belial [compromisers] as most dangerous to Christendom and complicit with the current down-grade.

        God bless you and your brethren at CRS,
        revTony

  18. Angie says:

    I am sad about what happened to Ken Ham and I beleive that it was wrong, but yes the endless discussion/doubtful disputing may not be productive. We now know there is an issue and we will each have to decide what best to do or not with that information. We can choose to boycott the convention, we can choose to boycott PHP as a vendor. We can choose to simply not buy the book in question. We can choose to donate money to AiG to help their endeavors. We can tell our friends and let them, in turn, make their decision. But endless discussion is unfruitful when both sides already know their own mind. While Dr. Enns may profess that the Bible in it’s antiquity cannot speak to the needs of a modern world, I find it sufficient. And God has provided an answer which is sufficient for me in this situation as well: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Rom 16:17 -18.

  19. Yes, you nailed it. Thanks for speaking out. The whole thing stinks to high heaven. Reminds me a little of prayer being taken out of school but the schools bending over backwards nor to offend Muslims.

    I wrote a few post on these events and “Judge Not” question. Pop over if you have time for a visit.

    Blessings,
    Robin

  20. Tina says:

    Thanks for this post, RevTony! The idea of some sort of conflict of interest – whether directly through SWB or indirectly (i.e., perhaps a GHC board member has a connection to SWB?) – has been on my mind all week. I have emailed GHC twice, asking each time for a list of board members, but I have received no response.

    I have also communicated with OBB (ironically, with this same Justin who comments here, I believe), asking about PHP’s connection to Biologos and then wondering if OBB has a Statement of Faith. Justin has been quite polite with me, but I have felt some level of dissembling and deflection in his replies. Most tellingly, I don’t understand how PHP/OBB could state they aren’t clear about Enns’ connection to Biologos when it took me about three clicks on the Biologos site to discover his status as a “Senior Fellow.” I also don’t really believe it’s likely that a publisher (PHP/OBB) would endorse and promote products with which it had major philosophical differences – and a “religious education” company/imprint should have as a first of order of business the drafting of a Statement of Faith (so potential customers might quickly and easily see if they feel comfortable with the company’s theology). I see no need for PHP to have a Statement of Faith, as it doesn’t sell “religious” materials. But OBB should have one, and it feels to me as if they don’t have one specifically so the materials might “appeal” (based solely on SWB’s name recognition) to the broadest possible customer base by not taking a stand on anything. The whole thing makes me exceedingly sad, as I have used some of SWB’s history resources in the past (along with other – more solidly Christian – titles), but now I am loathe to continue purchasing them because I do not in any way (even indirectly) want to give any financial support (or credibility) to Peter Enns. But I also would have expected more transparency from SWB, and it’s disappointing that she has not been so.

  21. Dana says:

    I would find this discussion if it were not so full of assumptions.

    “My working theory is that publisher Dr Bauer complained loudly about Ken Ham’s criticisms of her author to GHC, possibly stating or implying that she might pull out if vendor sales were affected. Nothing else seems to make sense.”

    But we don’t know that. We only know that Mr. Ham questioned other vendors. I’ve been a supporter of AIG for a long time, but when I read the account they posted on their Facebook account, it left me with an uncomfortable feeling. It didn’t seem they were sticking to the issue of creation vs. evolution, but calling into question the very right to speak or be involved in a homeschool conference based on their views.

    It seemed to me they threw the first stone in the “intolerance” of other ideas.

    I know nothing more than what was posted on a few websites, but this discussion is bothering me more and more. When we do not know something, we should not be offering it as an explanation and thus slandering others in our words.

    1. Dana,

      You seem to be under a misconception. Answers in Genesis isn’t chiefly concerned with creation versus evolution; almost no Creation organization, including my own, is so myopic. Rather our chief aim is to defend Biblical authority.

      I am most alarmed that you seem to think that naming compromise is tantamount to “calling into question the very right to speak or be involved in a homeschool conference based on their views.” The question might be implied, but more to the point Mr. ham wasn’t telling people that Dr. Enns had no right to speak his erroneous views on Scripture or be otherwise involved in a homeschool conference; unfortunately, GHC IS telling folks by their extreme and subjective judgment that anyone who warns you against using someone’s heretical curriculum [for Dr. Enns despises both the historicity of Genesis as well as the sinlessness of Christ!] has no right to speak at THEIR homeschool conferences nor be in any way involved FOREVER.

      You also say that it seems to you that AiG threw the first stone of intoerance, and this is even more alarming to me, on two sepearte counts. In the first place you evidence symptoms of this “new evangelical tolerance,” where we do not merely respect different views even if we disagree with them, rather, we are expected not to speak of our disagreement, lest we be accused of attacking or judging someone! As I’ve stated numerous times, we will tolerate any sin or compromiuse except the “sin” of naming compromise and sin. It’s something of a “the smeller’s the feller” error! By this logic, both Paul and Christ would be forever banned from our churches and conferences. Paul named specific people as sinners and compromisers in his letters. Jesus called compromisers hypocrites [“play actors”], snakes and whitewashed graves full of dead men’s bones. This erroneous idea of “tolerance” that goes beyond respecting a person you disagree with to insisting upon silence regarding your disagreement is from the world and is anything but Biblical. How dare we criticize men who dare name compromise and judge them intolerant, judgmental and divisive for pointing out something is amiss! How dare we TOLERATE error but condemn as intolerant those who name this error and remind us that Christ has nothing to do with Belial!

      I remind you that where I have speculated I have made it clear. If you wish to call it slander, that is your right [though technically in print, it’s libel]. I deny the charge of slander because I am proposing a theory of what I think most likely happened. The entire reason I am reduced to theories is the entire premise of this article: that GHC and Dr Bauer are disobedient to the Biblical command to provide things honest in the sight of all men.

      Let me be brutally honest with you. If you tell others that someone is so wrong that you’ve banned them from participation forever in the middle of a scheduled series of engagements, but offer only a subjective and nebulous charge without also providing the specific incidents upon which you based your judgment, THAT is undeniably slander [or libel, as the case may be]. Ken ham cannot even exonerate himself against their charges because they are void for vagueness.

      I’ve an idea. GHC and Dr Bauer could put this thing to rest right now: simply show us the evidence upon which they based their judgment or apologize to Answers in Genesis for treating them with such injustice.

      -revTony

  22. There is a Facebook petition in support of Ken Ham that anyone can sign. The link is http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ken-Ham-Support-Petition/102184423201292 or simply search Facebook for “Ken Ham Support Petition”. The petition page has links to background material on the controversy.

    1. Anita says:

      Thanks for the FB link, and for the great discussion. I am a homeschooler, a fellow believer, and a big fan of Creation science. My family has been to the Creation Museum twice, and I have some very sentimental memories of our time there. All of this is very disheartening; but not surprising in light of the world that we live in.

      I agree with those who have stated; if the “attacks” were so horrible, where are the MP3 recordings of those workshop sessions….my bets are with the Reverend on this site; it’s about the $$$$

  23. Cathy Lewis says:

    Being “tolerant” of false biblical doctrine in any way, shape or form, is not an ideal state for a biblical Christian who is following Christ to be in.
    I listened to the tape in question, and am appalled that this man Ennis is considered a Christian at all as his doctrine is very anti-biblical from the word go…how could a true Christian “do without” a historical Adam or that “Jesus stuff”?
    I will never buy a curriculum from him or even take it for free if what he was saying is even a ‘smidgen’ of what is written in it. It’s outright heresy.

  24. Reb says:

    On the contrary, criticism like this makes me interested in the Olive Branch press material and ultimately I will probably buy the curriculum (which I had never heard of before this story broke) because of the ridiculous arguments that people are making connecting Dr. Bauer’s material to something this first grade curriculum neither references nor addresses. Thank you- and all those who share your fears- for pointing me toward another resource which will make the gospel clearer, not fuzzier, for our children.

    1. Reb,

      Making curriculum decisions based on contrariness is ill advised.

      Out of curiosity, to what ridiculous arguments are you refering and have you seen them being made by yours truly? If not, I submit that you are thrashing the stuffing out of a straw man thatched together of generalizations of Dr. Bauer’s critics. This further suggests that you’re not actually reading Dr. Bauer’s critics but rather the Q & A she posted on her site, which deals with questions of evolution, etc.

      If you suppose the Gospel is made clearer by allegorizing and mythologizing most of Scripture, when this Gospel comes from said Scripture, I have reason to question your decision-making process.

      1. TomH says:

        Rev Tony,

        I suspect that Reb is just pulling your chain. There wasn’t any substance in the comment.

  25. Kristina says:

    You do not know if Susan Bauer said she would remove her booth and company from the conventions if Ken Ham stayed. That is conjecture on your part. We all should be quick to hear and slow to speak. This is enough of a heated debate that it is not helpful to start throwing out what sin we think someone else might be thinking or doing. I do not understand how you can express such indignation over her deception but it is perfectly fine for you to assume further sin and put that assumption up on the internet. What if she really didn’t have anything to do with the decision concerning Ken Ham? Is it fine for you to slander her in your indignation?

    1. Kristina,

      I have admitted that I am proposing a theory not a fact. This is the sort of thing detectives and journalists must do all the time, especially when someone is so notably tight-lipped as Dr. Bauer and the as-yet-anonymous GHC Advisory Council has been.

      If she really didn’t have anything to do with this, she could could be more forthcoming. That she has not been suggests that she has something to hide. I do not think I shall have the pleasure of having my theory on this debacle disappointed.

      I should also remind you that an accusation in and of itself is not slander [and it would be libel in print, btw]. This is merely a theory. Were I slandering her I would be presenting my theory as a fact.

      -revTony

  26. old homeschooler says:

    One thing everyone is missing in this mess is the damage to the homeschool movement. A few folks- I sure Susan Bauer among them, remember the damage done after the conflict between Cheryl Lindsey and Mary Pride several years ago. The end result was borderline bankruptcy for BOTH parties. And neither one was able to be the same voice after this. I hope this doesn’t keeping spiraling downward and achieve the same result. There is entirely too much ego going on here…

    1. Old Homeschooler,

      Thank you for your comments. I’m not really up-to-spped on the Lindsey-Pride conflict so I can’t comment on that; however, I can tell you that this Great Homeschool Conventions debacle can’t really be dismissed as a battle of egos. GHC’s decision appears to have been motivated by economic considerations and/or the new evangelical tolerance, which will tolerate any fad, sin or compromise EXCEPT the “sin” of naming sin or compromise. This new evangelical tolerance (NET) is similar to the new tolerance identified by the likes of Josh McDowell, going well beyond respectful disagreement to an insistence that all viewpoints be considered equally valid. For proponents of the NET, identifying compromise is unChristian because, well, to them there’s no such thing as a compromise – it’s all just alternative interpretations.

      You are correct in noting that this debacle has done a bit of damage to the unity of the homeschool movement. The best thing GHC could have done would have been to let the matter alone. They over-reacted and have yet to produce a shred of evidence to back their fuzzy judgment and the extreme and permanent penalty they attached to it.

      -revTony

  27. Angie says:

    I am seeing backlash in our local homeschooling group over this already. The moderators of a homeschool support group I am in want to ‘shut down’ any discussion of this matter. Even though, to date, discussion has been civilized (and frankly one-sided; there has been no debate at all except sharing of thoughts), yet the leaders, for the sake of “unity” wish to close discussion. They have checked out of the great conversation because they no longer possess the skills of logic and debate to have a mature discussion about their faith. They have become so inept at using the Word of God that they fear any conversation that hints of ‘doctrine.’ They are so afraid of offending a liar that they will risk alienating the rest of us. The enemy has successfully tricked them into political correctness by redefining intolerance as a bad thing, when, in fact, God has clearly defined that which we are not to tolerate (false doctrine being one). The body of Christ is quickly becoming of no use to God, as He tells us will happen in the latter days, when the church is filled with people with itching ears who would rather hear a good story than the truth of God’s word. This IS the new evangelical tolerance: For the sake of unity, let us cease from sharing our thoughts or ideas. Ever. With anyone. In our effort to stand for everything, we will stand for nothing.

    1. Angie,

      Those who would insist that debate be silenced for the sake of uinty are crying Peace, peace, when there is no peace. What hath Christ to do with Belial? or light with darkness? or truth with compromise? Be not deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals, and a little leaven leavens the whole lump! What do they think it means to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered?

      I recall reading in a book of a woman who lamented that she wondered when the Church would stop trying to please the goats and get back tot he business of feeding sheep! How many times have I as a preacher heard someone tell me that, yes, I ought to preach the Word, but I ought not point out error because Brother Thus-and-so might get offended? Too many to count. Yet the same passage that commands me to preach the Word, whether it’s in fashion of not, also tells me to reprove and rebuke! These “tolerant” folks would kick Jesus and Paul both out of their churches for unChristian and unloving behaviour! After all, Jesus called religious leaders snakes, pretenders and white-washed tombs, not to mention that who Temple cleansing thing… And Paul actually calls out compromisers by name in his epistles! Rabblerousers! Troublemakers! And while they attack those who point out compromise in their midst, these wolves within the flock have their way with the sheep and are even celebrated as true sheep. Yet they count their Shepherd’s Word the flawed work of hirelings!

      I’ll be writing more on this new evangelical tolerance in the near future.

      -revTony

  28. Maria says:

    this is totally ridiculous, every aspect of it…

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