We ECs are Christians after all, say Ken today

Numerous other passages could be cited, but not one of them states in any way that a person has to believe in a young earth or universe to be saved.

True.

Scripture plainly teaches that salvation is conditioned upon faith in Christ, with no requirement for what one believes about the age of the earth or universe.

True.

"Note particularly the statement: “belief in a young earth is the only way to salvation.” Had the writer done just a little bit of homework, she would have found that not to be true! Even if Christians believe in an old earth (and even theistic evolution), they would know that such a statement is absolutely false. The Bible makes it clear that, concerning Jesus Christ, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). When the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:30 asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas (in verse 31) replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. [skipping some stuff] The Bible DOES NOT state, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead — AND BELIEVE IN A YOUNG EARTH — you will be saved”!”

That’s nice of him. I am keeping this link around the next time some confused Ham follower insists I’m not saved.

The rest of the article goes on to warn about the very “severe consequences” to society that come when people accept “millions of years and evolution.” It’s interesting to me that the fear is for society and not for the church. (To be fair, I think there are severe consequences to pushing YEC, but my fear is directed at the church. America and our elected representatives look pretty dumb sometimes because of YEC, but I don’t think it’s ruining society.)

Ultimately, this compromise has been a major contributing factor in the loss of biblical authority in our Western world.

Recognizing that Christ’s work on the Cross defeated our enemy, death, is crucial to understanding the good news of the gospel: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Does Ham not realize that EC Christians also affirm that the Cross defeated our enemy death? You don’t need death to originate from disobedient fruit eating to celebrate Christ’s victory over it.

From the concluding paragraph:

The point is, believing in a young earth won’t ultimately affect one’s salvation, but it sure does affect the beliefs of those that person influences concerning how to approach Scripture. We believe that such compromise in the Church with millions of years and Darwinian evolution has greatly contributed to the loss of the Christian foundation in the culture.

So there you have it. As we have suspected, YEC is more about winning a culture war than anything else. If you thought it was about the Bible or science, I think you might be mistaken. It’s about protecting the authority of the Bible over culture.

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Hahaha. We had a similar conversation elsewhere. I similarly noted that I was pleased that Ken Ham had come out with an endorsement for the classical understanding regarding salvation. Seminaries everywhere must be so relieved. But, as you note, after a paragraph of niceties, he goes back to his old ways. Unless you are in lockstep with Ken Ham, you are a lesser-Christian who doesn’t respect the scriptures and your compromising attitude will inevitably get you into trouble.

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He obviously doesn’t know what to do with people who don’t evaluate “trouble” the same way he does. I think you are in trouble when you have to consistently deny known facts about the world. I am not nearly as concerned as he is about things like kids learning the five pillars of Islam in social studies and that the Percy Jackson series has a gay character. My kids have not lost their faith yet because of those things.

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However, it’s noteworthy that Mr Ham refuses to jump into the boat of many thousands of sects and denominations that tried to draw and keep adherents by saying that they alone had the key to Heaven. It’s a step in the right direction. And who of us isn’t concerned about those who don’t hold our most important views, that they might run into trouble :slight_smile:? I appreciate your kind and humorous attitude!
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I would love to see data and analysis about deconversion, looking at forces involved in the process but also at patterns across different sects in Christianity. I have extensive experience with deconversion–as a Christian defender of belief, I was sought out by former Christians, and the same happens now that I am an apostate. Reflecting on this dataset (which I do not claim is exhaustive or representative), I would suggest that Ham and others like him are seriously mistaken about how creation/evolution questions lead to loss of faith. I have never met a deconverted Christian who lost their faith because they found out evolution is true. In every case in which the person mentioned evolution, the life-changing discovery was that they had been lied to about evolution. I can’t know whether they would have maintained their faith if their creationist upbringing had shown integrity (this is very rare but not impossible). I do know that even those apostates close to me who don’t mention science do commonly mention the discovery that a major aspect of their faith was a sham. I heard it so many times: “What else did they lie to me about?”

I will repeat my disclaimer: my long and varied experience with deconversion does not equal a careful analysis of a robust sample of apostasy, and we all know that both faith and its loss are as complicated as the human minds in which the drama plays out.

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It looks like research supports your anecdotes: John Barbour wrote a [book] (which I have only read about, not read) (https://www.upress.virginia.edu/title/3086) on deconversion stories and found the following themes: 1) they doubt or deny the truth claims of the previous belief system. 2) they have issues with the morality of the previous belief system. 3) they experience emotional upheaval leaving their faith and 4) they experience rejection from their former community.

It seems like being lied to would fall under 2).

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I have heard about this book and I think a family member has read it. My sense is that it’s not the sort of quantitative categorical analysis I would love to see. (Nerd comments, even eyerolls, fully expected here.)

It would, but my experience is that it mostly leads to collapse of the belief system and manifests as “1) they doubt or deny the truth claims of the previous belief system.” Among the 40 or so people I know in this context, the overall trajectory is to be worried and angry about the dishonesty (hence perhaps theme 2) but then to conclude (at least intellectually) that this means that little else that they were told can be assumed to be accurate. Given the extensive reliance on trust in authority-like pronouncements (that’s a bit of an understatement) in evangelicalism, a realization that the talkers can’t be trusted is IMO tantamount to a realization that the beliefs can’t be trusted. Faith-collapse then happens rapidly and completely. Again, I’m focusing on deconversion linked (in self-reporting) to science and especially to evolution. My own deconversion had nothing to do with evolution but everything to do with theme 2.

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Randy, you are a soft-handed and kind-hearted individual. I don’t believe I’ve ever read a comment that you posted that wasn’t seasoned with salt and shining the light. That said, I don’t really see the situation the same way that you do. I have enormous respect for your kind and caring words, but I personally find it challenging to be so gracious. I would say that giving credit to a ministry that claims to be mainstream-Christian for not claiming (as cults do) to solely hold the keys to heaven isn’t noteworthy, I would say that it is expected. Name any other major Christian ministry who would even be involved in such a conversation? Sure, you’re probably getting to heaven, but you:

  1. Put man’s fallible ideas in authority over God’s Word
  2. Totally contradict the clear teaching of Scripture.
  3. Use fallible dating methods to reinterpret Genesis (e.g., the days of creation), then you unlock a door, so to speak, to teach others that they don’t have to take the Bible as written (e.g., Genesis is historical narrative) at the beginning — so why should one take it as written elsewhere (e.g., the bodily Resurrection of Christ). If one has to accept what secular scientists say about the age of the earth, evolution, etc., then why not reinterpret the Resurrection of Christ? After all, no secular scientist accepts that a human being can be raised from the dead, so maybe the Resurrection should be reinterpreted to mean just “spiritual resurrection.”

Finally, Ken Ham (in this article) actually says this:

Although millions of years of death before sin is not a salvation issue per se, I personally believe that it is really an attack on Jesus’ work on the Cross.

Admittedly, I’m not looking for the silver lining in this article. I’m looking to see if it really is a departure in any way from the same old, same old. I say it is not.

With that said, I very much respect your opinion and your analysis (and that cartoon, too.) :slight_smile:

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OR… maybe we can just read the Bible…

1 Corinthians 15:35 But some one will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is alike, but there is one kind for men, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. 50 I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

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Was that ever in question, except perhaps in your own mind? AFAIK that has been the position of both AIG and CMI for a long time.

No, belief in the historicity of Genesis is not essential to our salvation. However, we must add that the biblical record and teaching concerning origins is a vitally important issue.
Creation 11 (4):21–23, September 1989

1989! Some of you weren’t even alive then.

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It is the letter of their position, but it is not the spirit of their position. It is quite clear that Ken Ham tries to get as close to insisting that non-YECs are not Christians as he possibly can without actually saying it.

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This was me. It started a downward spiral, questioning everything I’d been taught for almost 20 years. I was able to come back from it (and discuss everything with elders at my church), but it’s still difficult to separate the false science from everything else. I’m fine until they bring that up.

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He felt the need to write the article to clarify, so obviously, it has been a question. On numerous occasions I have heard that YEC is a “gospel” issue.

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That cartoon! Wow, Randy. I love the little kid who says “Jesus is so lucky to have us” since otherwise the whole point of the resurrection would have been wasted. Was there ever a movement which so celebrated humility as a virtue while so often choosing triumphalism in its place?

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So I can be saved (reluctantly perhaps), but I’ll still receive comments from students like this one:

Science is based on our faulty interpretations of the world, while scripture is the divine word of God. Though it is certainly possible to misinterpret scripture, I believe this class is denying clear statements in the Word of God, including God creating Adam and Eve (the first 2 humans) and the historicity of Noah’'s flood. This opens the door to doubting anything in the Bible- science says men can’t be risen from the grave, how soon will so-called theistic evolutionists deny that?

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Pretty sure you find that in politics

Great point, but to be fair, little of evangelical Christianity celebrates humility as a virtue, and my Christian friends are always VERY quick to point this out to me.

I’m not certain what you mean. Can you make more clear the point that you are asserting here?

If atonement can be done for us perhaps humility can be too? But I sense some tension on this point. Many are able to toe the epistemic line though many more are oblivious to it.

I confess to having a nosey interest in what it would be like to have made it well into adulthood before going apostate. Not sure if you tell your tale either here somewhere or on your old site. In my own case, the hook was never fully set so I never had to cut the line. The people I know online who have left religion as an adult are generally hurt, angry or both for the reasons you and Christy cite. Most end up wanting to stamp it out the way an ex-smoker feels about tobacco. I find myself curious about what role God belief may have played in the emergence of our modern conscious minds. I get the sense that you don’t see it as an unadulterated negative for humanity, but I’m not sure about that impression.

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There would have to be tension, since humility vs. triumphalism is one of the self-contradictory themes of the bible itself. My Christian friends insist that a Christ-centered faith resolves this tension and that’s what I believed when I was in the fold. (Namely, that the triumphalism that nearly defines white evangelicalism is not compatible with a Jesus-based Christian faith and practice.) There are plenty of sectors of Christianity that don’t exhibit the blatant hypocrisy of evangelicalism.

I know Thomas Jefferson is justifiably disrespected nowadays, but I strongly agree with his offhand remark that a little revolution every now and then is a good thing. I wouldn’t say that my faith was some kind of tenuous temporary phase, but it evolved significantly over the decades that I professed, and I subjected it to periodic examinations. For me, every now and then it is important to put everything out on the table and ask each thing why it is there. This was a big part of my evolution away from belief entirely, because I put the god himself on the table.

But I am very curious about the sociology and psychology of deconversion, because anger and hurt and rejection are likely very common triggers (they were a trigger for me), but I have the strong impression that they are not enough by themselves, at least not for most believers. My faith survived catastrophic challenges, including the death of a child, so I am not at all sure that pain by itself is an adequate answer to “why did that person deconvert?” Instead, it is probably (just theorizing here) more important to understand the person’s faith itself than it is to understand the reasons (self-reported, almost certainly) they give for rejecting it.

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