Too Young to Understand

Many of you will recall the situation a few weeks ago resulting in AiG and me being disinvited from a homeschool convention in Cincinnati. The bottom line is that I stood publicly (in my previous blog posts and at similar conventions prior to the Cincinnati meeting) against the teaching of Dr. Peter Enns of BioLogos. Not only is his teaching concerning God’s Word heterodox in many areas, he is also producing a homeschool curriculum for children called Telling God’s Story (published by Olive Branch Books, Charles City, Virginia—the religious instruction imprint of Peace Hill Press). This curriculum was (and still is) a great concern for me, knowing that there is a concerted effort by BioLogos to promote what Enns believes to generations of homeschool students.

Because of these events, a group of homeschooling students decided to attend a lecture by Dr. Enns, and then speak with him afterwards. I met these students who, by the way, came across as very gracious but very sure of what they believed. I asked them to send me a written report on what happened with their interaction with Dr. Enns. Because of notes they had taken, and I believe the integrity of this group, they were very careful to send me what they believe is a very accurate account of what happened.  As you read this report, you will be saddened by the answers given by Dr. Enns but encouraged at the stand this next generation of homeschool students has on the authority of God’s Word. I do pray their witness to Dr. Enns will be used of the Lord to convict him concerning believing God’s Word as he should. Read their following account:

My family and I went to the Creation Museum Saturday evening after our time spent at the Great Home School Convention in Cincinnati.  We wanted to support you in your efforts to stand firm on the doctrines of our faith, particularly in regards to the teachings of Dr. Enns and the Convention organizers. While at the museum my family and I were able to talk with you about my encounter with Dr. Enns at the convention.  You asked me to email you with information about this experience.  The following is a description of my encounter with Dr. Enns.

Before going to the Great Home School Convention my friends and I had heard that you and Answers in Genesis had been uninvited to speak and to set up an exhibit booth because of the stand you took against the teaching of Dr. Enns. While at the convention, I and a group of seven other friends decided to go and listen to a lecture given by Dr. Enns so that we could know first-hand what he was teaching and so that we would be better informed when we went to discuss his beliefs with him. Since we went into Dr. Enns’ lecture with every intention of talking to him afterwards, we were all taking notes. After his lecture, we left for a few minutes to discuss what we had heard and to make sure that when we went to talk to him we were doing it for the right reasons and not just to attack him.

When we went back into the lecture room we made our way to the front and stood waiting to ask him our questions. At that time we asked him if he believed the Bible to be the true inspired word of God and if He believed it to be completely true, because he had said in his lecture that the books in the Bible between Genesis and Revelation were just trivial details. He told us that He did believe the Bible to be the true word of God and that there were no mistakes in it. We also asked him if he believed Adam, from Genesis chapter one, was a real man. He told us that he believed Adam was metaphorical.

We left to go to lunch after asking those questions. While at lunch we discussed what he had told us about Adam being a metaphorical man and decided that since we didn’t understand how that could possibly work that we would go to his booth to ask him some more questions.

When we went up to Dr. Enns’ booth in the exhibit hall we asked him if he had time to talk to us, when he said yes we started what would end up being a 45 minute discussion. We started the conversation by asking him why he believed that Adam was a metaphorical man. He told us that he actually believed that all of Genesis 1-11 was a metaphor. He told us that this metaphor was written to ancient people who could not understand science and religion as we did because their culture was so infused with idolatry and mythology. Genesis 1-11 was written in such a way that these ancient people would be able to understand how one God made the world and how sin came into existence. It is not to be taken literally though.

We then asked him how he knew that Genesis 1-11 was a metaphor and that the metaphor ended right at the division between chapter 11 and 12 of Genesis. He told us that he knew Genesis 1-11 was a metaphor because of science and archeology.  He did not tell us how he knew that Genesis 12 on was non metaphorical. After this statement we asked how science and archeology had proven that Genesis 1-11 was metaphorical and he told us that it was because of how long it would have taken the world to come into existence and from the fossil record. One of my friends then asked him how he believed the world came into existence at which time he told us that he believed in Theistic evolution, millions of years, and that man had evolved.

After hearing this we asked him if he believed that there was death before sin, because we all believe that death is a direct result of sin. He told us that there had been death before sin, because that is just the way our world works. Next, we asked Dr. Enns if Adam and Eve were metaphorical, and the garden of Eden was metaphorical, if that would mean that Adam and Eve didn’t fall since they never truly existed.  So our question is, if that is the case, where did sin come from?

He told us that we were too young to understand the theological implications of that question, and that philosophers have been pondering this for years.

In reply we stated that we did understand that by not taking all of Genesis literally he had gotten rid of the creation of the world, the creation of man in the image of God, and the entrance of sin into the world.  We also said that if he didn’t know that sin existed then we wouldn’t know that we were sinners and thus wouldn’t know that we were in need of a savior. He then tells us that we all have an innate knowledge that we are sinners and that we cannot know where sin came from. At this point one of my friends said that she knew where sin came from and she opened her Bible to Genesis and showed him.

Next, we asked him about five times if he would give us the names of some other people who believed the same things he did so that we could read some of their articles before he finally told us to look at biologos.com.

I don’t believe that our questions persuaded him to alter his personal beliefs.  However, our questions did confirm for us that we know what we believe and that we can stand on the truth of God’s word.  I want to thank you and Answers in Genesis for aiding us in understanding the truth of the biblical teaching found in the first eleven chapters of Genesis.

Please pray for more young people like these who graciously and thoughtfully challenged a PhD Christian academic concerning his compromise on God’s Word. They were certainly not “too young to understand.” Their understanding of God’s Word was way above this academic.

Also I wanted to bring your attention to the fact that in this account, it is reported Dr. Enns said he believed the Bible to be the true word of God and that there were no mistakes in it. But then, as the students questioned further, what he meant by this statement was not what people would normally think concerning the meaning of what he claimed.  In the new AiG book to be released May 1 (entitled Already Compromised), we discuss what we call “Christian newspeak”—Christian leaders are saying things that make it sound like they believe God’s Word, but in reality, their words don’t mean what they would mean in the past. Such “Christian newspeak” is pervading Christianity, including churches, colleges, and so on. I encourage you to preorder Already Compromised.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken