Peter Enns Responds with “Ken Ham Clubs Baby Seals”

Recently I wrote a blog post in response to a blog post by Peter Enns.

In his blog post he made it clear that Genesis 1–11 should be read as a legend—just like the legends such as the Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamesh.”

His emphasis was on having an “adult” reading of Genesis. He implied that if children read Genesis and believe it, they later will have a crisis of faith when they are told it is just another legend and not literal history. Enns contends that the church and Christian institutions need to be ready to deal with this so they can help these young people get rid of their childish ways understanding of Genesis.

I therefore made the heading to my blog response “Peter Enns Wants Children to Reject Genesis.” I stand by my heading. Keep in mind that Peter Enns has published articles and books and given presentations available on video making it very clear he rejects a literal Adam, Eve, and a literal Fall. He proposes that “Adam” is a metaphor for Israel.

Enns certainly does not want your children to believe in a literal Genesis—in fact he doesn’t want anyone to believe in a literal Genesis. I and others at AiG have previously written items about Peter Enns and his biblically destructive teaching. Here are links to just three of them:

Well, Peter Enns certainly took objection to my most recent response to his continuing attack on the clarity and authority of the Word of God in Genesis. Here are some excerpts from the response he wrote, which is titled “‘Ken Ham Clubs Baby Seals’ (or, it may be time for him to rethink his ministry strategy).”

He states the following:

For Ham, the gospel hangs in the balance, and any disagreement with him is de facto a disagreement with the Bible and God himself. You are, therefore, “the enemy.” Gray is not a color on his rhetorical palette.

Given his well-publicized track record, I think it is fair to ask whether in Ham’s universe it is possible, (1) to be Christian, and (2) disagree with him on Genesis. Sadly, I suspect not.

But if in Ham’s mind is it actually possible to be a follower of Jesus AND disagree with him on Genesis, I would suggest that his engagement of his Christian opponents be more shaped by his acknowledgment of their shared Christians bond.

Enns doesn’t understand (or if he does, he is evading) that the issue is one of authority! His is the typical, “let’s get on with each other in a shared Christian bond—and agree to disagree” approach. No, we need to understand that, even if he thinks he has good intentions, what Enns is doing is destructive to Christianity because he is deliberately undermining the clear teaching of the Word of God and thereby  undermining its authority.

As I was researching the internet to write this blog post, I came across a secular site that posted a link to the blog post by Peter Enns with this comment (interesting how the secularists love to use such posts like this one of Peter Enns against us).

It sums up what I’ve been saying about Ken Ham for a long, long time. He cannot accept that other people have different opinions to him and is a bully boy. Sadly, many like the simple, hardline message he sends out. “I’m right, everyone else is wrong.”

I find that there are many others in the church that react the same way. Think about it. If I were to write that one must believe in the literal physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Birth, many in the church would agree and stand with me. They would not allow others to say that Christians should permit differing opinions—such as that the Resurrection might not have been a real physical one, or that the Incarnation was not a true virgin birth. But as soon as people like those of us at AiG take a similar stand on a literal Genesis, we are condemned for being opinionated, hardline, and bullying, and we are exhorted that we need to change and allow other opinions. I suspect Peter Enns would not react the same way he has over our ardent stand on a literal Resurrection and Virgin Birth as he has done over our stand on Genesis. Why is this? It is because in this era of history, a person is considered by most scientists to be antiacademic, anti-intellectual, and antiscience if he takes a stand on a literal Genesis believing in a young earth, six literal days, a literal Adam and Eve, and literal Fall.

Peter Enns wants me to consider his view of Genesis a possible valid one! But it is not! And of course he won’t accept what I teach concerning a literal Adam and Eve and a literal Fall. If I said it is a possibility there could be a literal Adam and Eve and a literal Fall but Peter Enns has an interesting position that could be right, he would relish that. But I would never say such a thing as I will never knowingly compromise God’s Word! That doesn’t mean I believe I am 100 percent perfect in my understanding of everything in the Bible—no one is! But in this case, the situation is very clear. Enns does not get his view from Scripture but from outside of Scripture, and he is deliberately forcing ideas on to God’s Word and deliberately changing God’s Word to fit.

Enns states the following in his book The Evolution of Adam (published by an arm of Baker Book House):

Evolution demands that the special creation of the first Adam as described in the Bible is not literally historical.

On the contrary, the Bible (God’s holy, pure Word) demands that evolution is not true! Enns put his faith and trust in the fallible beliefs of finite, fallible, sinful humans instead of the Word of the infinite, infallible, sinless Creator God! And he reinterprets God’s Word to fit man’s fallible words instead of judging man’s words by God’s inerrant Word.

Enns also implies something to misrepresent our views at Answers in Genesis—we have repeatedly said that a person can be saved while holding an unbiblical view of Genesis, yet Enns is really misleading his readers on this point.

And he can say what he wants about me, but God has put that fire in my bones to call such people like Enns away from this shocking compromise he is trying to infiltrate the church with and challenge him to get back to taking God at His Word.

In some ways, academics like Enns remind me of the Gnostics. Please don’t misunderstand me; I am not calling him a Gnostic, but like the Gnostics, he has this “special knowledge” so to speak. And all those nonacademics (and academics) in the church need to trust him with this “special knowledge” he has to share about not taking Genesis as history and not believing in a literal Adam and Eve and a literal Fall. He has this innovative idea of Adam being a metaphor for Israel. “Trust me, I’m an academic,” he is saying, “I know more than you—I have this special knowledge to share.” It is clear academic pride. He does need to humble himself as a child and repent of this before a holy God.

Jesus spoke of religious leaders of His day when he said, “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).

He goes on,

One need only read the title of his recent post to see the problem, “Peter Enns Wants Children to Reject Genesis.” What I say in my post is that adults should not read Genesis like children do. That, I think, is a rather different point, not a subtle difference. But Ham’s “Enns wants to harm your children as he clubs baby seals.”

But what does Enns want to do? He wants your children to grow up and realize they can’t believe Genesis as a child would—taking it as a real historic account. So he does want your children to reject Genesis—he wants them to become “adult,” as he calls it, by reading Genesis as a myth. He recognizes this will be a crisis for them at some stage, but they will have to come to grips with it. Enns does not believe in a literal Adam and Eve and does not believe in a literal Fall—and that is what he is teaching—so he does want your children to believe (or really disbelieve Genesis) as he does!

And why do I respond the way I do to such shocking biblical undermining articles as those Enns writes? Because Scripture commands all believers, and especially Christian leaders:

  • “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”  (Jude 1:3)
  • “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”  (Titus 1:9)
  • “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus”  (2 Timothy 1:13)
  • “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”  (Acts 17:11)
  • “‘Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!’ says the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 23:1)
  • “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”  (James 3:1)
  • “For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.” (1 Corinthians 11:19)
  • “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” (Proverbs 30:5)
  • “Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:6)
  • “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” (Psalm 118:8)

And what about the headline Enns used:  “Ken Ham Clubs Baby Seals”?

Enns may think I have made an outrageous accusation against him, so he satirically makes one against me. However, the title seems to imply that I am heartless and angry! Well, I do admit a particular type of anger—the same sort of anger Nehemiah had when he saw the injustices being committed and that people weren’t obeying God’s Word as they should. It was a righteous anger to do something about the situation to challenge people to do what is right according to the Word of the Lord.

“And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words” (Nehemiah 5:6). I pray we will all rise up with the righteous anger of Nehemiah in response to the way God’s Word is being shockingly treated today (as it is by people like Peter Enns). Certainly we should never have a heartless anger as implied by the heading of Enns regarding baby seals—but a righteous anger to turn people away from compromise back to the “pure words” of our Lord.

And I do have a sincere heart for our “baby seals” (our children). The Bible gives dire warnings about leading children astray. I also think about the apostle John in his old age writing in 1 John, where he calls Christians “little children.” I don’t want to see “little children” have a crisis of faith because of the false teachings of people like Peter Enns.

And we are warned over and over again in the Bible that there will be people within the church who will bring false teaching to drag us away from the truth. Both Peter Enns and I will stand before the Lord one day to give account of what we taught the “little children.” I pray I will have been found faithful to the Word of God in what I taught, given the enormous responsibility and therefore accountability of a teacher, as James 3:1 says: “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”

You can read this new response from Peter Enns at this link.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken