Recently, a blogger asked the questions, “Why does Ken Ham care where you go to college? Where you send your kids?” The blogger was Dr. Adam Laats, a professor of history and education at Binghamton University in New York. (I quoted from another article by Laats here.) Now, Laats is an evolutionist who supposedly “tries to write about conservative issues without attacking them,” as he explains on his website.
In his post titled “Ken Ham Is My Guidance Counselor,” Laats gives a brief history of Christian colleges and their need to hold to biblical doctrines. He writes, for example, about Bob Jones University: “at its founding BJU decreed that every graduating senior would pledge to monitor the school’s continuing fundamentalism.” He also writes about me, “When faculty engage in evolutionary research and teaching that might turn away from Ham’s strict attitudes about knowledge and creation, Ham warns, students will too often abandon their creationist faith.”
Now, I understand that while Laats doesn’t agree with biblical creation, he’s apparently trying to be fair to those of us who do. But his sentence about me needs to be more precise than this. You see, it’s not “Ham’s attitudes” about biblical creation that are the issue—Bill Nye “the Science Guy” tried to make similar statements throughout our February debate about “Ken Ham’s creation model” to downplay the real importance of what I’m talking about. No, the real issue concerns Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries that break away from the authority of Scripture in Genesis—held to by the majority of scholars up through the Reformation—and teach students that God’s Word doesn’t mean what it says. That’s what makes students doubt the truthfulness of the Bible as a whole, and can be a major reason many of them walk away from the Christian (not “creationist”) faith, as we see happening in our culture today.
Of course we don’t deny there are many Christians who (wittingly or unwittingly) believe in an old earth or evolutionary ideas. We have emphatically stated many times that the age of the earth is not a salvation issue—it has no bearing on a person’s salvation status before God. But when professors at these Christian colleges teach that millions of years and evolution can be mixed with Scripture, they open a door to put man in authority over God’s Word, thus undermining the authority of Scripture. And if as a result of this someone begins to doubt the Bible’s authority in regard to its history, then this can lead to (and has done so with numerous people) the rejection of the gospel based in that history.
Laats also makes a disturbing connection regarding creationists and sexual assault:
Also intriguing, I must ask again if the drive to protect their reputations as safe theological and cultural havens has led some conservative evangelical schools to cover up incidents of sexual assault. Of course, these are very serious allegations, and I do not ask these questions lightly. I am certainly not accusing Ken Ham or the leadership of these schools of condoning sexual assault. But the drive to present a public face as a uniquely safe environment for fundamentalist students certainly puts undue pressure on college leaders.
Every school, Christian or otherwise, has a responsibility to handle sexual assault in the proper way, including involving the authorities. But why connect supposed poor handling of these cases with biblical creation? No school wants to be known for having sexual assault issues, whether it’s a Christian or secular school. The “pressure,” then, would come from the desire to appear to be without flaws more than any pressure coming from biblical creationists.
Laats concludes, “Influential voices such as that of Ken Ham are able to exert outsized influence by warning creationist families toward or away from certain schools. Without Ham’s imprimatur, conservative schools may lose the loyalty of students and families.” If that were true and I did have that kind of influence, then I would be glad the Christian colleges and universities that stand firmly on God’s Word in every area would benefit!
If you’re looking for Christian universities that teach biblical creation, I encourage you to visit our Creation Colleges website (www.answersingenesis.org/colleges/). The Christian colleges mentioned on this site are ones whose presidents have affirmed in writing their personal agreement with AiG’s statement of faith. We of course cannot guarantee that every professor, textbook, or course is perfectly in align with Scripture, but this group of colleges is a good starting place to check out an educational institution that honors God’s Word for your children.
The authority of Scripture is at stake here—and our real motivation at AiG is to uphold the authority of the Word and to equip others to do the same. We are burdened to help parents choose a college wisely that does not put stumbling blocks in their children’s way that could lead them to doubt and ultimately disbelieve the Scriptures.
Now, I do understand that there are complicated reasons as to why parents choose certain colleges, and ultimately it’s between the parents, the students, and the Lord. But at the very minimum I do urge parents to ensure they do all they can to equip their children to be able to defend the Christian faith against the attacks of our day, and to stand uncompromisingly on the authority of the Word of God.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This blog was written with the assistance of Steve Golden.