Recently a new “Gospel-centered Bible curriculum” was published for parents to use with children. The author of this curriculum began speaking at homeschool events to promote his material, including the Great Homeschool Conventions.
And that’s when the big controversy started…
You see, the author is none other than Peter Enns. Dr. Enns was suspended by Westminster Theological Seminary in 2005 for his book released that year, which denied the inerrancy of the Bible. Enns went on to join with Biologos, which teaches evolution and denies a real, historical Adam. Biologos also teaches that the Biblical authors errred in their writings:
If Jesus as a finite human being erred from time to time, there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John wrote Scripture without error. Rather, we are wise to assume that the biblical authors expressed themselves as human beings writing from the perspectives of their own finite, broken horizons. – See article here.
Here’s Enns denying Paul had a correct view of Jesus and Adam.
The biggest problem with Enns denial of Adam is that Paul’s theology in Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Cor. 15:20-28 depends upon on a historical Adam to make sense to the reader. Enns agrees that Paul clearly believed Adam was a real person. He says “There is really little doubt that Paul understood Adam to be a real person, the first created human from whom all humans descended” (article found here.)
To keep from denying the Christology Paul is teaching in the above verses, Enns has to admit Paul was wrong in believing in a real Adam. Which is where you end up when you deny inerrancy. Jesus also clearly believed in a literal Adam and Eve (see Matt. 19:4, which is a clear reference to Gen. 1:27). Inerrancy itself may not be heretical, but where it leads certainly can be. Without inerrancy, one begins to create their own theology, which Enns is happy to do:
And whatever way forward is chosen, we must be clear on one thing: we have all left “Paul’s Adam.” We are all “creating Adam,” as it were, in an effort to reconcile Scripture and the modern understanding of human origins. – From Enns article here.
Back to Enns promoting his Bible curriculum to homeschoolers. The irony is that most homeschoolers believe in a real Adam and Eve and a literal six-day creation taught in Genesis. I can imagine Enns left out his views on evolution and Adam when speaking at these conventions earlier this year.
But Ken Ham, from Answers in Genesis (AIG), was also a speaker at the same conference. Answers in Genesis often refutes the false teachings of Biologos and Peter Enns, which he continued to do at the recent North Carlina convention.
This week, Ken Ham was uninvited from the next two Great Homeschool Conventions (GHS), the first of which is held next weekend in Cininatti, just down the road from AIG’s headquarters and Creation Museum. The reason given was Ham’s public criticism of other speakers at the convention. Ham reportedly said Enns was a “compromiser” during one of his presentations. Or possible GHS is refering to the blog post he made before going to the convention (see here.)
AIG’s statement about the “uninvitation”, can be found here. AIG reports:
“Ken Ham did mention Peter Enns by name in one of his five talks at an earlier South Carolina convention in Greenville organized by Mr. Dean. Ken showed two video clips of Dr. Enns, done in the context of showing how some modern Christian speakers are compromising God’s Word in Genesis. Ken did say that Dr. Enns was also speaking at the conference and had connections to another convention speaker, Susan Wise Bauer. In another talk about a common Christian viewpoint that compromises Genesis, Ken briefly mentioned that one of the speakers at this convention took that view.”
Other speakers from the convention, like Jay Wile (who has written many science texts for Apologia) have joined in the debate over Ham’s “uninvitation”. Dr. Wile sides with Enns in the matter and feels that Enns is within Christian orthodoxy. When I asked Dr. Wile how Enns can reconcile his views with the fact Jesus and Paul clearly affirmed a historical, Wile replied as follows:
I would disagree with you that Jesus and Paul “clearly” affirm a historical Adam. A symbolic Adam takes no meaning from any of the New Testament. This is why many serious theologians do not believe in a historical Adam.
I then mentioned to Wile the problems with reconciling Enns view of Adam with 1 Cor. 15 and Romans 5. Dr. Wile, claiming to believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, stated:
Michael, what Paul believes is irrelevant to the passage. What is important is what God is saying. God is powerful enough to inspire Paul to write the truth, even if Paul believes something that is wrong. If Adam is a symbol, the message of Romans is exactly the same.
This response is illogical. What God is saying is what Paul is writing (assuming doctrine of divine inspiration of Scripture!) What Paul believes is what Paul is writing to the churches. Paul is not speaking prophecy like the OT prophets, who spoke exactly what God told them, and may not have understood the prophecy fully. Paul is writing on the authority of Christ, using Paul’s own mind, with his own background, all of which was providentially brought about by God.
(See Wile’s defense of Enns in the comments on his blog here.)
Being a homeschool parent, this trend of comprising on a Biblical view of creation concerns me. It is subtly making its way into homeschool conventions, textbooks and our children hearts.
It’s interesting this occurred in the same week Rob Bell’s new book on universalism hits shelves. Bell, like Enns, likes to blur the lines and make people question whether we have really interpreted the Bible correctly all these centuries. He questions whether there is even a real place of eternal punishment. Enns denies (and tries to get others to question) whether we can really trust the Bible.
And when certain believers stand up and try to point these false teachings out, they are quickly pounced on by the rest of the flock. After all, what’s wrong with asking the question, “Yea, Hath God Said…?”
Update: Apologia has made an official statement laying out where they stand on the issue. Also, Answer in Genesis (Ken Ham) has announced they stand with Apologia on it’s science curriculum, which you can read here.