Home schoolers split over Ken Ham and Peter Enns...

(Tim) When I was younger, I used to say the homeschooling movement was one of the most encouraging signs in America, today.

Government has no business engaging in religious instruction, yet public schools do almost nothing else. Through the training and certification of government school teachers, education's oligarchs rule public schools with an iron fist and they are determined to wrest the minds and hearts of children away from their fathers.

My parents graduated from Wheaton College back in the forties and one of their friends went to Columbia University to get his doctorate. He reported Columbia's faculty and grad students were committed to using government schools to foment rebellion in the home, telling of a party in celebration of John Dewey's ninetieth birthday at which faculty and grad students discussed the utility of government schools for undermining parents' efforts to pass their religious commitments on to their sons and daughters. Their plan was simple: they would train public school teachers to serve as front-line missionaries for the godless paganism sold to the parents of government schoolchildren as "separation of church and state."

This and other things led to my parents working with several couples to start a new Christian school outside Philadelphia called Delaware Country Christian School. Mary Lee and I followed in their footsteps, joining with a few couples here in Bloomington to start Lighhouse Christian Academy. Before we finish educating our children we'll have used Christian schools, a Christian college, a public university, a secular college, public schools, home school, and a home school co-op.

What education do we think is best?

GOVERNMENT EDUCATION

Government education is systemically corrupt and the corruption is intentional. I don't hesitate making this categorical statement despite the corruption not extending to every school district, school, principal, and teacher in your community or ours. In Wisconsin, the Superindent of our school district, the principal of our elementary school, one or two members of the school board, and a number of the teachers were members or attended the churches I served. Yet even there, for several years we had our eldest, Heather, in a Christian school in Madison one hour away.

CHRISTIAN SCHOOL EDUCATION

What about Christian schools? Sadly, Christian schools are often as bad as public schools--although in a different direction. In my files I have a letter several decades old, now, from my father to the board of Delaware County Christian School which likely ended his revered-father status there. Dad rebuked the board for disciplining a student publicly in such a way that everyone understood the school was more concerned about students' external conformity than their hearts. Among Christian schools, this sort of Phariseeism is common and it is deadly to the souls of our children. It leads a young Christian woman, for instance, to abort her unborn child rather than confess her fornication and receive the forgiveness of Jesus Christ and the celebration of the people of God over her repentance.

There are other failures typical of Christian schools, but there's one they share with home schools that's highlit by a controversy splitting home schoolers, their co-ops and conventions just now. Both Christian schools and home schools often are under no church authority.

HOME SCHOOL EDUCATION

Among home schoolers, few speakers are as well-known as Ken Ham. He's made his name opposing evolution and his ministry, Answers in Genesis, is synonymous with young earth creationism which may be the epicenter of this movement's doctrinal commitments. (And before I continue, let me say I'm no particular fan of Ken Ham.)

Recently Ham has been warning home schoolers to steer clear of a new curriculum being sold by Peter Enns of the pro-evolution BioLogos Foundation. Ham reports that, in the BioLogos curriculum, Enns "makes it clear that sin should not be discussed with young children because it will cause problems with their view of God." Ham further reports that Enns "doesn't believe in a literal Adam and literal Fall... yet sometimes describes Adam and the Fall in a way that he appears to believe in them (and) only later do you understand he merely uses these words metaphorically."

Yawn. This is nothing new for Enns. He was, after all, removed from the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary for not holding to the authority of Scripture (although he'd be vociferous in claiming he does and some men would support his claim).

What's interesting here isn't Peter Enns and his defective view of the Word of God written. Such men come along regularly and the only thing interesting about Enns is that he happened to pick a school to teach at where the trustees, administration, and profs are still men who fear God and wouldn't stand for his errors. I'm so thankful to Vern Poythress and Peter Lillback and all the others who did the hard work to expose Enns errors and remove him.

No, what's fascinating here is that home schoolers are not disciplining Enns and removing him and his BioLogos curriculum from their exhibit halls and workshop schedules. Rather, it's Ken Ham who's getting the boot and all the mothers are shocked because conflict is scandalous to them and they don't like anyone calling them to Biblical discernment.

This points to a danger of home schooling education. The reason home school conventions   are giving Ken Ham the boot is that many home schoolers have forgotten that God calls Christians to submit to pastors and elders and Titus 2 women within the Church of Jesus Christ and it's the duty of those pastors and elders and Titus 2 women to defend and protect these homeschooling fathers, mothers, and children from men like Peter Enns.

Where is the Church in home schooling conventions and associations and co-ops? Where is the Church in many home schooling families? The Apostle Paul tells us the Church of the Living God is "the pillar and foundation of the truth" (1Timothy 3:15), but many home schoolers listen more carefully to Ken Ham and Peter Enns and their convention's plenary and workshop speakers than they do to their pastors and elders and Titus 2 women.

ClearNote Church has many home schooling families who do a superb job educating their children, my own grandchildren included. These families honor Christ's Church by submitting to the officers Christ has placed over them, so they're not wondering about Peter Enns false doctrine and they're not scandalized by Ken Ham standing up and warning home schooling dads and moms to protect their children from the man and his products. Those who honor Christ's Church and her officers would not kick a man out of their workshop schedule and exhibit hall, saying he's being divisive and arrogant and non-Christian when he's simply working hard to warn the ewes and their lambs away from soul-destroying error.

After all, this is the kind of warning the Apostle Paul himself gave all the time:

For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses... (2 Timothy 3:2-6).

Relationships are not the summa bonum of life. God is.

And He's given us the gift of His Church and officers to help our children become men and women of God. The Church and her seminary and pastors and teachers have spoken concerning Peter Enns so it's right for us to raise our voices and yell and use the rod and staff to keep the flock away from him.

Home schooling is wonderful as long as the father of the children is intimately involved in every aspect of the school and he himself leads his family to follow him in submitting to the Church and Her officers. As long as the home schooling husband leads the mother of his children to humble herself and learn from the Church and its shepherds; and she, in turn, leads her children to trust their father, elders, and pastor more than they trust Ken Ham, Peter Enns, or any other big-named home schooling convention speaker.

* * *

(CORRECTION: Following publication, this post was edited to correct a mistake referrred to in comment Number 22 below.)

Comments

I've been thinking a lot about this over the past week or so since I found out about it. Our plan was to attend the convention in Cincinnati this weekend, but we have since changed our plans. We will still be going to Cincy, but will instead spend our time planning for the coming school year, visiting the Creation Museum, and shopping at Ikea. My full support is with Mr. Ham and his courage to speak out, name names and warn people against false teachers like Peter Enns; something I have appreciated about him for years.

The convention organizers just sent out an email yesterday announcing the speaker replacing Mr. Ham and the irony of it should not be lost on anyone. The new speaker is Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, another young-earth creationist who penned books such as Refuting Evolution and Refuting Compromise. In fact -- and here is where the irony comes into play -- the email highlights the fact that he is "Dr. Refuting Compromise" and the subject was "REFUTING COMPROMISE". The ironic part? They can't see the fact that they have compromised themselves for the love of money.

Having attended home schooling conventions with my wife for several years now, one thing has become quite clear to me; there are far too few fathers/husbands involved in the education of their children, rather leaving the decision-making to their wives. Actions like this by the convention merely act to allow false teachers like Peter Enns to spread their lies and, as Paul warns in Timothy, take captive the weak-will women who invite these men into their homes.

This action grieves me very much, but even more I am grieved by the lack of discernment by home schoolers who profess Christ and the lack of leadership by fathers/husbands who do the same. My prayer is that these men will step up and be men rather than conforming to the world's view of what they should be and that we would see a return to a love of the authority of the Word of God.

In regard to the first paragraph or two, a friend of mine shared an article this morning.

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view/2011_0324sex_ed_wrong_rite_of_spring/

The school administrator's quote at the end is amazing.

I assume the unease with Mr. Ham has something to do, interestingly, with Dr. Sarfati's organization and how it was handled by AIG? Or at least with something of the cult of personality which as developed around him?

Well said on the issues with homeschooling; having been at a few homeschool conventions myself, there are any number of organizations that really would do well to be under the headship of a church that loves Biblical discernment. For that matter, there are a lot of families that would do well to have the same....

@bert perry -- The reason for Mr. Ham and AIG being banned from the conferences from this point forward is due to remarks made by Mr. Ham at another home school convention about Peter Enns. Basically he called out Peter and Biologos for unbiblical teachings and warned people off of them and their curriculum. Here are a couple of links with a little background: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2011/03/22/kicked-out-homeschool-conferences and http://www.cincinnatihomeschoolconvention.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Ken-Ham-Issue-Public-Statement.pdf

I was referring to our gracious hosts' saying "I'm no particular fan," not the homeschool group......thank you, though!

The pressures in a church or other Christian body against airing anything that looks like robust debate, will almost always come from the top. It's a general fear of /anything/ controversial. Two personal examples:

* A couple of years ago, in the context of preaching on 1 John 4:1ff, I made some fairly sharp comments about the Todd Bentley debacle, which was a major issue in the movement I belong to. One couple in the church took great exception to my remarks - fine by me, they have the right to do so - but they ended up taking the pastor to task about it. The message which went on the website was slightly edited as a result.

* Last year in another message, I made a passing critical comment about Rob Bell and NOOMA, and this also ended up being taken to task.

Is it just me, or are too many pastors, genuinely gunshy at anything which looks controversial?

Gotcha. Sorry for the confusion :)

The response should be not only to criticize such a foolish and soul-endangering embrace of those such as Enns, but to respond by hitting them in the pocketbook.

Every minister worth his salt should warn everyone in his vicinity to steer clear of this convention and its purveyors.

One of the problems I see with homeschooling conventions is that folks have figured out that there is money to be made in the homeschool movement. We are starting to see professional homeschooling conventions bringing in big names to speak and the local organized ones going by the wayside. When money becomes a factor usually integrity suffers and "non rocka boatus" predominates. We all want to be one happy family regardless of the issues. I agree with several the above replies that dads are not involved enough. I know I have been guilty of that myself. I would like to second what Dr Bayly said about Christian schools. My pastor was a teacher at a local school and he said that it was a real eye opener. He had never seen so many embittered students toward the gospel. Two of the reasons he gave were parents not living the Word and the students seeing the hypocrisy and all the rigidity in the rules.

Tim,

You wrote "... As long as the home schooling husband leads the mother of his children to humble herself and learn from the Church and its shepherds; and she, in turn, leads her children to trust their father, elders, and pastor more than they trust Ken Ham, Peter Enns, or any other big-named home schooling convention speaker."

Rightly said, but it's applicable to father's generally speaking, not just those who head home school families.

Personally, I see this issue within homeschooling as simply a microcosm of the evangelical world at large. Enns gets booted from Westminster but that doesn't mean his evangelical bona fides have been revoked, in fact far from it. So too, Ken Ham sees many churches and pastors who avoid the tough implications of getting biblical origins correct, and so Ken the parachurch layman seeks to confront what the "official" church often avoids. If churches/pastors spoke boldly about sexual issues, then Doug Phillips' schmalzy (but in many ways on target) Vision Forum would recede. If churches/pastors spoke boldly about Genesis and its implications on atonement, then AiG would hardly be necessary. Etc. If churches/pastors spoke boldy and frequently about the need to educate from a standpoint of antithesis, the homeschool movement might have a very different flavor. The problem of course is that the vast majority of churches/pastors would rather wax eloquently about theological abstractions (see the recent Greenbaggins discussion about baptism) rather than shepherd the sheep who daily wade through the mire of our culture. Sometimes the sheep get antsy when the shepherds are off navel-gazing; I for one find it difficult to blame them too much for taking matters into their own hands (or hooves as it were).

All this to say that I think that the critique properly begins within the hierarchy of the household of faith.

I spent an hour or so a couple of weeks ago going through the workshops I planned to attend at this convention (Cincinnati) and then looking up the website of every speaker I would be hearing to see what they were all about. When I came to Peter Enns, something didn't sit right (there was a video of a recent lecture, but my mac is too slow to run video anymore, so all I could do was get a couple minutes of audio and read the comments, but that was enough to make me doubtful). I decided to "bayly-bloggle" his name and came to this post http://www.baylyblog.com/2008/09/spies-in-the-la.html which got me on the hunt for more of the original matter. In the end, though I understood only a small part of the issues, I felt fairly certain I needed to skip his workshop mostly because of the discipline/resignation from Westminster.

I'm pretty sure my whole life has been one big lesson about proper authority. I love how God ordained things to be. It is so comforting to me as a woman to know how things are supposed to look and so when something doesn't add up and one guy is going rogue, such as Enns, well, this non-conformist gal (read: sinfully stubborn, willful, and proud) gets a little suspicious. Maybe it takes one to know one. ;-)

I also thought the email subject from the conference folks was rather ironic. And all of this on top of the Rob Bell business (Oops. Sub-conscious slip, there). Actually, it has been rather sad for me to listen to grown men I know defend Bell, feeling sorry for him and how mistreated he is as if there was no reason to give any merit, any credence, any time to hear those who would even give a gentle whisper of caution. Even that is too harsh.

I'm super grateful for a husband who loves Christ's authority, biblical church leadership (should I even have to add "biblical" in there? But yes...), and who has firmly led me toward that same end. My biggest problem seems to be knowing my "place" when engaging in discussions of this type with those whom we fellowship. It's getting harder and harder to find common ground, and equally hard to keep my mouth shut about it. Or should I?

I'll still be attending the convention, as I've already committed to singing for my supper via a volunteer shift in exchange for our family's admission. I'm looking forward to Tedd Tripp, Generations of Virtue, Mark Hamby, Scripture Memory Fellowship, and, I'll admit it, the Duggers! But I'll be rethinking future participation.

>>Personally, I see this issue within homeschooling as simply a microcosm of the evangelical world at large.

Absolutely.

Love,

Another area, and related to homeschooling, where outward conformity to the law has sometimes taken precedence over real heart commitment? Courtship. As it developed in the years post-IKDG, there was a lot of argument in the courtship blogosphere as to the "right" way to "do" courtship, whether or not you were allowed to court or be courted if you had a "past", and how important (or not) it was to follow every jot and tittle of the law. And I mean, who needs chick-lit when you've got courtship testimonies!

;-)

I am not sure if things in practice have moved on from the early 2000s, I hope so, but I did see a lot of straining at gnats while every so often, someone would try to swallow a camel ...

My wife, who just got back from a regular meeting of homeschoolers noted that this is a topic of conversation. One of the things that she mentioned worth repeating is that several organizations have started to professionally do these big homeschooling conventions, drawing top speakers to present

topics of interest to homeschoolers. What this does is draw support and money away from the more traditional locally run homeschool conventions who use the revenue to send individuals to lobby their state legislators over homeschooling issues. When a family withdraws their child or children from the local school and are bewildered on what to do to homeschool, they won't be calling these organizations (who will be long gone and counting their profits) but some local person. We need to be careful not to sell out our home state conventions for something that "appears" to be better. Just a thought.

Well . . . I guess what I dislike about the whole thing is that home-schoolers as a whole are getting a bad rep. when in actuality, it is only a few making these choices. Bottom line: The Holy Word of God is our direction. In Him will I trust.

I would like to say...I am a Ken Ham follower...but not because I think he is anything like God...but because he speaks truth and writes books that are easy for me to read and teach to my children. I went to the Ohio convention..even after I knew about the problem...I proudly wore my "I Stand with Ken Ham" pin and felt like a "rebel rouser"....LOL...there were other great speakers there and many other good solid curriculums and deals to be made...I had intended to buy a Bible Curriculum while at the conventiuon...and was certainly glad that Ken spoke out against Peter Enns...because it is hard to be able to sit down and look at a curriculum and decide if it is right for the family while there are hundreds of people mulling around you and it is loud...my husband is a CPA..and there was no way he could take the time off to drive 6 hrs and go to a convention and look at curriculum...I teach the kids..and he doesnt...I know what they need and he doesnt...not all husbands have the freedom to teach their children their schoolwork...that doesnt mean they are not doing "their job"..my husband still leads our family...schoolwork is part of my job, just like washing their clothes, fixing their meals, cleaning the house, shopping, running errands...etc....I dont ask my husband about which groceries to buy, he doesnt do the cooking, he has no idea what is needed...same with the kids school work....back to Bible curriculum...I actually would not look at any Bible curriculum while I was there because the issue with Peter Enns made me skittish...the Lord does give the gift of discernment to women as well as men...what bothers me is the fact that the convention owners still allowed Peter to be there..they claim to be a Christian organization..but these days anyone can call themselves a Christian...kinda scary really....we have to do what God calls us to do, listen to Him....obey Him..and when you try to trick His followers, your day will come...you can count on it

I have to agree with commenter, Ken, above who said: "The problem of course is that the vast majority of churches/pastors would rather wax eloquently about theological abstractions (see the recent Greenbaggins discussion about baptism) rather than shepherd the sheep who daily wade through the mire of our culture."

And, what about those homeschooling moms, like myself, whose husband is an unbeliever? God called me to Himself 5 years ago, laid it upon my heart to homeschool our four daughters, and has blessed me in that my husband is not antagonistic to homeschooling or our involvement in a church. But, still, my husband is an unbeliever, so I get NO spiritual leadership from him at all. Since my conversion 5 years ago, I have been grieved at the lack of Biblical leadership and the lack of submission to Biblical authority within the Church. The Lord, through the ministry of Ken Ham & AiG, opened my eyes to creation science and the importance of submitting to the authority of God's Word from the beginning. I thank God for Ken Ham & AiG, whom I believe the Lord is using mightily to open the eyes and heart of His church via sound, Biblical teaching that is calling His people back to the authority of His Word.

I, personally, am very grateful for the ministry of Ken Ham. My own church does absolutely nothing to guide our homeschooling families. If it weren't for the efforts of Ken Ham, and others like him, I would have no one to look to for any type of information or warnings about curriculum choices. Ultimately the curriculum choices are up to me, but having some of the heretical stuff weeded out saves me the time of having to research them myself just to find out they're worthless at best and spiritually harmful to my children at most.

My wife and I were pleasantly surprised two years ago to hear that our church was in the planning stages of a home school ministry. There was talk of co-ops, field trips, mentors, and curriculum guidance. Unfortunately what our church settled on was a franchised co-op that would have cost our family $1800 for our two children to attend. This $1800 did not even include the price of books, it was just to attend the weekly meetings. Outrageous! Until churches start viewing their home schooling communities as a ministry that the church leadership needs to shepherd we will continue to need people like Mr. Ham to provide a bit of guidance for us.

Amen!!! There are more and more homeschoolers that are only church goers and are not in relationship with God. The bible says to "Come out of her.." referring to the sin. We must come away from those who choose the path of sin whether it is in homeschooling, church, community, etc. I think compromise is one of the most dangerous sins of the church. The bible says God will spew them out of their mouth those who are lukewarm. Great post!

Great post, however you should dig a little bit deeper into Ken Ham's questionable persona and antics. Sound education would imply honesty and integrity, which Ham seems to lack. There is a great story posted here about the way Ken Ham is treating those disagreeing with him - highly recommended: http://planetpreterist.com/content/homeschooling-genesis-debate-and-hypocrisy

Yeah right. You should give John Holzmann, owner of Sonlight Curriculum a call and see how he enjoyed being targeted by mister Ken Ham with a boycott because of his somewhat Old Earth view of creation.

"The reason home schoolers' state associations and conventions are giving Ken Ham the boot..."

It is vitally important that people understand it was NOT state homeschool organizations that gave Mr. Ham the boot. It was a for-profit business that runs for-profit homeschool conventions.

State-wide Christian homeschool organizations are not-for-profit ministries. A HUGE difference. There is not a single state not-for-profit organization that I know of that has slammed the door in Mr. Ham's face in the wake of this issue. In fact, it is the complete opposite!

To find your state's not-for-profit Christian organization, go to http://www.greatamericanhomeschoolconferences.com/index.cfm.

Blessings,

Jen Gorton

Christian Home Educators of Ohio

Board of Directors

Dear Ms. Gorton,

Thank you for the correction. I've changed the text.

Cordially,

Thank you for correcting it so promptly.

Jen

Hello,

I have been weary of reading some other blogs regarding this Ham v. Enns issue. Many do not recognize the dangerous "yeast" of Enns teaching. I applaud Ken Ham for speaking truth.

As a tempering statement, I want to say that no one is perfect. My limited investigation of the dialogue leading to Ham's cancellation leads me to believe that Ham was approaching the debate appropriately, but we are all prone to fall in one or the other ditch surrounding the defense of truth. We can fall into the ditch of compromise or the ditch of fogetting love as the motivation for correction. I don't believe Ham fell into either ditch in this situation, but that doesn't mean he is immune from doing so at some other time. If he does, I won't desert him for humanly mistakes. However, for an Enns who consistently teaches the mythical nature of Adam or a disdain for a young earth, he has had the obligatory 2 admonitions. It is time for the "Church" to call him a "false teacher" and advise its flock to avoid his curriculum.

Humbly seeking truth in His Word,

Eric Potter MD

Trinity Reformed Church

Nashville, TN

Tennessee Director Parental Rights.Org

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