Friday, July 05, 2013

Not super pleasant (to put it mildly), but educational . . .

My last two posts (here and here) have obviously generated quite a bit of discussion--more, I think, than any posts on this blog have generated before. I am sure it is all thanks to Ken Ham. I didn't particularly enjoy his post, but I thank him for it, anyway. Thank you, Ken.

A strong reason for thanksgiving: The discussions that have followed have helped me to learn; they have enabled me to say some things I have never said before (see the “other matters that I think need to be addressed," below; I have never expressed what I say in items #1 and #2 of these "other matters"; and I think I have never expressed so clearly what I attempt to say in item #3 [again, within the "other matters" portion, below]).

As I read the comments of various posters on a thread in, I felt led to write and post the following:
I received a Google notification that this conversation was happening. So I came over, read many of the posts, and thought I should probably sign up on HomeSchool Reviews so that I could speak. Especially since it was my post to which Mr. Ham was replying.

A few points of clarification:

* SONLIGHT did not call Ken Ham "Pope Ham." *I*, John Holzmann, called him a pope. I did so in my personal blog (a Google Blogger blog) "John's Corner" (

* If my comments reveal my character (or Sonlight's character, if you are determined to drag Sonlight into the matter, despite the fact that the company had nothing to do with my post), I ask that you

1) please look at my response when I was made aware of my wrong-doing. (I have apologized.)

2) please consider the provocations that elicited my inappropriate response. (Mr. Ham has made false statements about me on numerous occasions dating back to 1999. He has made false statements about Sonlight Curriculum as well.)

3) consider whether you REALLY believe my behavior, per se, is (or was) as heinous as some have made it out to be. Let me reiterate: I BELIEVE I WAS IN THE WRONG. I shouldn't have stooped to name-calling. But if you believe my name-calling is as heinous as some seem to believe it was, I am astonished that the Christian homeschooling community has not risen in indignation over Mr. Ham's name-calling and his sponsorship--in his magazine and on his website--of IDENTICAL language to that which I used. (I could talk about OTHER language. But let us focus solely on the “pope” idea. [NOTE: I was not aware of this until I happened to bump into the article yesterday. But . . . ] For IDENTICAL language used by Answers in Genesis, see the article "Evangelical Popes" (


What I have just written speaks, I believe, to the primary matters that seem to be of concern with respect to my POST.

HOWEVER, there are other matters that I think need to be addressed.

* The matter of "compromise" and "error" and, at least as importantly, the "Gospel" and "authority" questions Mr. Ham raises.

1) I would like to note that I hold Mr. Ham in very high regard for his repeated--CONSISTENT--"banging of the drum" about the fundamental issues related to Gospel and authority that can arise if one attempts to correlate a “straightforward” reading of Genesis 1-3 (as Mr. Ham--and, I'm sure, most readers here--would define “straightforward”) with the views of most modern scientists. As Mr. Ham told me about 14 years ago (I'm not going to quote him, because I'm recalling this from memory, and I don't have a perfect memory; but, he said something like), “You will find that there is no solid foundation with an old-earth view. They don't have a consistent view of the Bible. The Biblical narrative doesn't hang together under an old-earth view.” --Something like that.

I have to say that, in general, I AGREE WITH HIM. What I have found is that most old-earthers take the “scientific” view and kind of wave their hands over the Bible and say, “I don't know how it all goes together, but I believe the Bible and I believe science. And so . . . (I am an old-earther.)”

But I have been uncomfortable with such a position.


2) I agree with Mr. Ham that, if someone is going to teach old-earth (creationism or evolutionism or anything else), and they are going to claim to be Bible-believing Christians, then they should deal with the problems. They should address the kinds of things about which Mr. Ham keeps banging the drum. They SHOULDN'T simply “wave their hands.”

As different people in the homeschool community have made clear to me, our view of Genesis 1-11 will affect how we teach history (is there history before 4004 BC . . . or not? Are Adam and Eve to be included in our regular history course . . . or “only” in Bible? . . . If we include them only in a Bible program, aren't we indicating that they aren't part of regular history? Etc.); it will affect how we teach science; it will affect how we teach the Bible itself. . . . --These are not mere “hand-waving” kinds of matters!


3) In the same way that (most of us, anyway!) seem to be able to at least let each other pursue our own beliefs and practices without charging each other with “compromise” and “error” and an unwillingness to bow to the authority of Scripture when it comes to matters like women wearing head coverings in church; or when it comes to how we observe (or fail to observe) the Sabbath; or “dresses only”; or baptism; or the end times; so I believe it ought to be here, with respect to our views on how we should interpret Genesis 1-11.

I am NOT suggesting people should not discuss these matters (anymore than I would suggest we ought not to discuss head coverings, Sabbath observances, our manner or dress, baptism, end-times prophecy, or anything else).

What I am attempting to say is that . . .

IN THE SAME MANNER as we are able to discuss these matters without charging one another with compromise and error with respect to our fundamental view of Scripture (i.e., when we disagree with one another, we don't charge those on the opposite side with the obvious sin of calling the authority of Scripture into question!) . . . so, here, with respect to our interpretations of Genesis 1-11.

I believe we should CHALLENGE each other to think through the implications of our views (like the people who pointed out that a person’s view of Genesis 1-11 is going to impact their view of history). We should raise all of the kinds of issues and concerns that Ken Ham consistently raises. ASK people of another opinion how their views square with the idea (say) of death before the fall. ASK how they interpret Romans 5:12ff. DISCUSS how we view these passages and why.

I believe we do the body of Christ damage when, rather than behaving in this way, we take the far more offensive road and call anyone who disagrees with us “compromisers” or “snakes in the grass.” This shuts off communication. It divides the church. It precludes useful discussion and the opportunity to learn. (Participants on neither side of a “conversation” in which we are being told we are either imbeciles (or such terms; I am thinking of less pretty comments probably more likely to come from the mouth of an old-earther, though I have heard young-earthers use similar verbiage with respect to those with whom they disagree!), or a “conversation” in which we are being told we are “compromisers” (etc.): Participants in those kinds of “conversations” don't usually wind up actually conversing! And we don't benefit one another.)

I want us to provide room for one another to hear each other out, to be challenged, and to grow in the grace and knowledge and wisdom and powerful work of Christ in the world.

Let us, as the founders of the United States once said, “hang together” . . . that we might not “hang separately.”


John Holzmann
blog comments powered by Disqus