Several weeks ago, I first heard about a Bible curriculum by Peter Enns, published by Peace Hill Press, the publishing arm of The Well-Trained Mind. Since so many homeschoolers are “classical” in style, this really made my ears perk up. I read about this curriculum by reviewer LeaAnn Garfias, in a blog post entitled “Home Educating in Biblical Truth.”
What I read at LeaAnn’s blog really frustrated me. It felt like Peter Enns wrote a Bible curriculum that looks good at first but then quietly attacks the core foundations of all that God’s Word teaches. According to LeaAnn, Mr. Enns claimed that sin and grace are too difficult for children to understand, so they shouldn’t be discussed until at least the teenage years. In addition, he took a very weak stance on the inspiration or authority of Scripture. He even questioned whether the creation story was true and hinted that it didn’t really matter.
Later, I received my latest issue of The Old Schoolhouse magazine. I was very surprised to find a full-page ad for Peter Enns’ Bible curriculum sandwiched between two extensive articles on creation. I wondered if its placement in the magazine might make it look like Peter Enns would actually agree with the articles that were presented from a young-earth viewpoint.
I decided to buy Peter Enns’ book, Telling God’s Story: A Parent’s Guide to Teaching the Bible, so I could read what he had written with my own eyes. I didn’t feel it would be fair to just take LeaAnn’s word for it. I needed to evaluate his words for myself, especially since we also publish Bible curriculum and might be asked about our “competitor.”
I’ll be honest. I felt like LeaAnn was too kind! It is not my normal policy to attack other authors here on my blog, and I’m not meaning to attack this author personally either. However, I can confidently say that his book is not biblical. I’m deeply concerned about this Bible curriculum!
For instance, Mr. Enns repeatedly attacks the very truth of the Bible. He implies, for instance, that teaching about creation and the flood will just confuse our children, especially when they learn in their other studies that many cultures around the world have similar creation and flood stories. He implies that the Old Testament is very confusing and difficult to understand, and that the laws of God are antiquated and for another time and culture. He suggests that the very core doctrines of our faith are too difficult to discuss with our children, and that we will know it’s time to start discussing them when our teenagers can discuss the tough issues they see in PG-13 movies! Finally, he suggests that Christians should not just look to the Bible for answers, but that we should look to our “communities of faith” to discuss matters of doctrine, as if church dogma is the final authority.
Honestly, this book was much, much worse than I imagined. Again, I’m sorry if I’m attacking another believer, but this is one of the most dangerous books I’ve read in a long time.
That’s why I’ve been watching with great interest some interaction online between Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis), Jay Wile (Apologia’s high school science curriculum), and Peter Enns (the author of Peace Hill Press/Well-Trained Mind’s “Bible” curriculum):
- I’ve been thrilled with Ken Ham’s stand. However, just yesterday Ken Ham has been dis-invited from several homeschooling conventions, just because he has taken the same stand I certainly would, in favor of God’s Word!
- Jay Wile, author of Apologia’s high school science curriculum, has been taking Peter Enns’ side. He has been sharply criticizing Ken Ham, and I’m actually rather shocked by this. To be honest, I don’t know that I want to use Jay Wile’s high-school science curriculum any more.
So who is right? Is it ever right to criticize another believer? Is it right to stick up for the truth of God’s Word, even when we must “judge” another believer to do so? Just because the “Christian church” has never been agreed about whether creation is literally true or not, does this mean that we should all just “agree to disagree”?
No way, Ladies! Of course, not everyone will agree that the Bible is literally true. It doesn’t matter if the majority of Christians believes something or not. What does the Bible say? That must be our only authority.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…” (Romans 1:16-22, NIV).
As for judging others, the apostle Peter himself writes some pretty strong words about those who teach “destructive heresies,” such as claiming that the flood is just a myth. (Read 2 Peter 2 and 3.) Compared to how Peter writes about teachers who were contemporary to him, I think Ken Ham has been quite kind to Peter Enns.
Other curriculum companies, such as Sonlight, refuse to take a strong stand on the Bible’s young-earth, seven-day, literal creation account as well. Behind the scenes, many curriculum publishers are discussing whether we writers should offer Christian homeschooling curriculum in “secular” versions as well, to appeal to an ever-growing secular, evolutionary-loving market. After all, the argument goes, one size does not fit all. Many publishers believe in offering a curriculum that leaves plenty of room for the parents to add in their beliefs or to explain a variety of beliefs. They claim that if we are too “dogmatic,” we are showing disrespect to parents.
What about showing respect to God and His Word? What about realizing that we will someday stand before God and must give an account for how we taught the children He entrusted to us?
“But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6, NIV).
I know this post is not my typical kind of post here. But again, I’m deeply concerned about the direction of homeschooling and of curriculum publishers. Be on guard as you purchase curriculum this summer and as you attend conferences and seminars! A battle for the minds of our children is certainly raging. Speak up by writing to these curriculum publishers and authors, and let your voice be heard!
Thank you, Anne, for this timely information. One more reason that I am excited about the curriculum writing that you are doing.
I am appalled that such a book has been written and am thankful for your honest opinion of this book. As an aside, we have been using your Foundations Bible Curriculum this year and LOVE it! It has been such a blessing to my family! Thank you for your continued work!
Thank you so much for your post it is very informative and is a great reminder for me to be wise in purchasing and researching the curriculum I buy for the boys.
Lea Ann @WhateverStateIAm says
Thank you for your timely discussion of this dangerous curriculum and the current controversy surrounding it.
For my review, which you mention above, I spent much time in prayer and counsel how to handle this difficult yet important topic. My husband and I spent much of our holiday season reading the book together several times and discussing the implications of this message. We were careful to be as factual as possible in the final presentation so parents can clearly see, we pray, the errors that are deceptively hidden within the pages.
This is an important day for all of us. Each publisher, author, and family must make a decision where we stand on the authority and truth of God’s Word. Thank you, Anne, for bringing this message out.
Thanks so much for getting this information out. Of course, publishers do have the right to include secular or liberal materials in their choices, but they should be certain that they are very clear about what view the material teaches so that people can stay away from those sources if they want to and speakers shouldn’t be vilified and “Censored” from pointing out those differences that the publishers themselves have not broad-casted to Homeschool Parents. That just seems so obvious to me!
Laura Jenkins says
Thank you for standing up for the truth.
Wow. In a way, I’m not surprised that it comes from the publishing arm of “Well Trained Mind” for I had a caution years ago with that particular book itself. I believe it is right to uncover the false teachers and expose them. Paul did, as you pointed out. Thank you for this review. It needs to be out there for others to see.
Colleen Scott says
Thanks for this very well written post. You explained things so clearly. This was my first time on your blog, but definitely not my last. Blessings!
Jessica S. says
My take…is that if others (Key Note Speakers) feel the same and follow the Truth of the Bible, they should also make the decision to NOT ATTEND the conference either. My opinion–of course. Hey, I’d love to attend a conference, and in the future it would be the Cincinnati one…but if it all becomes comprising God’s Words now…soon we’ll have a multicultural convention…that’s NOT what I think is appropriate!! I know it would be hard to not attend (for the vendors), but at what price?? Unbiblical Truths in our Homeschools? I don’t think so.
Hillary Moore says
Not wanting to take sides in the drama. I am only reading one-sided arguments. I have my own opinions on the book in question (I would suggest a title change at the least :D) I think that Mr. Wile has been unfairly brought into this as being ‘on Mr. Enns’ side’. His take is not that Mr. Ham was wrong, but the way in which he went about it was not the best. I think the homeschool convention people did not go about their ‘reprimand’ in the best way, either (at least from reading what Mr. Ham has shared). The Bible itself spells out just the steps to take for conflict resolution. For many reasons, that is beside the point. The point is still there that from many people’s review, this curriculum is not Biblically sound. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone associated with the publisher is in full agreement with what is presented in this one book. What it does mean, and this has not ever changed, that parents must fully research, pray about and be sure of what their children are being taught. This holds true for parents of public, private or homeschooled children. Consumer reviews can point you in the right direction and narrow down the options. You, the parent, are still the one responsible.
Just my 2 or 3 cents.
Thank you for sharing this!
Hi, I have been following this as well and I am thrilled to have found your honest and well spoken review! I’m sharing it with others immediately! Thank you!!!
@Hilary First, there is absolutely no evidence that anything Mr Ham did was out of line. People who had attended the conference where Mr Enns’ materials were exposed said that it was done well and without malice. THe location of his talk was atrocious…cold…and noisy..as opposed to the other speakers’ venues. Ken and staff have repeatedly tried to contact the organizers prior to any public notice. People who are thinking of attending the 2 conferences should know that Mr Ham is canceled. BOTH of the conference sites STILL have him listed near the top of the list as a featured speaker. It would take hardly any time at all to post a canceled banner over his conference profile. This is a huge business and one vendor posted that his cost is $450… multiply that by approx. 330 vendors..add admission fees from families (most of whom think they will get to hear Ken Ham) ..and this business does many conferences nationwide and claim to be christian and so should act accordingly. The truth sets free…in curriculum…. in life. How shall we hear without someone being bold enough to speak the truth, like Mr Ken and Miss Anne? Thank you Mrs Elliot!!! 🙂
Tiffany Ambriz says
Personally, I think that there are stories all over the world about global floods CONFIRMS the Biblical account. It goes to show that we were all come from those 8 people on the ark. After the people groups were dispersed from the tower of Babel – and the story of Grandpa Noah got handed down, generation after generation, certain details may have gotten changed or lost. So many of them are SOOO close to the Biblical account it is just amazing. If you can not stand on the Word of God as true – and believe every word…why believe any of it? Might as well just throw it out the window all together. And that is what the kids of today are deducing. So many are being taught that you can’t rely on God’s word as the final authority on things – so they decide to just chuck it all.
Tina Hollenbeck says
Thank you, Anne, for your review! This needs to be said. We Christians who love and honor God’s Word cannot let people unwittingly buy this and start using it with their kids. We’ve got to let people know it’s dangerous.
Tiffany, I totally agree, having world wide accounts of floods actually helps the case of the worldwide flood account. Well said, took the words out of my mouth! 🙂
Wow – waiting on sin and grace until the teenage years!?!?! That’s insane!!!! Children start struggling with sin FAR before that!! And as for the Laws of God being antiquated, well, that’s also frightening. Who knew that “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength and love they neighbor as thyself” wouldn’t be timeless????
Thanks for the head’s up on this. I would have steered clear because I have issues with PHP, but I’ll freely admit this might have been VERY tempting to me had I not read these reviews. I wouldn’t even feel right reselling a book like this to someone. I don’t think I could get past the guilt of spreading falsehoods like the 10 Commandments aren’t hip enough for our modern world.
On a side note regarding the controversy I applaud anyone in this modern day and age who has the courage and strength to stand up for what they believe in, regardless of which side of the fence they might fall on. I have never been blessed enough to attend a homeschooling conference, but I will definitely not be attending any put on by Great Homeschool Conventions until they decide that they can treat all authors fairly. It’s called Freedom of Religion and Freedom of the Press for a reason.
Jenny Vass says
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40
It is my conviction that the distorting of the Word of God is a distortion of Christ himself. We know that the serpent is the craftiest of all the creatures the Lord God has made in accordance with Genesis 3:1.
The teaching of evolution undermines the authority and power of God and erodes the faith of the body of Christ. God is a God of clarity not a God of confusion. Interpretation of scripture is simple. It is our unbelief that is the problem!
Kathy bryson says
I thought that most of the hard-working people who made homeschooling “legal” were Christians who wanted to escape the secular schools. Now that homeschooling has freely expanded, I am hearing people say that it should be more secular! I am confused.
Heather B says
Anne~ VERY WELL SAID!
Dana Wilson says
I appreciate both you and LeaAnn Garfias’ willingness to take a public stand against Mr. Enns’ dangerous ‘Bible Curriculum’ and am disappointed to have learned that PHP is the publisher.
I do feel sorry for the vendors, though, who stand to loose a chunk of change at these two conventions.
Thanks again for your post!
Thank you so much for taking the initiative and buying this particular book. I’m fortunate that a friend posted this on FaceBook or I never would’ve found your site! The timing of your critique is perfect because I was looking at Apologia’s Bible curriculum for next fall. However, hearing about Jay Wile’s defense for Mr. Enn’s book is very troubling to me; I’ll certainly take a second look. In fact, I will be browsing your site very closely, your Bible curriculum specifically. Again, my thanks for a thorough summary of both Mr. Enn’s book and the people who are choosing to defend it. Appreciatively, Carrie
Anne Elliott says
Hey, everyone, I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the comments today on this little blog. Our words are making a difference! For instance, The Old Schoolhouse magazine just emailed me and has made a public statement about their ad for Peter Enns’ curriculum. They wrote:
TOS emphatically disagrees with Dr. Enns’ theology. The ad you see in the last issue was placed prior to TOS’s knowledge of this author or his beliefs. TOS accepted the ad on good faith because it was placed by a publisher TOS has endorsed in the past for products (and/or authors) in line with the TOS statement of faith. TOS is staunchly young earth in biblical philosophy. In the future no promotions for products authored by Dr. Enns will be featured by TOS.
A publishing friend also sent me this note today about Apologia:
I just wanted to let you know that Jay Wile is no longer affiliated with Apologia (even though they still publish his books–he sold the company a while back and later dissociated himself from Apologia entirely), so it may not be appropriate to drag the company into the debate through a link after his name.
That’s good news, huh? I thought so…
I’ve been following the hoo-ha that has erupted over the last two days over Ken Ham being disinvited. Someone on FB posted a link to your blog. Thank you for your honest review of his book and the warning. You can go to Jay Wile’s blog (click on August 2010) where he states that he quit Apologia. Since he WAS solidly Bible based when he wrote the science curriculum, I will continue to use his science curriculum as I know of no other curriculum that is solid on a Biblical foundation. If he publishes something else in the future, I will go elsewhere. The whole thing is disturbing.
Tami Lewis says
excellent post! thank you so much. i, like you, am shocked at Apologia’s stance!
Tami, see Anne’s comment just above yours where she says that “Jay Wile is no longer affiliated with Apologia…”
Serene in Singapore says
Thanks for doing this Anne! 🙂
Jessica S. says
To comment on Jessica’s above comment; I feel the same. I just ordered Apologia Science materials for next year…and at first I felt compelled to return them and look elsewhere. As far as the books (Apologia), I do still feel that they are biblically-based and we will continue to use them. I already knew that Wile was longer apart of Apoloiga from other publications. So I definitely agree again with Jessica—if anything is printed in the future, I will definitely look real close into the materials for our homeschool. –That’s the wonderful part of homeschooling…deciding on the materials we want for our children. Thanks again for your post & comments!! 🙂
Jessica S. says
On the accounts of History and the World Wide Flood…I would recommend our History curriculum: Ancient Civilizations & the Bible by Diana Waring….in which Answers in Genesis promotes on their website. It’s truly amazing—especially the CDs that go along with the Book. 🙂
John Holzmann says
Carrie wrote, “hearing about Jay Wile’s defense for Mr. Enn’s book is very troubling to me.”
Carrie–and others–I urge you to read what Wile wrote and is continuing to write on this subject. He is not defending Enns’ book. He is seeking to make a point about theological differences. Just because one person (for example, Wile) is an Arminian, doesn’t mean he has to label Calvinists “compromisers.”
Now. Is Wile aware of the kinds of things Anne or, before her, LeaAnn, have brought to our attention? Honestly, I doubt it.
Rather, he recognizes that there is a difference between theology (the [hopefully Holy Spirit-inspired, but still, man-made!] interpretation of Scripture) and the Bible (the fundamental data upon which theology is to be built).
Mr. Ham, I’m afraid, has rarely, if ever, acknowledged the distinction. And so he and AiG have had a long history of labeling as compromisers and apostates and unbiblical (or antibiblical) anyone and everyone who happens to disagree with their peculiar (man-made!) interpretation of Genesis 1-11. Such language, on those grounds alone, is unwarranted. (There may be–as I am prone to believe, based on Anne’s and LeaAnn’s reviews of Enns’ work–grounds in other areas for calling a person a compromiser or unbiblical or antibiblical. But not on the basis of the kinds of differences of interpretation of Genesis 1-11 we normally see.)
I imagine Dr. Wile leaped to Dr. Enns’ defense on that basis alone. –One too many cries of “wolf.”
“I believe as much in a young-earth as I ever have,” Wile has said repeatedly in the comments section on his blog, “but I do believe the Scriptures themselves leave room for another interpretation. . . . Just as, though an Arminian, I believe Calvinists have legitimate Scriptural grounds for believing in Calvinism. They are not ‘compromisers’ simply because they believe in their theological system.”
Assuming he can discover the issues Anne and Lea Ann have raised with respect to Enns’ work, I have no doubt Wile will speak very differently.
PS: I would like to note that Wile’s separation from Apologia is not due to a shift in Wile’s theology, but due to the strongly divergent (Calvinistic v. Arminian!) theology of the new owner. According to Wile, the new owner is publishing strongly Calvinistic books in addition to the Apologia series. And Wile did not want to be associated with that theology.
And PPS: Note how, despite his willingness to stand up for the principle that differences in theology do not mean it is legitimate to label someone as a compromiser, Wile is willing to make distinctions!
Kathy Bryson says
Dr. Wile believes that the Bible must be interpreted and that is the reason we have theologians.
Many of us disagree. I do not need a man with a degree from a manmade school to explain to me how I should read my Bible.
Can we be nicer in this disagreement? Maybe. But those of us who take the Bible at its word cannot sit by comfortably and say nothing.
There are points of doctrine that we Christians must affirm in order to truly be Christ followers. One of them being the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, and others. However, after reading Answers in Genesis very lengthy statement regarding this issue, Great Homeschool Conventions statement, many blog posts on sites supporting AIG, Dr. Jay Wile’s blog and more, I have come to agree with Jay Wile.
I too, am a believer in a young earth, six literal days of creation. But I liken this to my stand as an Anabaptist. I do not believe that infant baptism has any place in Christian doctrine but I have dear Christian friends who do and baptize their infants. To me, there is absolutely no precedent for this in Scripture. There is the blessing of Anna and Simeon of the Christ child in the temple but baptism was not part of this interaction. I regard infant baptism as UNBiblical but I will not attack my dear Christian friends who hold to this doctrine.
I believe that God created the trees and all vegetation and caused them to bring forth fruit in one literal twenty-four hour day. But if someone believes that it took one year for that fruit to bear do I condemn them? No, I state my opinion and leave it at that.
I have friends who do not allow their girls to wear pants or shorts. I choose to wear these and allow my daughter to wear them modestly. I will not stand in public and berate those who believe differently and call them Pharisees and legalists. It is their prerogative to interpret scripture as they see it on this non-essential issue.
We must agree to disagree on SOME things BUT NOT THE ESSENTIALS. Yes, I agree that believing in a metaphorical interpretation of the Genesis account is definitely a slippery slope but pride is not the way to address this issue. State your opinion and leave it at that.
Let’s be unified on essential Christian doctrine. May we humble ourselves beneath the mighty hand of God that, in due time, He may lift us up.
We must be careful not to associate Jay Wile with Apologia Educational Ministries. Wile sold Apologia to Davis Carman in 2010. You can read about it here: http://blog.drwile.com/?p=2206 You can read Davis Carman’s response to Jay Wile’s blog post here: http://www.apologia.com/news.php?item=73
I have used all of the Exploring Creation books with my children in elementary and middle school. We are using Anatomy right now. These books were authored by Jeannie Fulbright and are wonderful and Scripturally sound. They have nothing to do with Dr. Wile. Of course, Apologia still sells the high school science books written by Dr. Wile, but we should be careful not to lump the two together as there are completely separate belief systems held by Dr. Wile and Apologia’s new owner, Davis Carman. Apologia employs several authors and speakers who have nothing whatsoever to do with Jay Wile. I attended the recent convention in Greenville, SC, and Dr. Wile made it crystal clear that he is no longer associated with Apologia, nor does he want to be associated with them in any way. It would be fair to assume that Apologia and Davis Carman feel the same way, so let’s respect their wishes and keep the two separate.
I completely agree with you. I am glad that TOS is NOT endorsing Peter Enns’ book, Telling God’s Story: A Parent’s Guide to Teaching the Bible.
I heard about this this morning while I was listening to Brannon Howse at Worldview Weekend (http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-radio/episode.php?episodeid=18505).
I have learned so much from Answers In Genesis over the years, and will stick by Ken Ham, and AiG.
Thank you for your blog. As a homeschool used curriculum vendor this is very important information. I believe that I am accountable before God for the curriculum I sell to other homeschoolers. If I sell something that leads a parent or child astray from the truth of God’s word I will be held accountable for that. We have chosen not to sell many books that have come in for this reason.
There can be differences in theology but the very foundation of God’s word is creation. Without the truth of a first created man, Adam, in creation there is no original sin and death passed to all men, for all have sinned, I Cor. 15:22, Rom. 5:12, Rom 3:23. If there is no original sin then there is no need for salvation or for a Savior who dies for our sin. The thought that a parents are being instructed to not teach their children about sin until their teen years is also contrary to God’s Word and logic.
Even physiologist say that a child’s behaviors and habits are formed at a early age. Without the teaching of sin (right and wrong in God’s eyes) what principles will their life and actions be based on? The void will be filled by what they learn elsewhere, movies, friends, the world…. We must teach our children when they are young and continue to teach them as they grow into their teens years. Would we not teach our children to count at age 4 or 5 because they will not understand adding until until 6 or 7. Foundation needs to be laid before the child can learn and understand how those foundational principles apply.
Thank you again for providing this valuable information.
From reading the comments above I’m fairly certain this won’t be appreciated, so I’ll keep it brief and without details. It is my opinion that an edited version of Christianity is absolutely crucial to the long-term survival of the religion. The intellectual world is increasingly intolerant of absurdities and contradictions of reality. The future of Christianity is a version that picks out the parts that make sense ethically and leaves out ancient attempts at understanding the physical world and the violence.
Sonlight? Seriously? Anyone who thinks Sonlight has not taken a stand has not looked closely at the curriculum. Sure it includes some books that contain evolution but there are always notes in the instructor’s guide on how to talk to your children about it. There are also several anti-evolution books included throughout the years. If you thing allowing our kids to understand what other people believe is not taking a stand, than I guess you could think this but I find it short sighted.
You are right on the money, Anne. Thank you for your thoughts on this. We must take a stand for God’s Word and its truth.
Thank you for your well written post. You are absolutely correct in your assessments. I am thankful for men such as Ken Ham who are willing to take a stand for the truth of Scripture. The home school community was once founded upon Scripture and painstakingly slow.
As a homeschool mom for 30 years, I have seen this community go from one that was based on pure Biblical Conviction and sacrifice to one of pragmatic decisions based on feelings and convenience. When the tough times comes, and they will, it will only be the parents and home school communities that are based on convictions founded in the Word of God that will survive and make decisions based on Scripture.
And yes, Jay Wile and Apologia are no longer associated. A previous commenter posted some links to what both posted online when this happened. I happened upon these posts when the controversy was taking place. I was v.e.r.y. disappointed in Mr. Wile’s ungracious online words and will no longer buy any of his materials. But I will happily support the Davis family in their new business with Apologia. I will also continue to support AIG and Mr. Ham with my full support of their ministry and curriculum.
As for those who are putting on these conventions, I am saddened by the “tolerant,” unitarian approach they are taking. The speakers they are offering are so eclectic and far reaching in their doctrine (and yes, even the unbelieving speakers are teaching doctrine) that the Word of God is v.e.r.y. compromised at these events. There are only a very few speakers at these events that are really speaking the Truth of the Scriptures. Mr. Ham was one of them. Very telling……….
I encourage others out there to NOT attend these events but instead to go to the Creation Museum.
Now I see that the Convention has invited Dr. Jonathan Sarfati from Creation Ministries International to take Ken Ham’s place.
Anne, I saw this posted on Facebook. I used to get your blog posts and I loved them. Don’t know what happened…I just stopped receiving them. I am so glad to have re-discovered your writings!
Praise the Lord for honesty..just another way Satan tries to push through to throw in doubt to the believers and more fuel for the fire of non-believers. I pray for Peter and those who listen to him and pray that the Holy Spirit reveals truth to them all.
Sorry wasnt finished……just wanted to say thank you to Anne,,,you wrote so well I agree with you and pray you keep up the good work of the Lord.
Sheri Graham says
Anne, Thank you so much for sharing! I, too, have been following this sad affair online with Ken Ham, Jay Wile, etc…and it saddens me greatly. I had not been able to look myself at Peter Enns’ Bible curriculum and appreciate your sharing details some of what it teaches. Wow…oh how discerning we have to be…thank you for speaking up!
Thanks, John, for your balanced response to this. I do think that, while the reservations about this book seem quite concerning and I am thankful to Anne and others for pointing them out, jumping to pull in others without understanding fully the reasons behind the conflicts that have arisen can be dangerous. We are to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.
I think the overarching message of all of this has to be that we all need to be Bereans. Study the Word for yourself. Be discerning about EVERYTHING. In this day and age of blogging, online forums and plenty of personal opinion floating around . . . we err greatly if we simply lean on the opinions of others and follow the “crowd” regardless of what label that crowd holds. This is not a criticism of Anne, who I believe has a great deal of courage to share her opinion boldy and faithully. But I believe even Anne would encourage us to not take her word for everything but to turn to THE Word for confirmation and clarification of all things. I, personally, am accountable to God for my own choices. May I not find myself before that Judge and, like Adam, point to someone else as the cause of my own sin.
Debbie K. says
Ken Ham will be speaking at the 2011 Illinois Christian Home Educators State Convention June 2-4 at Calvary Church in Naperville, IL. So will Eric Ludy, Mike Smith (HSLDA), Diana Waring, and many others. Their website is http://www.ICHE.org. From the brochure I received, it costs a little more than these “new” midwest conventions, but seems to have a very Christ-centered theme.
I want to thank John and Ellen for pointing out some facts that others refuse to acknowledge. I also respectfully disagree with your assessment of Mr. Enn’s Bible Curriculum. My copy of his book hasn’t arrived yet, but from those whose opinion I trust, I have been told that it is all about pointing kids to Christ, which I find commendable. I may very well find that you are right and I am wrong once I have read it for myself, but at this point I believe you read into the book what you wanted to see based on reviews you had already read about the book.
We should not judge someones salvation based on their interpretation of Genesis. I believe it was Billy Graham that said the Bible is not a science book and that man has misinterpreted the Bible before and will do it again. So, let us agree on the essentials and in all other things let us show grace, mercy and love.
Remembering Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13 would benefit us all (myself included!).
Becky@Daily On My Way To Heaven says
Great review, I am grateful for Christian Women who stand firm on God’s Word.
It seems to me that the ongoing controversy is whether we should believe God, who is omniscient, or Science. It further seems to me that Enns discounts the plain reading of Genesis. A plain reading of Genesis implicitly denies death before sin by stating that animals would eat plants and their fruit. A plain reading of Genesis also notes that six times Genesis 1 defines a “day” as “evening and morning,” implying exactly a single cycle of darkness followed by light, which implicitly denies the definition of a Genesis 1 day as “millions of years,” since millions of years would require the occurrence of many cycles of darkness and light.
If Enns is undermining a plain hermeneutic, then that is serious error. If he is leading people to abandon the Creator of Genesis 1 for another God–Science–then that is clearly heretical.
Perhaps Ken is inaccurate and much too mild in calling Enns a “compromiser.”
Kat Patrick says
I think others have said well enough the reaction about Enns’ book, but I just wanted to praise you for raising an important issue that’s more general:
beware wolves in sheeps’ clothing!
AND don’t compromise on fundamental beliefs just because a path is convenient, popular, glitzy, etc.
You’re general warning is very timely for me in terms of the direction my children’s education COULD HAVE gone if you hadn’t reminded me about what’s important.
Thanks as always!
Thank you SO much for writing this. I, too, hate to take someone else’s word for things. However, I do not have the time and money to check this out further. Therefore, I appreciate what you are writing and what Anthony Biller wrote. I found your link on his article here: http://sapphiresky.org/2011/03/23/false-piety-by-great-homeschool-conventions-inc/
Blessings and shalom!
Brian Lee says
Hi Anne, thank you for the resounding post on the defense of the Gospel. My wife and I sent the following to Peace Hill Press encouraging them to remove this anti-biblical material from their inventory. I encourage other to do the same.
Dear Peace Hill Press,
My wife and I are homeschool parents who, along with the hundreds of families in our home school group and our fellow church members, utilize many of your publications to train our children in a Gospel-centric home.
That is why we are quite dismayed and puzzled by your support and publishing of “Telling God’s Story” by Peter Enns. We have discovered that this material contradicts the authority of Scripture and completely misrepresents “God’s Story”. We beseech you to reconsider this decision and remove availability of this item.
As the Bible indicates,
“But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6, NIV).
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-10).”
We love the material we have purchased through Peace Hill Press and hope that it continues to represent the truth of Scripture and the story of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In Christ’s love,
Lisa Nolen says
Thank you for taking a stand on God’s Truth! Just two days ago I heard about Ken Ham being disinvited to the Midwest Homeschool Convention. It breaks my heart that people who stand up for the truth of the Word are being persecuted for their beliefs. However, the time is here that Christians everywhere are being persecuted, even from other christians. We will see this more and more as Christ’s coming nears.
Parents, please write upon the hearts of your children that God’s Word is inerrant. Prepare them for the persecution that is coming, so that they may stand strong in the Lord and His mighty power.
I will be praying that God opens the eyes of parents, that they will be discerning as they buy curriculum and teach their children.
I think that Ken Ham used a little bit of hyperbole in his blog entry and some of it questioned Enns salvation. That was inappropriate in my opinion. I also think that enough people complained to the conference organizers that they felt that they had to dis-invite him. They did ask Safarti to replace him and Safarti believes the same as Ken Ham does. I think him being dis-invited was a matter of the “customer is always right” as far as the conference organizers go. I do think Ken Ham was wrong to advocate that Enns be censured. I think people like him and others who believe the way he does should be at our conferences alongside people like Ken Ham and Safarti. I believe that if we allow both sides to be presented that the Truth will be better revealed. I actually think Safarti does a better job of defending the authority of scripture then Ken Ham does so in the long run this might be better for the defense of God’s Word. Our state conference is so restricted that there is no room for any differences in Biblical interpretation or doctrine. It is run by people who are Calvinist and those of us who aren’t are feeling pushed out. I’d rather err on the side of being too inclusive then not inclusive enough because of my experiences. Btw, that Bible curriculum would never darken the door of my house so I’m with you there.
I respect and agree with some of what you said, maybe we would need to be clear on defining the essentials.
Wow! That’s all that comes to mind when I read comment #3. Frightening was the next thought. But then again, “narrow is the gate” right? My jaw especially dropped when she wrote: “I’d rather err on the side of being too inclusive then not inclusive enough because of my experiences”
PHP just put the instructor’s text and teaching guide on scribd for people to review for free–i have to say i’m impressed that they would do that. however, i’ve been very disturbed by a few things i’ve seen online and from the publisher..so i looked at other samples of enns’ work and now i’m even more worried! i’m going to read through the online version this weekend and see what it says for myself. i believe in creation as the Bible says it happened and i think it is NEVER too young to start teaching our children right from wrong and everything we possibly can about Christ and the Bible. starting too late can lose a life. thanks for your review. i’m off to look at more (and yes, if dr. wile doesn’t support the young earth theory i too will be looking at other curriculum!!)
1 Corinthians 5:12-13 (NIV) “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you.”
Interesting. The only way to be saved by the blood of Christ is too believe that God created the world in 7 days. Never mind that whole grace thing Jesus taught. No need for that hooey.
Anne, I appreciate your stand on this. Much of what you wrote echoes my own thoughts after researching online about this controversy. Interestingly, my personal Bible study today included Matthew 24, noting verses 4,5, “take heed no man deceive you.” No matter what, no matter who, we as parents/Christians need to prayerfully discern for ourselves/our families anything that would oppose or distort Biblical truth.
And Lisa N, you said it well, “I will be praying that God opens the eyes of the parents, that they will be discerning as they buy curriculum and teach their children.” This is what matters.
We had an interesting situation pop up when my daughter was taking an online course through Apologia Academy. Jay Wile was at the center of a disagreement there, which resulted in her instructor resigning towards the end of the course. It was very disruptive to the students.
Apologia is no longer owned by Jay Wile. The problem was between him and the new owner. I can’t tell you who was right or wrong because we weren’t privy to all of the details, but this has made me reconsider some of the things we were told about the new owner. I would do some more research before I decided to boycott the Apologia brand. The books are still sound and Jay Wile actually agrees with Ken Ham on the issues, so they were written from that point of view.
I have no idea why he has chosen to jump in on the side of false teaching on this one. It is very disappointing. It’s also disappointing that the GHC organizers have, too. We were looking forward to the Cincinnati Convention, and now I wish we had not given them our money.
Just to clarify: the sponsors of the Cincinnati Convention HAVE posted on their main web page that Dr. Ham’s speaking engagement has been canceled, albeit not in a banner type format. They have also provided a link to their reasoning behind their decision.
Anne Elliott says
If you’ve been following the Ken Ham scandal this past week and would like to let the Cincinnati Homeschool Convention holders know how you believe, please read this “open letter” and pass the word along by Facebook, your blog, or any other way you can think of.
Judgment Day, May 21, 2011
In 50 Languages, The Bible Proves It!
May God bless and have mercy on us.
Wow! My sentiments, exactly, Anne!
By the way, I agree also about Jay Wile — I interacted with him on one of his blogs and found him to be making no sense whatsoever. He says he agrees with Ken Ham but goes out of his way to praise Peter Enns. Not only does he praise Peter Enns, he shares some of Enns’ teaching on his website. Unbelievable!
We have used many of Jay Wile’s science text books and have really felt the material in the text books was right on and very valuable. This year we have gone through “Defeating Darwinism” by Phiillip E. Johnson during some of the book we took out Ken Ham’s “Answers in Genesis” dvds and it confirmed what the book was teaching in so many areas. Maybe this will help someone decide for next year what to do about curiculum. Also, we used “Dont check your brains at the door” by Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler. and “It Couldn’t just Happen by Lawrence Richards”.
Amanda J says
I honestly don’t understand all the hoopla, and how people can now look down on Jaye Wile because of this. Ken Ham has one way of interpreting the Bible, Peter Enns has a different way. Ken Ham was warning people to not buy any of Peter Enns material, and even questioned his salvation. That was out of line, and that is why he was disinvited. Jay Wile is just defending Peter Enns right of interpretation, and says he doesn’t agree with Peter Enns’ interpretation, but says that his interpretation doesn’t mean his salvation is at risk. And Ken Ham is not being persecuted for goodness sake. He called into question a person’s salvation that was at the conference, and he was called out on that . End of story.
The problem is really about full disclosure and the appearance of acceptability. Peace Hill Press is widely known because of it’s Story of the World history series and the “Well Trained Mind” book used by so many homeschoolers. Anything coming from PHP is going to have an air of legitimacy about it, and I suspect many parents will see the Enns book and figure it, too, must be worthy of their time and money. Many who are new to homeschooling or to Christianity in general and who may not be strong in apologetics may read Enns book and begin to doubt the authority of the Bible. It takes only one small seed of doubt to be planted to create havoc in a believer’s life. Enns, like any other writer in the U.S. is protected fully by the Constitution and can essentially say anything he wants and can interpret the Bible any way he wants. I support his right to do this! But if PHP wants to preserve its integrity as a publisher of quality materials for homeschoolers — the majority of whom still do homeschool for reasons of faith — then it would do well to divorce itself from such a controversial book. I personally resent having to filter every single thing from a “trusted” publisher. My time is limited because I’m busy teaching four children. But if PHP is going to become trendy and dabble in the tired old “what if the Bible isn’t all it’s cracked up to be” debate, then I’m either going to have to give up on PHP or else decide their offerings are so worth a second look that I actually take time to read line by line before using materials with my children. The latter is NOT likely to happen. When in doubt, get a Bible, get a good commentary like Dumelow’s, and let those be your Bible study curriculum.
That second sentence should have “its” not “it’s.” Late night and tired. :o(
And to clarify, while I do support a writer’s freedom under the Constitution to say whatever he/she wants, I do NOT necessarily agree with whatever he/she has written. Freedom to say it, and integrity of what’s been said are two different things.
John Holzmann says
Sorry to be returning to this discussion so late. Kathy Bryson made a comment back on March 24th that I have been mulling over ever since.
It is germane to the conversation, here, but it is also a bit off-subject. Therefore, rather than posting my full thoughts here, I have posted on one of my blogs. I would dearly appreciate understanding Kathy’s intent–and/or the thoughts of others who would echo what she wrote. Specifically, that she disagrees with Dr. Wile’s idea that there is a difference between the text of the Bible and an interpretation of the Bible. In context, she seems to be saying that Ken Ham is not interpreting the Bible. Only those who disagree with him are interpreting the Bible . . . and interpreting it falsely. (Thus, by the way, Amanda J—IF I’m interpreting Kathy accurately–you are incorrect to suggest that “Ken Ham has one way of interpreting the Bible, Peter Enns has a different way.”)
I invite anyone who would like to discuss this matter of biblical interpretation to participate in the discussion at my Forbidden Questions blog.
John Holzmann says
I have now written a reply to TomH’s comment about how “the ongoing controversy is whether we should believe God, who is omniscient, or Science.”
As with my comment yesterday, I thought it best to write my post on my own blog rather than attempt to hijack Anne’s blog, here.
Please see God or science? God or man?
Anne Elliott says
Is it possible to really *know* what the Bible is saying, or is it all just subject to one person’s interpretation against another? Is it arrogant to claim we know what truth is, or does God hold us accountable if we interpret Scripture incorrectly?
I posted more on this topic today — https://anneelliott.com/blog/2011/04/i-can-know-truth/
Anne…I just found this post through a random google search (I was looking for an article written by Peter Enns) and to be frank I’m a little bit disturbed by the overwhelming amount of support for your anti-Enns stance toward his book.
First off, if you read Enns’ book “Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament”, you’ll be faced with (uncomfortable) evidence that the Old Testament has some connections with ancient near eastern literature. The “Epic of Gilgamesh” for example, tells a flood story that is pretty much identical to the one told in Genesis. I haven’t read “Telling God’s Story” but I doubt that he delves deep into the evidence of ancient near eastern literature and how the “incarnational analogy” can help Christians explain the evidence’s impact on the Bible.
You’ll also find by reading his book that Peter Enns really is a person who has passion for God and that he does believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, just not in the way the Reformed Faith has defined it.
To make things short, and as Pete Enns puts it, part of being a Christian, learning more about the Bible and God is a journey to be taken, not a private kingdom to be defended (although sometimes it needs defending).
Reformed faith SERVES the gospel. Reformed faith IS NOT the gospel.
Well said Alex
The claims the enns makes is entirely valid, and based upon an extensive understanding of ancient near eastern literature. Having spent the last 5 years in various bible colleges, engaging seriously, and thoughtfully with the nature of scripture, and Genesis as a book specifically, I can say that there are no issues here. The issues you raised are unique to the American variety of Evengelical fundamentalism. This is because when one does engage seriously with academic literature around authority of scripture, and creation narratives, one quickly sees that such cliques are remarkably childish.
We’ve been reading the Herein Is Love series by Nancy Ganz. She believe the exact opposite of Enns and proves it through her commentaries on the first 5 books of the Bible that she has written for children. They are captivating, well written, and profound, and kids are completely capable of understanding God’s ways through ancient cultures. I myself have learned so much through the books that I use them in my own personal bible study!
John Holzmann says
Thanks for the Ganz recommendation, Patsy! I agree that Nancy’s Genesis “commentary” offers some truly wonderful devotional meditations. However, from what I have seen, Ganz shows no “understanding of God’s ways”–or anyone’s ways–“through ancient cultures.”
For a conservative introduction to real cultural understanding, I would recommend In the Beginning . . . We Misunderstood by Johnny V. Miller (recently retired president of Columbia Bible College [which became Columbia International University under his leadership]) and John M. Soden (professor of Old Testament at Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School).
I am, just now, writing on my blog about Miller and Soden’s book.
Daniel Pech says
To me the most tellingly obvious thing about Genesis 1 in comparison and contrast to Genesis 2 is that Genesis 1 goes into some minimal detail on God’s creating everything EXCEPT man and woman, and that Genesis 2 provides that detail on God’s creating man and woman. To me, this suggests not only that the two accounts are like a marriage (G1 is as a man, and G2 is as a woman), but that this same idea applies to various portions of Genesis 1 itself, beginning with v. 1. Like this:
v.1. The general Heaven and is special Earth;
v. 2. The Earth, as its own general, in its relation to its likewise cosmically unique possession: an abiding maximal abundance of open liquid water;
vs. 3-10. Likewise, that water and its special cycle;
4. The water cycle and its special beneficiary and member, life;
5. Life and its special category, animal life (plant/animal/mineral = animal);
6. Animal life and its special category, human life;
Thank you for your review/opinion on this Bible curriculum. I was looking into purchasing it and then started to see some red flags in other reviews as well. Now I am left wondering which Bible curriculum to purchase. I will look on your blog to see if you have a recommendation. THANK YOU.
I think you’re mostly wrong.
“He implies that the Old Testament is very confusing and difficult to understand, and that the laws of God are antiquated and for another time and culture.” But IT IS is confusing and difficult to understand. How is that controversial? And the laws in the Old Testament ARE for another religion and culture- Judaism.
“He suggests that Christians should not just look to the Bible for answers, but that we should look to our “communities of faith” to discuss matters of doctrine,”. How is that wrong??? If that’s wrong, what’s the point of community and church??? He didn’t say “don’t look to the Bible.Period”. He said that the Bible is not PRiMaRILY a set of rules to follow. The Bible does not tell you if it’s okay whether it’s okay to go to the circus or to watch an R-rated movie (as Enns wrote in his book). How is that doctrine? It gives wisdom. If it is a set of rules, than what’s the point of Jesus?
And regarding the flood thing, he has a point. I was taught “Bible story” method growing up. The FIRST thing I heard at freshman orientation was a lecture given to the entire freshman class on the Epic of Gilgamesh and how this was the true account of the flood. Imagine my shock when I learned of all the OTHER ancient stories of the flood. I was not prepared to think through this. It IS confusing. He is using this as an argument to start children learning about Jesus, the center of our faith. He NEVER writes that children should not be taught these things. He believes they should confront these stories in the logic stage. I don’t think that’s a terrible idea at all. If you make Noa’s flood foundation of your faith, it’ll be quickly shaken.
I think he’s on to something. Sheesh– all these homeschool moms jumping on the “hate Peter enns” bandwagon make me worry about the quality of their children’s education. He has valid points even if he writes in a very wordy, conversational, writing off the top of your head sort of style.
I am late to this conversation. I am looking for a Bible curriculum, and this one seemed to be a great style. I’m looking for something simple, somewhat devotional and storylike that is not grade specific so I can do with all of my children. I would also like it to incorporate some memorization of verses, or doctrine, or character qualities. I would like a curriculum so I am not simply doing my own unstructured reading of the Bible. I loved that this started in New Testament because it seems like we have only ever studied Old Testament. I’m looking for KJV based if Bible references are used. This curriculum seemed like a great format, but all the negative reviews mean that I will not be using it.
I don’t need activity sheets or books, though an occasional picture might be nice. I plan to give my children a drawing lesson, then let them draw during the Bible lesson.