Sapphire Sky

March 23, 2011

False Piety by Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc.

Filed under: culture, homeschooling — Anthony Biller @ 2:15 pm

Suppose a company, representing itself as Christian, hosted a homeschool convention featuring prominent Christian speakers and as is typically done, set up a large venue for vendors to present and sell their homeschool curriculum and wares.  Suppose further that one of the speakers and vendors teaches apostasy and sells homeschool materials propagating the false teachings.  Another Christian speaker and vendor talks on the topic of the increasing problem of compromise and false doctrine within the church and cites to the apostate vendor and his curriculum.  In short, one speaker criticizes another vendor for teaching and selling false doctrine.

What if anything would you expect the convention host to do? 

Would your answer change if the host had a policy against filtering the viewpoints of vendors and speakers?

I would not expect the host to ban the critic and continue hosting the apostate.  Of course, I would be and was mistaken.  In this case, the critic was Ken Ham who criticized the teachings and curriculum of Peter Enns and BioLogos.  The convention host is Brennan Dean, Great Homeschool Conventions.  In the real life story, it was not enough for Mr. Dean to ban Mr. Ham from further speaking engagements.  Instead, he permanently banned the entire Answers in Genesis ministry from appearing as a vendor at any future conventions hosted by Mr. Dean’s company.  Fire the critic, ban his ministry, and protect against criticism (and depressed sales) of the false doctrine.  You can’t make this stuff up.  See detailed article, to include Mr. Dean’s midnight email to AiG announcing his edict here

Dr. Enns is Senior Fellow of Biblical Studies for The BioLogos Foundation, which views Christ and scripture as follows:

If Jesus as a finite human being erred from time to time, there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John wrote Scripture without error. Rather, we are wise to assume that the biblical authors expressed themselves as human beings writing from the perspectives of their own finite, broken horizons.

See here.  Dr. Enns openly teaches that the Old Testament does not provide a reliable or accurate account of origins.  He explains,

When it comes to the science/faith discussion, the presence of the cosmic battle motif in the Old Testament should send us a strong signal: don’t expect the Old Testament to inform, let alone guide the scientific investigation of origins. If we approach the Old Testament expecting from it a “literal,” “historical,” “accurate” account of creation, we will (1) misrepresent reality in the name of faith, and (2) miss the theology that the biblical authors were so intent on putting there.

See here.  Dr. Enns teaches that the Creation account in Genesis is simply a metaphor and that Adam did not exist; Adam is a metaphor for the nation of Israel. See links to Enns’ BioLogos teachings here.  Dr. Enns’ homeschool curriculum reportedly dissuades parents from teaching their children about sin, grace, or the Old Testament.  See here.

For years, Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis have defended the integrity, reliability, and relevance of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.  I agree with this and serve the AiG ministry. Many families homeschool precisely because they also believe this and the public schools are prone to undermine such a worldview.  When it was announced that Mr. Dean and his company GHC were banning Mr. Ham and AiG, there was an outpouring of protest.  In hours, hundreds of people posted gracious words of support and encouragement on Mr. Ham’s FaceBook page and criticized GHC on their FB page.  This morning as hundreds of posts turned to thousands, GHC disabled and deleted all comments on their FB page and posted an “explanation” on their website.  They claimed that actually, they agreed with Mr. Ham’s “position,” but disagreed with his “spirit.”  See here

There are a few problems with Mr. Dean’s attempt to justify his suppression of Mr. Ham and AiG.  Foremost, neither Mr. Dean nor anyone else at any point during the prior convention or thereafter approached Mr. Ham or any of the leadership (or anyone lese) at AiG to discuss this “spiritual” problem. In his midnight email, Mr. Dean accused Mr. Ham of divisiveness and of defaming the convention and “other speakers.”  See here. It smacks of post-hoc rationalization.  Does the Bible support addressing a “spiritual” problem via a midnight email and then refuse to return calls to discuss the allegations? Is that “spiritual”?  Second, Mr. Dean provides nothing to substantiate his accusation and public defamation of Mr. Ham.  Third, even if Mr. Dean’s slander were true, how would that justify permanently banning the entire AiG ministry as a vendor.  Are AiG’s books, movies and curriculum “unspiritual”?  Hardly.  Mr. Dean’s explanation lacks content and merit.

What is nearly certain is that Mr. Ham’s criticism of Dr. Enns adversely affects sales of Dr. Enns’ new homeschool curriculum.  Dr. Enns’ curriculum is published by Peace Hill Press, the publishing arm of The Well-Trained Mind.  Peace Hill Press is owned and operated by Dr. Susan Wise Bauer and her family.  Ms. Bauer is the corporate Vice President.  Mr. Ham’s criticism is not good business for a major homeschool vendor and a prominent speaker within the homeschool community.  It appears to me that Mr. Dean made a decision to protect vendor sales at his conventions. Ken heavily criticized many compromisers of Scripture. Mr. Dean’s midnight email explanation only took issue with Ken’s criticism aimed at other vendors though. It’s Mr. Dean’s right to make this decision to protect his sales forum and vendors.  He should not, however, dress this decision up in “spirituality.” 

Mr. Dean attributes his decision to his “board of directors.”  Yet, neither his midnight email nor the subsequent public accusation this morning against Mr. Ham identify these individuals.  If Mr. Dean is going to invoke the decision and judgment of others, they should step out of the shadows and acknowledge their role.  

I think Mr. Dean made a business decision to ban Ken Ham and AiG.  The market should respond accordingly, to both the banning of Ham/AiG by Mr. Dean’s GHC and to the decision by Peace Hill Press and Dr. Bauer to publish Dr. Enns’ homeschool curriculum.  In the end, we should remember to pray for each other – to include for Mr. Dean, Dr. Enns and the folks at PHP – and do our best to honor Christ while defending and debating the centrality and reliability of Scripture.

Related: Great Help for Compromisers 

UPDATE June 10, 2011: Answers in Genesis Board of Directors’ Statement on Allegations by Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc.

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34 Comments »

  1. Excellent post, and I love the cartoon. It is a sad but true visual of what happened

    Comment by Colleen Scott — March 23, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

  2. Very well said! Thanks for posting.

    Comment by Shirley Murray — March 23, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

  3. Amen! I was at one of the sessions where Ken Ham spoke. I saw the photos of the products sold by Enns group. He never mentioned their name or who the books belonged to. He simply stated that a vendor had books that included evolution and referred to humans as animals.

    Comment by Kimberly — March 23, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

  4. Excellent post! I was shocked, no other word for it, by the excerpts from Mr Enns. I applaud all who would stand for the Truth of Scripture against all of Satan’s lies.

    Comment by Ginger — March 23, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  5. Thank you for getting this out there. It has upset many of us in the homeschooling community. Dr. Peter Enns was suspended from Westminster Seminary and you can read their statement why they suspended him at the link below.

    http://theaquilareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=112:richard-gaffin-statement-on-westminster-seminary-and-peter-enns&catid=40:normal-article

    Just meant as clarification, it is Dr. Susan Wise Bauer. She claims she is a Christian but after having purchased her history books, I can tell she isn’t interested in pursuing Christian history. She writes so that her material can be utilized by the secular public schools and any Christians willing to use her material. It is skewed to fit the secular teachings in public school. It basically does not have a Christian spine and says the world is older than what the Bible teaches. Just so I’m not totally bashing her, I will say I like her grammar books.

    I was surprised to hear Dr. Jay Wile support Dr. Pete Enns on his blog and on FaceBook. He said he doesn’t support Dr. Enns’ interpretation of Genesis but said, his proposition on it deserves to be heard and deserves further thought. WOW…at a Christian Conference or at least a conference that professes to be for Christian homeschoolers?!?! Supporting false teachings, exactly what the Bible warns us of. Freedom of speech I guess. I was reading through many of his postings w/various friends last night.

    Mr. Dean took the wimpy stance…run and hide long enough so he doesn’t have to deal with it. Really bad business form no matter who you are dealing with. I think it would have served the community best that if he was going to ban Ken Ham, he should also ban Dr. Peter Enns, Dr. Jay Wile, and Dr. Susan Wise Bauer. What is good for the goose… This was a last minute issue. The vendors should not be penalized because of the actions of others. Plenty do support AiG and Ken Ham. Let them get their material out there. I heard many people contacting GHC and asking for refunds because they were choosing to not attend the conference based on this. And still lets see those people put their $ where their mouth is and follow thru w/these threats if this is truly how they feel.

    Aside from all that, I’m glad Ken will be more available to the Christian homeschooling community.

    Truly a sign of the times.

    Keeping them all in prayer.

    Comment by Heidi — March 23, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    • @Heidi – I’ve noted the same thing re Dr. Bauer’s materials. Well made, interesting and informative, but not a Biblical worldview. I’ve also been surprised and disappointed by Dr. Wile’s “position” in all this.

      Comment by Anthony Biller — March 23, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

    • Good info, thanks. I have made the same observations about Story of the World and have not used it for our History for that reason.

      Comment by Angie — March 23, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

    • I am so proud of Dr. Ken Ham for standing up for the truth no matter what the cost. I was shocked to hear of the decision Brennan Dean and Great Homeschool Conventions made with regard to having Dr. Ham speak. I am sorry that so many in the Christian homeschool community will not be able to hear Dr. Ham at these upcoming conventions.

      After listening to what Dr. Ham said at the Southeast Homeschool Convention, I am convinced that Dr. Ham did the right thing. Dr. Enns makes it clear in his “Telling the Story” Parent Guide that Adam is only a symbol for Israel and not a real person. Dr. Enns also states that other Genesis stories like Noah’s flood could not be taken literally. Dr. Enns actually ridicules believers who take a literal view of Genesis. (Please use GoogleBooks to look this up for yourself.) Furthermore, the quotes that Dr. Ham used during his presentation in the South Carolina convention to prove his point that Dr. Enns was in error are still on Dr. Enns website.

      If one reads BioLogos’ faith statements on their website it is clear that Biologos is diametrically opposed to virtually everything to which Dr. Ham and Answers in Genesis teach.

      I do hope that other Bible believing homeschoolers will boycott all Great Homeschool Conventions as a matter of principle.

      Comment by George Smith — March 29, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

  6. Thanks for letting us know what Dr. Enns believes. Ken Ham and AIG are heroes of the faith, and I hope the homeschool community reacts to this by boycotting the conventions.

    Comment by kim — March 23, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

  7. Dr. Enns’ book is the Trojan Horse and I, for one, will be voting with my feet and my pocketbook in this matter. I am sorely disappointed with the conference and with SWB for selling this book disguised as a Bible curriculum through her publishing house. Shame, shame, shame! I have already registered and paid for the conference and hotel accomodations. I have plans to make my annual curriculum purchases. BUT this will be the last year I attend. I feel strong enough that I am willing to forgo the use of Apologia and Well Trained mind materials for well. We need to take a stand against apostacy!

    Comment by Angie — March 23, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

    • Angie

      I had the same thoughts regarding Apologia materials but upon further investigation I discovered Dr. Wile is no longer associated with them. I’m sorry I don’t have the link but on Apologia’s site they explain why. I may discontinue use of Dr. Wile’s books but I will not be boycotting the other books Apologia offers.

      Comment by Christi — March 24, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

      • Thanks for the info…I will check out the Apologia info. I did read in Jay Wile’s blog that he defends the author’s right to write his thoughts even though he doesn’t agree with his doctrine. I appreciate Dr. Wile’s honesty in that matter. It seems that Dr. Wile doesn’t agree with much of Dr. Enns book but he feels Mr. Ham was being mean by speaking against it. I understand Ken Ham’s position. He defends Genesis because he feels the authority of scripture rests upon it. I appreciate someone who is willing to stand and defend the Word of God and find Dr. Wile’s approach somewhat lukewarm and ‘wimpy.’ People should have the courage of their convictions. It doesn’t have to be personal. When SWB chose to sell the book she should have realized that it is an implied endorsement and been willing to take whatever backlash could come of it. I personally think she does agree with it or she wouldn’t sell it. Very few people would be willing to put money or business above something as important as the authority of the Word of God.

        Comment by Angie — March 24, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

  8. …i would expect christianity and
    business to part company. tupperware for christ?
    has american mercantile spirit no shame? apparently the collection
    plate is not big enough for the
    ambition of these credit-card christians, they have to be in each others pockets as well.

    Comment by tzopilotl — March 23, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

    • Publishing materials costs money, I don’t think it is wrong for Christians to sell the work of their hands and minds. I do think however that the business should always be conducted with integrity and honesty, as well as respect for one another.

      Comment by Vicki M. — March 24, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

  9. Great post. You make an astute observation about the motive to ban AIG. Truth falls to the almighty dollar. Praise the Lord for all the people who showed their support for Ken, and most importantly for the truth of God’s Word!

    Comment by Travis Biller — March 23, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

  10. Great post. It seems that people never learn. When I went to school (1972 graduate) evolution was taught as a theory, but it didn’t have to be taught, now it does. In the 1980’s evolution didn’t have to be taught in Christian Universities, now Abilene Christian University is trying to get it where it is manditory for all Christian Universities. Now here we have people selling curriculum to Home Schoolers, that teach that the Genesis account of creation cannot be taken literally, And Ken Ham was banned from the convention for speaking against this. The next step will be that evolution has to be taught by home schoolers. Don’t believe me, just wait and see. I believe Ken did the right thing, and the convention officers did the wrong thing by banning him.

    Comment by Jerry McDonald — March 23, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

  11. Thank you for an excellent post. You said exactly what some people may fear to say….follow the mighty dollar. Ken Ham’s observations may cause BioLogic’s sales to be hindered. Praise God. I’ll be at the Cincy Convention as a vendor, and you have no idea how tempting it is to stand near their booth and cry “Wolf” myself. We’ve been emailing Brennan over this and have summarily been removed from their mailing list, FB, etc, even though we’re vending there. Talk about hypocrisy.

    Comment by Sue Ann — March 24, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  12. I think that at most the host should have sent a letter to Ken Ham stating something to the effect of, “We understand that not all homeschoolers hold the same theological points of view, and therefore we would ask that you refrain from criticizing other vendors for their theological stance during future conventions.” And perhaps also issued an apology to the other vendor informing them that they had said this to Mr. Ham.
    Perhaps a public statement of some sort could have been issued to those who attended the convention also, but to ban all of AIG’s curriculum goes too far.

    Comment by Vicki M. — March 24, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  13. […] another blogger has made a suggestion that I consider deplorable but entirely possible, given her disingenuous comments regarding […]

    Pingback by Providing Things Honest In the Sight of All Men: Ken Ham, Susan Wise Bauer and the Great Homeschool Convention | DefendingGenesis.org — March 24, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

  14. “Ham’s criticism is not good business for a major homeschool vendor and a prominent speaker within the homeschool community.  It appears to me that Mr. Dean made a decision to protect vendor sales at his conventions.”

    And Ken Ham is *not* a major homeschool
    vendor and a prominent speaker within the
    homeschool community? AiG is one of the biggest names in homeschooling, and so is Ken Ham. GHC had a lot more to lose in sales and attendance by ousting Ham than by doing nothing or banning Enns, so why is their explanation–whether you agree with it or not–so difficult to believe?

    Comment by SM — March 24, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

    • I agree that AiG is also a major vendor, however, I find GHC’s explanations very difficult to believe. Foremost, Mr.. Ham has been “attacking” false doctrine in general for years and had been openly criticizing many people to include Dr. Enns for weeks and months prior to the convention. If GHC saw this as a spiritual issue, then this issue was manifest well prior to their allowing Ken to speak. They cannot claim they did not know because AiG’s chief communication officer specifically discussed it with GHC prior to Ken talking and GHC said they knew and expected that. See the link to the AiG article. Further, if Mr. Ham’s actions in criticizing/attacking false teaching is a “spiritual” sin, then it was a sin against all those whom he called out, not just Mr. Enns the GHC vendor. I suspect that GHC saw Mr. Ham as potentially alienating more vendors. Remember, GHC is an “open” forum. I could understand that they wouldn’t want their conference to turn into a debate forum between various groups. I don’t think it’s an “unspiritual” business decision necessarily to avoid such conflict in their forum. That’s their business call to make. I do believe, however, that they should have approached Mr. Ham in person and asked him not to do it any more at their conventions. Dressing their decision up in “spirituality” and delivering it to the “sinner” via midnight email was very low class, IMO. It also turned out to be a bad business decision.

      Comment by Anthony Biller — March 25, 2011 @ 8:58 am

      • I would have to agree. Ken Ham is being consistent to who he has always been…someone who speaks against those who compromise on the Genesis issue. Why is it suddenly a problem now?

        Comment by Angie — March 25, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

  15. I had some discussion on the Well Trained Mind forums and there were a number of people who expressed my same concerns about the curriculum. I clearly referred to my respect of peace hill press and their products, but expressed specific reservations about the new curriculum. I received a number of emails thanking me for a respectful and well thought out comments citing my concerns about the product. However, all the those threads have been deleted as of this morning, so they do not want any feedback about their product unless it is positive!

    Comment by Angie — March 25, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  16. thanks for the post, Saddens me that “Christian” Homeschool vendors would end up make it just as hard to find good material as Public schools.

    Comment by avery4peace — March 26, 2011 @ 8:40 am

  17. Jay Wile’s comments concern me somewhat. He seems so focused on Dr. Enns education and keeps calling him things like ‘scholarly.’ This is what academia does…they become intellectual snobs without even realizing their haughtiness they give creedence to material based solely on the letters after someone’s name. Romans 1:22 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” I guess public education has had its way…evolution has finally taken hold, even amongst the Christians and there are too few young earth creationists (Bible beleivers) left to be heard anymore.

    Comment by Angie — March 26, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    • Angie — I had the same impression. “God is no respecter of persons” pretty much sums it up.

      Heidi — Thanks for mentioning all the vendors who ARE bringing Christ-centered products and are as dismayed as the attendees about all this!

      Sue Ann — Contact me please. I’d like to know what company you are with and what you plan to do to show your support for TRUTH. Some of us are planning to wear buttons or otherwise show clearly (in our booths) that we believe the Bible to be the true and infallible, literal Word of God.

      Comment by Heather Idoni — March 26, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  18. Here is the statement from Apologia. It is encouraging!

    http://www.apologia.com/news.php?item=75

    Comment by Angie — March 26, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  19. Great image! Says it all. Who made it? Can I get permisson to use in a newsletter linking back here?

    I tweeted and FaceBooked your excellent post.

    I wrote a few on this topic too. Visit when you get a chance.

    Comment by Robin Sampson — March 27, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    • Thank you Robin! The author of the cartoon is Dan Lietha. I’ll see if I can track him down and convey your request. Please email me seperately details and past sample of your newsletter for me to pass on to him. I look forward to checking out your blog!

      Comment by Anthony Biller — March 28, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  20. Greetings in the Lord,

    Thank you for bringing this issue into the light. I’m a bit shocked that those who are leaders in the Christian homeschool community would rather protect a heresy that makes them a profit – (and that they promoted by publishing) – than to defend the inerrancy of Scripture and the perfection and infallability of Jesus, who gives them eternal life.

    You cannot love both God and Mammon.

    Comment by The Reformed Faith Weblog — March 28, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

  21. Thank you for this information. I had bought a ticket to attend the Greenville, NC convention specifically to see AiG and KEN HAM. He was the big ticket name that drew me. Circumstances arose and I was unable to attend. I am deeply saddened over the response from the Great Homeschool Conventions. They have lost my patronage over this.

    Comment by Gloria A — March 31, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

  22. Interesting note: here in PA the Northeast Homeschool Convention was cancelled. Here is the email I received from them:

    Dear Homeschooling Family,

    Very regretfully, due to circumstances beyond our control, the 2011 NorthEast Homeschool Convention that was scheduled to be held in June at the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia, PA has been canceled.

    Here’s a portion of the letter we received from the Convention Center:

    “Pursuant to the provisions of the Contract entitled Change in Usage, the Center Owner has elected to discontinue using all or a material portion of the Center for exhibition purposes, therefore, Valley Forge is hereby exercising its option contained therein to terminate the contract.”

    As we have been unable to find a suitable alternate location for 2011, we had no other option except to completely cancel this year’s event. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause for the more than 500 families that had already registered for this year’s convention, and for our exhibitors as well.

    We have found a fantastic location for the 2012 NorthEast Homeschool Convention and, as soon as we’ve confirmed a few important details, will provide more information about the 2012 convention.

    In the meantime, anyone that had registered for the 2011 convention will be provided with a full refund of their registration charges. PayPal (our payment processor) has already been notified, and is already working to quickly provide refunds to those that had already registered for the 2011 NorthEast convention.

    If you registered, there’s no need to even request a refund. It will happen automatically within the next week or so. And, we’ll send a follow up email letting everyone know that 2011 NorthEast Homeschool Convention registration charges have been refunded.

    Thank you for your understanding and continued support. While completely out of our control, we do sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this cancellation may cause for you.

    Again, we’ve found an even better location for the June 2012 “NorthEast Homeschool Convention” and are anxious to provide you with more details – which we will be able to do very soon.

    Sincerely,

    Great Homeschool Conventions, Inc.
    ###########################
    Interesting that this has happened. Not sure why, but it certainly ends the controversy of which convention to attend in PA. Ken Ham will be one of the speakers at the CHAP Convention in Harrisburg, PA May 13th and 14th.

    Comment by Mandy B. — April 10, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

  23. You keep referring to “midnight” email. Why does the time it was sent matter?

    Comment by Ginger Truitt — April 23, 2011 @ 7:02 am

    • The timing suggests that GHC was not interested in entering into a dialogue, since most people are not monitoring their email at such hours and not likely to respond soon or try to call at such hours. As the next day unfolded, GHC’s conduct confirmed they were not interested in talking to Ham or AiG. It appears that sentiment changed after the PR backlash.

      Comment by Anthony Biller — April 23, 2011 @ 3:14 pm


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