Dr. Peter Enns on the “Dark Side” of the Old Testament

Dr. Peter Enns

I am currently at the Southeast Homeschool convention in Greenville, South Carolina. It is a wonderful experience. The conference is very well attended, and I have spoken to many, many homeschoolers over the past day and a half. The most amazing thing for me is speaking to the homeschooled students who have come to the convention. It is incredible to see what God is doing in their lives. Some of the most impressive people I have met in my entire life are homeschooled students!

As I noted in my previous post, I was excited to see that Dr. Peter Enns is a speaker at this convention. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend his first talk, as it conflicted with a talk that I was giving. However, I was able to attend his second talk, and I was very glad that I did. While I had read some of his work (most notably Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament), I had never seen him in person. It will probably come to a surprise to some of the commenters on my previous post that he did not have horns growing out of his head or any sign of a red tail (as far as I could see). Instead, he came across as an incredibly humble man of God who has a genuine love for the Word.

The title of his talk was “The Dark Side of the Old Testament and What We Must Learn from it.” He said that an alternative title was, “Struggling with your faith (and what God is teaching you through it).” It was a down-to-earth, encouraging talk about those times in your Christian life when your faith is tested.

He started the talk with a bit of a joke. He said that because the vast majority of those in the audience are homeschoolers, he was going to assume that everything in our lives is going wonderfully. Our children are all thrilled with their education, they do their work diligently, the family has lots of time to fellowship, and everyone’s walk with Christ is better than it ever has been. That got quite a laugh. Then he turned serious, indicating that, unfortunately, this is often what our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ expect of us. They expect us to always be living in victory and never have any doubts or struggles. Of course, the reality is quite different, and often we don’t know what to do when that reality hits us. Then he said something very profound:

In church, we can talk about any problem except feeling distant from God.

That is both one of the truest and one of the saddest aspects of modern Christianity. Rather than being a place where struggling Christians can come for help, church is often just a showcase where the appearance of Christian victory is more important than the reality of helping our brothers and sisters in their spiritual walk.

One of the goals of his talk was to show that struggling in your Christian walk is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s quite normal. As someone who deeply loves the Word, he did that by showing us parts of the Old Testament that often don’t make it into a typical church service. For example, he discussed Psalm 73, where the psalmist struggles with stumbling, and Psalm 83, where the psalmist implores God to stop being silent. These Psalms are called “lament Psalms,” because they deal with the troubles that people experience. He then gave a surprising fact – roughly half of the Psalms are lament Psalms! He then discussed Job and Ecclesiastes, which both deal with men of God who are struggling to understand God and how He relates to them.

At the end of this discussion, he made the obvious but profound point that these Scriptures indicate that struggling in your Christian life is normal. He calls this the “dirty little secret of Christianity.” Even though many Christians are loathe to admit it, we all struggle in our spiritual walk. Not only should we not be ashamed of this, but the Scriptures clearly tell us that this happens, even to great men of God! If it happened to them, it will happen to us.

So what is the purpose of these struggles, which seem to be a normal part of our life with Christ? According to Dr. Enns, it is to strip away self so as to allow us to become more like Christ. He gave two very important Scriptures that apply here:

“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” -Colossians 3:3

“that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” -Philippians 3:10

He said that these are not verses about becoming a Christian. Instead, they are verses about being a Christian. In other words, to be a good Christian, one must die to self so as to become like Christ. Often, God uses our spiritual suffering to help us die to ourselves.

In the question/answer session, I noted that there is a strong physical principle – “no pain, no gain.” If you want to be an athlete, for example, you will have to regularly work out to the point of pain. Only then can you become a better athlete. I asked him why the Christian church is hesitant to admit that this truth applies spiritually as well. He said that it was probably a cultural thing. Our culture tends to equate the Christian life with blessings rather than the more Biblical idea that the Christian life is about taking up your cross and following Him. However, he said he would have to correct my statement a bit, because in his mind, the spiritual truth is more like:

no death, no gain

That is so very true!


  1. Jason Roehl says:

    Interesting discussion you had there, and very timely. My church just finished up a series during our Wednesday night fellowship/Bible Study (a video series, something we rarely do) on deliverance. Unfortunately, I missed most of the installments due to working late or the flu, but the few times I was able to attend, what hit home was the concept that deliverance is for the BELIEVER, not the unsaved. That, of course, leads to the logical conclusion that if you seek and gain deliverance in a particular area of your life, you were previously a struggling Christian.

    This went well with a concept I have pondered for many years, something I once heard on Christian radio–God does not test us so that He can see where our faith is. He already knows. He tests us so that WE can see how well we respond to a given situation in faith. And, if we’re frustrated with someone or something, often it is because we have a perception problem–we’re not looking at the situation as God would. Knowing His word helps greatly in this area, and can change our outlook on life and others. In everything, our motto should be, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

    Too many people skim past the OT, all but dismissing it as nothing but THE LAW–for Jews and not Christians. That is their loss because the OT is full of demonstrations and descriptions of the character and nature of God and ultimately, Jesus the Messiah.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Dr. J!

    1. jlwile says:

      What a great comment, Jason! I especially like the idea of why God tests us. Thank you!

  2. Sharon says:

    Yes. Christ said that to be his disciple I must deny myself, take up my cross and follow him. So often, I get that mixed up and think it begins with following.

    1. jlwile says:

      Thank you, Sharon. I am glad that I am not the only one who gets mixed up like that!

  3. Sandy says:

    That is so profound and quite excellent. I think part of the problem is that we are taught as Christians to think of ourselves as last (you know, JOY = J-esus 1st, O-thers 2nd and Y-ourself last). So, many believe that means we are to ignore our own problems and struggles in favor of helping others. In fact if we do then God is obligated to “magically” solve our problems since we put Him and others before ourselves. So our problems and struggles get put on the back burner and eventually we come to the point where we are ashamed to admit we even have them and we pretend they don’t really exist and they never are dealt with. I am not saying this is always the case but many times it is or at least how it starts out. But if ministry is the outflowing of our relationship with Christ then that is where our focus must be (connected to the Vine). As Phil 3:10 was quoted above, I like the way the Amplified puts it, (Paul talking) “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him…” This reflects what Jesus said in Matt 11: 28 – Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] 29 – Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me…”

    1. jlwile says:

      Thank you both for your insightful comments, Sandy and Mike!

  4. I am convinced that this type of false spiritually (that Christians have no struggles) is extremely dangerous to the Christian life. Scripture pictures the Christian life as a progress of where we are to where we will ultimately end up (2 Corinthians 3:18). All of us have a long way to go and pretending we do not makes it harder for God to get us there (Philippians 3:12-14).

  5. Sue Michaels says:

    I have ministered & prayed for so many people over the years who have struggle privately with issues of failure, despair and sometimes total defeat. In talking to these people, none of them wanted to have the church in general know of their suffering, because of the condemnation that would be literally heaped on them. If we could looked at “the church” as a hospital, rather than a beauty pageant, maybe we could make some real changes in the world. We do a disservice to people when we strive to live a picture-perfect life, thinking that we are emulating Jesus to them.

    I AM rather shocked that Dr. Enns would DARE to give this talk to home educators – many of whom now are so tied to a movement which desires outward perfectionism of their followers (and adherence to a set of man-made rules which are extra-biblical). No wonder that some of the leaders of this movement have risen up in opposition to him (I’m not saying that Dr. Enns is correct in everything he says, by any means). Thanks for sharing your thoughts in these two posts – I was beginning to think that Dr. Enns was the anti-christ!

    @Jason Roehl – would it be possible for you to share the title of the deliverance series? I have been ministering deliverance to those who ask for several years; it is definitely for the believer, and is the missing ministry of Jesus to the church at this time.

    1. jlwile says:

      Thank you so much for your excellent comment, Sue. Your statement that the church should be looked on as a “hospital, rather than a beauty pageant” is spot on! While I agree that many homeschoolers are tied to a movement that desires its followers to display outward perfection no matter what, I seriously doubt that any of them were at this talk!

  6. shevrae says:

    One of the things I love best about my church is that the Pastor preaches through the Bible from start to finish – it takes him about 10 years to get through the whole Bible, but every verse of it gets read and taught from the pulpit.

    1. jlwile says:

      That’s a very interesting approach to preaching Shevrae.

  7. Jenny says:

    Thanks Dr. Wile. I’m a new homeschooler, of 2 years, who has spent many nights stumbling, praying, weeping in the dark of night about my decision to withdraw my teen from public high school, and finish her education at home. As everything in my walk as a Christian, I am imperfect, sinful, and continually humbled. In fact, my last post on my blog I confessed I was stripped down to a new self, but wanted the ‘old self’ back. The old self was a comfortable fit. The problem I have with so many homeschoolers I have encountered is when one doesn’t put on that ‘happy at peace’, I’m going to heaven and the rest of the world is lost persona, one is rejected and shunned for not being a genuine Christian homeschooler. I’ve even been judged as being a ps failure. The fact that I was not a ‘lifer’ homeschooler brought about judgement as well. sigh. I’ll probably get shot at for admitting this. Again, I appreciate and enjoy reading your opinions on homeschooling and the Christian faith.

    1. jlwile says:

      Jenny, I will certainly not shoot at you for being honest and open about your struggles in both your Christian walk and your adventure in educating your teen. The fact that you have worried so much about your decision to homeschool simply shows how important your teen’s spiritual and academic well-being are to you. Praise God that you are not only open and honest about your struggles, but that you have them at all! I worry about anyone who makes such important decisions without at least some doubts and hesitations!

  8. Robert says:

    “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.””—Professing Evangelical Peter Enns, BioLogos.
    Are you kidding me?! How can you support anyone that makes that statement. It is completely and infinitely wrong.

    1. jlwile says:

      Robert, I am sorry that you do not want me to treat my brother in Christ with respect. I will do so, however, regardless of what you think.

  9. Debby G says:

    You are defending someone as “a brother in Christ” who doesn’t even believe that Christ was the sinless, literal son of God? “Jesus …errd from time to time”? Really? Where? What evidence is there to back up that statement?

    1. jlwile says:

      Debby, Dr. Enns believes that Jesus was sinless. If you can’t get that right, I wonder what other false ideas you have about Dr. Enns.

  10. Patty says:

    Dr. Wile, I homeschool and use your materials. I am grateful for your curriculum and enjoy it! With all due respect, I do disagree with you about Dr. Peter Enns and his view of Scripture. I agree with Robert’s comments. Peter Enns and Biologos have made public statements that compromise Scripture. Every one of us who calls themselves Christians will have to ask: Do I take God’s Word over man’s or man’s word over God’s. That is the bottom line. It is no wonder that we see churches sanctioning same sex marriages, living together, etc. Yes, Christians make mistakes and we all are still a work in progress (I’ve made plenty of mistakes) but that doesn’t give us authority to change God’s truth. While we should treat ALL (including non Christians) people with respect, that doesn’t give us license to compromise God’s Word or agree (with their view of Scripture) with someone who teaches compromise. I have several friends who I love and respect but I will not change God’s word to suit them. Dr. Wile I do believe you misunderstood Robert’s statement and by your statement you are making a judgement on Robert. Robert never said you shouldn’t treat Dr. Enns with respect. The question is: Why do you publicly support Dr. Enns’ Theology when it doesn’t line up with Scriputre? Please keep in mind that Dr. Enns has made and BioLogos has made several public statements that compromise the Word of God. No one has the authority to change God’s Word. No one.

    1. jlwile says:

      Patty, the problem is that Dr. Enns is NOT taking man’s word over God’s word. I understand how you could think that, especially if you have not read any of Dr. Enns’s work. However, it is simply not true. He loves the Word and takes it as the ultimate authority. That’s why he is such a serious theologian.

      I do not publicly support Dr. Enns’s theology. I publicly state that I disagree with him on many things. How could you possibly miss that? However, I also publicly state that other leaders shouldn’t call him unwarranted names or level false charges against him.

      I agree that no one has the authority to change God’s Word, and neither Dr. Enns nor Biologos try to do that. They try to UNDERSTAND God’s Word. Their understanding is clearly different from yours, but that doesn’t make them compromisers. In the particular subject I am blogging on in this post, I think Dr. Enns offers valuable insight.

  11. Dave says:

    Humility and respect should certainly be characteristic of all our responses to error, (2 Tim 2:24-26). We are also must be willing to speak out and name names, as Paul did just before in 2 Tim 2:16-17. While theological liberals may have a good point from time to time,it is important to note their errors so that others can be alert when examining those good thoughts. May God grant you grace and wisdom as you deal with this controversy.

    1. jlwile says:

      Thank you, Dave. I agree that errors need to be pointed out. However, false accusations should not be made, and name-calling should not be used.

  12. tracy robinson says:

    Mr. Wile I do not believe you are treating your brother in christ, Ken Ham with any respect. This whole situation does not put you in a good light.

    1. jlwile says:

      Tracy, I am sorry that you feel that way. Ken Ham is a man of God with a deep love for the Word, as I have said in more than one comment. The unfortunate thing is that Ken Ham does not recognize this about Dr. Enns.

  13. Patty says:

    Dr. Wile,

    This is Dr. Enns’s own words: http://peterennsonline.com/2011/02/22/adam-and-evolution/

    Yes, he does compromise the plain reading of Scripture.

    If I wrote you a letter and told you that it is raining at my house today and you commented that I really said that it was sunny or partly cloudy and not raining that is compromise. Dr. Enns is doing the same thing. I know you like him and are probably friends but friendship doesn’t mean that you or anyone else has the right to change what God has said. Just because you like someone doesn’t mean you have to submit to their error…unless you truly believe that there was no literal Adam and you believe Adam was a metaphor for Israel. I could go on about that and other examples but time and space preclude it.

    1. jlwile says:

      Patty, you can not determine a person’s theology from a single lecture given on a single topic in a single venue. He is not compromising Scripture. He is trying to UNDERSTAND it.

      I had never even met the man before listening to this talk. Thus, he is no more of a friend than anyone else whose talk I have attended. I have no idea whether or not I like him. I don’t know him. I believe in a literal Adam. However, since that has been disputed by orthodox theologians for quite some time, I am willing to admit that I could be wrong on that point.

  14. Patty says:

    By the way, please show me where other leaders have called Dr. Enns a name. I would like to see a reference please. I’ve seen friends of mine accused of calling someone a name on a blog. When I confronted the accuser that person could not come up with one example. I’m sorry I’m questioning you but did you really see someone call Dr. Enns a name or are you just going by what Dr. Enns said. Also, if someone is compromising God’s Word especially someone who puts out homeschool curriculum, I want to know about it. I don’t have the money to waste on curriculum.

    1. jlwile says:

      Patty, just look at Ken Ham’s blog post. He calls Dr. Enns a “compromiser.” He also says Dr. Enns doesn’t have a Biblical view of inspiration, which is 100% false. Dr. Enns’s view is perfectly consistent with 2 Timothy 3:16 and is therefore Biblical.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    Dr. Wile,
    Dr. Enns’ view on the deity of Christ is questionable – end of story. That’s all we need to hear.
    I am very disappointed in your sarcastic and belittling attitude toward believers who would dare to take issue with Dr. Enns’ interpretation.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, you are the one who is taking a belittling attitude towards Dr. Enns. Rather than actually learning his theology, you simply make a completely false statement about it. That’s too bad.

      I don’t mean to belittle anyone, but I will not allow false statements to be made on my blog.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    What does this mean exactly, then, Dr. Wile

    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.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    I did not take a belittling attitude toward Dr. Enns, I said his view on the deity of Christ is questionable and from the above quote, I am 100% correct.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, his statement is a description of the mystery of the incarnation. Jesus was fully human and fully divine. How could He be fully human and not make mistakes? Perhaps there is a way, but I don’t see anything in Scripture to say that Jesus never made a mistake. He was sinless, but that doesn’t mean he never made a wrong cut when working with wood!

      This does not make Dr. Enns’s view of Jesus’ diety questionable. You are 100% wrong on this point.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Dr. Wile, this doesn’t say Jesus “made mistakes” (as in didn’t make “par” on the golf course — it says he “erred” — as in didn’t made a conscious decision about his behavior. He then goes on to say that because Jesus erred, the Bible writers may have “erred” and there is no reason to consider Scripture is without error.

    Dr. Wile, this is heresy, pure and simple.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, according to The Merriam Webster dictionary, err is defined as, “a: to make a mistake b: to violate an accepted standard of conduct.” Clearly, then, when Enns says Jesus erred, he means that Jesus (being fully human) made mistakes. Like I said, He could have made a bad cut in the woodshop.

  19. Michelle Brown says:

    With all due respect, Dr. Wile, you are missing the point. “…there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John wrote the scripture without error.” Enns clearly does not believe “all scripture is God-breathed”. I researched this “Biblical Scholar” as you call him,and his take on Paul, clearly undermines the book of Romans. Any Theologian worth is salt recognizes Romans as a firm foundation for the scriptures.

    1. jlwile says:

      Michelle, I am sorry to say this, but you are quite wrong. There are many, many orthodox theologians who believe that Scripture is fully God-breathed but not inerrant. It is a longstanding controversy within the orthodox church: inerrant or infallible? The Bible need only be infallible, not inerrant, for 2 Timothy 3:16 to apply. This is why those who believe in an infallible but not inerrant Bible are still considered orthodox Christians.

      I believe it is inerrant. However, there are many orthodox Christians who do not.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    Can you give an example, then, of something in Scripture that would be considered an “error”? What does Enn consider these errors to be? Maybe that would clear it up.

    I’d also like to put this idea forth:

    2 Homeschool Conventions next year!! — One for people of Christian faith, that would feature speakers, vendors that have signed a “Statement of Faith” (which would include Deity of Christ, Virgin Birth, infallibility of the Scriptures, bodily Resurrection, etc)– and another for the more secularly minded.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, there are already several homeschooling conventions that seek theological purity in their speakers. There are also secular homeschool conferences. What is wonderful about the Great Homeschool conferences is that they feature all Christian points of view.

      I am not sure I can cite a specific error that Enns thinks exists. His point is simply that it is hard to believe in inerrancy, since the writers are human beings.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    Oh, I did not know that — new to the homeschool convention scene! I guess I’ll have to look into other options next year.

    From Biologos posts and Dr. Enns’ comments it appears as though he leans toward interpreting the Genesis historical creation of man as a literary/poetic expression or allegory rather an actual occurrence. If so, this is a big problem from a doctrinal standpoint. He is marketing a Bible curriculum targeted at children/families and doesn’t buy the biblical creation account and you think we (mainly Christian audience) are going to be happy about that? It’s a problem and I don’t blame AiG for pointing it out.

    I think Great Homeschool Conventions overreacted out of pride, and honestly I don’t think it was wise of this Convention to invite Dr. Enns in the first place. Just because Susan Wise Bauer published his book doesn’t mean we all have to accept his philosophy. She as well as yourself, Dr. Wile, should have expected some push back.

    We need to know what “inerrancy” means from his point of view, in order to know what Dr. Enns is really saying

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, there are a lot of Christian homeschoolers who ARE very happy about Dr. Enns’s program. That’s why a Christian homeschool publisher publishes it! I would not blame AiG for pointing out flaws in the curriculum, but that is not what Mr. Ham did. He called Dr. Enns an unwarranted name and leveled a false charge at him.

      Great Homeschool Conventions did exactly the right think in inviting Dr. Enns, as he ministers to many Christian homeschoolers. It is unfortunate that you think he should have been excluded just because he disagrees with Mr. Ham.

      Dr. Enns does not believe in inerrancy. Like many orthodox theologians, he believes in infallibility.

  22. Beth L. says:

    I came across this discussion from Facebook. I read the posts to find out if the upsetting news was correct about Peter Enns and his defender Dr. Wile. I’ve used Apologia for our sciences over many years, and I’m having a hard time right now believing the posts I’ve read from Jay. First, I thought it was an angry blogger, until I leaned forward close enough to the laptop to see it was Jay’s own postings. And calling someone a “compromiser” isn’t exactly name calling. It may not have been politically correct, but it was civil.

    Sorry, but I may have to reconsider my science choices next year. I need someone who believes in the Bible as the inspired Word of God. No errors (in original canons), no balls, and no fouls.

    1. jlwile says:

      Beth, I am sorry that you don’t like my post, but it is definitely me. I do believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, as does Dr. Enns. I also believe in inerrancy, although Dr. Enns does not. Like many orthodox theologians, he believes in infallibility. However, I also believe that Christians should obey the Scriptures, and that is why I called Mr. Ham out for his actions. It is not Scriptural to call a brother in Christ an unwarranted name and to level a false charge against him.

      I am sorry that this has made you reconsider your science choice for next year, but that will not prevent me from doing the right thing. Note that my theology has not changed, so the same theology that produced my courses, which have helped so many homeschoolers in their Christian walk, is the theology I have today. We are to judge a tree by its fruits.

  23. Elizabeth says:

    Dr. Wile, you did not address my main concern.
    Does Dr. Enns believe the historical creation of man? Do you know? That is a foundational truth. You cannot call yourself a Bible believing Christian – with integrity – if you think it is a “story” with some other philosophical meaning. From what I have seen/read, he questions the literal meaning of this truth and so yes, he most definetely should have been excluded (if this Convention is for Christians looking for Bible curricula)

    You appear to be dancing around my question about the definition of “inerrancy”.

    Many things in following Christ are matters of personal preference, but there are a few non-negotiables one must adhere to, whcih Dr. Enns appears to have compromised. It also apeears as though I’m not going to get any straight answers here.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, Dr. Enns does not believe in the historical creation of man. I disagree that this is a foundational truth. I find it in none of the major creeds, and many orthodox theologians have questioned it. Thus, to say it is a foundation truth is to ignore a huge amount of Christianity.

      Once again, Dr. Enns should not have been excluded, because the purpose of Great Homeschool Conventions is to minister to ALL Christians, not just the ones who agree with you.

      I am not dancing around the definition of inerrancy. I think the Bible is inerrant, Dr. Enns does not. The kinds of errors Dr. Enns expects to find in the Bible are INCONSEQUENTIAL ones. This is why he thinks the Bible is infallible but not inerrant. The errors in the text, in his mind, do not change affect its TEACHINGS. Once again, this view has been represented in orthodox Christianity for some time and thus does not exclude someone from being a Christian.

      I agree that there are non-negotiables in Christianity. However, the interpretation of the Genesis account and inerrancy are NOT among them. This is why you don’t find them in any major creeds.

      You are getting straight answers. However, you simply don’t seem to like them. I am sorry.

  24. Elizabeth says:

    Sorry – above what I meant was that we need to know what constitutes “error” in Dr. Enns’ mind in order to form an opinion.

    Is it transcription error, mathematical error? What kind of error does he find in the Bible?

  25. Patty says:

    Dr. Wile, Can a perfect God perfectly reveal Himself?

    You said:
    “His point is simply that it is hard to believe in inerrancy, since the writers are human beings.”

    When the above is said this calls into question the existence of God. Who has power over who? Does God have power over human beings or does man have power over God?

    2Peter 1:20-21 “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” This passage cleary answers the question about whether Moses, Paul or John erred in their writing of Scripture.

    With all due respect Dr. Wile, I have heard Dr. Enns and he does make bold statements about Scripture that are erroneous. He refuses to take the plain reading of Scripture and injects his own beliefs into the passages. That is wrong for anyone to do.

    What would you call someone who does indeed compromise Scripture? What is the proper PC terminology? Please tell us. Did Mr. Ham call Dr. Enns evil or an unbeliever? Did he call him a slime ball? Please show us a reference.

    “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.””—Professing Evangelical Peter Enns, BioLogos.

    Dr. Wile, the above quote is not talking about physical limitations of Jesus i.e. wood turning. The above quote taken in its context is referring to Scripture. Are you saying that Jesus mispoke or erred in His thinking? Remember, Jesus was sinless and not tainted by sin. He is God/Man. Fully God and fully man without sin…perfect man. He was the only one born who is Spiritually alive from conception.

    Speaking about God compared to the unrighteous judge in Luke 18 and how God will bring about justice, Jesus said in Luke 18:8 “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. HOWEVER, WHEN THE SON OF MAN COMES, WILL HE FIND FAITH ON THE EARTH? (emphasis mine) That statement sure hits the nail on the head in this day and age.

    By the way, no one can understand an author’s intended meaning without first observing what is said… the plain reading of Scripture. I would like to recommend Precept Ministries. They teach people how to study the Bible…observing the plain reading of Scripture…which makes common sense…a gift from God for those who use it.

    1. jlwile says:

      Patty, a perfect God CAN reveal Himself perfectly, but He can also CHOOSE to not do so. That is the essence of the entire debate between inerrancy and infallibility. That debate has been going on for a long time in orthodox Christianity, so you are not compromising Scripture to be on one side or the other. To point out that human writers can make mistakes certainly does not call into question the existence of God. God certainly has control over man, but He rarely executes it, as we all have free will. Thus, the real question is HOW MUCH control did He execute over the writers of the Bible. That has been in debate since the beginning of Christendom.

      2Peter 1:20-21 certainly does not say anything about whether or not the writers of Scripture erred. It is simply saying that God’s prophecies do not originate with a person. They originate with God. It says nothing about how that prophecy is affected by coming through a person.

      It is certainly not wrong to avoid taking the plain reading of a passage. Are you silent in church? Do you wear headcoverings? If not, you are not taking the plain reading of some of Paul’s letters. What about the plain reading of Matthew 24:34, where Jesus himself says, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” He is talking about the ends times, and they did not come to pass before that generation passed away. The plain reading of the text is that “generation” means “generation.” However, an ALTERNATE definition of that Greek word is “race,” so most Christians use the NON-PLAIN reading of the text to say that Jesus is saying the race of Jews will not pass away until these things happen. This is the whole point of STUDYING the Bible to learn what it MEANS.

      The quote you use from Dr. Enns is, indeed, talking about the PHYSICAL limitations of Jesus. If you actually read the entire work from which you lifted the passage, you will find that Dr. Enns is trying to make the case that the inspiration of the Bible was done in a similar manner to how the incarnation occurred. Thus, he is saying that just as Jesus probably made mistakes in woodcutting, etc., it is possible for the Scripture writers to make inconsequential mistakes as well. Making mistakes in woodcutting has nothing to do with the fact that Jesus was sinless. You are mixing concepts that don’t even relate to one another!

      I agree that Luke 18:8 hits the nail on the head about today’s generation. However, I would say that Dr. Enns is working to change that, and it is unfortunate that many Christians want to try to keep him from doing that! I also agree that you must start with a plain reading of the Bible. However, as demonstrated above, Christians often depart from that, when the text warrants it.

  26. Jon says:

    Dr. Wile,
    You wrote: “There are many, many orthodox theologians who believe that Scripture is fully God-breathed but not inerrant. It is a longstanding controversy within the orthodox church: inerrant or infallible? The Bible need only be infallible, not inerrant, for 2 Timothy 3:16 to apply.” The debate is over the orthodoxy of those who deny inerrancy. BUT, Enns’ point is grounded on the existence of identifiable, inspired errors in the Bible and in Christ. Where’s the beef? We want to see examples, not just speculations!

    Belief that there are inspired errors in the original authographs signals departure from orthodoxy.
    The Chicoago Statements on Inerrancy and Hermeneutics certainly would not allow for errors such as are under consideration here. (If anyone can produce some?)

    The burden of proof is upon you to produce examples of errors made by Jesus Christ in his direct discourse or in his actions as recorded in the gospels or by any of the inspired writers. It would be helpful to know some of the proposed errors made by Jesus or the inspired writers in the Bible. Also, provide us with some names of “orthodox” men who do not believe in inerrancy. It’s time to produce the data, Dr. Wile. I share the frustration of many of the above respondants. I wish that you would defend the Word and the glory of Christ as fiercely as you defend propponents of sub-Biblical teachings. It is virtually impossible to reason with you from the Scriptures in these matters because you rest upon the counsels of men and salients in church history. Hint: Stick to writing science textbooks, an area in which you are an authority, and stay out of the theological arena.

    For the record: There are no errors in the autographa. Christ did not sin. Anybody who argues the contrary is not orthodox. Enn’s “incarnational hermeneutic” was so problematical it cost him his job.

    For the glory of Him “who knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21)

    1. jlwile says:

      Jon, you can scream until your face turns blue that inerrancy is necessary for orthodox Christianity, but it is not. It is not in any of the creeds, and many devout orthodox theologians have denied it for quite some time. The Chicago Statements of Inerrancy and Hermenetics are not the definition of orthodox Christianity. If that were the case, orthodox Christianity wouldn’t have been defined until 1978!

      If you want to see examples of the errors that Dr. Enns expects, you will need to read his works. I read his main book well over two years ago, and I can’t recall any mentioned there. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I just can’t remember any.

      The burden of proof is not on me, because I do not subscribe to Dr. Enns’s theology. I am simply making the quite obvious statement that Dr. Enns is not a compromiser, and he does have a Biblical view of inspiration.

      C.S. Lewis believed in infallibility, not inerrancy. He was clearly an enemy of God, wasn’t he? James Orr, who defended the Evangelical doctrine and contributed to The Fundamentals believed the same. Another enemy of God? Another one is Daniel P. Fuller, professor emeritus of hermeneutics at Fuller Theological Seminary, Dean of the School of Theology, and president of the Gospel Broadcasting Association and the Fuller Evangelistic Association. Another enemy of God?

      Obviously, I could go on. If you don’t know that the infallibility/inerrancy debate has been going on in orthodox Christianity for years, you don’t know your church history.

  27. Elizabeth says:

    Historical creation of man is most definitely a foundational biblical concept. Roman affirms it. Without that, all kinds of things are up in the air and open to any kind of interpretation — definition of sin, sin nature of man, means of salvation, etc.

    Dr. Wile, you can scream until you are blue in the face that it does not matter, bur the bottom line is that it does matter; it matters a great deal especially if one is trying to get children to espouse “truths” from his Bible curriculum.

    Of course, infallibility/inerrancy has been debated through the years, but infallibility in this case appears to be “cover” for doctrinal compromise. While I appreciate the opportunity to learn from a differing viewpoint, it is inappropriate that your committee invited this speaker to sell his ideas and Bible curriculum to unsuspecting families.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, I strongly disagree with you, as do many orthodox Christian theologians. The historical creation of man is not a foundational Biblical concept, and if you don’t think it happened, it does absolutely nothing to the concepts of sin, the sin nature of man, the means of salvation, etc. I understand that this matters to YOU, and it matters to Ken Ham, and it matters to many people. However, it is not in any of the major creeds, which means that, quite clearly, it is not a foundational concept. The foundational concepts are in the creeds. You would do well to read them to understand what the foundational concepts are.

      Of course infallibility does not cover for doctrinal compromise. Infallibility specifically means that the Bible can’t be wrong on doctrinal issues!

      I am not sure why you think I have anything to do with Great Homeschool Conventions. I am not on any committee, and I did not make any decision to invite or disinvite anyone. I am simply an invited speaker, nothing more. I do applaud their willingness to minister to ALL Christians rather than just those who certain individuals consider to be theologically “pure.” Thus, I applaud them for inviting Dr. Enns, and I pray that they do the right thing and ignore the unChristian attitudes in regards to him.

  28. Elizabeth says:

    Which Orthodox theologians disagree that man was created by God at a time/place in history?

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, C.S. Lewis did not believe in a literal Adam and Eve. N.T. Wright, Alister McGrath, Thomas Jay Oord, and John Polkinghorne are all Christian theologians at major Christian universities who do not believe in a literal Adam.

  29. Elizabeth says:

    It is assumed by the major creeds

  30. Kevin says:

    This debate has been interesting and disturbing at the same time. I must confess that I have a hard time parsing “infallibility” and “inerrancy”. When I looked up “inerrant” in the dictionary, I found “infallible” as a synonym. I’m no biblical scholar, but I have a tough time with the concept that the Bible is not inerrant. If the Bible is not 100% inerrant, who gets to decide which parts are erroneous? Who gets to decide which parts are “inconsequential” and are therefore ok to be in error? I’m sorry, but in my mind, if the Bible is not 100% inerrant, then it is at best an interesting morality tale.

    1. jlwile says:

      Kevin, I appreciate your confusion. The inerrancy/infallibility debate has raged in Christendom for ages. Thus, it is full of a lot of baggage. The key concept is that if the Bible is inerrant, NOTHING in it is false. That’s what I believe. However, a lot of orthodox theologians only believe that the Bible is infallible, which means its TEACHINGS are all correct. So the Bible might say that the geometric term called “pi” is equal to 3 (as it seems to in 1 Kings 7:23), but the actual value is 3.1415…. That is an ERROR, but it doesn’t affect the TEACHINGS of the Bible, because the account is not teaching about the value of pi. It is teaching about Solomon’s temple.

  31. Elizabeth says:

    Infallibility could encompass doctrinal compromise, depending on how much/what type of error you believe the Bible to possess.

    Thank you for being kind enough to publish these dissenting comments

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, I am all about looking at both sides. That’s why I am happy to publish comments that disagree with me. However, as a committed educator, I cannot stand falsehoods to be communicated, so I must correct any falsehoods I see. It is a falsehood that infallibility encompasses doctrinal compromise. It is logically impossible, as infallibility means that the Bible is doctrinally correct.

  32. Elizabeth says:

    I think Kevin makes a great point.

    Second, I don’t think anyone is saying that Christians who are “theistic evolutionists” cannot have a saving faith in Christ.

    The “rub” is that this speaker is a writer for/proponent of the Biologos foundation, which operates under the premise that the only way to effectively spread the Faith is to somehow mesh evolution with the Bible, thereby reducing the Genesis account to poetry. They are uncompromising in their agenda and have been highly critical of the Creationist crowd. The Bible curriculum appears to teach this view — the OT is antiquated and difficult to understand; do not discuss with kids until they are ready for PG-13 movies, etc. This understandably is highly offensive to those of us who consider God’s Word infallible truth. That’s the problem.

    I knew CS Lewis was a theistic evolutionist, but I don’t rememeber him writing curriculum for kids to promote this concept. He believed in the historical creation of man — man was created by God at a time/place in history. The Bible fills in the details, whether Lewis believed it or not. And actually, we are all theologians.

    You are still left with having spiritualize direct, literal references to Adam and the doctrine of sin nature and redemption in Romans, Corinthians, etc — which could easily lead a person into compromise.

    I understand where you are coming from but AiG did the right thing and I am very thankful for their stand.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, I don’t like BioLogos, either. But that organization has nothing to do with the wrongness of what Mr. Ham did. Mr. Ham attacked Dr. Enns with an unwarranted name and a false charge. That was and always has been my problem, and it has nothing to do with BioLogos.

      C.S. Lewis most certainly did not believe in the historical creation of man. You do not have to compromise to believe that Adam is a symbol rather than a man, and that doesn’t affect the doctrine of the sin nature or redemption one bit. C.S. Lewis strongly believed in the sin nature and had a Christian view of redemption, even though he did not believe in a literal Adam.

      I am thankful for the stand of Great Homeschool Conventions.

  33. Lisa says:

    I also read the quote by Dr Enns, but then was told it was taken out of context.

    “Though theologians seldom point this out, the fact that Jesus operated mainly within the horizon of his finite human horizon has other implications. If we assume for the sake of discussion that he was a carpenter like his father, did he ever miss the nail with his hammer? Hit his thumb? Did he think that he left his saw on the bench when, because he was distracted, he actually leaned it against the wall? Did Jesus ever look across a crowded town square and think that he saw his brother James only to discover that it was someone else? And did he estimate that the crowd was about 300 when it was really 200?

    To confess that Jesus was fully human is to admit that the answer to these questions must be yes. And if yes, then this observation surely has implications for how we think about Scripture. 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.”

    I disagree, but I see that our disagreement is more of a global view of Scripture rather than just our view of Jesus.

    When I came to Christ I knew I was a sinner, and that Jesus saved me, changed me, and made me His. What more did I need to know? That is still how I define a Christian today. I believe that Dr Enns view of the Bible as a whole is flawed, but from what *I* see I do not question his salvation.

    1. jlwile says:

      Lisa, thank you for your thoughtful post, and thank you for the complete quote. That really shows EXACTLY what I was saying earlier. The idea that Jesus made mistakes has nothing to do with His sinless nature.

      I agree with you that Dr. Enns’s view of Scripture is flawed. I hope that all here would not question his salvation. However, I would say something more. His view of inspiration is quite clearly Scriptural. That’s where Mr. Ham leveled a false charge against him.

  34. Elizabeth says:

    I should have put it in quotes — “Infallible”

    The “truths” which the Bible infallibly comminucaites could change based on the degree of “error” you attribute to it – true?

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, you are still not correct. The truths which the Bible communicates under the view of infallibility do not change based on the error you attribute to it. It what the Bible is TEACHING. When the Bible says there were a certain number of people in a crowd, for example, that is irrelevant to what is being taught. The teaching that Jesus gave to the crowd is true. The number of people in the crowd doesn’t affect anything.

  35. Elizabeth says:

    Mr. Ham said what he said because Dr. Enns was trying to sell Biologos ideology (flawed view) to children and families through his curriculum. He should be held accountable. The unwarranted name would be “compromiser”, which he is — he holds to the view that the Bible *must* be brought in line with evolutionary theory. He has made public statements to this effect and so a public rebuke is in order, scripturally speaking.

    The false charge would be that Enns’ view of inspiration is not Scriptural? Doesn’t everyone think their view of Scripture is inspired?

    Unbelief in historical creation of man can affect view of sin nature/redemption especially if that is your focused area of concern.

    The truths of the Bible could change based on the degree/type of error you attribute to it — you don’t agree? Only certain types of errors are acceptable for the Bible to be “infallible” in the traditional sense. eg.- inconsequential mathematical, minor historical, etc. The more/greater errors you believe the Bible contains, the more what it teaches, changes, and thus what it “infallibly” communicates. The logic is perfect.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, you keep trying to bring BioLogos into this, and it has nothing to do with it. Dr. Enns’s book has nothing to do with BioLogos, and his talks at the convention had nothing to do with BioLogos. I am sorry you want to distract people with irrelevant things.

      The false charge is definitely that Dr. Enns’s view of inspiration is not Biblical. It clearly is, as it is in perfect agreement with 2 Timothy 3:16. If a view of Scripture is NOT in line with that verse, then it is not Biblical.

      I do not agree that unbelief in the historical creation of man affects the view of sin or redemption. As I have said, many orthodox Christians do not believe in the historical creation of man, and it doesn’t affect their view of these important doctrines one bit.

      Your logic is anything but perfect. If you believe the Bible to be infallible, then by definition, there are only inconsequential errors. Thus, by pure logic, if you believe the Bible to be infallible, then its doctrines are sound.

  36. Jon says:

    Dear sir,
    Just because N.T. Wright, Alister McGrath, Thomas Jay Oord, and John Polkinghorne teach at major Christian universities does not mean they are orthodox or Christians. Please define what you mean by “orthodox”. Calling oneself a “Christian” is not tantamount to being orthodoxy.

    Your conclusion that creeds contain foundational issues only and that omission of something from a creed means the issue is not foundational is beyond laughable. The Westminster Confession says very little about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. It is foolish to assume on this basis that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is not foundational. If you truly are familiar with the history of creeds and their formulation, you would know that the hot issues of the day largely influenced the purpose and the focus of creeds and confessions. The fooolishness of some of your comments and the rude way you jerk some people around, especially women, is entirely unacceptable. It appears to me, having read many, many comments on your recent blogs that you are baiting people, and I publically rebuke you. It might make for gripping reading, but it is manipulative, deceptive, harmful to believers, and does injury to the gospel.
    (You have my email address. Please send me the name of your home church and pastor. I wish to pursue some ecclesiastical redress for the mischief you are causing in the Kingdom.)

    1. jlwile says:

      Jon, I am at a loss for words. I am not causing mischief. I am defending a brother in Christ. It’s amazing that you think doing that is wrong! I will send you the name of my church and pastor. You need to learn how wrong you are, and you are clearly unwilling to learn from me!

      I agree that calling yourself a Christian does not mean you are orthodox. However, the creeds are a great measure of orthodoxy. They are certainly a better measure than you determining whether or not someone is orthodox. Also, being a professor of theology at a major Christian institution is a good indication of orthodoxy. If you don’t think N.T. Wright, Alister McGrath, Thomas Jay Oord, and John Polkinghorne are orthodox, then you don’t know what orthodox means.

  37. Elizabeth says:

    Dr. Wile,

    Biologos, and Dr. Enns’ support for their agenda, is exactly what this is all about, as well as the fact that his Bible curriculum shows this bias. You cannot see that because you are too deeply entrenched in your position and to back down now would require too much humility.

    “Infallibility” rides on everyone agreeing on what the basic doctrines of the faith ARE – that is what I am saying!!! You don’t want to see that either.

    Yes, the Genesis account is representative of all humankind and Lewis, et al. may have considered it more allegory, but I highly doubt that he would have spent any time/energy trying to call in to question the validity of a literal interpretation, like we see these particular individuals doing today. The Bible should be given the benefit of the doubt. The historical creation of man is a foundational biblical concept, whether Adam was real or not. And anyone who is trying to make a career out of disproving this should be considered suspect.

    I am disappointed in your posturing and your tunnel vision.

    May the Lord bless and keep you in his peace,

  38. Elizabeth says:

    I thought I was done, but Dr. Wile I hope you will publish this quote:

    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.

  39. Elizabeth says:

    Wow! meant to also say – That sounds apostate!!

  40. Patty says:

    Dr. Wile, getting back to you about your reference to Matthew 24 and “this generation.” Jesus was discussing end times and His return. Taking a look at the context we see that Jesus mentioned the elect in verse 24. “This generation” in context refers to those who live at the time of the tribulation.

    In reference to Pi, I suggest you read Dr. Jason Lisle’s answer in the Book entitled Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions Exploring Forty Alleged Contradictions, Ken Ham editor, pages 91-92. You may want to contact Dr. Lisle. I’m sure he would be delighted to go over the math with you.

    I’m just wondering how many more of these you would like to pull out of your hat. It is obvious that you have a prior commitment to defending Dr. Enns no matter what he says. Dr. Enns does compromise Scripture in saying that Adam is a metaphor for Israel. God said, “Let Us make man in Our image…” He did not say let us make a nation in Our image. Dr. Enns compromises Scripture, he can be rightly called a compromiser. Even a court of law would use that term.

    The other thing that bothers me about your statements is that I wonder if you understand what truth is. Truth cannot contradict itself or it would not be truth. Let’s apply this. You can not possibly have two contradictory positions on Genesis chapter 1 and say they are both orthodox in the sense that both are true. One has to be false and the other has to be true. That sir is the inevitable law of logic.

    Now let’s see what creative response you come up with on this.

    Of course I could elaborate on your comment about God choosing not to perfectly reveal Himself. In fact there is a whole lot of Scripture you ignored when you made that statement, for example Hebrews 1:1-2. The fact is that God did reveal Himself and He did it perfectly. Dr. Enns doesn’t believe that the Bible (original autograph) is without error. I referenced 2Peter because it points out Dr. Enns’s mistake.

    I see nothing wrong with calling someone a compromiser who compromises Scripture. That is a factual statement. It sure is mild compared to what Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees 23:33. Even John called them vipers, Matthew 3:7.

    Comments exactly like yours I listened to when I was younger. All I heard from Sunday School teachers and others was that the Bible was full of contradictions and errors. I decided to leave church. If I couldn’t trust that the Bible was God’s perfect word then what could I trust. Then I couldn’t stand it when my Sunday School teachers told me what I should do and shouldn’t. What gave them authority? They couldn’t even do things they were telling me to do and were doing things they said I shouldn’t do. I thought they were all a bunch of hypocrites. Even the Pastor ran off with the church secretary and had an affair. I’m sure my friend in Sunday School class felt the same way I did. She ended up committing suicide. I guess she wanted to know the truth from God first hand since everyone was telling us that the Bible was full of errors.

    Even though I was done with church God wasn’t done with me. He did some dramatic things to bring me to Him. I do know one thing, a perfectly loving God is going to perfectly reveal Himself (without error) and He did because He wants me to know the truth…He wants everyone to know the Truth.

    Matthew 18:1-14

    1. jlwile says:

      Patty, you definitely misunderstand Matthew 24. The term “this generation” clearly refers to the people to whom Jesus is talking. That’s why most Christians take that word to mean “race” instead. If you are forcing that word to refer to something it clearly doesn’t refer to, you are not taking the “plain reading of the text.” I know Dr. Lisle’s argument for the Bible’s proper portrayal of pi, and it is legitimate. However, there are many who would vigorously argue his explanation. The point is that rather than taking the “plain reading of the text,” he has to interpret it. The plain reading of the text makes it look like the Bible made a mistake. This is why some think the Bible is not inerrant, but infallible.

      I have no “prior commitment” to defend Dr. Enns. I had read his main book long ago and knew from that he wasn’t a heretic. Thus, I simply defended him, as I would defend any Christian brother. The false charges you and others are making simply force me to defend him more. That’s all.

      I find it sad that rather than listening to my arguments, you are forced to try to call my understanding of truth into question. You are most certainly correct that there cannot be two contradictory positions that are true. I have never said that. However, you can have two contradictory positions that are CONSISTENT with Scripture. If they are consistent with Scripture, they are both orthodox, and the proper Christian response is to hold on to the view YOU think is true, but not insult and falsely accuse those who hold onto the other view. That’s what Romans 14:1-9 is all about!

      You are correct that Dr. Enns doesn’t believe in an inerrant Bible. You are incorrect that this is heresy.

      I appreciate you sharing how you came to faith, but you should read the comments of Keith. He has a story in which the theology of Mr. Ham drove him away from the faith. That doesn’t mean Mr. Ham’s theology is bad. However, it shows that I can find people who are ministered to and turned off by the message you say is absolute truth. In addition, I can find people who are ministered to and turned off by the message you say is heresy. God works in mysterious ways.

      I agree that God wants us to know the Truth. My concern is that by shutting off from people who disagree with you, you will miss the Truth.

  41. fmorrison says:

    Dr. Wile I find it amazing and disturbing that you say the historical creation of man is not foundational because it is not found in the creeds of men, Jesus Christ himself taught it as foundational. Just off the top of my head I can point to Matthew 19:5, Jesus was teaching on marriage, but using the creation of man as male and female as the foundation for his teaching, if the foundation was not fact, the teaching would be irrelevant. If any of Jesus’ teachings are irrelevant, our faith is in vain.

    1. jlwile says:

      Fmorrison, Matthew 19:5 refers to Genesis 2:24, which merely says that woman came from man, which is why man and woman will join in “one flesh.” A symbolic Adam and Eve do nothing to take from that truth. Whether Adam and Eve were real or just symbols, they both teach that man and woman are one flesh.

  42. Jennifer says:

    Wow, if you can’t talk about feeling distant from God in your church then you aren’t in a very good church at all. Our family has heard several sermons on that and with the scriptures claimed to be missing. This is exactly what is wrong with many churches in our society. They aren’t doing what they should and yet so many people continue to attend and support.
    I pray that God will lead you and your family to a loving church that is real and where you can talk about your struggles.

    1. jlwile says:

      Jennifer, I am glad that you have found an open, honest church that truly ministers to its people! Unfortunately, it is a rare thing these days.

  43. Elizabeth says:

    I think what we perceive as biblical “error” is authors seeing the story from different perpectives or that we lack the necessary history/cultural context to be able to understand what actually they mean — but that’s just my opinion. There are other opinions, of course.

    Anyway, Ive been thinking about this some more and let me jsut throw this out there. There’s evolutionary theory as a “view” and evolutionary theory as a “religion” — agreed? Evolution has come to be synonymous with atheism, and Darwinism is actually a type of religion, so to speak – the bedrock doctrine and dogma of world without God.

    It’s one thing for Dr. Enns to hold the “view” that he believes an Old Earth, theistic evolutionary interpretation of Genesis. I know solid, Bible believing Christians that hold this “view”. But it appears as though he is taking it much further – he has made it part of a purpose or ministry of sorts to mesh evolution as a “religion” and the Bible. His quote above, and others, reveal this to be a goal of sorts — “believing the literal interpretation misrepresents faith” His Bible curriculum reveals this to be a priority.
    That is more the problem as I think myself and others see it.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, you are most certainly right! Evolution is not only a poor scientific hypothesis, it is also treated by some as a religion. I would disagree that Evolution is synonymous with atheism, however. There are probably more theistic evolutionists in this world than their are atheists. If not, the numbers are probably pretty close. I agree that many CHARACTERIZE evolution as synonymous with atheism, but it is not.

      Dr. Enns certainly doesn’t take evolution as a religion, and he certainly doesn’t try to “mash” it with Christianity. He simply tries to understand what the Bible is saying. You and I disagree with him on what he thinks the Bible is saying, but that doesn’t mean he is trying to make evolution into a religion!

  44. Elizabeth says:

    Dr. Wile,

    “Capital E” Evolution is most definitely a bedrock doctrine for atheism. Evolution did everything – this is atheism. There is no God; “Darwinism” is the religion of “truth”.

    Theistsic evolution is different from atheism, yes. It says God used evolution to create.

    From statements he has made, Dr. Enns appears to be trying to convince people that evolution is necessary to properly represent biblical faith.

    What should we think of the idea that the Bible needs a scientific theory to make it believable?

    That’s different than saying “I think God used evolution to create — theistic evolution”.

    In Enns’ view – evolution comes first – would you say that’s correct? In theistic evolution – the Bible/God comes first. This is undermines Biblical faith. It shows in the way Enns characterizes the OT. Maybe he doesn’t even know he’s doing it? This is what Ken Ham and others are upset about.
    Enns is not trying to understand the Bible — he has already decided what he believes is true and is attempting to advance his cause.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, I certainly agree that the idea that evolution MUST be true for the Bible to be properly interpreted is wrong. The Bible is to be interpreted by itself. However, your idea that evolution is the bedrock doctrine for atheism cannot possibly be true, or there would have been no atheists before Darwin’s time! Most atheists use evolution, to be sure, but it is not the bedrock of their views.

      I don’t think Dr. Enns cares to convince anyone about evolution. I certainly don’t get that from his writings. However, if he does, I still don’t see a problem with that. Theistic evolution is a valid position to take on origins. I don’t think it is correct, but I also don’t think it is heresy.

      I would definitely NOT say that to Dr. Enns, evolution comes first. I don’t get that from his theological writings at all. I think he uses science the same way I do and most young-earth-creationists do – to provide additional evidence to support my interpretation of the Bible.

      I could say exactly the same thing about Ken Ham – he has already decided what he believes is true and is trying to advance his cause. I have no problem with Ken Ham doing that, and I have no problem with Dr. Enns doing that. In fact, I have no problem with you doing that. I encourage it! Differing views allow us all to critically think better.

  45. Elizabeth says:

    The idea that evolution *must* be true for the Bible to be properly interpreted/represented (Enns’ view) undermines biblical faith/truth.

  46. Elizabeth says:

    Let me rephrase — “Darwinism” is A foundational doctrine for atheism TODAY.

    Requiring a scientific theory to interpret the Bible undermines the authority of the Scripture and it should be held accountable. Biologs and Peter Enns do not get the “pass” you are giving them (as others have pointed out).

    The literal interpretation that Ken Ham is advancing does NOT undermine biblical authority. That is a big difference between Enns and Ham that you are just glossing over.

    Theistic evolution borders on heresy, IF it requires a scientific theory for valid interpretation of the Bible.

    I guess we’re going around in circles.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, we are going around in circles. Darwinism might be a foundational doctrine for atheists today, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. Atheism existed long, long before Darwinism, and once Darwinism is replaced by something else (as is inevitable), atheism will still continue.

      I agree that requiring a scientific theory to interpret the Bible undermines the Bible. I don’t see Dr. Enns doing that. I expect that some people associated with BioLogos do. However, I cannot point to any off the top of my head.

      There are many Christians who would strongly disagree with your statement that, “The literal interpretation that Ken Ham is advancing does NOT undermine biblical authority.” In fact, they would say that Ken Ham’s interpretation isn’t even literal.

      Theistic evolution does not even come close to bordering on heresy. Heresy does not produce incredible servants of God like C.S. Lewis.

  47. Elizabeth says:

    “Darwinism” (the belief that evolution is responsible for everything we see and are) is wrong AND it is also a foundational doctrine for atheism today.

    Based on what I have seen and read, your assessment of the situation is off base, Dr. Wile so I guess we’ll have to “agree to disagree”.

    The Bible and evolution do not mix if one requires evolutionary ideology to explain the Genesis account – this could border on heresy.

    I find it interesting that plain sense reading of the text is not “literal” I have noticed that PhD’s like to throw that out there to let the rest of us know that we don’t know how to understand our Bible.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, the point of that article was that according to the author, a plain sense reading of the original language clearly says the Genesis days were not 24-hour days. It doesn’t take a PhD to necessarily see that, as Clement of Alexandria saw that, and he had no PhD.

  48. Patty says:

    In reference to Matthew 24, I did not misunderstand it. If you believe I misunderstood “this generation” then I suppose you are also saying that John MacArthur, Ron Rhodes, Louis Barbieri, Jr., Dallas Seminary, and even Norman Geisler misunderstood Matthew 24. Since you seem to put a lot of stock into what others say, explain how the above persons are wrong. Do you know more than they do?

    Sir, it is rare that I hear of a situation as you describe with Keith. Many people who I know personally have experienced similar situations as I have growing up in church.

    You said it yourself. Two contradictory positions can not be true. One is false and the other is true. God made a literal man, Adam, just as He says in Genesis 1. God says what he means and he means what he says.

    Many of us who homeschool have requested AIG to warn us of those who compromise Scripture. They are finally doing this and I applaud and support them for it. It is difficult to homeschool as it is. Our resources are limited and I am NOT going to waste money on curriculum written by someone who not only compromises Scripture but goes out of his way to promote his compromised view.

    Good day sir.

    1. jlwile says:

      Patty, Norman Geisler actually says that both are possible. I know, I know – that makes him a compromiser, because there can be only one truth! However, my point still stands. If you want to believe that the word “generation” refers to the people living at that time, it is definitely not the plain and simple reading of the verse. The plain and simple reading is that it is referring to the people He is talking to. Thus, either way, you are not using the plain and simple reading. If you were, you would be a Preterist.

      Actually, I hear about situations like Keith more often than I hear about theistic evolution driving people from the faith. Indeed, I think that is part of the problem with being unwilling to listen to theologies that are different from your own. Such closed-mindedness tends to cause severe crises of faith when someone who believes what you thought was “heresy” makes a lot of good Biblical arguments.

      I agree that there is only one possible truth. Once again, however, I refuse to set myself up as the arbiter of what that truth is. I am willing to listen to other positions. If nothing else, it helps me clarify my own.

      As I have said COUNTLESS times before, I have no problem with AiG pointing out any theological flaws it sees in ANY brother or sister in Christ. However, you don’t do that by leveling false charges and name calling!

  49. Elizabeth says:

    The name “compromiser” may have been appropriate if Enns is trying to make the Bible accountable to science. He blogs for an organization with this as its stated and express purpose for existence.

    If one is trying to make the Bible accountable to science — that could lead people to reasonable conclude that the person’s view of Scripture is “uninspired”

    Regarding you link, Dr. Wile — this author does not present a convincing case that a plain-sense meaning means no 24-hour days. If you read this to a child, what do they think? — There you have the answer — that’s how you can tell the definition of literal/plain-sense.
    Seriously, consider how much “dancing” this writer has to do to get us to understand the “plain-sense” meaning! Morninad and evening means 24 hours. I’ve had in Bible class that “yom” is used differently in other verse and I realize other interpretations are not heresy, but, sorry the plain-sense meaning — a day with a morning and an evening — is 24 hours.

    1. jlwile says:

      Elizabeth, you keep trying to bring BioLogos into this, and it is irrelevant. The issue is whether Dr. Enns is a “compromiser,” and he is clearly not.

      I agree with you that the link doesn’t make as strong a case as the case for a 24-hour day, but his case is not refutable. It is consistent with Scripture. Thus, it is not unBiblical. That is my point. You claim that the Bible CLEARLY says a 24-hour day. He says it CLEARLY does not. There are good arguments on both sides. To ignore that is to simply ignore basic facts.

      If you read Matthew 24 to a child, the child will immediately say that Jesus is talking about the generation of men standing before him. If you read Paul’s letters to a child, the child will understand that women are to wear headcoverings in church, they are to be silent in church, and it is best for Christian men to be eunuchs. Thus, the plain reading of Scripture is not always the correct one.

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