I Was Wrong

On February 4th at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, Ken Ham and Bill Nye debated the question, Is creation a viable model of origins?
On February 4th at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, Ken Ham and Bill Nye debated the question, Is creation a viable model of origins?

The day after the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, I gave you my general impressions of how it went. One of the things I said was:

Will this debate change any minds? I doubt it, because each debater never really addressed the other’s contentions.

Fairly quickly, a commenter told me that I was wrong about that particular thought. In fact, the commenter wrote:

While I agree with most of what you said, I disagree with this statement… “Will this debate change any minds? I doubt it, because each debater never really addressed the other’s contentions.”

Ham presented the full Gospel, at least twice. God’s word does not return void. This debate will surely change some minds.

Well, it turns out that the commenter was right, and I was wrong. We now know that at least one person did change his mind as a result of the debate. An Answers in Genesis staff member reports:

A friend from Maine related to us that his family was praying for a young man, Kyle, who was having a hard time trying to reconcile science with faith. The family had witnessed to him many times and invited him to watch the [Nye] debate, which he did. Afterward, a friend was able to get him into the Scriptures, and Kyle finally repented and received Christ.
When asked what part the debate played in him finally receiving Christ, Kyle’s friend replied, ‘If anyone actually won the debate, it was Ken Ham. [Ken’s use of] the orchard model of species (versus the evolutionary tree) impressed him in particular, but that it was a greater trust in the Bible that helped him receive Christ.

As the commenter alluded to, Isaiah 55:11 tells us:

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

I obviously forgot that verse, and as a result, I was clearly wrong. I am so glad that I was!

15 thoughts on “I Was Wrong”

  1. Mr. Wile, I love your heart and I rejoice that you were wrong on this! I’ve never thought debates were for the purpose of changing the debatee’s minds. It’s to change the listeners minds…and in this case their hearts.

    I still think you rock. 🙂

  2. It takes a big person to admit they are wrong. Thank you for being transparent. I have a lot of respect for you and was disappointed with your initial view.

  3. I’m so glad you’re a brother in Christ. I really like your work and your blogs. There’s something really Spiritual in exalting Christ. It’s great too to see you humbling yourself before God and acknowledging God’s work in and through another of God’s workers. May God bless both you and Ken Ham and bring even closer ties and collaboration between you two.

  4. My dear friend, I have long trusted that in addition to being a man passionate about what you believe, articulate in your presentation, and fearless in firmly stating your (often controversial) opinions, that you were also a humble man, not given easily to pridefulness, and willing to admit error. Here, to your credit and to the glory of our Abba Father, you have done just that.

    Not many will do this. You, Jay, are always generous in your replies, gracious in your wording, showing the love of Christ to those who say things which are better left unsaid. I am not trying to give you a swelled head! I’m merely blessed by your admission or error.

    And praise God for another soul He has saved! For Kyle, and for however many others had seeds planted, may God receive the glory!

  5. Dr. Wile,
    I too, like your commenter, had God’s promise of His Word not returning void on my mind after the debate. It was just about the only positive aspect I could attribute to the debate, as there were no zingers thrown by either speaker. Br. Ham was able to get the gospel presented thoroughly and clearly and PRAISE THE LORD–it reached at least one person’s heart!!

    I wish Mr. Ham had taken his introductory statement time to present some of the awesome truths that show the Bible can be trusted as God’s Word instead of trying to redefine terms that really didn’t seem to hold much weight to the debate.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. I am not as sanguine as you about the debate. By yoking one particular understanding of Genesis 1-3 to the Gospel, I fear Ham pushes more people away from Christ than he attracts.

    1. Brad, Ken Ham is very clear to say that being a young-earth creationist is not a salvation issue. Now I agree that he presents his view as the only Scripture-honoring interpretation, and I think that is incorrect. Nevertheless, I don’t see him “yoking” his understanding of Genesis to the Gospel.

  7. Thank you for your reply. You are right to point out that Ken Ham does not quite make his understanding of Genesis a salvation issue, but I do think it is fair to say he yokes it to the Gospel.

    As he himself writes on his webpage,

    “Compromising on Genesis is a gospel issue…It is a gospel issue because to believe in millions of years, evolution, or both is to blame God for death and evil in the world instead of blaming our sin in Adam.”

    Christians are often seen by the public as ignorant, irrational and judgmental. Numerous polls and everyday experience confirms this. I think Ken Ham reinforces this percepton.

    I think the debate was not constructive. The culture war orientation the debate does not glorify Christ.

  8. I think the tone of my comment may sound too accusatory. I don’t intend it to be. It is a wonderful thing if people come to know Christ through the debate.

    And just to clarify, when I say “Numerous polls and everyday experience confirms this,” I mean they confirm that much of the general public has this perception of Christians.

    1. Thanks for your reply, Brad. I agree that Ham thinks that young-earth creationism is the only correct way to interpret the Bible. As a result, he doesn’t see how evolution or “millions of years” is consistent with the Gospel. However, he doesn’t yoke it to the Gospel, because he constantly says it is not a salvation issue.

      I think Ken Ham only reinforces the idea that Christians are ignorant, irrational, and judgmental to those who are ignorant of his work. I am not a huge Ken Ham fan, as a quick perusal of this blog will show. However, his writings make it quite clearly that he is not ignorant or irrational. As for judgmental, lots of Christians reinforce that perception. Indeed, I could read your view of the debate as being judgmental.

      The debate was clearly constructive, as it led at least one person to Christ. I saw it as constructive on other fronts as well, as my initial post on the debate indicates.

  9. It’s worth pointing out that just because people think something of us, it does not mean that it is actually true … For example, the early Christians were thought to be cannibals and traitors to the state. People thought that black people were not as clever — some still do, as ‘The Bell Jar’ book and the discussions around it demonstrate. Fear of being misunderstood or labelled should not make us adopt ideas which are not valid.

  10. Dr Wile,
    I personally think you would have done a MUCH better job debating Bill Nye than Ken Ham.

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