Ken Ham v. Bill Nye: If Only Christians Were This Passionate About Helping the Poor…

Ken Ham V Bill Nye

As you’ve probably already heard, churches all over the United States are going to be simulcasting and broadcasting the Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye debate. They’re catering food, converting their sanctuaries into live theatres, and turning the affair into a huge publicity event—but why?

Is it because Christians simply love debating? Whether the topic is about abortion, gay rights, Calvinism, gender roles, politics, or evolution, nothing seems to attract American Christianity’s attention like a doctrinal conflict, especially concerning creationism—the very explanation of our existence.

In many ways Bill Nye is the perfect villain for many Evangelical Christians. He’s a TV star, a scientist, a liberal—representing everything that’s wrong with our secular society.

For many eager and excited Christians that are anticipating this showdown, Ken Ham will victoriously and authoritatively strike down Nye via the righteous truth of Jesus our Lord and Savior—it’s a guaranteed victory, even if the polls or data or anyone suggests otherwise. But what is the real message being broadcast to our world? How does this event reflect on Christianity?

Related: The Thing that is Higher than the Creationism v. Evolution Debate

When non-Christians watch tonight’s debate, I pray that they’ll understand that this is just one man (Ken Ham) who couldn’t possibly represent the complex and diverse and expansive belief system of Christianity that consists of millions of people and includes an infinite number of variances and differences.

And yet the legions of people utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Cable TV, Blogs, and other forms of media may not make such a careful distinction.

Unfortunately, I’ve already seen the descriptive labels that are being used to promote the debate: “Christian vs. Scientist” “Faith vs. Reason” “Creationism vs. Science” along with a litany of other descriptors that paint Christians as illogical and unscientific morons.

ADVERTISEMENT

-------------

Whether I like it or not, my faith is being represented by someone other than myself. I’m guessing that the contest will quickly devolve into a war of words involving both scientific and Christian jargon that will become almost impossible to understand, but for me, the information won’t be nearly as important as the tone by which it’s delivered—and this makes me nervous, because as a Christian, my faith is about to be associated with terms, actions, attitudes, and information that I may—or may not—necessarily agree with.

But this is the world we live in, where our faith is often projected onto huge platforms that we have no control over. In the end, we’re often left to do damage control within our real lives—to the people we interact with daily—because of various “Christian spokespeople” that boldly represent us—whether we want them to or not.

Also by Stephen: 6 Things I Wish Christians Would Stop Doing

Even more disturbing is that while Christians and churches are hyping up tonight’s debate, there’s far more serious problems that are receiving almost no attention: war, violence, poverty, economic inequality, human rights violations,and a variety of other horrible injustices.

Are churches scrambling to have their parishioners attend a fundraiser for the poor? Are they inviting people to donate their time and energy and money towards ending war and literally saving the lives of others? Are they simulcasting the violence in Syria or the famines in Sahel or the millions of people living in poverty-stricken conditions around the world? No, that stuff can wait, because right now we have more important things to do—like watch Ken Ham debate Bill Nye.

I wish it would end there, but it won’t. Because after the debate there will be post-debates, and debates debating the post-debates, and Facebook posts, and hundreds of back-and-forth Twitter wars concerning what Nye said and what Ham said and why this was right and that was wrong. Meanwhile, people will die and wither away, and the church will become distracted by something else. God help us.




Print Friendly

About the Author

Stephen Mattson

Stephen MattsonStephen Mattson has written for Relevant, Sojourners, and The Burnside Writer's Collective. He graduated from the Moody Bible Institute and is currently on staff at University of Northwestern – St. Paul. Follow him on Twitter @mikta and on his personal blog stephenjmattson.comView all posts by Stephen Mattson →

  • Vince

    I can gaurantee there are more Christians today helping the poor, the sick, the defensless, the hurting etc. than will watch this debate.

    • ACB

      Not in the digital age, my friend.

      • Michael Schnibben

        Not a chance … there are 2.2 billion Christians in the world. Do you really think that African Pentecostals, Latin American Catholics, Orthodox believers in Eastern Europe, or Chinese Evangelicals have even heard of either of these men? The reality is that this kind of debate only appeals to American fundamentalists and the liberals who like the chastise them. Outside of that small audience, life goes on.

        • SamHamilton

          Great points.

        • Ed

          Life goes on and we continue to support and vote an economic model that lends benefit to the ruthless and driven in need of ethics courses at the expense of our middle class and working poor who by design are to busy struggling to make ends meet while working the new Wallmart job model so many corporations have adopted for enriching and empowering the well off of society at the expense of the whole thru Capitalustism?

          I would disagree w/the assumption of 2.2 billion Christians in the world as preposterous, as Christians are followers of Christ and his example and teachings of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” and ” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and frankly I don’t see much of anything but self gratification and promotion from all but a few even from inside the temple?

          It’s hard to walk in another’s shoes when ours fit so nicely.

          • Michael Schnibben

            What a strange comment … I fail to see how economic issues are at all relevant to this discussion. For the record, I arrived at the number of 2.2 billion by counting all people on the planet with a valid Trinitarian baptism, which is how I and most Christians past and present determine who is a member of the Church. I make no assertions as to whether all, some, or even most of the these people are “Good Christians.” My only point was that the whole “Science vs. Creationism” debate is a unique fixture of certain subgroups of American Christians and of little concern to the vast majority of professing Christians worldwide.

          • Ed

            Strange as charged Mike yet aside from that and to the point, My response to you was in response to ACB responding to Vince responding to Stephen which I agree can be a little complex for discussion for some?

            So breaking it down from paragraph one, Stephen states churches over the (United States) will be broadcasting the debate. Vince questioned Stephen as to the benefit of this debate and Guarantee Christians are overwhelmingly doing Good rather than self gratifying, self absorbed etc, ACB disagreed as I do but possibly for different reasons? You chimed in w/disagreement to
            ACB responding as I see it to a National statement of Stephen w/Global numbers believable or not ?

            You state your inability to see the relevance of economic issues when Stephen expressed at my count in excess of 1/2 a dozen times important issues that Christians should be concerning themselves w/rather than debating the history of Christ and Politics including yes, poverty and economic inequality?

            Mike did you read the commentary or just intend to impress 14 including Sam w/magnitude of Religious diversity yet reducing the 1 to 3 hundred million Americans claiming either Fundamentalism or liberalism as a small audience?

            Again Stephen was commenting on the broadcasting in America while noting the issues worldwide of greater concern and Not wether they would be tuning in or concerned as was ACB and I presume Vince?

            I personally question anyone who claims Christianity yet disregards Poverty, Inequality both Economic and Social, Oppression, or any issue of which Christ concerned himself with as he walked and lived as a man as irrelevant for discussion?

            Mike prior to responding again? Please read Stephens commentary so as to grasp his concern for economic inequality and poverty etc, etc, in context to this discussion?

          • Michael Schnibben

            Ah … I see where you’re going with this, Ed. Has it ever occurred to you that not every comment is meant to address every issue raised by the article? My original response to ACB was simply a comment to a comment. ACB implied that practically all of Christendom would be tuning in to watch this debate; I merely pointed out how ludicrous this assertion was. This particular thread was concerned with the importance of the evolution / creationism debate to Christianity as a whole, which is why I was puzzled when you brought economic issues into the mix. If you would like to see my thoughts on the specific points Mr. Mattson raises in this article, I will refer you to my comment further down the list.

            You also make the mistake of assuming that 100 to 300 Americans claim either liberalism or fundamentalism … but this is simply untrue. Most American Christians reject the extremes of Biblical literalism and postmodern skepticism, opting for a flexible approach that allows them to leave doctrine unchanged yet still accept the conclusions of modern science. Even if we did assume that all 250 million professing Christians in the United States cared about the evolution / creationism debate, this number would still only be just over 10% of the global Christian population. Since most Christians worldwide do not care about the American Culture Wars or belong to traditions that insist on a literal reading of Scripture, they rightly view their American co-religionists’ fixation on these matters to be provincial and bizarre. Our assumption that non-Americans do and should care about these kinds of debates just shows how myopic and inward-looking American Christianity actually is.

          • Ed

            Mike, your assumption of ACB’s short statement is reaching w/o prior knowlege of his habits i would say? Keep in mind, of the billions of Christians you provide as accurate, how many would you assume have digital capabilities?

            My original intent is and stands similar I believe to Stephens point in the economics matters to All of us as a whole as much or even more than Religion?

            Your obvious intelligence will I hope and pray be used for the good of the Least of these? Blessings

  • 22044

    I’m not terribly interested in this debate.

    • 22044

      Until or unless I see it all over my fb feed…

      :)

    • 22044

      Reflecting on this a bit more, Christians can certainly do both, watch the debate and help others.
      Mr. Mattson, you have a frustrating style of rhetoricizing with broad brush arguments that is present in other posts you’ve written as well.. You probably need to get out more.

    • 22044

      OK, I saw a comment on another blog that about 500K people watched the debate. Doesn’t seem very impressive, if that’s a good number.

  • Michael Schnibben

    It’s quite ironic, isn’t it? The author is incensed by how much publicity is afforded to the likes of Ken Ham … and yet he writes a piece about Ham and his creationist views on a major left-wing Christian website. If Mr. Mattson and like-minded people are angry at the idea that people like Ham are allowed to speak for all Christians, then they should stop publicizing his views. Nothing deprives an obnoxious loudmouth of influence faster than taking away his forum. What people like Mr. Mattson fail to realize is that, by giving a forum to the creationists, they are giving credence to the idea that their views are scientifically and theologically sound. As long as people like Ken Ham are treated as a legitimate scholars and theologians, they will be presumed to be an authority on all matters relating to Christianity. The best course of action is simply to ignore Ken Ham and let him and those like him fade into obscurity.

    That being said, I do take issue with the tone of this piece … as if it is somehow un-Christian to partake in social and theological debate. This is an attitude I find quite frequently here on Red Letter Christians and simply do not understand. What people like Mr. Mattson fail to realize is that the Church does not exist to do good works. Rather, it exists first to proclaim the Gospel of salvation to the sinful and unbelieving world. In order to do so effectively, it must not only have clear and definitive teaching, but also compelling answers to competing religious and secular views. When issues arose within the Early Church, Christians did not simply shrug their shoulders and insist that belief is irrelevant. Instead, they called the great Ecumenical Councils to definitively settle these matters so that the work of evangelization could continue. Insistence on correct doctrine in no way detracts from the Church’s secondary mission to help the poor, hungry, and oppressed since Christians must have the Truth if they are to nourish others in body, mind, and spirit.

    I will finish by saying that I personally see no issue with evolution as a scientific theory. However, I think it would be hard for anyone to deny the evil that has resulted when evolutionary principles have been applied to human society. Thus, it is important to recognize that the creationist movement arose partly as a reaction to these excesses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its primary fault lies not in its misinterpretations of Scripture, but in its failure to distinguish between evolution as scientific fact and evolution as ideological truth.

    • Rich Griffith

      Well stated. Hitler, as well as other perpetrators of genocide, have often used an evolutionary based argument of “the strongest survive” and superior races to kill millions of people. There has been a significant amount of genocide committed both in the name of religion as well as in the name of pseudo-sciences. Could God have used an evolutionary process? Who am I to say no, however, after “millions of years of evolutionary processes”, how come we – as supposedly superior beings (having the ability to use reason and logic) not been able to overcome our own hatred toward each other? This is where sin cannot be denied.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        Original sin is evolutionary and the product of a million raids on a million tribe who didn’t have it.

    • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

      Are you suggesting that Nye/Ham is remotely equivalent to an ecumenical council, fostering real debate?

      • Michael Schnibben

        Not at all … My only point with that comparison was to demonstrate that Christians have never shied away from debate. My central disagreement with this article is that Mr. Mattson seems to set up a false dichotomy: either engage in debate with others over matters of belief or help the poor … as if the two are not interrelated and one pursuit detracts from the other. The simple reality is that beliefs have consequences, and even people with good intentions have the potential to commit extreme acts of evil in the service of false ideals. This is why Christians must never be hesitant to confront error, and why it is imperative for us to do so.

  • Rich Griffith

    Stephens point is moot and just as hypocritical for the sensationalism of his writing itself. There are hundreds of thousands of Christians who do feed the poor, are pained by geopolitical turmoil and are just as heartbroken about the brokenness sin has ravaged our world with. This is the point: Jesus did not come to “make people’s lives better”, he came to bring salvation first. Matthew 6:33 – Of course, we are called to redeem and bring about healing as his Kingdom breaks into this world by his works through us. This article is an oversimplification of deeper problems. These “issues” have only become issues because they are colliding with “tenets of the faith” that are increasingly attacked everyday. For instance, homosexuality is not an issue because Christians began a war cry against homosexuality, rather Christians are in a no win situation: when homosexuality is being celebrated and normalized the choice are be silent and say nothing (therefore denying a moral truth) or speak out about that moral truth (as defined in scripture) and be crucified for it. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. This article is reminiscent of adolescent angst that does not recognize the complexity of the issue. But then again, that’s how you get a lot of followers to read what you write.

    • bluecenterlight

      So why has homosexuality become an issue? It hasn’t been that long ago that homosexuals were not allowed on TV. It is still accepted to violently attack those even perceived as homosexuals, is this an issue you are silent on? To be accepted as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being, does not depend on whether or not you agree with ones behavior. It is the basis of civil society. A society that finds it acceptable to force homosexuals into the closet is not far from persecuting other groups, including Christians. Although I think the church needs a healthy dose of persecution, we don’t do well when we have power and influence. It makes us kinda gross.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        “So why has homosexuality become an issue?”

        Because we lost the battle on contraception. From a Natural Law standpoint, homosexuality is just a special subset of contraception.

        • bluecenterlight

          I think you have lost the battle on creating the illusion that heterosexuals are not sexually broken. I’m assuming that you are Catholic, you also gave up on the exclusion of remarried people. If all sexually broken people are not allowed in church then the pews would be empty. Heteros dawning suit and tie pretending to live up to Gods standards when it comes to sex is an unhealthy spiritual environment. The church needs to be more open about their brokenness.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Better that the pews are empty, than to abandon Christ.

            These aren’t unforgivable sins. But they are sins, and need to be acknowledged as such, not put band-aids like contraception and no fault divorce in to paint lipstick on the pig. And gay marriage is the biggest band-aid yet. Larger ones are coming.

          • bluecenterlight

            Saying I’m sorry, over and over for the same things is not the definition of true repentance, but it is a situation that all Christians find themselves in. We are all equally broken, all in need of His grace and redemption. So what is it about your sin that qualifies you to sit in the pew, yet others who desire to follow Christ are rejected?

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            In Catholicism we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in which we not only say “I’m sorry” but also “What can I do to help me avoid this sin in the future?”. It’s kind of like having our own free spiritual therapist that we can see anytime we want.

            In addition to that, we have the Sacrament of the Eucharist, to keep our minds on trying to remember Christ and live like he did.

            I know plenty of chaste and celibate homosexuals within the Church. I know a lot of married chaste heterosexual couples- who have sex only for the purpose of unity with their spouse and procreation of children (yep, without contraception, which gets in the way of both unity and procreation).

            We’re fewer than we ever have been though, I’ll acknowledge that. And I don’t know *ANYBODY* who didn’t come to this position the hard way- making the mistakes in our own life necessary to understand that the Church’s way is far more wise than society using sexuality to sell beer and poisoning women to make them more sexually available to men.

          • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

            “The Church’s way” for married couples is mostly chastity? Wow … I’ve had lots of dear Catholic friends and have not heard this. Seems rather contradictory to 1 Cor. 7:1-5 …

            It’s rather disingenuous to suggest the only options available to a married couple are chastity or the depravity of modern culture …

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            “The Church’s way” for married couples is mostly chastity?

            The Church’s way for Married Couples is ALL chastity. Even when they are doing the ultimate married act, they are doing so for purposes of unification and procreation, not the mortal sin of Lust. A couple that is basing their marriage on lust and emotion alone, is a couple that will be divorced within 20 years as bodies change and feelings change.

            See John Paul The Great’s Theology of the Body for more information on how this translates to 1 Cor 7 and the modern world

          • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

            If you truly don’t know the difference between the sin of lust and marital mutual desire, we just inhabit different universes. I’ve already been married for 24 years to the same (only one) woman. Desire within a marriage is about as similar to the lust our culture promotes as … well … nothing.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Which is exactly why I say that married couples are called to chastity. The marital mutual desire, is what we Catholics call “Married Chastity”.

            Contraception harms that chastity. Abortion can nearly destroy it.

          • bluecenterlight

            So what is your opinion of Pope Francis if you don’t mind me asking?

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            He’s a faithful Son of the Church who often gets misquoted by the media who will one day wake up to find out the Pope is still Catholic, and by radical traditionalists who will one day wake up to find out they aren’t.

          • Amonite

            Paul explained it best – when we follow Christ our mind loves God’s law, for we are putting on the mind of Christ, but our flesh still struggles and we do what we do not want to do. As we mature we crucify the deeds of the flesh, which is a very long and painful process.

            Conversley, those who love sin in their minds (approve of it, embrace it, revel in it, have no shame in it, etc) cannot be part of the kingdom of God, for they serve two masters.

            Nothing keeps someone struggling with homosexuality from sitting in the pew, but if he openly embraces/approves of homosexuality then he/she is directly rebelling against God and the law of grace.

            I have known several struggling homosexuals in the church. It’s an addiction that functions like alcoholism – so once engaged in one may suffer cravings their whole life. Some of them have very powerful testimonies, as it is very much a testimony of God’s grace and forgiveness.

            Those who say the church must approve of and embrace sin, however, do not understand salvation (Which is Christ covering our impossible debt of sin, which all men have). It is not our works that get us into the kingdom, it is believing on Christ as Lord and Master and letting Him free us from our slavery/love of sin.

          • bluecenterlight

            The problem with your argument is that if willful disobedience disqualifies us from the kingdom then we are all disqualified. Though we don’t like to admit it we are willfully disobedient to God everyday, in many ways. We revel in sin that we don’t even recognize as sin. But that is where misinterpretation of scripture steps in. We look at Romans 1 and say homosexuality and idolatry are bad, and we stop there. It also says envy and gossip and disobedience to parents are in the same category, but that is still not Paul’s point. His point is Romans 2

            “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things( Do, not did, not use to do. You do these things).2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

            Instead of brokenness being the thing that binds us all, the thing we all have in common, the thing that we could never fix on our own, but God in his grace covers our nakedness and gives us dignity, picks us up when we fall. We take that same grace and despise those around us as though we were the author of our own righteousness. You can say that is not what the church does, but ask the world and you will get a different opinion. So we can believe our own press, or we can repent. If those who we are trying to save believe we are assholes, doubling down pretty much insures they will never follow Christ. Saying everything is cool then is not a solution, if everything is cool then no one needs a savior. Admitting to the homosexual community that I am just as broken as you, that God does not approve of my sexuality either, and it just so happens I appear to just have been born this way. But he has gone to great lengths to show his love for me, that even my sin cannot stand in the way of. That if we put our trust in Him, He will change us into our better selves. It is a long journey, but people need to feel welcome to start, welcome to fail, just welcome.

          • Amonite

            While willful disobedience certainly harms our progress in maturity, that is not what I am talking about. Most of us have sins that we won’t even notice for years, or are initially resistant. We also have sins that we may never even realize are sins.

            However, those who rush into sin/love it/embrace it, that is, who see no NEED for God, are still in bondage to sin. That isn’t just willful disobedience, it’s outright rebellion and rejection of Christ’s sacrifice.

            All of us struggle – with sexual imorality, with idolatry, with adultry, with homosexuality, with coveting and stealing, with greed, with drunkeness, with slandering others, with cheating, with perjury – etc.

            The difference is, in Christ, we no longer have our identity in sin. We are not drunkards, homosexuals, theives, etc. Rather, we are followers of Christ, putting on His mind (That hates sin) and being transformed. It’s a continual process of trials, stumbling, repentance, and the building of faith as God refines us, but we are not who we once were.

            You are very correct that our brokenness binds us together. Those who are forgiven much, love much. We were all born into sin (though you are incorrect on the science, no one is “born” homosexual), and as such from birth we all need a Savior.

            We do not tell Christ “Oh I’ll accept your death from these sins, but don’t bother covering XYZ because I don’t see those as sins”. That would be setting oneself up as God and the arbiter of right and wrong.

            Lastly, love is sacrificial and esteems others before self, and it also rejoices with the truth. Lying to others and telling them that they are ok living in sin (like the Corinthian man sleeping with his step-mother) is wrong. It’s even more wrong when we equate tolerance for sin with love. Jesus did not tolerate sin (hence why he went through the temple with a whip!), but He did reach out to sinners and the lost, for those were the ones He came to save.

          • bluecenterlight

            I cannot be wrong on the science of homosexuality because science does not know what causes it. So at best one can only be agnostic on the subject. What causes me to form my opinion(not claiming to be fact) is conversations I have had with homosexuals. I remember the first time I saw the iconic Farrah Fawcett poster of her in a bathing suit, I was around 5 or 6 and recalling that it made me feel “funny”. I had no idea why or any idea what sex was. I grew up surrounded by woman, son of a single mother, I wasn’t modeling observed male behavior, it was just innate. I have heard that same story from too many homosexuals to conclude that it is learned behavior. What changed my mind on the subject was God bringing to my attention an article about intersex children. One in ever 1500-2000 births are intersex, meaning they are born with both or confused genitalia. That is not an insignificant number of people. People who the church simply do not address. In the simplistic narrative that God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve, the thought that God has created some people to be both Adam and Eve causes the religious mind to short circuit, so it is simply ignored. What I believe that God showed me from that article is that if a people can be born with physically confused it is not a stretch to believe that desires can be confused. Just as I had no control over wanting to hump the sofa over Farrah Fawcett, I’m sure there was a 6 year old boy who somewhere who felt the same about Steve Austin,damn, just realized I am old. Having said all of that, I am also old enough, and introspective enough to know that even though I can marry a woman, and have, and failed. I am no where close to being in line with God when it comes to sexuality. In fact sex is a concession, Paul held up celibacy as the ideal. Who among us is not a little freaked out about eternity being sexless? It is proof that we all are childish when it comes to sex. If it is true that we were all born wrong, then it is impossible to get sex right, not without God, and most certainly not without grace. Even the most righteous among us get it wrong. Sex and money the two things that destroy marriages. It is refreshing to have a civil give and take on the subject. Oh how the world would be a better place if we could do that in all things.

          • Amonite

            Jesus heals our brokenness. No one (except maybe cults like Westboro Baptist) is forbidding homosexuals from entering the kingdom of God and coming to church. And you are correct that every christian struggles with sin (you are incorrect that churches never address this – they frequently do, often with sermons, outside classes, men/women’s groups, support groups, etc). However, those who revel in sin and are still slaves to it cannot be part of the kingdom of God. Rather, those of the kingdom of God are putting on the mind of Christ and crucifying the desires of their flesh.

            Addictions are powerful and hard to break (alcoholism, homosexuality, pornography, gossip, etc) – but they can all be submitted to God, and when we stumble we can repent and fall at the feet of Jesus. It’s not our struggle with sin, but the LOVE of sin that is the problem for those who wish to be a follower of Christ but continue in slavery to sin.

          • bluecenterlight

            Well put. I think every church would look at themselves individually and say they are welcoming to homosexuals, although they do not necessarily go out of their way to invite them they would not turn them away (except the southern baptists, and Westboro as you pointed out). But since our endeavor to win the culture war, to you think homosexuals see the church as a welcoming place? We have decided that it is our responsibility to force the world around us to live like Christians, a war that I do not believe God is in. The apostle Paul said in 1 Cor “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?” A stance the American church has rejected outright. Alcoholism and pornography are my “thorns in the flesh”, both of which God has granted me victory over but it was a long road. I see in AA a vision for what the church can and should be. A place where hiding your short comings is considered part of your disease. The only requirement for membership is a willingness to quit drinking. Some people will experience freedom, some will struggle the rest of their life, but all are welcome. If a wretch like myself can sit in the church in quiet shame for 30 years (which is what lead to my addictions) then God’s grace applies to all. The only requirement for church membership is a desire to follow Christ, where ever you are at in that journey, with what ever success or failure, you are my brother/sister, that includes homosexuals.

          • Amonite

            It is very important to share the gospel with the message that it is for all, and that (as Jesus said) it’s those who are sick who need the doctor. People that are righteous in their own eyes will not see the need for a savior.

            The church also cannot promote or condone sin. This also affects the gospel message (your sin is fine = no need for a savior, no subjection to a just God).

            Church groups often go to one of the extremes – either harsh condemnation of people as sinners (when everyone is a sinner), judging the outside world and attempting to win people by changing behavior (which can’t be done), and unloving acts and words that make people afraid to even confess shortcomings – or the other extreme of embracing the sin, hiding what the Bible says about sin, condoning and promoting it, encouraging the brethren not to promote good morals in society, etc.

            Lot was very troubled by the society he lived in, we should also be troubled by the world and promote the good and vote for just laws. However, we make disciples of Christ by sharing the gospel – not by stopping behaviors. Our motives need to be love, thankfulness for God’s mercy, and a desire to bring others in to the kingdom of God -> not hatred or unforgiveness.

          • Traci

            Homosexuality is not an addiction. It’s an orientation. If homosexuality is an addiction, so is heterosexuality.

    • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

      Actually, no Rich. Jesus’ own words for why he came sound an awful lot like “making people’s lives better.”

      “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
      because he has anointed me
      to proclaim good news to the poor.
      He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
      and recovering of sight to the blind,
      to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
      to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

      Luke 4:18-19

      • 22044

        Without having Jesus’s other words interpret that passage, that’s a prooftext and leaves your proposal wanting.

      • Amonite

        The “good news” is that everyone can be freed from their debt of sin and escape hell because the *Messiah has come*. The Messiah is the anointed one, Shiloh, one who is sent. The captives were captives to sin (The Jews thought He meant literal captives and was going to overthrow Rome, hence why they rejected Him). The blind were those who could not see the light of Christ (remember how he got after the pharisees for being blind though they thought they could see?) And the year of the Lord’s Favor was the year of the Messiah’s coming!

        Certainly, he did physical miracles as part of his ministry to show proof of who He was- but that was not the deepest meaning of Luke 4:18-19

    • Ed

      Really Rich? Our pastor said recently to my surprise the economy doesn’t matter similar to your statement here of Jesus didn’t come to “make peoples lives better” and I will repeat the Letters in Red from Matthew 25:40 “And the King answered them saying “Inasmuch as you did to the least of these you have done unto me” Jesus was a Champion of the poor and downtrodden, He saw the world in his likeness. He would never have supported the few over the majority saying again in Red the widow w/her two mites gave more than the rich men?

      I believe Christ cares more of fairness and souls than limiting ones economic equality because of their sexual orientation from birth? I do agree these articles as the topic are complex but do need to be addressed to bring us in rather than divide us thru bigotry and prejudice? This is my commandment that ye Love one another that your joy may be full.
      I believe one another to be “All Mankind”? Even those with whom we have disagreement?

  • Frank

    What a small view of Jesus and the church you have. Pity.

  • bluecenterlight

    Why is it the 6,000 year old earth guy? Really?

    • unimackpass

      Wont those guys every go away?

  • bob

    Unfortunetly this website reflects Christianity in way that does not represent me. Get over it

  • Drew

    I respectfully have a problem with your article. How do you know these other issues are receiving “almost no attention”? I know plenty of people in my church and my area that are passionate about the poor AND were interested in the debate. Not only that, but your description of catered food and a publicity event seems to be extremely exaggerated. I know of several churches who were offering to simulcast the event, and none of them had catered food or a big hoopla. They were simply opening up their church for people to come together and watch.
    Also your argument seems very narrow-minded. Are we supposed to do nothing else but champion these social issues and abandon everything else? Are we not supposed to study God and His Word, study beliefs that differ from ours, and be able to relate to people who may have questions about these issues? It sounds like you would have us stick our heads in the sand and avoid any kind of learning, exploration, or expansion of our minds and experiences. (By the way, that is one thing Christians are condemned for by the secular world. We are ignorant sheep, following a pastor or leader without taking the time to learn for ourselves.) If you are so concerned that Ken Hamm doesn’t speak for you (which I don’t believe he claims to do), then why not watch the debate, compare it to scripture, and see where you might differ. Then, when a non-Christian brings it up and lumps you in with “everyone else” you can intelligently discuss the issue. Paul, probably the greatest missionary ever, taught us to be able to relate to all kinds of different groups of people. Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t represent me, but I know enough about them that I can answer someone why I think God doesn’t hate gays, and why I think that church doesn’t follow the God of the Bible when they protest and offend.
    Finally, to many people, this is a huge issue. With creationism you have a loving God who personally made mankind to have a relationship with them. With evolution you have either no God, or a God who kick-started a random process and let it develop for a couple billion years (theistic evolution). Doesn’t sound very personal. Doesn’t sound like a God who cares about individual people who He wants to bring back to Himself. For me, I want to follow a God who cares about people specifically and individually because He created every one with a purpose. When I know that, I can more effectively serve the poor or reach out to those who are different than me. They are not just suffering people, but they are personal creations of a loving God who wants me to help them in whatever way I can.

  • SamHamilton

    I didn’t take time out from my life to watch this debate. I don’t know that any of my Christian friends did either. In fact, the only people I know who watched are the people on more progressive Christian blogs who’ve written about how wrong Ham is. I wouldn’t even be aware this debate was taking place beforehand aside from the fact that it was mentioned on a progressive Christian blog.

  • Pat Wesolowski

    I, too, find it ironic that this person took his time to write this article, and is expecting us to take our time to read his article, when that means we are using time we could better be using on more important issues (in his opinion) and he used his time on an issue that he’s denigrating when he could be using his time on a more important issue. Hm……….

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      What an apt comment, Pat!

      • 22044

        Bravo and thank you, Pat & Ginny!

    • jeff y

      it was a rather short article, compared to a hours long debate. also, I don’t think his call to arms is completely ridiculous. I can see your point though, I guess. IT seems to be a matter of degree is what he is talking about, not that there should never be a debate about evolution, etc.

  • unimackpass

    What disturbs me is that this is put as faith against modern science or the bible against modern science and its easy, all to easy, to for modern science to win this battle. I became a Christian partly through studding evolution in collage and realizing the how awesome the universe is. Now we have this? Oh please. I’ve bin talking people that grew up in church that are leaving “the faith” over such things because its bin framed in a all or nothing choice. When they find out there are plenty of Christians out there that believe in evolution without having any less faith in the bible they are quite relieved to put it mildly. Please stop this nonsense.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      bin should be been.

      Other than that, yes. Fides Et Ratio.

    • Amonite

      How so? Bill Nye used several mis-truths to represent himself, which his audience swallowed as true because most of them don’t double check. He actually -disproved- his own personal theory by the repeated claim that if a single fossils was found in the wrong layer, evolution would fall apart. (Hint: Most every fossil can also be found in layers they should not be in. Many fossils also straddle two layers, which evolutionists agree must be due to rapid burial. The evolutionists came up with the idea of index fossils (fossils -frequently- found in specific layers) to get around this problem, but even index fossils are often found in the wrong layers (just not as commonly). That isn’t even to get into his misunderstanding of the geologic column as actually observed on earth.

      He also used the ‘fish with legs’ which has long since been debunked. Not only is it a fish with fins (not leg like in the slightest), but walking animals appeared 20 million years before it by the evolutionary timeline.

      And no, I was never relieved by my college teachers telling me to “reconcile my faith with science” while simultaneously telling my that it was “crazy” and a scientist would have to be a “crackpot” to actually -test- any claim of evolution, as it was so “obviously true”. It was actually the anti-science, anti-critical thinking mentality of my grade school teachers that turned me onto there being something vastly wrong with evolution. (But then, my 3rd grade teacher holding me after class, breaking into tears, and begging me not to ask questions on the theory lest she be fired had a lot to do with it. It was the first lecture on evolution I had heard, and all I’d asked was where the matter that turned into animals came from/where the matter in the sky came from). Other teachers still taught from hoaxes or out-of-date material, and testing/questions were always discouraged (except one science teacher in 8th grade who taught it as a theory (not fact) and pushed testing and experimentation.

      My sixth grade school (a private school) taught both creation and evolution, prioritized critical thinking, and taught us how to look up studies and analyze them for their rigor and what they meant. There was a lecture by Ken Ham around that time I attended, and he emphasized not jumping to conclusions on findings but waiting until the data was replicated, and also making sure one did not make assumptions beyong the data.

      So in more recent years, where it seems every two years a new “missing link” or “common ancestor” is proposed (Dallosaur, Ida, Archaeopteryx, Ardi, etc) I don’t hold my breath. It’s not long before they are found to just be part of a species already known, and often in the wrong timeframe for evolutionary predictions (oddly enough, the media is much better at promoting the missing links then telling people they are no longer relevant). Or, as evolutionist Esteban Sarmentio said of Ardi, claims were “unfounded, not borne out by data, or were premature”.

      In fact, evolution after the scopes trial was perpetuated by a hoax and a pig’s tooth for 40+ years. And that keeps happening! Most of the claims on Ardi were made off the two skeleton’s teeth alone. Despite observations -not- matching predictions or being misinterpretations, they simply make a new prediction while continuing to believe the theory true. (And simultaneously ignoring all the predictions creationism has made that have been observed). The big bang is similar, the theory having been rewritten 14+ times, all while assuming itself true, when data does not match its prediction. (How many people know that it was not the -existence- of background radiation alone that would show a big bang, but rather background radiation at a specific level? The level found was far too low to match any prediction prior for the big bang, and in fact *disproved* all the then current models. Yet, what is disseminated by the media and surface scientists like Bill Nye is that it was the “existence” alone of background radiation that proved the big bang. That’s bad science anyway you look at it).

  • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

    You are helping all the other subversive submergent phonies to lead those among us, who neglect to engage their brains to read the Bible for themselves, away from the Truth which is Jesus. Your lies about true believers in Jesus are despicable, disturbing, diabolical and destructive, among many other aptly descriptive d words.

  • nokoryous

    The scathing topic of your title seems to actually be true. The church cares a great deal about the poor.

    It is not necessary to criticize every other practice of Christians because it is not this one thing called charity. The charity of Jesus was a faith-centric philosophy that he passed on to his believers under the authority that he was the actual Son of God, a truth that is inherently bound to the validity of the scriptures that established and foretold the Messiah and allotted his credibility. Ham and Nye are debating about truth, which is relevant right down to whether or not Christians ought to live by the benevolent teachings of someone they believed to be more than a socially attuned philosopher.

    “Are churches scrambling to have their parishioners attend a fundraiser for the poor?” The questions you’re asking in this paragraph, at least in my experience, are affirmative (I’m participating in an annual church-sponsored fundraiser for the poor a month from now in my own congregation.) You need not be so upset, the changes that you’re desperately seeking have already come about.

  • justreading

    Well said. I was thinking the same thing.

  • Josh

    Why don’t you read 1 and 2Corinthians in regards to how diverse our beliefs should be. As far as your headline… why, instead of bashing Ken Ham, a crusader, and others like him (me) why don’t you take your thoughts as a writer to the general public? Why not have a secular blog and try to reach “the lost” on their own turf? Oh… I see, that’s not entertaining enough for website traffic, eh?

  • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

    Great comments, Stephen. The caricatures that are Ham and Nye do a pretty poor job of representing the diversity of either “camp” they represent.

    • Drew

      Dan, I don’t know about Bill Nye, but Ken Hamm doesn’t claim to represent any group of people. He repeatedly claims to represent a belief system – young earth creationism. He knows that not every Christian subscribes to his interpretation, just as not every evolutionist would agree 100% with Mr. Nye I’m sure. He believes in a literal translation of Genesis 1. That is the framework from which springs his Creation Museum, and his scientific interpretations. You may not agree with him, but I will say this to his credit. He clearly gave the gospel 2-3 times in his remarks. As Christians, that should be worth applauding no matter what you believe about the origins of life.

  • wjgreen314

    “There’s far more serious problems that are receiving almost no attention: war, violence, poverty, economic inequality, human rights violations, and a variety of other horrible injustices.”

    Were you limiting this comment only to the American church or to all of America? If the latter then please daily consult drudgereport dot com. He has links almost daily to articles written about the very topics you mention. I consult them often as I hope you and others here do.

  • Kasandrick

    I’m just wondering if you were able to watch the debate and saw when Ken Ham unapologetically used his time as an opportunity to share the gospel message? He’s fighting the ‘good fight’, which is not against ‘flesh and blood’ and I can get behind that.

  • Kay

    Just wondering if you were able to watch the debate and see Ken Ham use some of his time to share the gospel message. That’s a ‘good fight’ – and not against ‘flesh and blood’. I can get behind that. My family and I are passionate about the poor and suffering – every day. This was a special event that got special attention. I pray people can see through the hoopla and support fellow ministries that ultimately have the same goal – saving souls (love) and giving the glory to God.

  • Candice

    This article makes a great point. I am saddened that the comments below continue the spirit of diviseness lamented here. If this whole community will join together for good, and not tear each other down, we can make the kingdom come. Love our neighbors. Our neighbors are online; they are in the comments; they are all around us. Blessings to all. What happens when two or more are gathered? Who is right here among us? Were we not asked to stay away from divisive arguments? “Bless and do not curse.” Much love and blessings. I hope everyone has a great week. Stay safe and warm.

  • Goldie but goodie

    If only the atheists and scientists were this passionate about helping the poor, but then again a man can do nothing unless it is given to him by God. Remember God came to help those poor in Spirit. Without The Spirit of God, no one helps the poor. Evil people are of no help. Only God is good. Get what good you can do from Him.

  • Kesh

    Throughout the Bible it tells of a story where Gods followers should be helping the poor needy and oppressed. According to the Old Testament God hates our worship if we ignore the poor and needy.
    Jesus himselfs talks about it in Acts they do it.
    We all should do more to follow Christ and help the poor. The Catholic nuns and priests are pretty good at it. Those who shy away from Rome.

×

TRENDING: Noah: Who are the Watchers and Why the Panic? >>

Read previous post:
Do You Know Him
Do You Know Him?

FEB 4, 2014 | BY: GREG DILL -- Do YOU know Him? I mean REALLY know Him. Not the gospel...

Close