Monday, May 2, 2011

Question: Homeschool Conventions

This question was originally posted as a comment a while back:
I would like to know more about RTB's inability to get into homeschool conventions. I am aware that Ken Ham and AiG have openly campaigned against old-earth Christians, or those that offer OE materials (such as Sonlight), but I have wondered who else they've managed to exclude. If you could expound on this, and particularly on any conventions at which RTB has been welcomed, I would appreciate it.
For many years, I thought the reason RTB was being excluded from homeschool conventions was because of our position about the age of the earth. I've come to understand more recently that that's not the core issue. I discussed this a couple weeks ago in a previous post ("Redefining Inerrancy").

The way this philosophy then works itself out in the homeschool convention circuit is that the groups who run the meetings seem to see it as their Christian duty to exclude RTB. My speculation is that they consider RTB as representing such a gross level of biblical compromise that we must be excluded for the safety and protection of children. That might be overstating things just a bit, but I think it's pretty close to being accurate.

Think of it as the functional equivalent of disfellowshipping an unrepentant sinner in the local church. Is this done to punish him? No. It's done to hopefully help him understand the error of his ways and urge him toward repentance. Out of Christian love, I actively choose to believe the best about the motives of my young-earth friends, namely that they are acting out love and concern for me, their errant brothers and sisters in Christ. Their goal by excluding us is our repentance, not punishment.

While I am aware of other groups that I believe AiG has succeeded in actively excluding from homeschool conventions, I'm not really at liberty to say. But I doubt it would be too hard to find out such information given the extent of the internet these days.

The state RTB has been most welcomed in is Oklahoma. We have been there for four or five years now. But this came about due to the moral courage of a very small group of individuals and some highly unusual circumstances. There has been much active lobbying to get us out of OK, but as of right now, we're still there. But this needs prayer and support. If anyone is so inclined, please take a moment to write to the good people there at OCHEC and thank them for their support for RTB. Last year we were also in Northern VA, but that convention has now been disbanded. We were also in Witchita last year, but haven't been invited back.


Fatcat said...

It's just so crazy. The whole thing. Why can't we just agree to disagree?

Terri said...

That was my comment to which you responded, so thanks, but I think you are being too charitable to AiG. They don't think of old earth creationists as straying sheep to be brought to repentance, but as pagans (Ken Ham's word). In their view, old earth creationists cannot possibly be Christians. Ken Ham has been very clear on this point in his blog.

Theology Mom said...


Can you point me to a specific blog post where he makes these remarks? I am unfamiliar with this. I'm going by what a very, VERY high up person at AiG has told me personally.

Terri said...

It is in his blog entry about Moody Bible Institute, on March 31, 2011:

"How we need Christian institutions to take a stand against the pagan religion of millions of years (yes, it is a part of the pagan religion of atheism to explain life without God) and stand uncompromisingly on the authority of the Word of God—from the very first verse."

Also, in my original comment you quoted above, I was not asking for gossip about non-RTB vendors; I meant only to ask for information on RTB, i.e., by "other" vendors, I meant non-Sonlight vendors. Sorry for the confusion.

Theology Mom said...

Terri, I didn't take it that way. I just have to be super careful about my public comments. I am only characterizing the situation to err on the side of caution.

I think what AiG leaders might say is that millions of years comes from a pagan worldview, but that Christians who believe in it are simply inconsistent in their worldview beliefs. Not that if you believe in millions of years then you actually ARE a pagan. There's a distinction there.

Terri said...

Certainly there could be a difference, but Ken Ham says that "millions of years" IS a pagan religion. Therefore, anyone who believes in "millions of years" (his shorthand for old earth anything) believes in a pagan religion. I do not see how it could be more clear: if you belive in a pagan religion, are you not a pagan?

I see no reason to tiptoe around Ken Ham or AiG and firmly believe that more Christian leaders should be calling him out. If someone in this debate needs to be brought to repentance, it is Ken Ham.


Theology Mom said...


I think we're in agreement that there is a high need for Christian leaders to call out Ken Ham's bullying behavior. EVEN IF his theology is more accurate than mine, he doesn't need to distort the truth, engage in intimidation tactics or be generally unkind.

That said, there is a very good reason why I try to give Ham and other AiG leaders some amount of charity, even if they don't "deserve" it. God calls us to love our enemies and give them mercy. That's what I'm trying to do: actively choose to believe the best about their motives because after talking to one of their very prominent leaders, he explained that this is their way of loving us out of our theological errors. I don't agree that I'm in error. I think their way of loving me into truth is flawed at best and spiritual bullying at worst. But I want to do everything I can to act lovingly toward them, even if that means I don't call them out on every ounce of their behavior. I've call them out generally. I've named the problem. I've encouraged other Christian leaders to join me. In my mind, that's about all I can do and not turn into a completely angry person. Hope that helps to explain my position a bit more.

Kathryn said...

Just discovered your blog (through a link at and am very happy to find it. My 7-year-old is obsessed with dinosaurs, so for the first time I am having to consider what I really believe about science vs. Genesis. I got a couple of Ken Ham's books from the library, but I was really put off by his condescending attitude and didn't want my son to read them. I am so relieved to find out there are other ways to regard what science tells us in relation to what the Bible tells us. I'll be following your blog and looking into your resources in the months and years ahead. Thank you for what you're doing (and for your gracious and charitable attitude--that's so important in my opinion).