Yesterday (26th April 2013) the dream team of Ken Ham, Steve Golden, Jeremy Ham, and David Chakranarayan published a discourse on the bibles instructions regarding the judgment of others specifically, its the habit people have of quoting Matthew 7:1 at christians arguing against same sex marriage abortion and any number of other personal freedoms:
"Judge not, that you be not judged"Because of course you cant have christians being held to their own standards right?
In fact the article make some pretty impressive claims:
- That the words of the bible are only wrong when "unbelievers" speak them.
- That anyone who doesn't believe can't point out where AIG are wrong.
- That even christians who dont agree cant point out where AIG are wrong.
- Thats its loving to tell people they are wrong and stand in judgement of them.
- That any judgment you tie back to the gospel makes it the judgement of god so you're not being judgmental really anyway.
- and finally that christians can not be tolerant because they are following the truth of god.
The last one really scares me because it has that crazy kind of absolutist ring to it... If you think I'm already over-reacting go to their article and jump to the end to read their conclusion.
"You cant use that book, thats our book!"They leap right in saying that peoples claims against judging others are:
"...to excuse their actions when they are presented with the gospel and the plight of sinners for rejecting it."Gotta love that, instant dismissal that anyone might have an alternative opinion, different moral values, or just be willing to suspend judgement until more evidence is in.
To be clear the above statement actually refers not just to the claim of with holding judgement, but any and all quotes of bible morality made by a secular thinker.
Thats right - They are starting with the assumption that any time a non-christian reminds a christian of the standards by which that christian claims to live it can be ignored because they are just doing to excuse their own actions.
This is worst kind of argument ad hominem! Following this logic only someone who agrees with them can point out their own hypocrisy. They are basically saying "you have agree that I'm right to tell me I'm wrong" - With an ability to twist logic like that, if Ken Ham wasn't so busy lining his pockets with money from the faithful he'd have a great future in used cars...
Ken says god is not the final judge anyway.Their next step is point out that god is not the final judge anymore, he handed all that responsibility to jesus.
So right there any attempt to say god will judge just shows how ignorant the secularist really is because we all know that god and jesus are two entirely... different... things... err... right?
Judgement means different things and different standards depending on whose being judged!
You'd never judge a christian by the same standards you apply to non-christians right?
Apparently "unbelievers" need to be judged to "know christ", and christians need to be judged to "grow in christ". And apparently that means different kinds of judging. I think...
So you're an unbeliever? Ken has some bad news...According to Ham et al all people have already been judged by god as sinners - sorry it's in the book (actually it says all men but I'm going to assume that Ken is a progressive guy and that he extends this assumption of evil to both genders and anybody finding themselves in the middle somewhere...)
Here we get the thrust of Ken et al's argument: The whole Matthew 7:1-5 is being taken "out of context to support [their] fallacious claims". You know, silly claims like everybody has the right to be in a mutually loving relationship, and you have the right not to die simply because the dead and now septic foetus in your womb still has an autonomous heart beat.
You see apparently Matthew was just saying dont be hypocrites... forget the generally accepted interpretation that you should not attempt to even point out the problems of others until you dealt with your own much bigger problems... Ken and his mates are ready for that too:
"As Christians, we should be living godly lives so that we can first concentrate on our own repentance of sin. Sanctification is a lifelong process of being transformed every day into the image of Christ. Without this, we have no place in helping another brother or sister."
As christians they have accepted that they are sinners and as long as they are repentent, they have dealt with their sins and can now happily settle down to telling others how to live their lives. Even better ONLY those who repent their sins to god and sanctify themselves daily towards the image of christ are even in a position to pass judgement on others.
So just to paraphrase again "you have agree that I'm right to tell me I'm wrong"
I'm sensing a pattern.
So you're christian, Ken still has bad news...Just when you thought Ken was about to let other christians off...
"Now, the ministry of Answers in Genesis acknowledges that there are many Christian pastors and leaders who sincerely have a love for the Lord Jesus Christ. These men have led many to Christ, work diligently with much perseverance for the kingdom of God, and minister to the hurting and sick—all because they have been transformed by the finished work of Christ on the Cross and His Resurrection from the dead. However, just like the rest of us, they are fallible and can fall into error, even regarding the issue of origins."Yup, everything thing you do thats good is because of god... but you're wrong if you dont agree with us!
The authors of this little gem seem totally oblivious as they list multiple biblical examples of gods followers being wrong and only finding out later that the AIG themselves may possibly be wrong.
Ken et al claim in this part of their article that they are being loving to others by attempting to correct their error:
"Are we being loving if we allow our fellow brethren to remain in error and even deceive others? Of course not. Loving others requires that we graciously correct them when they fall into error (Matthew 18; 1 Corinthians 1:11; Galatians 6:1). Those who err do not necessarily know they are in error; they are possibly deceived or ignorant. So we gently and carefully correct the error in regard to teaching, no matter what the situation."Their only concession to the chance that they are capable of making mistakes is to return to the "truth of scripture" as their authority. So the bible, with it's omissions, contradictions, morality plays, parables, allegories, translations and (lets be honest here guys) out right errors - Needs to be taken as the absolute word of god.
Luckily the guys at AIG know exactly how to tell parable and allegory from fact and historical record... although apparently any christians who disagree with them on interpretation dont have that special skill.
So we find ourselves back at that standby attitude "you have agree that I'm right to tell me I'm wrong"
If nothing else they are consistent in their message.
Now they wrap up by saying that as long as they make "righteous judgments so that we can point people to the gospel" then they are being righteous people and following gods word.
Kens conclusion:Quoting the whole "judge not" thing is always out of context according to Ken et al and just shows [you] "are not using sound thinking" which is of course AIG code for "stupid, because you disagree with us". "Sound thinking" or indeed any expression of rationalism is something that the AIG authors seem utterly incapable of in relation to biblical issues.
They go on to say that because they use the gospel to make their judgements from, they are always right and tolerance is impossible. Yes you read it right tolerance is IMPOSSIBLE for a christian - in their own words (not taken out of context):
"Their call for tolerance is impossible because as Christians, we are called to judge righteously, and judging between right and wrong is something we do every day—and it should be a part of biblical discernment in every believer’s thinking. But it is God’s Word that makes the judgment on morality and truth, not our own opinions or theories."There is no point debating people who start from the position that they already know the absolute truth of the universe and any argument or evidence to the contrary is just lies, or misinterpretations. The AIG crowd are either world class scam artists playing on the gullible, or crazy beyond the point where they should be let out unattended (they probably have people from both camps).
These authors leave themselves literally no room for movement, no scope for error or interpretation at all.
If they honestly believe that no rational argument, no logic, no reasoning, no external evidence, indeed nothing their own minds can conceive or undertand should ever override their current interpretation of the gospel, then they are beyond help, and the best we can hope is that they dont ever reach the point where they consider dissenting thought as harmful enough that it requires a physically response - although it seems this point has already been reached if they feel it necessary to put guard with tasers in their "creation museum" to prevent dissent being expressed in the building...