The other day I received a phone call from a rather delightful Orthodox Presbyterian. Mr. Jonathan Orcutt, a Biblical Creationist, called to encourage me, having read some of my comments on Dr. Jay Wile’s bolg site. Mr. Orcutt was most upset over this Great Homeschool Conventions debacle in which Ken Ham has been judged a sinner for naming compromise, and righteously indignant over Dr. Wile’s rosy defense of compromiser Dr. Peter Enns. He also had some concerns regarding Apologia, the company Dr. Wile founded, and their curriculum and I was able to advise him that Dr. Wile is no longer with the company. In fact, Answers in Genesis has come out in support of Apologia since our conversation.
In the course of our conversation, I began wondering how a fellow who calls himself Young Earth Creationist comes to defend the likes of Dr. Enns. I recalled that I had written but neglected to publish an article regarding Dr. Wile’s views on what makes a biblical Christian back when he quit Apologia. The following is a discussion of Dr. Wile’s views, which I term “big tent orthodoxy.”
I have updated it to reflect current developments.
Last year, a lot of people in the Christian homeschool community were discussing Dr Jay Wile’s blog post, I No Longer Work For Apologia Educational Ministries - and with good reason! A lot of us use or have used or intend to use Apologia products. They teach a solid worldview, a good grasp of science from a Biblical Creationist perspective and many of those resources were written by Dr Wile himself, who sold the company back in 2009. So when the former owner of Apologia stated that “I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the new direction Apologia is taking” and “I just cannot support its new direction or the vision of its new owner” and THEN stated that THIS was his given reason for formally resigning from the company he once owned, well, people got all out of joint, to say the least.
I do think Dr Wile found it necessary to make a distinction between himself and the new Apologia, since many folks assume he’s authoring their new stuff as well, and I don’t think he meant to demonize the new owners. Nor will that be the topic of this post. I think he made a sincere public statement out of genuinely held convictions and made it in such a way as to minimize the uproar it would inevitably cause. I’ll stand by that estimation until he proves me wrong.
To elaborate on his objections to Apologia’s worldview curriculum, he stated in one comment that “the works of Dr. Ross would be an opposing viewpoint compared to Apologia products, even my books. Honestly, however, books by C.S. Lewis, Norman Geisler, and Gleason Archer would be opposing viewpoints to the new material being produced by Apologia.”
In another comment, he admits ”I am an Arminianist, but it doesn’t bother me that the owners are Calvinists. What bothers me is the vision. Their vision for how to instill Biblical values in students is simply incompatible with mine. Also, I am a young-earther, but I don’t see that as a necessary interpretation of Genesis.” In an earlier, more comprehensive comment, states:
“…the really troubling aspect of the Apologia worldview curriculum is that based on what it says, the vast majority of evangelicals do not have a Biblical worldview. As I read the text, in order to have a Biblical worldview, you have to be a young-earth Calvinist. There is never any point at which the texts I have read (one that is already published and one in manuscript form) actually say that directly, but if you compile all the things the texts say about what a Christian is supposed to believe, that’s what I come up with.
More importantly, however, there is no discussion about the fact that there are many different kinds of Biblical worldviews among orthodox Christians. Thus, the book that is published and the manuscript of the second book give no indication that there is any other way for Christians believe regarding the issues discussed in the text. This is quite the opposite of what I strove for at Apologia. I believe that we developing thinking Christians who will hold onto their faith by allowing them to explore the faith, think about the various views within the faith, and come up with their own conclusions. That was the goal of my texts, and honestly, I think that’s why students like them so much. I actually give the students credit for being able to think for themselves and come to reasonable conclusions by themselves.
So even though I have specific disagreements regarding the content of the two books I have read, that doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that the books simply do not include any indication that there are other views in orthodox Christianity. Honestly, I think this presents a serious problem for students who begin interacting with other Christians who believe radically different things from what they were taught by their parents. I personally have seen the strife such interactions cause the Body of Christ and the individuals involved, simply because they have not been properly shown the wonderful diversity that exists within the church.”
While Dr Wile’s views on what should constitute Christian education are troubling in and of themselves [The Bible doesn't tell us to teach our kids a wide range of views and let them figure it out; it says to train up a child in the way he should go and, since the Christian is commanded to be ready to give a reasoned defense for the hope within us, I believe we're not only to teach them what they ought to believe but why they ought to believe it.], my chief concern here is his assertation that there are multiple orthodox views on Creation, especially when he includes Old Earth Creationism amongst those views.
It is my contention that Old Earth Creationism is not orthodox. At best, it is heterodox. Dr. Wile contends that both Old Earth and Young Earth Creationism are equally orthodox. In fact, he further objects to my use of the term Biblical Creationist as a proper designation for Young Earth Creationism while all other views should be considered extraBiblical Creationism for their characteristic of imposing extraBiblical ideas like evolution and long ages onto the Text.
Read the rest of this article at DefendingGenesis.org