How Ken Ham Just Carried The Entire Jesus Movement Backwards

Unless you were living on another planet, you’re probably aware of the Creation vs. Evolution debate that occurred last night between Ken Ham and Bill Nye at the Creation Museum. I have to admit, I had a lot of fun watching and live-tweeting the event as well as following various commentary on the internet.

This morning the “fun” has worn off and I’m simply left to grapple with the reality of what happened last night: we just let a guy with a BA as his terminal degree and a cool accent carry the entire Jesus movement backwards. And, we let him do it in under two hours. Impressive, but for all the wrong reasons.

Ken Ham lost badly (no shocker there). Even a poll conducted by Christianity Today shows that the scientific explanation won with 92% of the vote.

Ken lost because he didn’t produce scientific evidence to support his opinion. In fact, there were times in the debate where he seemed to spend more time talking about abortion, gay marriage and using the word “hijacked” than any focus on the issue of science. What’s worse, is he admitted that all of his science is based upon something I told you about before: adding up genealogies in Genesis as a method to dating the earth– which is not simply bad science but bad theology also.

The evening was a disaster for Ken. But, what’s more concerning, is that it was a bad evening for us as well– Ken just picked up the Jesus movement and carried it backwards ten steps.

You see, there were probably a lot of people watching last night that aren’t that familiar with what it means to be part of the Jesus movement. With Ken Ham as the “representative” of Christians, it would be reasonable for an outsider to assume that he accurately represented the Christian faith and what it means to be a Jesus follower. As if there weren’t enough barriers to faith already, Ken has just erected new barriers by creating the stage for people to assume that following Jesus means you share his fringe beliefs.

If I were an outsider, I would correctly assume that following Jesus means I must check my brains at the door in regards to science, and that I would need to become politically conservative… in which case, signing onto the Jesus movement would become a “thanks, but no thanks” situation.

This is how we got carried backwards. If you are a Jesus follower, one of your central identities in life is to go out and make other Jesus followers. This isn’t an easy task– it is difficult, can take you on some crazy journeys, and is wrought with barriers.

Thanks to Ken, we now have new barriers to helping people embrace faith in Jesus because we will first have to convince them that his beliefs aren’t simply a misrepresentation of science, they’re a misrepresentation of what it looks like to be a Christian. 

We’re all going to have to work a little harder to tear down the barriers Ken erected last night. We’re going to need to roll up our sleeves, and be willing to get our hands dirty as we articulate to people that being a Jesus follower does not require one become anti-science or politically conservative.

We must, if we desire to carry this Jesus thing forward.

So, thanks, Ken. You just made my job harder and I didn’t even get a pay raise out of it.

 

(* update 5 hrs post publishing: I obviously don’t believe that one person has the power to carry the Jesus movement backwards. This was just a provocative way of saying that having a point-person such as Ham represent the masses, creates barriers and makes our job harder.)

About Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey, is an Anabaptist author, speaker, and blogger. His first book, Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus (Release date, August 2014), tells the story of his journey out of lifeless religion and into a fresh expression of Christianity. He is also a contributor for Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, Evangelicals for Social Action, Mennonite World Review, has been a guest on Huffington Post Live, and is one of the CANA Initiators. Ben is also a syndicated author for MennoNerds, a collective of Mennonite and Anabaptist writers. He is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Theology & Missiology), is currently a Doctor of Missiology/Intercultural Studies student at Fuller Seminary, and is a member of the Phi Alpha Chi Honors Society for biblical scholars. Ben lives in Auburn, Maine with his wife Tracy and his daughter Johanna.

You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


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