Hambo Criticizes a Preacher’s Heresy

We were shocked — shocked! — when we read this post by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. It’s titled Nashville Church: “The Bible Isn’t the Word of God”, and it’s posted at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), Hambo’s creationist ministry. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

[A] self-professed “progressive Christian” church in Nashville, Tennessee, recently shared a graphic that recapped a message, “What is Progressive Christianity?” I’ll show you the graphic below, but here’s the shocking text they included as an introduction to the graphic: “As Progressive Christians, we’re open to the tensions and inconsistencies in the Bible. We know that it can’t live up to impossible, modern standards. We strive to more clearly articulate what Scripture is and isn’t.”

That quote was the “shocking text” that introduced the church’s graphic message. Are you shocked, dear reader? Well, let’s move on to their graphic, which is the next thing in Hambo’s post. We’ll convert it into text. The graphic has two sections. The first says:

THE BIBLE ISN’T The word of God, self-interpreting, a science book, an answer/rule book, inerrant or infallible

And the second section of the graphic says:

THE BIBLE IS A product of community, a library of texts, multi-vocal, a human response to god, living and dynamic

Hambo explains why he found that to be shocking:

Clearly they haven’t read (or, more likely, they refuse to believe) what Scripture says about itself:

He then gives us several quotes from scripture, all of which say that it’s The Truth — for example:

Every word of God proves true. (Proverbs 30:5)

Then he declares:

What this church believes about Scripture is nothing short of heretical [Gasp!] — it’s simply not what Scripture says about itself.

Heresy? This is an outrage! Hambo continues:

In an interview regarding the post, the pastor, Josh Scott, stated: [Hambo quotes the heretical preacher:] There is stuff in there (Bible) that I think really goes against the character of God. There are genocides that have been divinely sanctioned in the Bible. People have used the text in the Bible, in the Bible, plain readings of the text at times to support white supremacy, to defend slavery, to defend segregation . . . Saying the Bible is inerrant and infallible, it absolves us of our responsibility to do what our ancestors did, which is to wrestle.

That preacher makes a few good points. The bible has been used to justify those things. But Hambo is furious. He tells us:

Here is what I would say about this church and pastor: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

Powerful stuff! And he still has more to say. Let’s read on:

It seems this pastor sees his own words, rather than God’s words, as infallible, as he twists, misinterprets, and decimates the truly infallible Word of God. GracePointe Church in Nashville is a Bible-destroying “church.”

Wowie — heavy-duty criticism! And that’s not all. Hambo goes on for several more paragraphs. He even links to an AIG article that claims the bible doesn’t support slavery. We never read that article, but we’ve read the Ten Commandments. One of them says that you shouldn’t covet your neighbor’s manservant or maidservant, or his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Isn’t that about slavery? Additionally, Wikipedia has an article on The Bible and slavery.

There’s more criticism of the Nashville preacher and his church, but this is already long enough so we’ll leave ol’ Hambo, sputtering with rage. Maybe one of these days we’ll see a response from the preacher. That’ll be interesting. Until then, what you think of this mess, dear reader?

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15 responses to “Hambo Criticizes a Preacher’s Heresy

  1. Btw, that list of belongings of your neighbor also mentions a wife.

  2. I like pastor Josh.

  3. Ham doesn’t even attempt to reply to pastor Josh’s comment about the Bible endorsing (indeed, demanding) genocide. The only possible excuse for what is described in the book of Joshua is, that it didn’t really happen

  4. Ken Ham should educate himself on circular reasoning. It doesn’t occur to him that he could be one of the “false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing”.

  5. For example, the proof-text “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for …” does not speak of inerrant truth, but about being “profitable for” certain uses. At most, pragmatism.
    Ax far as the supposed genocide, the whole story of the Exodus from Egypt made have been a fable. The Israelites may have been just one of the tribes which lived there from ancient times. They made up the stories of winning the land in battles.

  6. @TomS: “They made up the stories of winning the land in battles.”
    And with good reasons. Their neighbours were Egypt and Assyria/Babylonia, two superpowers with lots of unwelcome attention for their small country. Then it’s handy to have a kick-ass god at your side.

    @PaulB: the crypto-IDiot WL Craig disagrees with you.

    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/slaughter-of-the-canaanites/

    “Objective moral values do exist.”
    “I have no right to take an innocent life. For me to do so would be murder. But God has no such prohibition.”
    So moral values depend on he question whether Craig’s god holds them or Craig himself – ie who’s the subject.

    “So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.”

    This is why the nazis developed the gas chambers.
    Still I bet Ol’Hambo follows the same line of reasoning.

  7. chris schilling

    “There is stuff in there (Bible) that I think goes against the character of God.”

    No-one knows the “character of God”, except through the lens of biblical interpretation. But we know something of men’s character, and their tendency to bolster their beliefs by claiming divine sanction for them. Yahweh probably evolved out of some Canaanite warrior deity, so it’s not surprising that the Israelites appealed to this god to legitimise what we now call genocide.

    (Fortunately — as PaulB perhaps alludes to, and we now know from archeologists like Finkelstein — these alleged genocides probably never took place).

    Without YEC’s taking the Bible absolutely literally, there’d be no need for biblical apologetics, which would leave a lot of mediocrities, such as Bodie Hodge, somewhat high and dry.

  8. @FrankB: Craig must have heard of Euthyphro’s dilemma. And seems happy to impale himself and anyone who will listen to him on the horn of that dilemma that makes morality subject to God’s whim. As Voltaire (?) said, if you can make people believe absurdities, you can get them to commit atrocities.

    Small point; I squirm when he refers to “Israelis”, a 20th Century term. There is no good reason for him to use it here. He refers to Canaanites, so why not Israelites?

  9. @Paul Braterman
    For sure, everyone has heard of the problem of theodicy, if not Euthyphro.
    Whatever is one’s way of dealing with good and evil, it seems to me that there is the same problem with truth. Is something true because God says it etc.
    And btw on your point about Israelites, I agree that any other term, such as Israeli, is an anachronism.

  10. Dave Luckett

    WLC is perfect divine command theory. His answer to Euthyphro’s dilemma is that it’s good because God does it, or wants it done, no matter your fallible understanding.

    That take is not even as profound as Job’s synthesis, at the end of that book: that goodness doesn’t come into it, as May West remarked. God does as He does, because He’s God, and you’ve got nothing to say about it. It’s not that it is or isn’t good, it’s not that it meets or fails some moral standard that you set. It’s that you have no right to call it. You may have the knowledge of good and evil, but you can’t apply it to God. Calling what He does “good” is simply irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether it’s “good” or not. All that matters is that God does it.

    If that sticks in your craw, welcome to the vast majority.

    All Ham’s scriptural cites can be answered fairly simply: the Bible says repeatedly that the Word of God is true, but the quesion of exactly what in the Bible is the Word of God is not directly or unequivocably stated anywhere. 2 Tim 3:16 is curiously ambivalent: “All scripture (is) God-breathed (and) useful…” The words in brackets are not in the text as we have it. Where do we place the verb? Is Paul saying “All scripture is God-breathed (and) useful…”, or is he saying “All scripture God breathed is useful…” The latter would add fewer words. If that is the preferred reading, which parts of the scripture are God-breathed?

    2 Thess 2:13 has Paul writing that he brought God’s word, but it is quite clear that what Paul meant by “God’s word” was the sacrifice of Jesus, the doctrine of the redemption, and the command to love one another, not every single word of the Hebrew Bible.

    So Ham’s claims about scr\ipture are simply not made out, and that’s before we get to the question of whether it is to be read literally, or what parts of it must be.

    And even that is before we start considering which parts of it are now abrogated. If it’s all God’s word, and if God is constant, as Hebrews 13:8 states, then all the Laws of Moses – every single one of them – are still in force, and strictly orthodox Judaism, plus the Gospels, is the only true religion, only nobody I know of practices it. Not even Ken Ham believes that. Paul the Apostle certainly didn’t – which would be very odd if Paul thought that all scripture was “God-breathed”.

    No, Pastor Josh Scott is right. Ham is wrong. I don’t know anything else about the good Pastor, but I know more about Ham, and I have not even begun describing how wrong he is about practically everything.

  11. @PaulB and DaveL: sure Craig has heard of Eutyphro’s dilemma. His “solution” is even worse: simply calling it a false dilemma.

    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/videos/interviews-panels/what-is-the-euthyphro-dilemma-bobby-conway/

    As for his Divine Command Theory, I suspect that that’s the reason Craig is unpopular among Dutch orthodox protestants. Many of them were in the anti-nazi resistance movement and so DCT reminds them of the Führer Prinzip.
    Plantinga is mentioned in Dutch orthodox protestant newspapers (which promote creacrap ao) way more often. Still the oldest orthodox protestant political party SGP is attracted to white supremacist and authoritarian Thierry Baudet in the same way American fundagelicals accept Donald the Clown. Despite our dear SC’s efforts to associate socialism (whatever that means according to him) with creacrap the latter also in The Netherlands is a social-conservative hobby; I think the keyword is “authoritarianism”.

  12. Ol’Hambo’s site AiG doesn’t analyse topics like Eutyphro’s dilemma and DCT, but these quotes confirm that his thinking is similar to Craig’s:

    “The problem of evil is very real, but it’s not God’s problem.”
    “Others have the false idea that God shouldn’t send anyone to hell because of his love for everyone—no matter how sinful …”
    “God is perfection—the ultimate definition of good. There is nothing else that can even come close to God’s absolute goodness, and nothing to which we can compare him.”
    “God does not compromise justice, so he must punish those who do evil.”
    “Given that genuine morality is not a relative, culture-specific construct, …..”
    “without a divine source of morality, there can be no objective morality ……”

    Unsurprisingly DCT is like Paley’s False Watchmaker Analogy a golden oldie. Apologetics is as dead as Monty Python’s parrot.

  13. Hambo thinks the Bible is true because it says it is. The Waterbabies by Charles Kingsley starts be saying it is all true. Does he believe in water babies, and if not, why does he believe one book and not the other?

  14. @Bwbach
    The Bible does not say what the Bible is, let alone give any defining characteristic.

  15. Jim Roberts

    I take a somewhat simpler take than Hambo does – I think it’s irrelevant whether or not the Bible’s infallible because it’s always and only going to be interpreted by fallible beings.