Several years ago, Ken Ham co-wrote Already Gone, a book that documented that Sunday School is not providing a solid theological grounding for American Christian youth. Already Compromised, co-written with Greg Hall and Britt Beemer, is a logical sequel examining Christian Colleges and their impact on American Christians in their teens and twenties.
For the book, Beemer (who runs ARG, America's Research Group) interviewed 312 Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Science Department heads, and Theology Department heads from universities in the Council for Christian Colleges (the majority) and Universities and to universities affiliated with a Protestant or Catholic denomination (89 of the 312). They asked both general and specific questions about the universities' faithfulness to the foundational truths of the Old and New Testaments.
While there was broad agreement on the foundational truths of the New Testament, when it came to the Old Testament - specifically Genesis - there was far less agreement. Just as one example, many affirmed that Noah's Flood was worldwide--but admitted upon further questioning that, by "worldwide," they only meant the region of the world known in Noah's Day.
The research is thorough and convincing, but the conclusions could have gone farther. The authors still work from the assumption that Christian teenagers will go off to Christian college, despite disturbing evidence that Christian Universities in the United States, from the (now) Ivy League schools through today, almost universally are on the slow path to compromise. Also, of concern to homeschooling parents who believe that God has entrusted parents with the responsibility to train their children, the authors also affirm the validity of the Christian school model.
The book isn't quite as strong as it could be, but aside from those reservations, it is an incredibly valuable resource for parents with children nearing or in high-school years.
Disclosure of Material Connection (FTC 16 CFR, Part 255): Review copy provided by publisher. A positive review was not required; opinions expressed are those of the site editor.
How do Christian colleges stack up when it comes to teaching Biblical truths? How many actually teach what the Bible says? What impact does this have on those entering and leaving Christian colleges? Ken Ham, Greg Hall and research data from Britt Beemer give the facts in the book Already Compromised.
With the passing of time, I'm getting very close to having a student that will be looking at attending college. I really can't keep burying my head in the sand. I requested to review this book from New Leaf Publishing and they graciously sent me a copy.
Many know who Ken Ham is (and many may know who Greg Hall is as well- I didn't) and his affiliation with Answers in Genesis. The philosophy behind AiG is that if you can't believe, and have faith in, the first book of the Bible (in its entirety- as written) then you will have trouble with the remainder of the Bible as well. That is why when researching Christian colleges many of the questions were dealing with belief and teachings about and from the first book of the Bible. Of course, there are other questions that veer from the book of Genesis (such as "do you believe the Bible is literally true?" and "what does your institution teach about the Bible?") but it is interspersed throughout the book. Personally, I felt it â€˜got old' that they kept coming back to the "young earth/old earth" debate BUT I understand that it is something that is important to distinguish.
I did like a statement made by Ken Ham on page 129 in chapter 8 (The High Stakes of Good Thinking: The Age of the Earth):
I am sometimes belittled and cut down by professors at "respected" Christian universities because I don't have the academic credentials that some of these people do. They think that because they have the credentials, they have the truth. They say, "How dare Ken Ham question us, because he is not trained in biblical languages; he didn't go to Bible college; he didn't go to seminary; etc." In some ways I'm glad that I don't have those credentials, because I might have ended up like some of them: compromising the truth clearly laid forth by Scripture in the midst of a bunch of academic mumble jumble created to accommodate secular scientific ideas.
I agree that it seems that much of the debate about Christianity is because the â€˜educated' are â€˜in the know'. And the only ones. He goes on to say:
Or worse than that, they might actually believe that since they teach it, that makes it trueâ€”that they are the ones who actually determine the truth.
There is a chapter geared toward college students- chapter 10- that gives many scriptures and advice to help students stay true to their beliefs. The final chapter- chapter 11- calls for unity but not as it has been requested by many:
We are often told we should be concentrating on our unity in Christ alone. The accusations usually sound like this: "Only Christ should matter and those elements of the gospel message essential for salvationâ€”and differing interpretations in Genesis should be acceptable and tolerated.
But this view ignores a larger questionâ€”can we separate the centrality of Christ from the authority of [God's] Word? Surely we should agree that our unity should be centered around Christ. After all, it is only through faith in Jesus Christ that one can be saved_If the Word of God is not an authoritative document, then how can we know that the message of Jesus and the gospel is reliable?
Well, it was a lot to read (not that it is a large book but it is full of numbers and statistics) and take in. But it definitely made me think.
I received this book from New Leaf Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way.
There is certainly an ongoing movement to belittle and phase out any influence of Christianity from society through multiple forms of method. If anyone denies this fact they are either not a Christian or they are deceived. I make no apologies in that last statement, of course people like Ken Ham and Dr. Greg Hall won't be making any apologies for their stance and findings either I would imagine.
In Already Compromised Ken Ham, the Founder of Answers in Genesis, and Dr. Greg Hall reveal a surprising survey taken from the leading representatives of several Christian based Colleges and Universities. In this survey they have uncovered conflicting answers, denial of the authority of scripture, support of evolution, and other unfortunate responses from some of the heads of these Christian based institutions.
What I really liked about this book is that Ken Ham and Dr. Greg Hall not only present a problematic situation with proven statistics and facts, but also provide a solution for the problem as well. I like this quality a lot, because I have read several books which have presented a problem to its readers, but their authors didn't give a very strong solution to their presented problem; if any solution at all_ The one thing I didn't like is that certain information was repeated a little too much, but I assume this was to constantly remind the reader of the seriousness behind the survey. Overall I thought this was a great book as it was disturbingly educational and it also had a good provision of scripture in support. If you have read the previous book Already Gone, you'll definitely want to read Already Compromised too. If you have not read Already Gone, I'd still recommend this especially if you are a student or parent.
Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by New Leaf Publishing, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by New Leaf Publishing to write a positive review. This review is the personal, written opinion of Ben Umnus. This disclaimer is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
How much tuition does it cost to undermine the faith of a Christian college student? When a college claims to be Christian, you would expect it to adhere to the teachings of the Bible: not necessarily so.
This book presents the conclusions of a professional poll of Christian university presidents, vice-presidents and deans. The numbers are revealing: the historicity of the first 11 chapters of the Bible is widely doubted in the upper echelons of "Christian" higher education.
The survey focused on beliefs (or lack thereof) in Biblical inerrancy, literal six-day creation, and a global flood. The results were varied, even among members of the administration at the same school. Remarkably, science deans tended to hold to Biblical inerrancy more than the deans of the schools of theology.
Statistics. Lots and lots of them, so much so that the point is far over-supported. The first several chapters were tedious to wade through, and I love numbers! The rest of the book, however, is imminently practical with advice for parents and college-bound students.
The final appeal to unity is earnest, and also ironic. "Unity" is often the banner flown to encourage compromise. Instead, the authors provoke the church to a unity around the inerrancy and centrality of God's Word.
Here is a list of colleges that subscribe to Biblical inerrancy, a young earth, and a global flood: http://www.answersingenesis.org/colleges/.
In their recent book Already Compromised, authors Ken Ham and Greg Hall sound a warning call to parents enrolling their children at Christian colleges around the country. Why the alarm? As it turns out, not every Christian academic shares Ham's view on creation and Earth history. Presumably, students and parents alike opt for Christian higher education to avoid the influence of 'secularism' (i.e. evolution and 'millions of years'), but what "they don't know," according to Ham, "is that, like the secular schools they wish to avoid...a growing number of the Christian schools they attend are...Already Compromised" (p. 8).
The book begins with a rather simple overview that chronicles the transition of Ivy League seminaries in America to secularized universities. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouthâ€”all began as modest institutions designed to raise up ministers in the Puritan and Protestant traditions. But to meet the demands of a growing and diversifying economy, and preserve their stature as major beacons to American intellectuals, these universities adopted principles of academicâ€”and hence religiousâ€”freedom in their curriculum. Mr. Ham is correct about one thing: it is mildly disheartening to see the spiritual foundations of our university system blurred in a fog of relativism. But if schools such as Harvard had maintained the narrow disciplinary focus and guidelines that Ham envisions, they would not today be known to us as Harvard, etc., but as 'that little old seminary in Massachusetts'.
Regardless of how one thinks the Ivy League schools should have responded to intellectual movements of the past 400 years, we can still ask whether Christian colleges today should follow a similar path. Ken Ham thinks not. In fact, he believes the transition has already begun, and that it's time to take a stand. Ham and Hall polled 312 faculty/administration from ostensibly Christian institutions to assess 'how bad' the situation really is. "Christian colleges took a test on the state of their faith," reads the subtitle, "and the results are in!" If you read the back cover, you might expect the results to be "revealing and shocking!"
But if you've paid any attention to the origins debate in recent years, then prepare to be utterly unsurprised.
Not far into the book, I felt that I was reading inside of an echo chamber (allow me to explain!). Years ago, I became interested in the field of textual criticism, which seeks to reconstruct the original text of the Bible using variant manuscripts. Most Christians ignore the issue of textual criticism, or see it as unfruitful. Others, however, are disturbed that we can't know with 100% certainty the original words of Scripture, and even repulsed by the idea of a 'critical text'. This sort of skepticism in Christianity is fertile ground for what is called the King James Version Only movement. Reacting to what they perceive as a threat to the authority of God's word, KJV Onlyists have posited that God inspired an English translation of the biblical text for our day and age. Which version is that? Well, the 1611 King James Authorized Version, of course!
After the King James Version of the Bible has been dogmatically defined as the standard for God's word, rational discourse effectively comes to a halt. Likewise, Ken Ham and Greg Hall have dogmatically defined their own version of Earth history as the final standard for a 'biblical worldview'. So this poll is not so much about understanding the diversity in Christian opinion as it is exposing educators that would dare disagree with Ken Ham or Answers in Genesis.
Contributing to my frustration is the manner in which Ham crafted the poll and mishandles the results. Question 8 asks, for example, "Do you believe the Bible is literally true?" In reality, any answer to this poorly worded question will die the death of a thousand qualifications. But Ham comments (p. 22): "83 percent said that they believe Genesis 1 and 2 are literally true. But when we asked whether they believe God created in six literal days, only 59.6 percent answered yes. That means about 23 percent are either confused, wrong, or just haven't thought this through."
Ken's fiat declaration that a literal reading of Genesis requires a 24-hour day, young-Earth modelâ€”though well intentionedâ€”is but an artifact of his own hubris. These results merely imply that respondents do not agree with Ken on what the 'literal' reading of Genesis isâ€”not that they are confused or "wrong"! Nonetheless, he continues (p. 34): "nearly four in five who adhere to an old-earth theory believe the Bible is literally true. Keep in mind these two concepts are polar opposites." Like those who limit God's word to a 17th-century translation of the former, Ken has limited the meaning of God's word to his own interpretation, and then acts surprised to find that not everyone follows his line of reasoning.
The authors spend the rest of the book explicating rather uninteresting poll results, defining their own worldview, and belittling various Christian professors for taking a 'compromising' stance on Genesis. In the appendix, Mr. Ham paints misleading caricatures of his opponents with selective quotes. Most unfortunate, in my opinion, was his treatment of John Walton, whose work on the ancient literary world of the Pentateuch has been widely appreciated by students of the Old Testamentâ€”but apparently not by Ken Ham, who had much difficulty articulating Walton's viewpoint on Genesis.
To top things off, guest authors Terry Mortenson and Bodie Hodge refute the Documentary Hypothesis by calling it 'liberal' and overlooking the past century of research. Don't get me wrongâ€”I'm not an outright proponent of the DH (certainly not the classic formulation by Wellhausen). But the authors' superficial treatment here only caused me to better appreciate the most recent work in higher criticism, which has articulated far better, ironically, the unity of the Pentateuch.
On the bright side, this book is an easy read (I finished it in less than 2 days while taking 7 pages of notes), and contains real data from polls of faculty/administration at Christian colleges around the country. Despite my frustrations above, this book is not devoid of meaningful discussion. I particularly enjoyed reading about the widely varied poll responses from the President/Vice-President of each institution. Lastly, if nothing else, this book will help you understand the young-Earth approach to polemics and ecumenism in the church today. For that reason, I must give it at least two stars.
If you regularly use Answers in Genesis as a science/faith resource, you will enjoy this book. My hope, however, is that you will find it in yourself to think critically through this work, and consider that Mr. Ham and Dr. Hall may have overstated the case.