We don’t usually talk about doctrinal drift within the sciences — it’s kind of an alien category. It certainly does occur, for example the acceptance of plate tectonics, or in biology the increasing awareness of the importance of nearly-neutral genetic drift. There were many people who resisted the concepts, but the inexorable accumulation of data tends to eventually stabilize on a new paradigm. And it’s a good thing! Scientists tend to welcome new ideas, as long as they’re backed up by evidence and are productive in generating new hypotheses.
Religion, though, is a different story. Doctrinal drift is a horror that must be stopped — we must be rigid and unwavering in our fixed beliefs now and forevermore! It seems to be giving Ken Ham nightmares. He has written a lengthy post about all the things Answers in Genesis does to prevent doctrinal drift. It’s a bit amusing, because his entire ministry is the product of a significant doctrinal shift that occurred (after decades of evolution in various sects) in the 1960s. His version of the Christian faith is transient and will change again in the future. All he has to maintain it is authoritarianism.
It seems to me from all I’ve read and observed that within two to three generations of their founding, the majority of Christian institutions move away from their intended beliefs, mission, and purpose. There are many and varied reasons for this, including: employing someone who is great in one area but doesn’t take the right stand in other areas; not having a detailed-enough statement of faith, resulting in it being interpreted in different ways; allowing too much so-called “academic freedom”; using textbooks that compromise God’s Word in many areas; having a weak leader who won’t enforce the right standards; and compromising one’s position for the sake of financial support.
Interesting justification for having a “strong leader” running his show…I’m sure he thinks of himself as the protector of his version of the faith. I wonder who he’s grooming to run the show after his inevitable death? His son-in-law, Bodie Hodge, who seems like an amiable doofus to me? Or Georgia Purdom, who is often mentioned in this document? It’s a bit like Kremlin-watching at this point, and it’s going to be a decision that is definitely important to the future of AiG. It’s something Ken Ham is clearly thinking about.
A few years ago, I considered the future for AiG and recognized we are now getting closer to the next generation leading this ministry in all its various components. I pondered this and thought about how many institutions go off the rails when the founders are gone. I have thought and prayed through what to do at AiG to implement as many levels of protection as possible. Also, I recognize a great responsibility to our supporters. You are a part of the AiG family. You have invested (or may be considering investing) in this ministry financially and in other ways, and it’s important that we steward your investment so it will continue to be used to boldly proclaim and defend the authority of God’s Word and the gospel from the very first verse, as you likely intended.
Wait, what was that earlier bit about
compromising one’s position for the sake of financial support? Keeping donors happy is a major concern for this outfit.
Authoritarian groups have to plan for the succession as much as Roman emperors did. It’s clear that Ken Ham is the Brian Cox of AiG.
He lists the layers of rules that he uses to lock in his interpretation of the Bible.
Statement of Faith
Our Statement of Faith is very detailed, and every full-time employee must sign agreement to and adherence to this statement of faith which is included in our handbook (along with our mission and vision). Each year we require staff to re-sign this document to ensure they haven’t strayed from it in any way.
Is that creepy or what?
Then all their content is screened before publication.
Editorial Review Board (ERB)
The content we teach and disseminate is a key element in all we do at the ministry. To ensure we never waiver in regard to content, I set up the Editorial Review Board (ERB), headed by Dr. Georgia Purdom, who I know has a passion to ensure AiG will never drift in the wrong direction or compromise God’s Word.
Purdom is an unimpressive follower. We’ll have to see where she ends up — it’s often been the case that women end up heading evangelical organizations, but they’re usually rather more ferocious than Purdom. There could be a fanatic lurking under her weird hairdo, though.
AiG Oversight Council
I also set up the AiG Oversight Council chaired by Bodie Hodge, who also has a passion for ensuring the ministry never gets off track.
I find it hard to believe that Bodie Hodge could ever be the iron will behind AiG. He’s too goofy.
Answers Research Journal Editorial Review Committee
Now in its fourteenth year of publication, I have added a layer of protection to ARJ and AiG by the formation of the ARJ Editorial Review Committee. This committee will be chaired by Dr. Terry Mortenson, and members will include Dr. Snelling and all members of AiG’s research department.
Yeesh. Two of the most dull, uncharismatic pseudoscientists in the AiG stable. They’re also old. However, evolution into a gerontocracy is not uncommon, so maybe…
Here’s the bottom line for his explanation of how they will make sure no one drifts from the absolute truth of Young Earth creationism.
Would you prayerfully consider making a generous gift to our core ministry as we get ready for what we believe will be a very busy year ahead? I’m grateful for your partnership with us in ministry—it is vital to our ministry outreaches and their impact in reaching people for Christ!
It’s money. Money money money. What they have now works, and the goal is to make sure the money flows forever.
Unfortunately for them, doctrinal drift, like evolution, is inevitable. Unfortunately for the rest of us, it’s slow. I just hope I live long enough to watch the power struggle.