Please note the bottom of this page for a update with footnotes June 12, 2009
Recently I was very ill. I did not know what was wrong, and the doctors still don't, but whatever it was took a toll on my mind, body, and nerves at the peak of affliction. During this time a friend of my oldest daughter give her a series of video tapes by a Creationist named Ken Hovind. The tapes were a combination of lectures with computer generated display of materials. Dr. Hovind makes his presentations to churches all across this nation speaking on this timely topic. Seemingly he keeps the scientific data in this series up to date. The lectures themselves are about as good as any I have seen or heard. He is a good speaker, and he makes his material relevant. He speaks on a level that most laymen can easily understand. I found myself enjoying the tapes very much. Being sick, many nights I would just focus on the tapes and try to forget my malady. In a way, they did help stay my mind on the faithfulness of God. For this I am grateful. However, I found two problems theologically speaking. His doctrine of eternal security, and his apparent hyper Premillennial Dispensationalism. But before I examine these two points, let me say that I do agree with most of his views on the Creation of the world. For me the Bible teaches that God created it and that settles it. I need no other proof. Evolution has no real scientific sustaining proof. A person who calls him or herself a Christian and tries to ride the fence on this issue ought to be ashamed of themselves.
Being a Methodist pastor causes me to be concerned for those that I shepherd and the Church at large. As a Methodist the "world is my parish." I am always on the look out for fallacious doctrines that are taught as if they are absolute in their scriptural foundations. Inspiration and inerrancy are facts. Doctrines such as the creation of man and the world by God are facts. The way of salvation, and His second coming are facts. It is a fact that there is a heaven to be gained and a hell to be shunned. However, both eternal security and hyper Premillennial Dispensationalism are more of the opinions of men then scripture. They are so because the scriptures are not as clear on these points as on those just alluded to above. Lets examine both of these points that Dr. Hovind teaches as if they are equal to the Creation of the world. "Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so he did. And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation." Genesis 6:22-7:1
The verses above are where we must begin. It is during the discussion of the flood that Mr. Hovind makes it very clear what he believes. He says that Noah and his family were eternally secure because God shut the door and dwelled therein with them. This, to him, is an irrefutable proof of eternal security. They were shut in and no harm could come to them. Safe and secure from all the harm and destruction that was being rained down on an evil world around them as they floated on the love of God. On the surface and within the context Dr. Hovind frames it, it does sound right. However, after a careful study of related passages and the context we will find something entirely different. In our investigation of this topic, we first meet Noah in Genesis 5:23. The Bible simply says that "...Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth." This is our first acquaintance with Noah. In the next chapter God explains the problem that sin has brought into His creation. In verse 5of chapter 6 it says that "it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." This is the tragic fruit and effects that sin produced. God made the decision to "destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them." This then is the setting in which we find Noah and his generation. But not all mankind was wicked and deserved this judgement. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Why did he find such grace? Did God chose him in some sort of unconditional way that He refused to give to the rest of the human race? Wesley says of this passage, "This vindicates God's justice in his displeasure against the world and shows that he had examined the character of every person in it, before he pronounced it universally corrupt; for there being one good man he smiled upon him."(1) Noah was that good man. But why did Noah find grace in the sight of God? Adam Clarke sights three reasons as to why Noah found this grace. "1. A just man, (in Hebrew - ish tsaddik) a man who gave to all their due; for this is the ideal meaning of the original word. 2. He was perfect in his generation-he was in all things a consistent character, never departing from the truth in principle or practice. 3. He walked with God-he was not only righteous in his conduct, but he was pious, and had continual communion with God."(2) In other words there is no magic predestination or election here. He simply walked with God as God desired mankind to do from the beginning of creation. Noah met the condition of salvation. He walked with God. Rev. Joseph Benson made still another interesting observation. He said that Noah was "Justified before God by faith in the promised Seed; for he was an Heir of the righteousness which is by faith, Heb. 11:7"(3) This is the same opinion that Wesley expressed years before. Benson also says that Enoch corresponds with Noah who walked with God. "And he walked with God, as Enoch had done before him: in his generation-Even in that corrupt, degenerate age. It is easy to be religious when religion is in fashion; but it is an evidence of strong faith to swim against the stream, and to appear for God when no one else appears before him: so Noah did, and it is upon record to his immortal honour."(4) From this we can definitely conclude that Noah lived his faith in God before that wicked generation. He met the condition of faith and grace. No necromancy here. Noah met the requirements of God-walking with Him and doing His will. He therefore met the condition required for salvation, "walking in the light as He is light." With this in mind, what about the assertion that Dr. Hovind made that God shut them in and that proves eternal security? First, the only people who became eternally anything were the wicked who met their doom at the hands of an angry God. They died and they were eternally secure - separated from God for all eternity. No chance to ever repent. For them there was no turning back. Yet had they joined Noah in building the ark, they too would have been spared this sort of eternal security. They were eternally secure because their doom was sealed and there was no second chance, no coming back to life to repent of their wicked ways. They were once and for all eternally secured, sealed in their immoral fate. Second, God simply spared Noah from this terrible judgement because of Noah's obedience. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Does not God bless those who follow Him? Yes! Though David sinned, he repented and continued to follow Him, and still God blessed him. Noah was secure in the bosom of the ark during God's judgement. He entered the ark trusting God just as he did before he built the ark. His being in the ark was nothing more then his continued obedience, trust, and faith in God. Just as we trust God to bring us through trials, Noah trusted God to bring him through that trial. As God went before Joshua to judge Jericho, Rahab the harlot did what the Jewish spies told her to do and was saved from the tragic fate of Jericho's judgement. She followed their instructions as we follow Christ's. I John says "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." Because Noah walked with God, God spared him from this judgement as he did Rahab from the destruction of Jericho. This principal is repeated over and over in scripture. It in no way proves the doctrine of eternal security that Dr. Hovind thinks it does. But it does prove that God is faithful to those who humbly follow Him. He will even spare a harlot like Rahab who exhibits faith out of fear. Simply put, God takes care of his own. Noah never died, nor entered eternity. No wonder the "Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation." Indeed, because of Noah's obedience to God, He keep him safe from harm like any Father would his child. Therefore, there is no eternal security to be found in this episode except for those who disavowed God. Dr. Hovind's tapes 4 and 5 speak to the fact of how evolution has affected the philosophy our educational systems and governments. He does a great job on explaining how it affected Hitler, the Russian Communist leaders, and the Socialists of our time. There is no doubt that evolution has done more to hinder human development and the spread of the Gospel then any other philosophy. However, because of his views on Premillennial Dispensationalism he chases rabbits and promotes conspiracy theories and at points sensationalizes events which I think weakens the strength of his premise. An example of this is when he alludes to contractors putting wires in the pavement of our interstate highway system. From this he says that the possibility is good that the government can use this to give certain electrical shocks to destroy the electronic systems of most cars, thereby stopping and controlling interstate commerce. He continues as he cites the fact that there are Russian built military trucks here in the United States to be painted. These military trucks are not just any military truck. They are designed to clean up the aftermath of biological warfare. His "cautious or suggestive" conclusion of this is that possibly our government or some others are planning to launch a biological attack to gain control and take away our freedom. He also played on the fears of Y2K. He rocks on and on, applying evolution to all sort of conspiratorial concepts and ideas. This speculating however, makes sense only in the context of the Premillennial Dispensationalism world view of Bible prophecy. The Bible however does not sustain such conjectures. I will not labor this point because of my own personal experience. I too bought into all sorts of conspiracy theories in my younger years of ministry. I believed that Russia would conquer the world. I also believed that a generation was about thirty or forty years, and since Israel became a nation in 1948, that meant that the Lord would return well before now. I believed that Israel would be attacked and destroyed during the Gulf War, thereby ushering in the Great Tribulation. To my shame, none of these events ever happened. I was a firm believer in the Premillennial Dispensational position of Bible prophecy. I used to called people heretics who did not hold to this view. It became a basis for fellowship. Then God moved his hands, touched my eyes, and cured my spiritual blindness. After the Gulf War failed to bring in the Great Tribulation, I reconsidered my experiences and spent many hours studying prophecy. Then the Berlin wall came down, the barbed wire was thrown away, and the Russian people were freed. Finally, came the privilege to walked the streets of Moscow and Kiev many times passing out Gospel literature and preaching. Recently the Russian Duma shifted away from the communists who seemed to gaining some ground. Finally, the Y2K scenario never took place as the prophets of gloom in the news media and Premillennial Dispensationalists had so self righteously predicted. I could cite more events that never came to pass as this group predicted. But that is not necessary. You probably got my point by now. What does the scripture say of our Lord's return? "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." Matt. 24:32 What right do people have to make such predictions in light of the scripture? This passage should make us rethink the rest of Matthew 24. There is another scripture in Matt. 16:18 that says "...and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." If hell can not stop the church, why are my Premillennial Dispensationalists friends insisting that the Church is all but destroyed and gone the way of the world already? Friends, the Lord is speaking and we better heed what He says. He has chosen the Church to take the gospel into the world and bless His holy name. The Church is the bride of Christ, and it is a glorious bride. However, according to our Premillennial Dispensationalists friends, like Brother Hovind, the Church is going to make Christ a very deplorable poor excuse of a Bride. Friends, that is not what God has in mind for His Holy Son. We are the Church, and the glorious Bride of Christ! An English historian by the name of Mr. Hilaire Belloc said this concerning the Church. "The Church is a perpetually defeated thing that always survives her conquerors." Therefore, allow me to include this song that is often song in many Churches around the world. It to bears witness of the truth and power of the Church that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Thronging up the steeps of light,
Clad in glorious, shining garments-
Blood-washed garment pure and white
Do you hear the stirring anthems,
Filling all the earth and sky?
'Tis a grand, victorious army.
Lift its banner up on high!
Never fear the clouds of sorrow;
Never fear the storms of sin,
We shall triumph on the morrow;
Even now our joys begin.
Wave the banner, shout His praises,
For our victory is nigh!
We shall join our conqu'ring Saviour;
We shall reign with Him on high!
'Tis a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb.
'Tis a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Indeed, it is time for people like Brother Hovind to be more responsible in what they teach. The Bible never uses the terms "once saved always saved," "once in grace always in grace," "ye are eternally secure," "once a child of God always a child of God," or even the term "eternal security." It is strange how the Premillennial Dispensationalists insist on the literalness of scripture. But when it comes to eternal security they literally can not find any such term. So they literally spiritualize the terms into reality while denying passages like "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." Galatians 5:4 Here they twist the literal meaning to mean something else. They even deny the literal warnings of scripture when they come to passages in Revelation like 2:11 "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." 2:17 "To him that overcometh I will give..." 2:26 "And he that overcometh, and keepth my works unto the end, ..." 3:5 "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life..." 3:12 "Him that overcometh ..." and 3:21 "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with the Father in his throne." You cannot interpret these warning in any way but literal, which means you better heed if you want eternal life in Christ. Yet the eternal securist and the Premillennial Dispensationalists twist the plain meanings of these verses to mean something totally different in order to defend their error. May we be careful how we handle God's Holy Word. If you would like more information on these topics, please feel free to contact us here at IMARC.
Updated with footnote June 12, 2009
A foot note to this article needs to be attached here in. The following paragraph is copied from WIKIPEDIA. While I understand that there are issues with such a site, it nevertheless gives some general information to what has happened to Ken Hovind since this editorial has been written several years before his arrest. Let it be a warning to all of us to pay our taxes.
In spite of this IMARC will continue to stand with those who believe that God created it all.