At the end of the video blog, I called Frank Turek a heretic because he was clearly going against what God said about when and how he made the universe and everything in it. Some of the people who saw my video blog did not like the fact that I called Frank Turek a heretic, so I made a written blog post in August titled Does Denying Young Earth Creationism Make Someone A Heretic? to explain how exactly Frank Turek was a heretic.
Recently, Andy Stanley, a mega-church pastor, said that the Bible was impossible to defend from beginning to end in terms of its historical and origins claims, and that we should just focus on the New Testament and Jesus' resurrection from the dead. After Andy Stanley was challenged on that by Russell Moore, Frank Turek decided to write an article on his ministry's website defending Andy Stanley's arguments.
In order to understand how Frank Turek is sliding further into apostasy by defending Andy Stanley, we need to understand what Andy Stanley's arguments are, and what's wrong with them.
After we understand what is wrong with Andy Stanley's arguments, then we can focus on Frank Turek's defense of Andy Stanley's arguments, and what is wrong with Frank Turek's defense.
Andy Stanley Condemns Defending The Old Testament Via Apologetics
Andy Stanley was recently interviewed by Russell Moore at the 2016 Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission National Conference about his approach to reaching unbelievers. You can watch the whole interview here:
While I was watching the video to see if Andy Stanley would say the things that CMI claims he said in his sermon series, I eventually saw Andy Stanley say this from the 19:24-20:33 marks of the video:
"It's not what the Bible says that's the issue; it's what else the Bible says. And again, when you're dealing with secular people, as soon as you say 'the Bible...', everybody now knows the problems with the Bible. And when I say 'problems', I mean the culture's view of the Bible. In terms of six-day creation, there's no geological evidence of a worldwide flood, there's no evidence for the exodus, there's all kinds of things that people can poke at, poke at, poke at. And when they in their mind can discredit parts, it discredits the whole. The problem is we send too many kids off to college thinking the same way. So they get to a freshman English class or literature class, and somebody pokes holes in the Old Testament, and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down, but the foundation of our faith isn't the Bible; the foundation of our faith is an event, the Resurrection, and I think in our preaching, it's easy, when you develop the habit, to take every single sermon, every single sermon, and weave it back ultimately to Jesus and ultimately to the resurrection because once you've settled the question of who is Jesus based on the Resurrection, everything unfolds from there, from the beginning of the Bible all the way to an end. It's just an approach."
So as we can see from the quote above, Andy Stanley says that the Bible is not the foundation for our faith because there are problems with the Old Testament's historical claims, mainly that there is no evidence for events like the flood of Noah, the Exodus from Egypt, and the creation of the Earth and Universe in six 24-hour days. Andy Stanley then calls the Bible a fragile house of cards that's just waiting to topple if someone thinks that they need to defend the truthfulness of scripture from Genesis 1:1 to the end.
Andy Stanley tries to get around defending his argument by saying that these problems he listed are things that the secular culture considers to be problems, which implies that Andy Stanley doesn't think they're actual problems with the Bible, but in his sermon The Bible Told Me So from his Who Needs God series, Andy Stanley said the following from the 8:36-11:06 marks:
"Why are Christians so afraid? Why are Christians so fearful? Why are we not the most curious people, and scientifically curious people in the world? And I'll tell you why: It's because you were raised in a culture, like I was raised in, and it was all-or-nothing. If anything proves that something in the Bible isn't actually absolutely, historically, scientifically reliable, uh oh! The whole thing comes tumbling down because this version of Christianity is a house of cards, and all you have to do is pull out one card, and the whole thing comes tumbling down. Christianity becomes a fragile house of cards that comes tumbling down when we discover that perhaps the walls of Jericho didn't; when we discover or we're told that perhaps there was no exodus from Egypt to the promised land, and there's no historical evidence of that; when we're told in school and graduate school that there's no evidence for a world-wide flood; when people point out apparent contradictions in the Bible; when in school we're told that there's no way the Earth is 6,000 years old, it's four and a half or 4.55 billion years old, and the universe is 14 and a half billion years old, and all of a sudden the tension is around 'the Bible says, the Bible says, the Bible says...' and 'Science has said, science has said...", and all of a sudden there's this extraordinary, extraordinary tension.
If the entire Bible isn't true, then let's be honest: The Bible isn't true! I mean if the whole thing isn't true, because you grew up and I grew up, and you grew up in a church in the united states that's basically 'The Bible says it; that settles it! The Bible says it; that settles it!' Then we grow up, we become adults, we become aware of things that make us wonder if everything in the Bible is true. And when we conclude or we come to the conclusion that maybe it's not all as true as we were told it was true, then Christianity comes tumbling down. Christians feel, your parents felt, your pastor felt, perhaps you still feel, the pressure to defend the Bible because if you don't defend the Bible, you can't defend Christianity. This puts the Bible in the center of the debate; this puts the spotlight on the Bible. This puts the Bible in a place where if we can't defend everything in it, then everything in it goes away. And the good news is that is very unfortunate; the great news is, that is absolutely necessary."
Having watched the entire sermon, Andy Stanley does not at any point state that the problems with the Bible he listed are mere objections that unbelievers make up to justify their unbelief, which leads to the conclusion that Andy Stanley really believes that there are problems in the Old Testament that are impossible to defend using apologetics. I don't have time to go into all the evidence behind Andy Stanley's claims because I want to get to Frank Turek's defense as quickly as possible, so I am simply going to show how lazy Andy Stanley was in his research.
I'm not an archaeologist, but I've studied enough about Biblical Archaeology to know that Andy Stanley is dead wrong when he claimed that there is no evidence that the walls of Jericho fell down like the Bible says they did. If Andy Stanley had taken the time to look up "Archaeological Evidence of The Bible" on YouTube, he would have found this Charlie Campbell presentation at Calvary San Diego from back in 2013:
While Campbell goes through many different archaeological evidences that support both the Old and New Testaments, we see Campbell give the archaeological evidence for the walls of Jericho falling down from the 10:45-13:57 marks of the video. Now it took me literally a few seconds to find this video on YouTube; am I really supposed to believe that Andy Stanley doesn't have the time or resources to check out any apologetics materials regarding the walls of Jericho before he goes off into a sermon to say that there is no evidence for the walls of Jericho falling down?
Andy Stanley then says that there is no historical evidence of an exodus from Egypt like Moses describes in the book of Exodus. Aside from the fact that Exodus reads exactly like a typical historical document, and aside from the fact that I could simply tell Andy Stanley that there's a recent documentary on Netflix called Patterns of Evidence: Exodus that aims to provide a bunch of evidence that the Exodus really happened (I haven't found the time to watch the documentary, but my friends who have tell me it's really good), I would like to point out that Jesus himself says that the Exodus happened:
John 6:29-33: "Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'
So they asked him, 'What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: "He gave them bread from heaven to eat."'
Jesus said to them, 'Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.'"
As we can see from this passage, Jesus is being challenged by his Jewish audience to perform a miracle in order for them to believe his claims about himself, which we know from the rest of the gospels that they rejected all such evidence that Jesus provided, but in this particular instance, they appealed to the account of the manna and quail in Exodus 16 as a sign they would supposedly accept. After Jesus pointed out to them that it was God the Father who had given them the manna from Heaven and not Moses, Jesus says that the Father gives the true bread of heaven, which gives life to the world.
How does this show that Jesus claims that the Exodus happened? Well, most people consider the Exodus to be comprised of not only the Israelites' departure from Egypt and crossing of the Red Sea, but also the 40 years that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness before arriving at the promised land. Since the manna and Quail incident in Exodus 16 took place during the 40 years in the wilderness, and since Jesus treated that particular account as a historical event by pointing out to his listeners that God had given the Israelites the bread instead of Moses, it's not hard to imagine that Jesus would have treated the rest of the events in the Exodus any differently (In my book Another Inconvenient Truth and in my upcoming presentation at the Institute for Creation Science, I point out a number of hard-to-believe Old Testament miracle accounts that Jesus treated as historical facts).
As far as there being no evidence for a world-wide flood, we have yet another instance of Andy Stanly not doing his homework at all. Aside from all the work that Young Earth Creationist ministries have been doing over the decades providing evidence for the Flood of Noah via presentations, videos, and written articles, I myself stepped into the fray last year when I wrote The Flood of Noah is a Historical Fact, an article that showed physical evidence, historical evidence, and Jesus' statements about the Flood that show that the flood of Noah was global.
As far as supposed contradictions in the Bible go, It's hard to tell what Andy Stanley's position on that is since he said so little, but for the sake of responding point by point, I invite the readers to read my old blog post The Historicity of Jesus Christ, The Gospels, and The New Testament to see what kind of contradictions we're talking about, and how easy it is to refute most of them.
When it comes to Andy Stanley's claim that there is no evidence that the Earth and universe are 6,000 years old like a plain reading of scripture tells us, this might be the greatest example of Andy Stanley not doing his homework. In my post Just How Old Is The Earth & Universe?, I showed how I got a 6,000 year-old Earth and Universe using just the Bible, and in the previously mentioned
Does Denying Young Earth Creationism Make Someone A Heretic?, I showed exactly how Jesus endorsed the Young Earth Creationism timeline in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. I also gave some evidence from science that supports the YEC timeline in the following video blog from 2015:
It might seem like I'm not really addressing Andy Stanley's objections by simply giving links to my previous materials, but my purpose in showing my previous materials is to show that I put in the homework that I needed to do before I went off creating my materials, and to show that it isn't that difficult or time-consuming to do the research. Since he is the pastor of a church, Andy Stanley has no excuse for not doing his homework.
Frank Turek's defense of Andy Stanley
Since I watched all of Andy Stanley's The Bible Told Me So sermon, I saw him promote Frank Turek's book, call Turek his friend, and use some of Turek's arguments to prove the truthfulness of the New Testament; I'm not really surprised that Frank Turek would come to Andy Stanley's defense after the Russell Moore interview. In his article Why Andy Stanley Is Right About The Foundation of Christianity and How To Defend It, Frank Turek said the following:
"Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am a friend of Andy Stanley, and he’s used and recommended my book in his current apologetics sermon series. I do not personally know Russell Moore but do appreciate much of his work. I’ve tried to be fair in the following assessment. I’ll leave it to you to decide if I’ve succeeded."
While I appreciate Frank Turek's honesty about his bias, we're going to see the heresies that Frank Turek commits in his blind defense of Andy Stanley. Let's start with this gem:
"First, one can’t even understand the Bible (or any communication) without first understanding truths from outside the Bible—aspects of the natural revelation such as philosophy, logic, and consistent cause and effect. In other words, in order to get anything out of the Bible, you need principles or keys of interpretation from outside the Bible to access it, much like you need your keys to unlock your house to get anything out of it. Without keys of interpretation from the outside, we would never be able to unlock the Bible to learn what’s in it. While we often take those keys of interpretation for granted, we get them from the book of nature and the principles of human communication including language and grammar."
When I first read this paragraph, I couldn't believe what Frank Turek said. There are two ideas that Frank Turek is communicating in this paragraph; the first one is that Frank Turek says that there are objective truths that exist outside of the Biblical worldview. Excuse me Frank, but have you forgotten about what Paul wrote in Colossians 2?!
Colossians 2:1-5: "I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is."
Notice what Paul said in verses 2-4, which is that all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom are hidden in Jesus, which ultimately means that there is no such thing as objective truths that exist outside of the Biblical worldview. Paul even explains in the very next sentence that the reason he's telling his readers this is because he doesn't want them to be deceived by fine-sounding arguments, especially arguments that come from a gifted speaker like Frank Turek
The second point that Frank Turek made in that paragraph above is that we need to use these so-called objective truths that exist outside of the Biblical worldview to reinterpret what we read in the Bible. Frank Turek explains this in more detail in the following paragraph in his article:
"Sometimes we even use what we learn from nature or philosophy to overrule what appears to be the clear reading of Scripture. The rotation of the earth around the sun is one such example. Another is the immaterial nature of God. We use the book of nature and the principles of human communication to realize that the Bible uses observational language to describe nature (sun rising and setting) and metaphors to describe God’s attributes (He has eyes, arms, legs, etc.)."
This paragraph really doesn't surprise me because in his original video on the age of the universe that I responded to, Frank Turek said that the reason he believed that the universe and Earth were billions of years old was because he believed that the laws of physics have never changed; in other words, he took his "we use what we learn from nature and philosophy to overrule what appears to be the clear reading of scripture" attitude that he lays out here, and he applied it to the Bible's clear 6,000-year-old Earth and universe timeline. Frank Turek shows by this action that he has no reverence for God in his heart, and that he rejects scripture as being his final authority.
As I read through Frank Turek's article, I came across the part where he addresses what Andy Stanley had to say about the problems with the Bible, and in trying to defend Andy Stanley's arguments that I dissected in the previous section, Frank Turek makes three claims that are completely contrary to the Biblical worldview. Let's look at each one:
"Let me sum up this important point in another way. The ontological foundation of Christianity is not a collection of ancient writings we call the Bible. The ontological foundation of Christianity is the reality of God and the historicity of the biblical events including the Resurrection of Christ. (In fact, the New Testament wouldn’t exist unless the Resurrection occurred.) So while we need all of the Bible to more fully understand God and live the Christian life, we don’t need all the Bible to understand its most important message—the Gospel.
Seriously, Frank Turek?! We don't need all of the Bible to fully understand the Gospel message of salvation? What about what Jesus told his disciples when he appeared to them in Luke 24?
Luke 24:44-49: "He said to them, 'This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.'
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, 'This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.'”
As we can see from above, Jesus told his disciples that virtually the entire Old Testament wrote about him, and then he tells them that the Gospel message of salvation is based on what the Old Testament scriptures say; Jesus is clearly teaching that you can't fully understand the Gospel message of salvation without understanding the Old Testament, which means that you need all of the Bible to fully understand the gospel message of salvation.
Is Frank Turek even aware that he's contradicting the words of the one he claims to follow? Does he even care?
That was Andy’s reason for saying, “Let’s get the spotlight off the Bible, and back on the Resurrection.” Not for believers, but for unbelievers. Namely, when unbelievers doubt certain stories in the Bible (such as Noah or Jonah), focus on the evidence that the Resurrection actually occurred so they don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and dismiss the Gospel.
What Frank Turek is saying here is that if unbelievers bring objections to certain historical claims in the Old Testament such as Noah and the Flood or Jonah and the Whale, what we should do is sweep those objections under the rug, not deal with them, and instead focus on the historical evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus (and ultimately the New Testament). There are two problems with this:
1) Not dealing with objections to claims in the Old Testament is not an option because Jesus taught in John 3:12 that if we can't trust the Bible when it makes historical and scientific claims, then we can't trust the gospel message of salvation (you can see the more detailed examination of John 3:12 in my recent materials). This means that it is mandatory for Apologists to defend the historical claims in the Old Testament. Because of this, the way that guys like Ken Ham, Thomas Kindell, or JD Mitchell respond to objections like this is they will usually provide evidence supporting the historical claim of the Old Testament in particular before turning the conversation back to the Gospel. This way, they deal with the objection without forgetting to tell the unbeliever what they really need to know.
2) By dismissing the objections to historical claims in the the Old Testament without dealing with them and only focusing on the Resurrection and the New Testament, Frank Turek is creating a New-Testament-Only version of Christianity, and this version of Christianity is a false religion that destroys people's faith in God because they tend to view the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament as being radically different gods; the God of the Old Testament is all about the wrath, and the God of the New Testament is all about the Love in this version of Christianity.
One of my best friends was a nominal Christian for a long time before he walked away from religion, but before he did, he was a NT-Only Christian, and he used to always talk with me and my parents about why God seemed so different in the Old and New Testaments. I think that his NT-Only Christianity may have played a part in him walking away from the faith. So when Frank Turek promotes NT-Only Christianity when he says that we shouldn't deal with the unbeliever's objections to historical claims in the Old Testament, it makes me upset because Frank Turek should know better as an apologist. There's no excuse for him.
That’s Andy’s approach because many in our culture believe that if you doubt one story in the Bible you can’t believe any of it. Andy’s apologetic approach defuses that erroneous belief and for good reason. Believing in Noah and Jonah are not essential to your salvation, but believing in the Resurrection is!"
Well Frank Turek, the reason that so many people in our culture believe that you can't believe in any of the Bible if you doubt one story in the Bible is because Jesus himself taught the concept! In John 3:12, Jesus taught that if you can't trust the Bible when it makes historical and scientific claims, then you can't trust Gospel message of Salvation; this same Jesus went on in his ministry to teach that Noah and Jonah are historical facts, so it turns out that believing in Noah and Jonah ACTUALLY IS essential to your salvation, every bit as much as the Resurrection is. You seem to have a nasty habit of directly contradicting the words of the Jesus that you claim to submit to, and in this particular case, you're saying that what Jesus taught in John 3:12 is an erroneous belief.
So as we bring things to a close, we can see that while Andy Stanley raises objections against the historical claims of the Old Testament, and while he calls the Bible a fragile house of cards, he's also a man who doesn't do his own homework on apologetics topics like this, and he blindly believes what his friend, apologist Frank Turek, tells him about the Bible. This is a problem for Andy Stanley because Frank Turek is a heretic and false teacher.
How is Frank Turek a Heretic? Well, aside from the fact that he rejects the Young Earth Creationism timeline that we get from the Bible (as I documented in my original video blog about Frank Turek), Frank Turek believes in additional heresies: He teaches that objective truths exist outside of the Biblical worldview, that these objective truths outside of the Biblical worldview must be used to reinterpret the Bible, that we don't need all of the Bible to understand the Gospel message of salvation, that we shouldn't focus on defending the historical claims of the Old Testament, and that Jesus was wrong in John 3:12 when Jesus said that if we can't trust the Bible on historical and scientific claims, then we can't trust the gospel message of salvation.
To those of you who didn't like it when I called Frank Turek a heretic in my original video blog about him, I have to ask: how many heresies does Frank Turek need to commit before you acknowledge that he's a heretic? Just in this blog post alone, I have documented six serious heresies that Frank Turek is committing, and of those six heresies, five of them directly contradict the words of Jesus.
Let that sink in for a moment. If 83 percent of the heresies that Frank Turek commits directly contradicts the words of Jesus, is Frank Turek really a follower of Jesus?
Frank Turek used to be my favorite apologist back when I was an Old Earth Creationist, but with all of his heretical teachings in 2016, I have finally decided to get rid of my copies of his books I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist and Stealing From God. It is my hope that those of you searching for Truth will reject Frank Turek like I have, and that you will not promote his materials in any way. We need to treat him like an unbeliever until he repents and submits to Jesus as the authority over his life and thinking.