Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New summary of CMI-AiG dispute from CMI

Creation Ministries International has published a new web page summarizing their dispute with Answers in Genesis, much of which is already familiar to readers of this blog. The summary includes an update of events immediately preceding and subsequent to the attempt at arbitration in Hawaii that occurred last August, and links to supporting documents, several of which are newly made public.

New in this report are two interesting emails from Philip Bell, former deputy CEO of AiG-UK, about what was going on inside AiG after the split from CMI. Bell resigned from AiG in June 2006 and is now head of CMI-UK. The first email is quoted in a letter from Carl Wieland to a CMI supporter in Australia who asked why CMI needed to take legal action against AiG, which includes these two paragraphs:

I am very sorry to say that AiG leaders (on both sides of the Atlantic) have engaged not only in unbiblical/unethical behaviour but in the case of AiG-USA, unlawful too—to the great detriment of their former colleagues and sister ministries in the other former AiG countries, particularly Australia—this is not merely what I have been told by colleagues abroad but rather I have personal knowledge of these things. If anyone contacts AiG-USA to find out what’s going on, they are asked to ‘pick up the phone and talk to us’. This all sounds very reasonable but there is no accountability involved because such words are not recorded and amount to so much gossip—they can be flat out denied if it is deemed expedient. I am afraid to say that I have personally witnessed outright lies (of an incredible kind) involving four individual high-ups in AiG (and in one instance I was asked to give testimony to an independent enquiry; something I took no pleasure in doing). CMI’s response has been to put everything out in the open (not without criticism of some Christian brethren of course, some of whom are upset that this seems to amount to ‘hanging our dirty linen out before the world’. I share their dismay but believe that this has to be, if justice is to be done and the Lord’s name is not to be sullied even more in the long run.

I take no pleasure in having to write these things and I know that I speak for my colleagues in CMI-Australia and around the world when I say that we long to get on with the real work that God has entrusted us with. Speaking for myself, I can honestly say that I have no personal axe to grind with any of the AiG leaders concerned, all of whom I once considered friends and got on with very well. This is not about personal differences but about integrity and honesty—simply put, I left AiG because we had a ministry slogan (which I liked and still like) which said: “We are a Christ-centred, evangelistic ministry dedicated to upholding the Word of God from the very first verse.” I could no longer publicly represent AiG when the actions and words of its representatives were anything but Christ-centred (rather they were/and are often man-centred—pride and an unwillingness to admit fault became the order of the day). Neither could I stomach any longer hearing people talk about upholding God’s truth while I had personally witnessed deceit and even bare faced lies from the same people. I am not their judge and I find it very sobering to even be writing these words (James 4:11-12) but the Scripture also advocates that the Christian is to ‘judge with righteous judgment’. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but it is horrendous when pride prevents people acknowledging sin and they continue to cover their unbiblical/unethical actions in God-speak. Frankly, it appears that there is no fear of the Lord in such people. In spite of my strong feelings, I have continued to pray for AiG to this very day and earnestly desire that there will be a righteous outcome that will not allow God’s name to be sullied before the world.

The second email from Bell discusses a letter sent by Monty White of AiG-UK to supporters about the split (and links to a rebuttal of that Monty White letter) and gives a UK perspective on the AiG/CMI split, and reports that not only Bell but two other AiG-UK staff members, Tim Matthews and Rachel Revell, resigned from AiG-UK over these issues.

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