Oct 22, 2006

Kent Hovind: Sold Out

When we arrived at Dinosaur Adventure Land last summer, there was a big sign that said, "Welcome to My Backyard." Thinking it was a cute advertising gimmick, we went in to check out Kent Hovind's creation-based amusement park and museum, although the government had already closed down the museum.

We enjoyed an incredible day, playing on all kinds of unique contraptions that were a cross between a science experiment and a Bible lesson. Each person who worked there readily shared the gospel at every opportunity, calling themselves missionaries. We could really tell they had hearts for the Lord and spreading the good news to all who would listen. It was never really preachy, just natural and heart-felt.

Around mid-day, we noticed a motorcycle leaving the compound, with the man stopping and greeting everyone in his "backyard" on the way out to run an errand. I thought that was nice. But then he stopped and greeted everyone again, when he came back about half an hour later, even if he had already greeted them before. We were in the bookstore at the time, and I saw Kent Hovind come into the bookstore, talking on his cell phone, waving at everyone as he walked through to his office. I didn't think anything of it, as I had seen "famous" Christians greet everyday Christians like that most of the time. Who has time for the average Joe Christian?

I was then surprised that Kent Hovind indeed had time for the average person. A few minutes later, he came back out into the bookstore, apologizing for being on the phone, and went around the store, greeting everyone. It was not perfunctory, but rather he showed a genuine interest in each person. For instance, my severely disabled 11-year-old daughter was sitting in the corner, crying, while I was rushing to look at his books and videos, so Kent went up to her and started trying to engage her in a conversation. He did not speak down to her at all, but started showing her some science experiments he had set up all around the room. Knowing that my daughter cannot speak, I went over to intercede on her behalf. When I mentioned what her disability was, he asked me if I had ever spoken to a certain Christian nutrition expert whose books he carried and recommended. When I replied that I hadn't, he pulled out his cell phone, called him, and gave it to me. That's real life.

But that wasn't all. Then he went out the back door of the shop and spent about 30 minutes pushing kids on the swings in his backyard which, by now, I realized was literally his backyard! His house had one room for a bookstore, and another for a classroom, and another for his office.

Thinking that must be the end of his PR time, we continued enjoying our day, taking some time to talk with one of his "missionaries." About an hour later, here comes Kent Hovind again, joining us for another long conversation. I left that day with tears in my eyes, realizing that this man had spent more time treating me as a person in that one day, than had my elder in a very small church where we went for years. This man truly cared about people, and I wasn't even there with my husband that day!

I did talk to him about the current issue of tax evasion. Kent Hovind believes he and his employees work for God, are paid by God, and therefore aren't subject to taxation. This post will not go into the specifics of his beliefs on that subject and what I believe about them, but what I did leave Kent Hovind with was the knowledge that here was a man who was willing to stand up for his beliefs, no matter who stood with him or who stood against him, and I wish every Christian were that sold out for their faith.

I read a few comments on this subject where people thought it was just all about money with Kent Hovind. I just don't see that at all. He does not live in a fancy house. He shares everything he has. He didn't appear to making much money at Dinosaur Adventure Land. But the one thing that really stands out that tells me that money is not an idol to him is that fact that none of his stuff is copyrighted. In fact, anyone is free to copy his DVDs and pass them on to others who like to see them. He gives away TONS of free stuff to prisons, schools, and other places that might be interested in what he has to say. I have seen many Christian "ministries" where you knew money was really important, but I did not sense that in the least here.

I have written on this blog earlier about Pensacola Christian College and some of the things we were attracted to there, but I will be consistent in my orthopraxy and orthodoxy and I will stand against Beka Horton, PCC's founder's wife and current Senior VP, who has turned Kent Hovind over to the secular courts. She did not sue him, per se, but that is not the word I Corinthians 6 uses anyway. She is still using the world's way to deal with a situation that sounds like it has a lot of personal background between the two families. I guess the $47,000 she stands to gain from turning him in won't hurt.

And then there is the lawyer, David Gibbs, who is another Christian testifying against a Christian brother in a secular court as well. Should Christians really have to worry that what they say in church fellowship times will be brought against them in the form of a prosecuting witness on the stand in the world's courts?

Did Kent Hovind do the right thing? I don't know. But I do know that I met a man who truly loves the Lord, who is willing to pay the price to defend his beliefs in God's Word, and who has not let fame put him on a pedestal. And that speaks VOLUMES to me.

12 comments:

thoughtful said...

Sure hope Beka Horton enjoys the $47,000.00 "reward" money the IRS is bound to send the Horton's way thanx to her "tip." I don't know what is more despicable -- Beka Horton acting as an IRS "snitch" against a fellow Christian or Ligonier suing Frank Vance. I am sure the post-modern secular humanists are getting a good laugh out of all this enmity between believers. Another sad day in Christendom. Oh, did I fail to mention that the prosecutor went "grand jury" shopping (again) once Beka came forward as an informant? Yep, another perversion of the American "just-us" system.

Opera Babe said...

While I don't know what Kent Hovind did was necessarily right or wrong, I do know that Beka Horton turning him in and hiring a lawyer is wrong all around. Do christians just not get this? I personally admire Mr. Hovind and will continue to use and purchase his products as long as they are available.

wondering said...

Is Ceasar Beka Horton's "god"? Since when has any government been friendly towards Christians? Even the US Government is hostile to Christians, inisisting they jump through certain governmental "hoops" to obtain/retain their tax exempt status. It is also interesting (from a historical perspective) that the very entity that gave us our independence (the American pastorate) is now prohibited from speaking about political issues. What are the politicians afraid of? Oh, I know---the Truth.

Lindon said...

I am not familar with any of this but I did visit his site and would love to visit the exhibits next time I am in Pensecola.

Auffie said...

In my opinion, as monstrous as the US tax system has become, the principle of rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's still applies. Think of it this way: one of the reasons that we are enjoying peace and prosperity and freedom to worship (at least for the time being!) is the protection of the military, which is supported by the tax system. If we do not pay our "fair share"--yes, I know, it's hard to define fairness--we are really robbing our neighbors in some way, in the form of higher tax rates that are needed to compensate for evasion.

I do not know all the details about Dr. Hovind's transactions or the troubles he is in, so I cannot say anything about him specifically lest I pass judgment on him. This is just my humble opinion on the subject of taxes.

Corey said...

You better be wary of Kent Hovind. He is a false teacher since he is trouble with the law, "not rendering Caesar"

Can a blind man follow a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?

Mark Epstein said...

Auffie,

You touched on a very sore subject with this "lifer" Soldier.

The US Constitution provides for the "common defense," but it does NOT provide for the outrageous federally supported programs we now see as an "outreach" of federal tax dollars.

On a similar note, I have read some very interesting takes on the US military's involvement around the globe. First and foremost, Soldiers go where they are ordered to go by their civilian masters. Secondly, it is an all volunteer Army, and a number of those who oppose women in the military are the same folks whose cowardly male offspring or employees refuse to enter into military service beacuse (1) women serve or (2) it's not the "right" war because the US Congress hasn't declared war (even though the same congress is funding said war). These so-called "men" can proffer every excuse under the sun save one: Send me.

Auffie, in the final analysis, you are correct: Tax dollars provide us the freedom to be protected by brave heathens, while we simultaneously listen to the whining and crying of cowardly Christians making excuses for not picking up a weapon and protecting the US Constitution for whatever their fabricated reasons might be.

In the meantime, if we are going to tolerate these less-than-manly Christains (one has to wonder if they would truly be willing to suffer persecution), then we need to recognize those who will at least stand firm for their beliefs -- whether they be heathens or Christians with whom we may disagree with doctrinally.

May we all render unto the "Kaiser" what is due, but may we also always be cognizant of who is doing the "heavy lifting" and who is engaged in hyperbole.

Auffie said...

Mark,

My salutes to you! As a naturalized citizen, I am truly grateful to people like you who serve sacrificially.

Even though I wrote about "rendering to Caesar", I am as much displeased as you at the unconstitutional spendings of our government. It's too bad that we can't pick and choose what taxes to pay. My point was simply that tax evasion in the name of serving God is something that I seriously frown upon. In Matt. 17:24ff., although Jesus talks about kings' taking tolls from others and not sons, he did instruct Peter not to give offense and to pay the tax anyway. Add to this the fact that we do to some extent enjoy the benefits of the civil order, I think it is at least wise for ministries to abide by tax laws and trust God to provide the fish and the hook and the shekel.

Best regards and many blessings to you and your family!

Lover of Liberty said...

In my opinion, as monstrous as the US tax system has become, the principle of rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's still applies.

Of course. But this is not the same as "Render unto Caesar whatever he claims is due him." Twisting the Scripture in this way is inexcusable, yet in my experience it is the most common interpretation offered by pastors and other Bible teachers.

Auffie said...

lover of liberty: But this is not the same as "Render unto Caesar whatever he claims is due him."

Neither did Jesus say "Render unto Caesar so long as you think he is not taxing too much." I do not claim to be an infallible interpreter, but I think, in the absence of other exegetical considerations or other qualifying or harmonizing statements from Scripture, taking what Scripture says at face value is not twisting Scripture. Conversely, I humbly submit, reading Scripture through the interpretive grid of the American experience or ideal is twisting Scripture. Please enlighten me, exegetically, when is taxation too heavy, so that civil disobedience may be justified. (I say this by way of a sincere and not sarcastic request, since this is something that I ask myself and have no answer for.)

The political context of Jesus' saying was the Roman subjugation of the Jewish people, and the Pharisees sought to put him in a dilemma. There was a general longing for political liberation, and that's why, if Jesus were to answer one way or the other, they would have something to accuse him of, either to the Roman authorities or to the people. But Jesus' answer was in accord with his mission of true liberation, that he came to set people free not in political terms. Elsewhere in the NT, we read of Paul's command (Rom. 13:6-7) to pay taxes, and the context was also the Roman rule. Is it unreasonable to think that the Romans imposed taxation that we (or Christians back then) would consider unjust?

If we also consider Peter's command, "Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust" (1 Pet. 2:18), which is among the most un-American sayings in the Bible, we can sense the general idea of the call of Christians to bear the burden of injustice, whether it comes from government overtaxation or from a harsh master. If the Romans were more oppressive than the current American government to its people, and Christians back then were commanded to be subject to the authorities and pay taxes, a fortiori shall we not do likewise and submit to our government (to the extent that it does not compel us to sin against God)?

I am not saying the political or economic liberty is a bad thing -- far from it (1 Cor. 7:21). But as long as we live in a fallen world, and as long as non-Christians have governing authorities (hey, even "Christian" rulers are very capable of oppression!), we should expect to live with the burdens of unjust taxation, etc., and as such Scripture's commands in this regard still fully apply to us. But please, please, do not confuse the liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the American ideal. Pay your taxes to get the harassment of the government off you (cf. Matt. 17:24ff.), so that you can focus your energy on serving God. Do all you can to perserve the liberty for yourself and for others, always keeping in mind, however, that true liberty is found only in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Hi.

Read Jen's comments on Kent Hovind and I think she did a great job capturing the true character of the man, which is someone who has "sold out" for the Lord, willing to stand up for God's Word as opposed to man's word which corrupts with each decade we see pass.

Should Kent Hovind be punished for trying to live according to the way America's founding fathers originally wrote the law? The founding fathers were very smart. Most were solid Christian's. Today, while I still believe America is the greatest nation on earth (aside from Israel), the laws have become secular and corrupt. I don't believe for a second Kent Hovind broke any law, and I am astonished people would put someone with such a powerful message that has helped thousands of people get saved in jail.

Well, after raeding my King James Bible, I shouldn't be so surprised he is in jail as much of the Bible was written from jail.

Read the story about the apostle Paul and what he went through preaching the Gospel. He was unjustly arrested and spent 2 years in prison.(Acts 21:10-11) God
later told Paul his arrest would be used to spread the Gospel in
Rome (Acts 23:11).

And Paul wasn't the only who was falsely convicted and thrown in prison. After Joseph rejected the attempts of Potiphar's wife to seduce him, she accused Joseph of attempted rape, and he was cast into the state prison (Gen.39), where he remained for at least two years.

I wonder what many of you would be saying about these people had they been prominent Christian leaders like Kent Hovind. You'd probably be accusing them of all sorts of wrong just like job's friends did to him.

I highly suggest you investigate Kent Hovind's reason's for doing what he did. Watch his "straw man" video or go to http://www.richardsayshome.com/ and check out the files there.

This is a sad time we are living in. We have reached the day which the prophet had in mind when he wrote, "Woe unto them who call evil, good, and good, evil" Isaiah 5:20

Don't worry though, God is in complete control. He's gonna come back and fix everything real soon.

Best regards,
Zak

Vik said...

Any updates on his wife Jo's sentence?

My opinion is that Kent should have just paid his taxes. This mess distracted from his ministry, as did many of his conspiracy theories. He should have just stuck to what he does best.

Reading wikipedia... Kent, Jo, and Eric sure did make things look suspicious. Not good at all. He is a public figure, perhaps one who needed to be humbled a bit. I hope he gets out early though.