Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Naming Names

"Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words."
2 Tim. 4.14-15 NKJV

"So forget about the Young Earth Creationists, Adam! Why let them stand between you and God? Why not receive God's transforming grace yourself and then be better than the Young Earthers? You know that I don't hold their views about the age of the universe. Neither do most evangelical Christians, despite the high profile of their movement in churches. So why not become a Christian and then be a better thinker than they are?"

It is with trepidation that I write this article. I have endeavored to avoid doing the thing that I detest, which appears to be public humiliation of those with whom I have disagreements. I was using Matthew 18.15-17 and avoiding going public. Then I received some instruction from Answers In Genesis that made me want to slap myself on the head because I felt that I should have seen this: Jesus is talking about private concerns. The Apostle Paul named the people who harmed him and the gospel message because it was public, and they were resisting his message, or even teaching heresies (2 Tim. 2.17-18). The Apostle John also "called out" someone (3 John 1.9-10).

This means that I do not feel that I need to always hide the names of people who are damaging the faith.

First, I have attempted to point out some problems that I have with J. Warner Wallace of "Please Convince Me" by writing directly to him. If I received responses at all, they were brief and perfunctory. I had attempted to point out some serious theological problems that he has when he holds to some kind of old Earth viewpoint and what appears to be progressive creation. I was attempting to overlook his compromise as long as I could, but when he began (as it sounded to me) misrepresenting Presuppositional Apologetics in his defense of Evidentialism, I quietly removed links to his sites from my pages.

Next, I need to deal with the famous apologist and philosopher, William Lane Craig. Yes, that's right, a nobody like me taking issue with a revered icon of the faith. I do things like that. And he made logical fallacies in his remarks, but never mind about that now.

Dr. Craig has made me uncomfortable for some time now. I knew that he did not hold to a Scriptural view of Genesis, but I did not know that he held Christians who believe the Bible in contempt, as you can see from the quote near the top. Perhaps he will hook up with compromiser Hugh Ross. Actually ridiculing fellow believers like that does not do much to fulfill the commands to love one another (John 13.34-35, Romans 13.8, Ephesians 4.2, Ephesians 5.2, Colossians 3.14, Hebrews 13.1, James 2.8, 1 Peter 1.22, 1 Peter 4.8, 1 John 3.11, 1 John 4.21 — no, nothing that I could find that justified mocking those who believe God's Word).  I did not try to contact Craig personally because his offense was blatant ridicule, and Wallace has not done that. But I had quietly removed my links to his site as well. My respect for each of them took a beating.

The reason I have problems with each of them is simple: Lack of respect for Biblical authority. Some apologists can run rings around you logically, but are lacking as theologians. Although I have serious doubts that either one of them will read this, I still have to ask: If you believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, what kind of message do you think you're sending? You give evidences and plead your case that the Bible is trustworthy, that God exists and so on, but then say, "We can't believe the first chapters of Genesis as written". Not only is that confusing to a potential new believer, but helps to undermine the faith of believers. God takes a dim view of interfering with someone's faith (Luke 17.2, 1 Cor. 8.13).

I am going to take this to what I consider the logical conclusion. There are many reasons to believe that Genesis is written as literal history. (Actually, I think it looks foolish on the surface to dismiss the first eleven chapters, and then say it's literal history from that point on. Many of my reasons are spelled out in this Weblog, including the fact that Genesis is foundational to the entire gospel message.) If you are going to dismiss Genesis as myth, allegory, just plain wrong because "science" currently indicates something else, where do you stop? Do you believe that Jesus actually existed? A minority of antagonistic archaeologists and historians say he did not. Do you believe in the virgin birth? It's unscientific. How about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? Impossible, science does not support that.

What's that you say? You do believe in those things like other Christians, including Fundamentalists, Biblical creationists and the like? You do believe that the blood of Christ is necessary for salvation, that there is no other name given by which we must be saved? You do believe that through Jesus Christ, you shall be resurrected to eternal life? You do believe that he is coming again? You do believe that God is one, manifested in three distinct persons? Wow. So why do you insist on using the ever-changing whims of man-made science philosophies to tell God what he said in the first chapters of the Bible?

For Dr. Craig and Detective Wallace, and for anyone else who wants to use "science" to interpret the Bible, I suggest — no, I implore you — that some serious self-examination is in order. Especially on your views of Biblical authority.