Sunday, September 3, 2017

Heresies, Modern Thinking, and Evolutionism

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

People who want to slap leather with biblical Christianity may think they have some new concepts, but they are actually reworking old false teachings. This applies not only to those things that have been condemned as heresies, but the remarks of mockers and "skeptics" are often rehash hoary thinking from past centuries.


Socinianism, evolutionism, and other heresies affect the church
Fausto Sozzini (Faustus Socinus) was cracked
Derived from a public domain image at Wikimedia Commons
Before I go further, I must say that I'm doing something I've done before: taking material from smarter people and adding thoughts that pertain to my own areas of study. This article was heavily influenced by Phil Johnson's series on five major heresies (linked below). I hope you'll ride the trail with me and you'll see how some things come together.

There have been several times in Christian history when the faith appeared to be on its way to becoming hopelessly corrupted. God raised up faithful men to uphold the faith, sometimes appearing to be all alone in their efforts. I reckon that that they thought of Elijah in 1 Kings 19:14. 

As a side note, legend has it that the giver of gifts in secret, bishop Nikolaos of Myra (who later became associated with Santa Claus), didn't deck the halls at the Council of Nicea in 325. Instead, he decked the heretic Arius. Don't think Jude meant exactly that when he said to contend for the faith (Jude 1:3-4).

Emperor Constantine, who called for that Council, had a "Why can't we all just get along?" approach, and wasn't overmuch concerned with doctrinal accuracy. I commenced to pondering that evolutionism is rooted in bad thinking and paganism, but also invading the church. Indeed, theistic evolution is a form of the Pelagian Heresy. Also, evolutionism has elements of Gnosticism, which is esoteric knowledge imparted by the enlightened, and is found in New Age teachings.

The church fathers almost universally believed in recent creation through most of church history. Today, we have people who are compromising, adding deep time and evolution to the Bible, and accusing biblical creationists of being "divisive". Not hardly! They are the dividers.

Something that really takes the rag off the bush is a newer aberration called the Socinian Heresy. An owlhoot named Fausto Sozzini (in Latin, Faustus Socinus) was the driving force behind this one, drawing inspiration from his uncle, Lelio Sozzini. It is a collective, incorporating several other heresies and logical fallacies. Essentially, modern liberal theology is Socinianism. Postmodern and post-truth philosophies can have comfortable homesteads in Socinianism as well.

Socinianism essentially relies on two major points: rationalism and skepticism. Both of those philosophies are antithetical to biblical Christianity, as well as to science — and even rational thought itself. Rationalism is hardcore humanism, making human reason the arbiter of truth. Skepticism is a bit confusing for some people, because thinking people need healthy skepticism.


Unfortunately, many times folks who call themselves skeptics are not seeking convincing evidence. Rather, they are like those who practiced the ancient philosophy of skepticism, maintaining that absolute knowledge is impossible. (It's like some forms of agnosticism, "I don't know, and you don't either".) They have their minds made up, but are asking questions without being desirous of learning or answers. True Christianity is bad medicine to skeptics, postmoderns, and the like, because we affirm that there is ultimate truth, and it is found in Scripture. These "no truth" people are unthinking, and should realize that, according to their own philosophies, they are worthless people! That's a long ride on a bad trail away from the truth that each person has value in Jesus Christ.

Mr. Johnson quoted from John Calvin regarding Lalius Socinus, who kept badgering him with insincere questions that were intended to undermine the faith. Calvin wrote:
You need not expect me to reply to all the monstrous questions you propose to me. If you are gratified by floating around in such high-minded speculations, I pray you permit me, a humble disciple of Christ, to meditate on those things which tend to the edification of my faith. And hereafter, by my silence, I will indeed accomplish the thing I wish for: that you no longer annoy me in this way.
Biblical creationists have to deal with annoying people like this, and we get our share at The Question Evolution Project. We are trying to glorify God, presenting the truth of creation, and upholding the authority of Scripture. "Skeptics" come along with insincere questions for which they have already determined their answers, seeking to justify their rebellion against our Creator, and reveling when a Christian's time is wasted. Calling us cowards for refusing to waste our time on disingenuous, self-gratifying misotheists is preposterous. We've been expecting them (2 Peter 3:4-7). Most likely, other apologists would agree with me that we want to be about our business and have those tinhorns find other sources of gratification.

I regret reporting that there are some professing Christians who accept many heresies in one form or another, even renouncing logic and reason. Crackpot religious people like that (among others) are pleasing to angry atheists, who use the fallacy of hasty generalization to present those oddballs as representatives of all Christians (or even all "religious" people). No, we do appreciate logic, because it is a part of God's nature. Despite the claims of many atheopaths, faith and reason are at definitely not at odds with one another.

Elements of heresies can be found in churches, and in liberal theology. Bad philosophies and religious views, including pagan evolutionism, have crept into the church. We need to take a stand for the truth, even if we're unpopular and feel alone, like Elijah.

I'd like to strongly urge you to give a listen to the messages in Phil Johnson's series, "A Survey of Heresies".
It’s important for Christians to have a grasp of heresies that the church has battled over the centuries, because they often return with new clothing, and the unprepared Christian is likely to fall into these old pits. Phil does an excellent job of looking at some of the major heresies that are revisiting the church today: Socinianism, Arianism, Pelagianism, Gnosticism, and Judaizing. This is an excellent 6 part series that will shore up some weak points in the church today.
They are free to hear online or download the MP3s. USA and Canada, you can order the CD free of charge as well.
 

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