Saturday, August 29, 2015

Why Do Some Christians Accept Theistic Evolution?

There are several ways some professing Christians use to compromise on the plain reading of Genesis. One of the most dangerous is Theistic Evolution. Here are some reasons why.

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

They Say Compromise Is Good 

A few months back, I getting dissatisfied with the church I was attending, and wanted to saddle up and find another church in the Kingston, New York area. Not very promising, since there are polar opposites: emotionally-driven gatherings, and the traditional liberal outfits. Those who actually believe the Bible and can give proper exegesis are difficult to find around here.

One church had some standard fare in their statement of faith (including the inerrancy of Scripture, which is very important), and I reckoned that I could get along with that. But not a peep about creation. I sent them an e-mail inquiring about their position on it. The response was disappointing, saying that creation was an unimportant side issue, and anyway, the Framework Hypothesis was just fine for that pastor.

Not hardly! The Framework Hypothesis is a compromise position where Genesis does not mean what it says [1] [2] [3]. His church claims to believe the inerrancy of Scripture, and then he holds a position on Genesis that contradicts their claim.

In another instance, a popular apologist admitted that although Exodus 20:11 is quite clear, he still is not convinced that the days of Genesis are literal days, and was telling callers on his show about the Framework Hypothesis and other compromise views. I called him and said that it, and also the Progressive Creation position of people like Hugh Ross, fly in the face of the authority of Scripture, and uses bad science as well as bad theology [4] [5] [6]. In fact, I offered to send him him my own copy of Refuting Compromise by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati [my review here: 7], and he casually said he'd "take a look at it". Frankly, I think I wasted my time and money, but I still had to try to help correct this Bible-affirming apologist on his theological errors.

Some churches and pastors are embarrassed by creation. I believe they are intimidated by the established view of "science", and one pastor told me that although he is a biblical creationist, he does not want to be "labeled" [8]. What does that lead to, "stealth creation"? Someone is shown the way of salvation, and then told, "Oh, by the way, we believe in a recent six-day creation". Disingenuous at best. Also, where does the "labeling" end? Believing that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry land (Exodus 14:21-22), that God provided manna (Exodus 16:35), Jesus and Peter walked on water (Matt. 14:25-32), Jesus raised the dead (Luke 7:11-17, John 11:38-44), Jesus gave sight to the blind (Mark 8:22-26), Jesus himself was raised from the dead (Luke 24:5-6), Peter healed a lame beggar (Acts 3:1-7), Paul raised the dead (Acts 20:9-12), and more throughout Scripture. Doesn't believing any of these things make someone a "science denier"? Some of us are not afraid of being labeled, because we believe the Word of the living God.

In an episode of Fighting for the Faith, Chris Rosebrough reviewed a sermon by Adam Huschka of Narrate Church [9] called "Help I Feel! False Prophet?", beginning at the 1 hour, six minutes, 24 second mark [click here to listen online or download: 10]. Looking at their "Our Beliefs" in the "About Narrate" section, at first glace, it seems I could go there because they affirm the basics. Careful... (Oddly enough, I could not find the "Help I Feel!" series on the church's site, but the podcast is still available elsewhere.) In the sermon reviewed at the above link, Adam Huschka thought it would be appropriate to run a secular video by Dan Gilbert called "The Surprising Science of Happiness" [11].

Gilbert begins by teaching evolution, and then presents his philosophy of happiness. He presupposed evolution as truth, and showed pictures of Homo habilis and modern human skulls to illustrate the increase in brain size. He did not bother to mention that, even in the evolutionary view, Neanderthal Man had a larger brain than modern humans. Further, failed evolutionary mythology persists in affirming the disproved view that cranial capacity is a measure of intelligence [12]. Huschka does not bat an eye about the false teaching of evolution, is willing to bring it into his church in a Sunday sermon, and uses secular views mixed with bad eisegesis of the Bible. A great deal of compromise going on.

Many who accept the various compromise positions above (and there are several others as well), they include an old earth viewpoint that is based on atheistic interpretations of science. Not all adherents of "deep time" are evolutionists, but have views that are compatible with evolution.

What About Theistic Evolution?

People accept theistic evolution (the view that God used evolution in his creative processes) for various reasons. In fact, I held that position myself for a short time, before I realized that not only is evolution terrible science, but is completely incompatible to what the Word clearly teaches. Some people casually take the "scientific consensus" of evolution and then slap God's name on it as if that blesses their lack of understanding and furthering of heresy.

There are four main reasons I believe that people hold to TE (theistic evolution):
  • They assume it is true, so we must be understanding the Bible incorrectly (as discussed in the section about Adam Huschka)
  • Fear of what other people will think, and being "labeled" (as mentioned above), and also bullying by militant theistic evolutionists
  • They have not studied how evolution is actually harmful to the gospel message [13] [14] [15], and may even be considered biblically lazy
  • Open rebellion to the authority of the Word of God and the plain teachings of the Bible 
This last point is the most important, as there are many who teach TE and put down the Word of God. What they call "science" (evolutionary interpretations of observations) is given a magisterial position above the Word, and it is man telling God what he said and means. 

Your Choice Has Tremendous Importance

I adjure you to check the information in the reference links above. TE is not only a compromise with the Word of God, but also a dangerous apostasy and false teaching. Christians need to be careful (Jude 1:3, 2 Peter 3:3-7, 2 Cor. 10:5, 1 Peter 5:8). False teachings and warnings against them have existed throughout the Bible, and seem to be increasing today. We have to know what the Bible teaches, know what we believe and why we believe it!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Lack of Evidence, Lack of Faith

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

A documentary movie called Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus by Timothy Mahoney has been causing quite a stir in Christian and secular circles. It has received praise from many Christian organizations, as well as creation science ministries such as Answers In Genesis and Creation Ministries International. You can buy it, or rent it online from places like Amazon. This is not a review, as I have not seen the movie or read the book — yet. My purpose here is a mite different.

I was listening to Derek Gilbert's interview of Mr. Mahoney on "A View from the Bunker". From about the 2 minutes 40 seconds mark through 11 minutes, he gave background on what motivated him to do investigations and make the film. He went to a dig site in Egypt for Goshen, and it was the area of Rameses (but I don't know which Rameses he meant). He asked an archaeologist if anything had been found about the Israelites having been there, and  the answer was that nothing was found so far.

Timothy Mahoney, maker of "Patterns of Evidence" was prompted to research by a crisis of faith based on lack of evidence. He was taken in by fallacious reasoning. The Christian faith is based on God's Word, and evidence needs to be properly evaluated and subordinate to Scripture.
Passage of the Jews through the Red Sea / Ivan Aivazovsky, 1891

This cause Tim a crisis of faith. What if it was all false? Exodus is essential to Judaism and Christianity. After all, the consensus of many scholars is that the Israelites were never in Egypt. Mahoney then did some research and learned that there have been questions raised about the chronologies and record keeping of ancient Egypt. He decided (my wording here) to follow where the evidence leads. Correctly noting that people interpret evidence according to their presuppositions, he wondered what would happen if researchers were able to leave those behind.

Unfortunately, Mr. Mahoney appears to have been basing his faith on evidence only. He must have known that skeptical archaeologists have often used an argument from ignorance to "refute" the Bible; absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, you know. "We cannot find archaeological evidence or written records of the Israelite exodus from Egypt about 3,500 years ago. Therefore, it did not happen." Two of the many examples of where scoffers were proved spectacularly wrong include the claim that the Hittites never existed, and that Belshazzar never existed (or if he did, he was certainly no king). They also appeal to the majority, and they appeal to authority by citing consensus, but a consensus is not a guarantee of something being factual; consensus has been wrong, and will be wrong again. It's disappointing that scholars resort to such shoddy reasoning as the argument from ignorance and of relying on consensus, but what's worse is that people believe "scientists" and "scholars" because of who they are.

The good news here is that archaeologists are beginning to come around and reexamine the Egyptian record keeping. Serious flaws have been found, and when given the proper perspective, suddenly the Bible is proven right — again.

Evidence changes, but the Word of God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8)! I disremember when this was, but some "deep time" Christian was saying that the Big Bang was proof that God exists, especially since the Big Bang had been proved by gravitational waves and BICEP2. Except that the Big Bang is loaded with serious flaws and bad reasoning, and the BICEP2 thing was retracted shortly after that jasper made his assertion. Where is his faith now, since his "proof" was faulty?

Please note that I am in no wise criticizing Timothy Mahoney. It's tough to think that your saddle has been uncinched and you're going to fall off your horse. For him, the scoffing got mighty loud in his mind, and he saw repercussions throughout Scripture and he wanted to do something about it. I reckon from what people are saying about Patterns of Evidence that he did an outstanding job.

Genesis is foundational to the gospel message, and the source of all major Christian doctrines. Proponents of amoeba-to-archaeologist evolution use the fallacies listed above, and more, to cling to their faith in evolution to suppress the truth (Rom. 1:18-19). Exodus is also extremely important, but is not quite so viciously attacked as Genesis. If secular scientists could be like some of these archaeologists and see that the evidence does not support evolution, there would be even more people abandoning evolutionism and embracing biblical creation.

The Christian faith is to be based on faith in the Word of God (Psalm 138:2, 2 Peter 1:19). No, I don't support fideism, reason and evidence support the Christian faith and are not contrary to it. What I am advocating is that evidence is used properly. When we elevate science, evidence, and other things to a magisterial position, they become the supreme authority and the Word of God is subordinate. It's supposed to be the other way around.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Label "Christian" is No Guarantee of Content

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Christian bookstores and distributors are not doing their jobs as a charity, it's a business. I get that. They sell things that will make a profit and pay the bills, just like anyone else. For that matter, many Christian publishers are owned by secular outfits that are trying to make money from the "religious" market. Just because something has a label doesn't mean the label is true. There are "Christian" groups that are in no wise Christian, many false teachers, and even cults pretending to be creationists, such as this one.

It's a tough call for what you run in a shop or online company. Companies can be big, and you know how big companies are, they're in a hurry to get more bang for their buck out of their employees. What books, CDs, videos and such are going to sell? Sell things with sound doctrine? Not hardly! Sheeple want to hear something that makes them feel good, or is new and different (2 Tim. 4:3), instead of continuing in the faith and in sound doctrine (Col. 1:23, 1 John 2:19).

I'm not going to teach eschatology here, but I do believe that we're in the last days. One sign of that is that people are becoming more wicked in general, as prophesied (e.g., Luke 17:26-27, 2 Peter 3:3-7). Worse, there is apostasy among Christians. (Note the struggle to proclaim the authority of Scripture, beginning in Genesis 1, as there are many compromisers in that area.) We should not be surprised when people want to forsake strong doctrine for teachings that make them feel good, and that they want to turn a profit even though they are promoting false doctrines.

Writing posts and articles for Piltdown Superman, plus correspondence, interviews, reading, podcasts, videos, all that gets a mite wearisome. So, I occasionally indulge in some Western stories. I was doing a search for Christian Westerns. I'm not a big fan of Christian fiction because it's written to sell (some fiction is so downright bad, I wonder if they really expected people to buy it), and much of it is trite. Still, I looked anyhow. Found lots of romance Westerns, and I'd rather eat rattlesnake than read those. You can substitute chicken in the recipe, but I'm starting to wander on the wrong trail here.

Anyway. I found myself on a site called "Family Christian". They're selling a book in a series called "The Gunsmith" called Silver War. My brain hollered, "Whoa!" I sent an e-mail to them the same day (July 25, 2015), asking why they are selling "adult" material and copied a description from the Gunsmith Wiki. Them books ain't neither family nor Christian! 

Well, I got a reply from customer service that same day. She said that she would have IT remove the book, and said something about "As you could see this doesn’t show details or any information on the item..." First, the cover plainly says, "Adult Western". Second, that's no excuse for such sloppy checking before putting items in their store. As of today, August 1, 2015, it's still there. Was I lied to? Incompetence? Something else? I don't rightly know. EDIT: I see on November 17, 2018, that it was finally removed.

Christians need to be on guard at all times against not only false teachings, but where they spend their money. If it comes from a Christian distributor or publisher, there's no guarantee that you'll be getting valid Christian material.