Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Evolution and the Inerrancy of Scripture


For Question Evolution Day, the link between evolution and the inerrancy of Scripture is explored. People who know their Bible and have a good understanding of doctrine know that evolution and creation are irreconcilable. Theistic evolution, the "Gap Theory", "Progressive Creation" and other compromises require eisegesis (reading into the Scriptures). People who do this elevate man's "wisdom" above that of God's revelation. That is ridiculous (1 Cor. 1.20, Psalm 14.1-3). Why would anyone want to add philosophies and interpretations of evidence that are based on atheism? And yet, the inerrancy of Scripture is of paramount importance to a proper understanding of the Bible.

What is your ultimate standard? Is it God's Word, or the ever-changing whims of man-made science philosophies?
For the purposes of this article, only inerrancy of Scripture of the five fundamentals will be discussed.  The attacks on inerrancy, beginning in Genesis 1, brought doubt to the Creation account, which led to doubt on Biblical inspiration, doctrine and authority of not only Scripture but of God Himself.
After the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, many theologians came to accepting evolution as truth.  This thinking came into once very conservative seminaries as evolutionist thinking and more liberal seminary professors inched their way into these halls of theological training.
After holding several heresy trials involving liberal seminary professors, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1910 approved what are known as the Five Fundamentals.[1]  The document stated “that the following doctrines were essential and necessary to the Presbyterian system.”[2]  The five approved were:
  • The inerrancy of Scripture
  • The virgin birth of Christ
  • The substitutionary atonement of Christ by His death on the cross
  • The bodily resurrection of Christ
  • The authenticity of miracles[3]
Needless to say, a war broke out between the fundamentalists and the liberals. This led to the famous sermon by Harry Emerson Fosdick in 1922 titled “Shall The Fundamentalists Win?”[4]  Then, after the Scopes Trial of 1925, where Clarence Darrow made William Jennings Bryan, one of the stars of fundamentalism in his day, look like a complete idiot, the fundamentalist were defeated, but not down completely.
After the fundamentalist resurgence in the late 1970s, liberals were driven out of denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention.  One of the casualties was one Dr. C. Welton Gaddy.  Gaddy.   Gaddy’s reaction, according to an article in the Charleston City Paper (no year is given as to when the article was written, only the date of April 14)  “What happened that day in 1981 was part of the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC as they led the nation’s largest Protestant denomination to secede from mainstream American Christianity. Through the 1970s and ’80s, fundamentalists conducted an almost Stalinesque purge of moderates from positions of authority in the convention, its churches and seminaries.”[5]   Obviously, Gaddy was not a happy camper.
I urge you to read the rest of this informative and extremely interesting article in its context, "How Evolution Undermines Inerrancy".

Friday, February 8, 2013

Evolution, Compromise and Foundations

someecards.com - Atheist MIchael Zimmerman encourages apostate churches to join him in celebrating evolution and rejecting Scripture.

It is more important than ever for Bible-believing Christian churches to take a stand for the truth. When compromise sets in, it begins a domino effect that leads to further compromise and even to unbelief. Liberal churches and atheists are attacking us at our foundations, which begin at Genesis.

Further, they appeal to emotion with loaded terminology and the false dichotomy that people must choose either faith or "science". This is a lie. (I have written before that even if we gave up the creation accounts, that would not be enough for liberals and atheists.) The church is in serious trouble, and people's faith is threatened because they do not see the relevance of their foundations, and do not bother to discover that there are indeed answers to those science philosophy questions.
This weekend, atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman is once again encouraging churches to preach Darwin from their pulpits. He claims that his Clergy Letter Project, signed by over 12,000 members of predominantly liberal clergy, shows that evolution and Christianity are compatible so long as we define religious truth as dealing with doctrine and morality and scientific truth as dealing with facts.

The problem with his entire Letter is that it relies on the fallacy of the fact/value distinction. Jesus asked Nicodemus in John 3:12: If I tell you of earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” Christianity doesn’t just make claims in a vacuum. Our doctrines, principles and moral claims are connected to historical facts. For example, our doctrines of salvation and future resurrection are based on the notion that Jesus Christ was historically and physically crucified, buried and resurrected by God as prophesied by Scripture. You cannot divorce the two. The doctrine of marriage as being between one man and one woman finds its foundation in Genesis 1 and 2, which Jesus quoted in regard to marriage.
So we cannot copartmentalize our faith and our science. Neither can we accept the all-natural assertions of science over the supernatural revelation of God’s Word, because if we get consistent in this policy of letting science chained to pure naturalism trump the revelation of Scripture, we will find ourselves with a curious book of stories that no one really believes, for all-natural science denies that men rise from the dead, that virgins conceive, that the weather can be controlled at a spoken command, etc. In reality, all that science chained to pure naturalism can do is to provide all-natural answers which may or may not be true and are certainly false where supernatural agency was involved. It has no way to determine whether God did anything, since supernatural agency is ruled out as a possible answer from the outset… but it pretends that any all-natural answer they come up with negates the possibility that God did it instead.
I strongly encourage you to read the rest of "On the Compatibility of Christian Faith & Evolution: Which Atheist is Lying To Us?"

 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Can You Be a Christian and Still Believe in Evolution?


Short answer: Yes, you can be a Christian and believe in evolution. It is not a requirement for salvation, and I know of no creationist organization that says otherwise.

Long answer: Still yes, but it shows lack of commitment to the authority of God's Word because you're elevating man's "wisdom" above it. It also shows lack of knowledge about the theological implications of what such compromise entails. Then you have to make some choices.

I have encountered several people who were old Earth creationists or theistic evolutionists. After they became fully committed to Christ and grew in the Word, they became biblical creationists. Until then, are they unsaved?
As CMI has often stated, we regard evolution as contrary to Scripture, but Christians can still be saved despite believing in it (see related articles, below). Indeed, its founding chairman, the late Prof. John Rendle-Short, said he was a saved theistic evolutionist for 40 years before becoming a creationist.
So how can Christians hold to an anti-biblical doctrine? Here are a few things one should remember when considering whether a Christian can be an evolutionist:
(1) There are a range of biblical doctrines; and, while it’s important to be as consistent and biblical as we can, not every one is as “essential” as every other (even when we consider only true doctrines, as opposed to various misinterpretations). The Bible itself contrasts the “milk”, or “basic principles of the oracles of God”, with “solid food” for the “mature” (Hebrews 5).
No Christian is instantly (or even completely) mature. A brand-new believer shouldn’t be expected to have a reasoned position on the age of the earth … Few Christians have read the Bible through, so it would be asking a bit much to expect a new Christian …
You can read the rest of "Can Christian Believe Evolution?", here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Do Christians Have Blind Faith?



This article has a different kind of beginning. I received a detailed question from a friend of mine, Jesse Morton. Some of this material had been in the back of my mind already, and his question set off a mental cascade.
We often accuse the other side of blind faith because they believe things that they know contradict the laws of nature. However, there are times that I wonder if we are guilty of it as well. Furthermore, there have also been times where we have had to exercise faith when the evolution side turned up a piece of evidence that at first appeared to contradict the Bible. (For example, when they pointed out antibiotic resistance and nylon-eating bacteria.) I've had to have faith that either an alternative interpretation would develop or that the piece of evidence would be refuted. We were proven right eventually, but nonetheless, we had to have faith in order to do so. There are times that I wonder: are we practicing blind faith when we do this?
It took 41 years before Piltdown Man was refuted, and I know that many people apostatized from Christianity over it, thinking that the Bible had been disproved. If one of us had existed back then, before the fossil was shown to be a hoax, and had simply refused to accept it (hoping that it would later be refuted), would we have been guilty of blind faith?
This is a thought-provoking question, and has just troubled me some. I'd like your thoughts. Thanks.


Hi Jesse,


What is “blind faith”? Believing despite proof? We are not guilty of that, despite what anti-theists claim.

There are some deeper issues here than evidence and interpretations. We need to lay some groundwork. (But just "some", otherwise, this will turn into a book.) This is not about evidence, and whoever has the most evidence, wins. Rather, it is about worldviews. People have their biases and presuppositions, and interpret evidence through their worldview "glasses".

The Christian is supposed to have the Bible as the basis of his or her thinking in every area. It is my contention than many Christians who wish to be apologists do not really believe the Bible! Worse, many are filled with pride, preferring to show their intellectual prowess and win arguments. It seems that they want to be the "next big thing", and emulate rock star debaters like William Lane Craig, who seem to elevate the importance of philosophy and debate above that of Scripture.

Some apologists have the mistaken impression that it is all up to them, and if they "win", then their opponent will realize the futility of their position and accept Christ. And yet, Christ was not in the presentation to begin with! Our job is to make a defense for the faith (1 Peter 3.15), not to win arguments and show off. Conversion is the job of the Holy Spirit.

Some apologists do not seem to really believe the Bible. If they did, they would not be pridefully ignoring what it says about the condition of the unsaved person:
  • Cannot understand the deeper things of God (1 Cor. 2.14, Isaiah 55.7-8, Rom. 11.33-35) 
  •  Many will condemn God to justify themselves (Job 40.8) 
  • There is evil in their hearts (Matt 15.19, Psalm 14.2-3) 
  • They are fools (Psalm 14.1) — “Fool” means a moral failing, and the word has been translated as “vile person” elsewhere 
  •  They know God exists, but suppress the truth (Rom. 1-18-22)

What about the wisdom of man?

  • It does not impress God (1 Cor. 1.20) 
  •  It is not true wisdom, because it does not come from God (Prov. 1.7, Col. 2.3) 
  •  Arrogant, talking back to God (Rom. 9.20)

So these apologists will put God “in the dock” (on trial). They ignore what the Bible teaches about the “natural man”, and are actually insulting God by letting the unbeliever, in his “wisdom” decide that God does exist and is worthy of their attention. They agree to argue on “neutral ground” and leave behind the Bible. Wrong! (Matt. 12.30) What this really means is that the apologist is using the unbeliever’s rules. It’s been rightly said that when someone wants to be "neutral": They’re not, and you shouldn’t be.

Piling up evidence to convince an unbeliever is futility. People have their worldviews. Even though we have cumulative evidence that says God probably exists and the Bible is true, they reject it. Also, the hardcore evidentialist works in probabilities. God works in certainties.

Now we’re getting closer to an answer for you!

Evidence is important. But we cannot build our faith on evidence! Some people have lost confidence and abandoned their faith because they focused on the natural and not the eternal. Our faith is in the Word of God. When presenting the gospel, we cannot ignore the Bible. At best, we might argue someone into being a Theist, but not converted into believing the true God.



Consider:

  • Our warfare is not against humans (Eph. 6.12) 
  •  God’s Word is spiritual (Eph. 6.17, Heb. 4.12) 
  • When we are born again, we are changed (2 Cor. 5.17, John 3.6-8) 
  • We must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10.5) 
  • God wants us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12.30)
  • True wisdom and knowledge begin with God (Prov. 1.7) 
  • We have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2.16) 
  • The Creator of the universe, (Gen. 1.1, Col. 1.16) lives in us (Gal. 2.20) 
  • We live by faith (Rom. 1.17, Heb. 11.6)


In the past, people held to their faith despite pronouncements that “Science has disproved God”, “There is no archaeological evidence for certain people and events”, “Here is conclusive proof of evolution”. If our faith was based on evidence (which, as you pointed out with Piltdown Man, can be faked), then we have no solid foundation.

Again, evidence is important. Very important. Evidence changes, more is found, other evidence is discarded. We rely on the certainty of God’s Word (Isaiah 40.8, 2 Peter 1.18-21). Ironically, although God’s Word is more certain than man’s wisdom and evidence, there is a great deal of physical evidence confirming the truth of the Bible.

Does someone have “evidence” against the Bible? Just wait a while. And check their logic, too. The Bible has not been disproved, despite the railings of people who have excuses to disbelieve.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Forty Years of Abortion "Rights" in America

This is the fortieth anniversary of the infamous "Roe v Wade" abortion decision in the United States. (Norma McCorvey ("Jane Roe") turned around and became a pro-life supporter.) And yet, under the pretense of "women's rights", the killing of the unborn has become a political, emotional and moral controversy, a rude gesture in the face of the sanctity of life. It is also highly profitable for abortion mills, and Planned Parenthood also receives tax dollars.
Tuesday, January 22, will mark 40 years since the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its 7-2 decision in the Roe v. Wade case, in which state laws prohibiting abortions were declared unconstitutional based on an alleged right to privacy in the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Since that fateful day, over 54 million babies in the U.S. have been legally murdered through surgical abortions—and many more through other means such as abortifacient drugs.
Various liberal groups hail Roe v. Wade as a monumental victory. On the other hand, many Christians and political conservatives view the decision as inherently immoral and an atrocious abuse of the 14th Amendment, which was drafted to protect released slaves from persecution and unlawful imprisonment.
You can read the rest of "Roe v Wade: 40 Years Later", here.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Why Should We Study Creation?


The Rev. Dr. David P. Murray of Reformation International Theological Seminary brings his expertise to the study of the creation account in Genesis. His message on "Why Study Creation" is available at SermonAudio. It is well worth your time.

You can listen to it from the page, or download it. Note that if you click on "Download MP3", you are taken to a sign-up screen. If you do not wish to sign up, click "Maybe Later" and your download starts immediately.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas and Genesis — What's the Connection?


Hope you are having a great Christmas, and taking time to reflect on the true meaning. If the festivities have quieted down and you want to take some time to think on these things, I have two items for your consideration.

Many of us know that Jesus is the Creator of the universe (John 1.3, Col. 1.16-18) and can be overwhelmed that God cares about his creation (Psalm 8.4, Psalm 19.1, Luke 2.11). But there is more to it than this. Did you know that mixing evolution and "deep time" do violence with the gospel message itself?

Two help increase your understanding, please see this article, "Christmas and Genesis".
   

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