Readers Respond to Answers July - September 2010


A Compromised Prince of Preachers?

In “Exposing a Fundamental Compromise,” Dr. Terry Mortenson cites C. H. Spurgeon, among others, as having a compromised position with respect to a literal six-day creation. In 1886 Spurgeon was unequivocal and direct in his stand against evolution. It would be a travesty to unwittingly cause Answers readers to avoid reading this Prince of Preachers who consistently exalted the sovereign Creator he preached.


Author’s Response: Spurgeon was indeed opposed to liberal theology and to evolution, at least human evolution. But he compromised with the “millions of years” idea proclaimed by the geologists. He showed this in sermons in 1855 and again in 1876 (see “Christ, the Destroyer of Death,” preached on December 17, 1876 [Sermon 1329, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 22, pp. 697–699]).

Spurgeon was a “child of his time,” and he failed to see that Genesis 1–11, especially its teaching on the age of the earth, is foundational to the gospel. But such men as Spurgeon had Bibles and could have stood on Scripture’s authority regarding this point (just as did the “scriptural geologists” of the early 1800s). Instead, most of these late nineteenth-century preachers skimmed over key details of Genesis 1–11—just as most scholars do today.

We can learn many things from Spurgeon, but he made a serious mistake in this area, Christians need to realize that well-respected, sincerely intentioned, godly leaders can make gospel-subverting mistakes. It happened to Peter (Matthew 16:23 and Galatians 2:11–14), and neither Jesus nor Paul hesitated to confront his error.

Miffed on Madagascar

In “Mysterious Madagascar,” Mr. UpChurch discusses plate tectonics. Why is anything discussed that is only “apparently” or “appears to have”? Isn’t it possible that Madagascar is where it is because God placed it there? The article is filled with “perhaps” and “likely” and “appears.” The only difference between this article and an article on evolution are the mentions of Noah’s Ark.


Editor’s Response: Creationists start with the Bible when they try to explain how the present world came to be. We find miles of fossil layers, which were bent and moved by great upheavals some time after the fossils were deposited. Because nobody was there to see exactly what happened, tentative language is appropriate.

Our aim is to glorify our Creator by “searching out” how He has worked in and through His creation (see Proverbs 25:2). As we attempt to do that, we hope that people will see that the Bible’s history is the proper starting point for all scientific study, including the natural history of Madagascar.

To be effective in that task, we have to distinguish carefully between a model (a possibility) and God’s Word (absolute truth). See “Loving Science, Loving God” (pp. 90–92, Answers, October–December 2008) for a fuller discussion of this approach.

Tripping Along Happily

Just wanted to let you know how thankful this mom of five is for the “Parent’s Corner.” Tedd Tripp takes God’s Word and does not water it down. He is a fine example of how one can be blessed for taking God at His word—from Genesis all the way through the New Testament.


Not Just Another Ghost Story

I enjoyed the most recent Answers magazine article about ghosts. The spiritual realm is very real and much too dangerous for the normal human being to handle.

It is possible to open doorways for demon possession and other dangerous things. Many Christians fall into the trap of thinking that ouija boards, tarot cards, etc., are just silly, innocent games . . . but they’re not.


It Was Samuel!

I was surprised to read that Rick Barry could not take a position on the ghost of Samuel. Rick reports that “an apparition that looked like Samuel appeared.” However, what 1 Samuel 28 actually says is that “the woman saw Samuel” (1 Samuel 28:12), “Samuel said . . .” (vv. 15–16), and “Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words” (v. 20). If one can conclude that “the woman saw Samuel” means that it could have been someone else instead, could any event in the Bible be merely the fallible perception of those involved in the story?


Editor’s Response: The John Gill commentary, cited in the article’s footnotes, acknowledges that your position has strong support ( But Gill and other commentators cite several counterarguments. In neither case is Scripture’s accuracy being questioned—it’s just a matter of properly understanding the intended meaning of this one-time event. Is this account describing “Samuel” from God’s perspective or from Saul’s perspective?

Answers Magazine

October – December 2010

Human life is sacred, from conception until the day we die. This issue focuses on a creation-based understanding of the sanctity of life and mankind’s violation of the Creator’s clear directives. Feature articles explain when life truly begins, the shocking reality of human trafficking even in the West, and end-of-life decisions, such as living wills. Don’t miss this informative, edifying, and challenging issue!

Browse Issue Subscribe


Get the latest answers emailed to you or sign up for our free print newsletter.

I agree to the current Privacy Policy.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390