“[I]f the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)
Conversations with many pastors, ministry leaders, and laypersons alike today (especially many seniors) often feel like there should be an overlay of Chopin’s Funeral March in behind them. Lamentations seems to be the theme book of the Bible for many, as they reminisce about the “good old days” when churches were full, the Bible was revered, and Christ’s message of salvation was proclaimed boldly and regularly. They often recount how they’ve watched the moorings of the Christian faith slowly eroded in culture over the years, their children fall away, and their grandchildren become hostile to the dearest thing imaginable to them. What to do?
Throwing money at the problem didn’t seem to help. What good is a fresh, modern church building if there are no new people coming (except for “transfer growth,” also known as “sheep stealing”), churches are disappearing numerically, and their congregations are shrinking overall?
Entertainment-based approaches failed, as the world has resources (including our own tax money) that can outperform the church almost every time. Most evangelism outreach programs bear little fruit, as they usually amount to “invite your family and friends to the church BBQ”-type activities, and hardly anyone comes. People aren’t enticed or interested enough to hear the gospel by the offer of a free hot dog or hamburger. The local Wal-Mart does that, and they also have balloons, face painting, and clowns.
They’ve heard the message before, and don’t believe the book it comes from can be trusted. Why? “Because ‘science’ has disproven the Bible and the church is full of hypocrites who don’t even believe their own book!” are commonly heard objections.
But what if you could get in a time machine and roll back the clock? What could the church have done differently? Have we identified where we failed to shore up our foundations and to fight off the enemy’s attacks more effectively? Just as a doctor cannot prescribe a solution to your problem without knowing the root cause, we can’t reverse the effects the culture is imposing on the church without knowing what the core problem is.
Unfortunately, most Christians could not draw out a clear map with an understanding of how the West has arrived at this point. For many it’s simply a shoulder-shrugging exercise of “Well, what can you do?” or “I guess it’s God’s will.” Even most Christian leaders could not give a clear explanation of how, in such a short span of time, once greatly Christianized nations have collapsed into pagan cesspools, led by predominantly secular leaders, their populations wallowing in materialism and idolatry.
Why is it then that Bible skeptics understand it so clearly?
The revolution began when it became obvious that the earth was very ancient rather than having been created only 6000 years ago. This finding was the snowball that started the whole avalanche.1
Did you catch that? This quote is from Ernst Mayr, who was one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists. He rejected the idea of a personal God and belief in the Bible and clearly understood the path that many in the West have traveled intellectually. To put it simply, once “science” supposedly discovered the biblical timeline was wrong, there was no reason to consider the Bible trustworthy. And since the “deep time” of millions of years of earth history had been “proven” true, the story of evolution was now plausible, and life could be explained without God being needed. If there was no Creator, then everything happened through natural causes.
As F. Sherwood Taylor, British historian of science, museum curator, chemist, and past director of the Science Museum in London, England, explained:
I myself have little doubt that in England it was geology and the theory of evolution that changed us from a Christian to a pagan nation.2
Because of the incredible amount of resources that are now available, it’s quite easy for equipped Christians to believe in biblical creation. However, because most people are just “living their lives,” and don’t follow the details of these arguments, many perceive there is a continuous mountain of evidence for evolution accumulating. And because many don’t understand the difference between operational and historical science, most don’t realize that every fact that is interpreted as evidence for evolution can be better interpreted according to the biblical creationist model. So, in fact, there is much more evidence for the accuracy of the Bible than there is for evolution. Believing the Bible leaves you with none of the philosophical problems that materialism fails to account for as well. Additionally, most of the “evidence for evolution” is merely natural selection and adaptation, which actually runs contrary to molecules-to-man evolution yet is perfectly consistent with an all-wise Creator God who frontloaded organisms with the genetic potential to adapt to their environment in this no-longer-perfect, fallen world.
Darwinian evolution has been shown to be a glass house, shattering under its own weight upon careful inspection. Many of the past’s evolutionary icons (that were systematically taught to millions in public education) have been shown to be absolute frauds, while many of the others have been overturned and abandoned by scientists in their own community. Evolutionary “evidences” continue to be rolled out, but within a short time they usually fall by the wayside as science shows them wanting.
New discoveries in biology continue to reveal design at a level far beyond anything Darwin, or those of his day that adopted his false history, could have dreamed of. And as more people are exposed to these truths, more people are abandoning large portions of the evolutionary paradigm, even non-believers. Ultimately however, what many Christians are coming to understand is the presuppositional nature of the entire debate, and the are discovering that the best reason to take Genesis 1–11 as real history is because it is what the Bible plainly says. And unless Christians stand on the authority of God’s Word, they will never be able to make a truly credible defense of Scripture and clear proclamation of the gospel.
And that is what the church should never have given up in the first place: the concept of biblical authority. The true heroes of the faith are those who stood in opposition to the concept of millions of years and evolution even when they didn’t have the answers we have today. What they did have is what believers throughout the ages could always count on: the God of the Bible and his revealed Word.
Can you imagine what it would be like if the Church leaders had risen up against the concept of millions of years and evolution and presented a united front against the flimsy, unprovable ideas that evolutionists proposed? Envision what a school system (which were instituted by Christians initially!) dedicated to showing the huge flaws in evolutionary storytelling would have done to debunk naturalism and encourage belief in the history of God’s Word, as well as the spiritual truths it reveals: the need of man’s salvation from sin.
Picture our holidays actually being Holy days, dedicated to the birth, death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ, instead of being slowly replaced with images of bunny rabbits, chocolates, and magic, jolly elves that more symbolize commercialism than emphasis on the greatest gift ever given—Christ’s sacrifice for all.
And can you conceive a group of countries where “do unto others” was really modeled, where economies, art, and entertainment were based on the Word of God rather than the word of man? And family vacation destinations like the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter were the norm rather than rarities under constant attack by secularists? Some say that although that sounds good, the time is past and that is simply not possible.
Continuing down the path we are on is simply not an option for the church. For those who think compromise with evolutionary storytelling is a way to move forward, they’re wrong! That has already been tried, and it has resulted in catastrophic failure. Christians need to stop being embarrassed by what the Bible clearly teaches and get equipped to defend it as plainly read. In turn they need to learn how to equip their own children and stop the massive fallout impacting the church. Then, and only then, will the church be able to speak with one voice as to the authority of God’s Word and to reach out to the world around us in an effective way. As 1 Corinthians 14:8 says, “if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?”
So, now that we know what we didn’t then, let’s do what we know we should have done in the first place. Let’s reverse-engineer the question into an answer we can all put our efforts behind, and get equipped!