If Jesus as a finite human being erred from time to time, there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John wrote Scripture without error.
—BioLogos contributor Kenton Sparks
[E]ven though the Bible assumes a certain way of looking at the cosmos, from a scientific point of view the Bible is wrong.
—BioLogos contributor Peter Enns
Download a pdf of “BioLogos: House of Heresy & False Teaching” (both parts combined) to share with others.
First, the incarnation is not primarily about the cross. God does not send Jesus to die. God does not require Jesus’ death in order to forgive humanity’s sin. I argue that God did not will the cross . . . Christ’s death was not part of God’s divine plan.
—BioLogos contributor Joseph Bankard
Regardless of whether Christians agree with our stance on Genesis as real history, most fair-minded believers would concede that Answers in Genesis is sincere in its mission to uphold the authority of the Bible and further the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, our Mission Statement clearly outlines Why Answers in Genesis exists:
Answers in Genesis (AiG) exists to proclaim the authority of the Bible—from the very first verse—without compromise by using apologetics in its world-class attractions, dynamic resources, and creative media to communicate the message of God’s Word and the gospel so that believers are equipped to defend the Christian faith and nonbelievers are challenged with the truth of the Bible and its message of salvation.
Many AiG articles and videos clearly proclaim the gospel, and we feature a Good News link quite prominently as well.
In contrast, an extensive search on the BioLogos website reveals they do not emphasize or explain the gospel in any detail. Their Mission Statement simply states,
BioLogos explores God’s Word and God’s World to inspire authentic faith for today. Our vision is faith and science working hand in hand.1
Further, their “What We Believe” section is summarized by the statement,
BioLogos invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.”2
Born-again believers should be appalled at what Biologos and their contributors have stated in clear contradiction to the revealed word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ, as we will show. We encourage you to read the following article (and part 2 next week) and share with others to warn against this organized and influential group of false teachers that so often teach at Bible Colleges and seminaries all over the world.
Many people seeing the title of my article will likely consider it overly provocative and extremely uncharitable according to Christian standards. After all, declaring a professing believer or ministry to be heretical and guilty of false teaching is a serious charge. Jesus’ warning against insulting your brother (comparing insults to murder) seems similarly applicable here, so it should admittedly never be done lightly.
You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, “You fool!” will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:21–22)
Understanding the full weight of leveling such an accusation, however, I maintain that the BioLogos organization is guilty as charged, and I ask my fellow Christians to weigh the biblical arguments laid out within this brief thesis and examine whether this claim is well founded—especially those who are interacting with, collaborating with, or supporting BioLogos in any way.
BioLogos is an organized group of professing Christians consisting of scientists and theologians dedicated to convincing the Christian church to adopt evolution as the creative mechanism God used to bring about the world. This is reflected in the first “Core Values” and their ‘What we believe’ page on their website.
We embrace the historical Christian faith, upholding the authority and inspiration of the Bible.3
We believe that God created the universe, the earth, and all life over billions of years . . .
We believe that the diversity and interrelation of all life on earth are best explained by the God-ordained process of evolution with common descent . . .4
Most people, when they hear the word evolution, really think of apelike creatures to man. But that is just part of it. Evolution is a secular humanistic (think atheistic, naturalistic, materialistic view) and pagan view (think of pantheism) of origins—more on this in a moment. There are really four types of evolution that make up that word:
BioLogos was founded in 2007 with Francis Collins (the former head of the National Institutes of Health, appointed by former US President Barack Obama) at the helm and was largely funded with a grant from the theistic evolutionary Templeton foundation.
Although BioLogos purports to “embrace the historic Christian faith,” one looks in vain for robust defenses of Christian doctrine, especially as historically understood. Rather, their statements about the Bible are couched in equivocal language; for instance, “Christian doctrine is broadly compatible with scientific accounts of our origins.”
In contrast, statements about the “truth” of the story of evolution are always made with absolute authority. For example,
Fossils provide a window into the distant past, revealing how life has changed across vast periods of Earth’s history.5
In the last couple of decades, our understanding of genetics has grown dramatically, providing overwhelming evidence that humans share common ancestors with all life on earth.6
They have even admitted in a 2010 article, “On What Grounds Can One Claim that the Christian God Is the Creator?” (since removed from their website) that their view of origins is not distinctly Christian. This revealed that what they believe about creation was not derived from God’s Word and has nothing to do with the text of Scripture—which is the key element to my argument, as we’ll see.
The creation story of BioLogos is compatible with many faith traditions. Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike can align their faith with the BioLogos account of our origins, and there is no way to give a scientific proof for one monotheistic faith over another.7
Indeed, an exploration of what BioLogos contributors believe will demonstrate that what they teach is actually in contradiction to the Word of God, which is a demonstrable example of false teaching.
In Romans, the apostle Paul’s final instructions contain a serious warning for both the church of his time and our churches today:
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ>, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:17–18, emphasis mine)
In verse 18, Paul warns against those who don’t serve the cause of Christ, even though they were among the church (and presumably might have identified as believers). Instead, they serve themselves and deceive the naïve.
In verse 17, Paul makes it clear that believers should avoid them and not associate with them (the Greek word here is ekklinete, which means to deviate from [avoid], shun, or decline). Titus 3:10 reiterates the same conclusion regarding divisive teaching: “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.”
These divisive people clearly reject what Jesus taught in his high priestly prayer in John 17: that believers should be united. Paul had just reiterated this earlier in Romans 15:5–6 (also laid out in Ephesians 4:1–6).
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony [unity] with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5–6)
To sum it all up, Paul (under the influence of the Holy Spirit) identifies false teachers here as anyone that teaches doctrines contrary to what the church had been taught. In historical context, this would have been what the disciples were teaching the church at large at the time, under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, that was later recorded in the Bible. Today, this means the entire Bible (with this article maintaining an emphasis on the New Testament).
The Apostle Peter also warned against false teachers, reminding the fledgling Christian church that false prophets were already among God’s people and would plague the church from within throughout history. His warning regarding their ultimate fate is also severe:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1–3)
See also the short book of Jude, where these things had already become a reality. Furthermore, Jesus said,
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15)
Jesus and other New Testament authors commanded Christians to “not be deceived.”
Take heed that you not be deceived . . . . (Luke 21:8)
Do not be deceived . . . . (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Do not be deceived . . . . (Galatians 6:7)
Do not be deceived . . . . (James 1:6)
This is stated because Christians can be deceived. This is why it is imperative to be discerning and test things against the Scriptures. It’s obvious the NT writers wanted believers to be wary of false teachers infiltrating the ranks of church leadership and influencing people negatively. Considering the admittedly difficult nuances the church has dealt with over the years, teaching error unknowingly versus teaching falsely, debating non-essential doctrines (e.g., eschatology and baptism) versus non-negotiable truths that strike at the very heart of the authority of Scripture and the gospel itself (e.g., Christ’s deity, virgin birth, sinless life, substitutionary death, and resurrection), some may ask, is there a definitive way to define false teachers with absolute certainty?
Here are two clear criteria for determining false teaching.
1. If it can be shown that a professing Christian teaches in direct contradiction to what the writers of Scripture communicated (especially concerning doctrines that directly affect essential doctrines and the gospel), with no possible room for other interpretations, he or she is a false teacher.
This first criterion can be contested by arguing that the false teacher believes the biblical writers were actually teaching the view he or she is promoting. In other words, the false teacher might be wrong, but if the false teaching is based on misinterpretation rather than outright denial, the false teacher might not be a full-blown heretic. In that case, he should certainly be corrected and kept from teaching error to others. But if a false teacher is open to correction, he wouldn’t be subject to the same level of exclusion by the church.
2. The second criterion is much clearer. If a supposed Christian teacher admits that what he is teaching is contrary to what the biblical authors, apostles, and Jesus himself taught, he is a false teacher. At that point, there is no question about it. No matter how much grace or benefit of the doubt one may apply to someone’s teaching, this is an unequivocal and undeniable way to identify a heretical false teacher.
Clearly, if a professing Christian says, “Yes, I believe Jesus/Paul/Peter etc. was teaching XYZ doctrine in Scripture, but I don’t believe what they taught regarding XYZ is true,” then he is a false teacher promoting heresy.
As a matter of fact, according to Romans 16, denying this argument itself would be considered false teaching, as this would be denying Paul’s clear teaching to avoid those that teach against what the Apostles taught! And this is so self-evident that anyone arguing against this should simply give up on ever trying to be able to identify false teachers, in which case why does the Bible repeatedly say to do so?
It should also be noted that Scripture’s commands in regard to separating from false teachers apply to all believers and have implications for those they associate with. The direct implication is that if a true believer in Christ should discover he is partnering, associating, supporting, or collaborating with a false teacher (assuming he has had time to examine the evidence for such a charge), he should immediately disassociate himself from that person or group.
It is serious to accuse either an individual or an organized group of professing Christians as being false teachers, so we must have biblical reasons for doing so. In Part 2, we will show why BioLogos fits the biblical criteria for false teaching.