Many of you likely heard about the recent controversy over football player Tim Tebow’s bowing out of speaking at First Baptist Church in Dallas. Now, I was greatly encouraged by Pastor Robert Jeffress’s stand in defense of the biblical definition of marriage. He has boldly stood in the face of criticism to defend what the Bible says about this contentious issue.
And this week, Pastor Jeffress appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel, hosted by Bill O’Reilly. (You can watch the full interview on YouTube.) O’Reilly has been on the attack lately against Bible-believing Christians, including those who hold to a young earth and a historical Adam and Eve. It was clearly difficult for Pastor Jeffress to explain his positions, considering how much O’Reilly kept cutting in and trying to push his own view that many parts of the Bible are allegorical.
I’ve done numerous interviews like this myself, and it is not easy. You sit in a studio with an ear piece for sound, and you stare into the camera. You can hear the person doing the interview but can’t see them. It can make for a very difficult interview, and it’s hard to cut in when needed. Hosts have total control, and the guest is at their mercy. Under these sorts of conditions, Pastor Jeffress attempted to defend a historical Adam and Eve to O’Reilly, citing Matthew 19:4–5:
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’”?O’Reilly didn’t accept that answer, claiming that the text doesn’t name Adam and Eve specifically. But it’s clear that Christ is referencing Adam and Eve when he says that it was the male and female God made “at the beginning.” Furthermore, the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:45 links Christ to Adam, clearly holding the belief that Adam was a real person:
And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.In spite of O’Reilly’s sometimes obnoxious behavior during the interview, Pastor Jeffress continued to defend the Word of God as trustworthy.
However, I was incredibly disappointed in the stand Pastor Jeffress took on the age of the earth. I’ve included a section of the transcript below:
O’Reilly: If you believe in Adam and Eve, there are a number of other things that you have to believe. Incest is one of them because the race had to procreate off the children that Adam and Eve had. Then you have to reject the science of evolution and carbon dating and all of those things—Now, Pastor Jeffress implies that he would allow for an old earth and the big bang idea. Many pastors think that the big bang supports the Bible, as it means there was a beginning to the universe. I believe this is what Dr. Jeffress was trying to say—that there was a beginning. However, the big bang is a secular idea to try to explain the universe without God! Not only that, the big bang idea has the sun coming before the earth—and the earth then is a hot molten blob for millions of years. The Bible clearly states the earth was created before the sun, and the earth was covered with water from the start. This means the big bang idea is just plain wrong—on the basis of the authority of Scripture. And we also have a number of articles on our website citing many problems with the idea of the big bang that conflict with what we’ve learned from science.
O’Reilly: So it’s kind of incompatible with science. Or am I wrong?
Jeffress: No, I think you’re wrong on this one, Bill. You’re usually absolutely right, but I think you’re wrong on this one. The Bible does not contradict true science. It may contradict the passing fads of scientific theory that are always evolving. For example, it used to be thought that the cosmos always existed. But then we had Sir Fredrick Hoyle, who named the Big Bang Theory, that said, “Guess what, the universe had a beginning 13.7 billion years ago.” . . .
O’Reilly: Do you believe that—do you believe that the universe started 13.7 billion years ago?
Jeffress: I think it very well could have been. One of things that fundamentalists Christians mess up on is they try to say the Earth is 6,000 years old. The Bible never makes that claim anywhere.
Is it the evidence that convinces us that the earth and universe are young? No. We believe in a young universe because of the revelation God has given us in His Word concerning the history of the creation. The evidence only serves as a confirmation of His Word, and it makes sense when looked at through the biblical worldview. Certainly the majority of dating methods contradict the belief in billions of years—but all dating methods are fallible and based on assumptions. The only infallible dating method is the revelation from God concerning the history of the universe He (who does not lie) has revealed in His Word.
It’s true that the Bible doesn’t say exactly how old the earth is—if it said, “The earth is 6,000 years old,” it would eventually be incorrect as the Bible was completed 2,000 years ago! But we can know how old the earth is based on counting up the genealogies the Bible provides. I encourage you to read Bodie Hodge’s article How Old Is the Earth? for more information on how we determine the age of the earth based on biblical genealogies.
Again, we need to understand that the belief in millions of years does not come from Scripture, but from the fallible methods that secularists use to date the universe.
To attempt to “fit” millions of years into the Bible, you have to invent a gap of time that almost all Bible scholars agree the text does not allow—at least from a hermeneutical perspective. Or you have to reinterpret the “days” of creation as long periods of time (even though they are obviously ordinary days in the context of Genesis 1). In other words, you have to add a concept (millions of years) from outside Scripture, into God’s Word. This approach puts man’s fallible ideas in authority over God’s Word.
As soon as you surrender the Bible’s authority in one area, you “unlock a door” to do the same thing in other areas. Once the door of compromise is open, even if ajar just a little, subsequent generations push the door open wider. Ultimately, this compromise has been a major contributing factor in the loss of biblical authority in our Western world.
We are seeing two-thirds of young people in this nation leave the church by college age. Research we have done—published in the book Already Gone—shows clearly that Christian leaders who are compromising God’s Word with millions of years has been a major factor in contributing to why younger generations doubt the Bible beginning in Genesis, and that it puts them on a slippery slide of unbelief through the rest of Scripture.
Christians who believe in a young earth do not “mess up” as this pastor stated, but those who accept billions of years do “mess up” as they are really unlocking that door to undermining the authority of Scripture.
Obviously the age of the earth is not a salvation issue, but it is an authority issue! And we have been losing biblical authority from the culture. I challenge pastors not to compromise God’s Word in any way with ideas from outside of Scripture!
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,