Opening the Door for Compromise

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I’ve said it many times before—when you open the door to compromise in Genesis, it doesn’t take long for other doctrines to fall. You see, Genesis is foundational to the rest of Scripture. All of our major doctrines either directly or indirectly are founded in Genesis. Why do we need a Savior? Well, Genesis 1–11 tells us. Why is there death and suffering? Genesis 1–11. Why does God need to make a new heavens and a new earth? Genesis 1–11. Why is marriage for one man and one woman? Genesis 1–11. Genesis 1–11 is important! Once a person denies the literal history of Genesis, ultimately all doctrine falls as every single doctrine of theology, directly or indirectly, is founded in the book of Genesis.

Not only this, but once one allows man’s fallible ideas to reinterpret Scripture at the beginning, this puts one on a slippery slide of unbelief through the rest of Scripture.

Well, Karl Giberson (who was a professor for many years at a Nazarene university), a theistic evolutionist who I’ve written about many times before, was recently interviewed about his new book Saving the Original Sinner: How Christians Have Used the Bible’s First Man to Oppress, Inspire, and Make Sense of the World. This book espouses Giberson’s view that Adam was not a real historical person. We will be providing an in-depth review of the book soon, so keep an eye on AnswersInGenesis.org for that review.

In the interview, Giberson talks about how he was raised by a “fundamentalist Baptist pastor and we lived in a Bible belt region of New Brunswick [Canada],” but when he went to college, naively believing that “any Christian college would reinforce [his] ideas,” his views began to change as he was faced with professors who denied the historicity of the Bible: “gradually I began to believe that Bible literalism, creationism and anti-science views didn’t hold up.” Eventually, he rejected biblical historicity himself. This compromise in one area of Scripture quickly led to compromise in other areas. And now Giberson denies many important biblical doctrines like original sin and seemingly even Christ’s victory on the Cross—which really means he now denies the gospel!

Undermining the Gospel

In this interview he goes as far as to imply that the only reason that we view Adam as having introduced sin into the world (the doctrine of original sin) is because Paul wrongly taught this! He states,

St. Paul wrestled a lot with the meaning of Jesus’life [sic] and death and resurrection. There is evidence Paul was struggling to think, how did God become incarnate as this human being and rather than end in a victory, it ended in a crucifixion and a resurrection? Paul began to think the only way to understand this was that Jesus died to rescue the entire human race from some kind of sin. So he reaches back into the Jewish tradition, which he was a part of, and he sees Adam as not only the beginning of Judaism but as the beginning of the human race and the origin of sin. He pulls this character that is a minor one in the Old Testament and made him a major character.

Well, Scripture—and Paul himself—certainly didn’t view Christ’s death and Resurrection as ending in defeat instead of victory. Consider Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:54–57:

So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Far from being a defeat, Paul says that Christ’s Resurrection is our only hope (1 Corinthians 15:12–20). Paul also says,

And being found in appearance as a man, He [Jesus] humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:8–11)

These verses hardly sound as if Paul thinks that Christ’s death and Resurrection are a sorrowful defeat! But because Giberson has compromised on Genesis and denied the historicity of Adam and therefore of the first sin which introduced sin to all mankind (Romans 5:12), he must explain Paul’s explicit teaching on original sin somehow. And that somehow is with . . . more compromise. Compromise only leads to further compromise! And this compromise is nothing less than an attack on the gospel itself!

And More Compromise

But Giberson’s compromise on God’s Word doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say,

Fundamentalism, with its belief in the Bible dictated by God, with every sentence true, is an idea I think is wrong and is wrong in some socially unfortunate ways. Some fundamentalists conclude from their Bible reading that women have to be subservient to men, that spanking your children is all right, that the races shouldn’t mix with each other, that homosexuality should be condemned. You also get denial of climate change. It is socially corrosive.

Well, I would like to point out right away that there is a big difference between taking the Bible as true in all that it says and misinterpreting the Bible to erroneous teach a position—such as the idea that supposed interracial marriage is somehow immoral. That does not come from believing the Bible—it comes from wrongfully and even willfully misinterpreting or twisting Scripture. But other things—such as a condemnation of homosexuality as sinful and against God’s design—does come from believing the Scriptures. This has historically always been believed by the church and the only reason that some people today, like Giberson, deny this, is because they have compromised God’s Word to fit in with the culture. Compromise in one area (in Genesis) leads to more compromise in other areas!

As Christians, we need to stand boldly against any compromise on God’s Word. God’s Word must be the foundation for our thinking in every area. I encourage you to be bold in standing on the authority of God’s Word from the very beginning. And stay tuned for the upcoming review of Giberson’s latest book.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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