The church’s growing refusal to embrace the clear history of the Bible’s first book accelerated last year as one of America’s largest denominations—the Assemblies of God—revised its 1977 position statement on creation. The AG now declares that there are many “theories” of the creation account in Genesis, and that a six-day creation a few thousand years ago is not the only orthodox view.*
That “slight”** revision disturbed many young-earth pastors in the denomination. Their concern grew when the Assemblies of God issued a clarification** that contained contradictions. For example, it declared that the new statement did not “advocate for a particular theory,” while stating that the revised paper “is a ringing endorsement of a literal creation.” This raises the question, how many literal creation views are there?
Meanwhile, the Presbyterian Church of America has also opened another debate about the age of the earth. Now that the PCA’s best-known minister and young-earth advocate, Dr. D. James Kennedy, has passed away, more PCA leaders are arguing for an old earth.
Last year, several Presbyterian geologists wrote that “no single event” (in other words, Noah’s Flood) could explain the variety of geologic phenomena around the world, and that the earth is “roughly 4.6 billion years old.”***
Remarkably, the coauthors made no effort to examine the Scriptures that teach a global, mountain-covering Flood (Genesis 7:19), and they didn’t even acknowledge the compelling counterarguments to their interpretations. In addition, they disregarded article IV-1 of the PCA’s Westminster Confession of Faith, that God created all things “in the space of six days” (as the clear reading of the Bible teaches).
Both the AG and PCA are on the slippery slide of reinterpreting God’s infallible Word according to man’s fallible beliefs. This is a dangerous approach that has already devastated other denominations that once held a high view of Scripture.
When the church rejects the Bible’s authority in one area, should Christians be surprised that society does not take the Bible’s other teachings seriously? Why should anyone live by God’s Word if it is merely a flawed book that cannot be trusted?
** “The Doctrine of Creation—Development and Significance of the Revised Position Paper,” Edgar Lee, Chair, Commission on Doctrinal Purity, September 9, 2010.
*** “PCA Geologists on the Antiquity of the Earth,” Modern Reformation, May/June 2010.