Whether it’s liberalism, evolutionism, Gnosticism, Mormonism, Islam, New Age, moral issues (e.g., abortion and gay marriage), or the age of the earth, these are all ultimately battles over the same issue.
In 2 Corinthians 11:3, the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, warns us about this ever-present danger: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
Paul in essence is warning Christians that Satan will continue to use the same method on us as he did on Eve: Satan will try to seduce people away from a simple devotion to Christ and His Word.
To understand this better, we need to go back to Genesis 3:1: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say . . . ?’ ”
From the beginning, the battle was over the authority of the Word of God. The first woman, Eve, followed by her husband, Adam, gave in to the temptation not to take God at His Word. Instead, he relied on his human reason to determine truth.
Because Adam was the head of the human race, his rebellion plunged the entire human race into sin. All his descendants inherited a sin nature that refused to take God at His Word and instead made human reason their supreme authority.
This battle against God’s Word has manifested itself in every era of history.
Paul faced skeptics on every side, who questioned the clear proclamation of God’s Word. In its early centuries, Christianity fought several challenges to the authority of the Scriptures, including Gnosticism, which taught that man was his own god. Modern issues like the age of dinosaurs or carbon dating are merely new manifestations of age-old attacks on God’s Word.
Human reason has replaced God’s Word, and compromise has crept into the church. A reformation is needed again to call the church to take God at His Word.
In the sixteenth century, the sale of indulgences by the church, for forgiveness of sin and release from the pains of Purgatory, marked a climax in the elevation of human thinking above God’s Word. The monk Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church, challenging indulgences. This act sparked a debate about the ultimate authority of the Bible above the church, and it essentially began the Reformation.
Others joined this reform movement. The Western world was dramatically changed, as Bibles and tracts were printed on the new presses and thus biblical truths were disseminated widely. In fact, until recent decades, much of the West was still heavily influenced by the Reformation and its call to take God at His Word.
The battle against God’s Word never ceased, however, as a series of men and events sought to undo the positive effects of the Reformation. Behind these attacks was an effort to make human reason supreme and steer people away from the authority of the Word of God. It was another manifestation of Genesis 3:1.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the attack against the Bible intensified. New speculation about the age of the earth and the evolution of life raised questions about the accuracy of the Bible. The core issues can be seen in the Scopes trial—said to be the most famous and culture-shaping trial in history (other than the trial of Jesus).
The Scopes trial of 1925 was not really about the teaching of evolution, as is commonly believed, but a deliberate ploy by the American Civil Liberties Union to put Christianity as a whole on trial. Even though the prosecution lawyer William Jennings Bryan was a great Christian statesman, he let the Christian faith down by not standing on God’s Word concerning the book of Genesis. For example, he was unable to give an answer about Cain’s wife, and he allowed the possibility that the earth is millions of years old.
The trial marked a symbolic turning point in Christendom and American society. The world’s media reported that Christians were not taking God at His Word (in Genesis), and also that they could not adequately defend it.
The failure of the church to stand on God’s Word has brought devastation to countless lives. Just one example is the once-prominent evangelist Charles Templeton. While in seminary, he was taught to believe in an evolutionary timetable, including millions of years, which eventually led him to reject God’s Word.
Compromise about biblical authority in Genesis 1–11 has made the church so weak that the Bible no longer impacts the culture as it once did. This has largely occurred because human reason was allowed to invade the church and push aside God’s Word.
A new reformation is needed. It’s time for a new generation of reformers to stand up and call the church back to trust in God’s Word where it is most under attack—the history of Genesis 1–11. Biblical creation ministries, such as the Creation Museum, have already issued the call to turn away from the opinions of fallible mankind and stand firmly on the entire Bible.
It’s time that believers made their voices heard, nailing Genesis 1–11 on church doors and secular buildings across the world! We need to take God at His Word and return to the “simplicity that is in Christ.” Then we can watch the power of God’s Word transform lives and influence the culture.