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A plea to pastors and other religious leaders to see the importance of the creation/evolution issue. It is not a side issue. Many religious leaders don't realize the true nature of the controversy.
Much opposition to the creation ministry comes from within the church, particularly from those who have compromised with evolutionism and those who hold to liberal theology. First, please understand that I do not want to sound as if I am hitting too hard at those who have compromised between evolutionism and the Bible. Many people simply do not understand the real issues involved. They really believe scientists have proven evolution and every related issue. For many people, a belief in such positions as theistic evolution, the Gap Theory, and progressive creation came out of sheer pressure from their belief that scientists had proved many, if not all, aspects of evolution. Until relatively recently, Christians had not conducted a great deal of scientific research to be able to explain all the problems with the theory of evolution. For many, holding to the aforementioned compromises gave some ability to cope with a confusing array of supposed “facts.”
At one seminar, a lady told me that evolutionism had destroyed her faith in the Scriptures. She had such an emptiness in her life that she cried to the Lord and prayed for a solution to this problem. She was finding it impossible to trust the Scriptures. She was led to a library and happened to find a book on the Gap Theory. (The Gap Theory basically allows for billions of years between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.) She was thrilled at this explanation and set about rebuilding her Christian life. At the end of the seminar, she came to me and exclaimed what a thrill it was to know she did not have to believe the Gap Theory. She did say, though, that the Lord used the Gap Theory to bring her out of a situation that was caused by evolutionism. Now she could totally trust the Bible.
There have been many great Christian men and women in past generations who promoted the Gap Theory or theistic evolution. However, now that we can show the real nature of evolutionist scientific research and can see the powerful evidence supporting the Bible in every area, there is no need to cling to these positions of compromise. Not only is there no need, but it is imperative that Christians give up these positions and accept the Bible as the authoritative Word of God.
James 3:1 warns us: “
Be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”
I am appealing to all Christian leaders to consider seriously their beliefs about the question of creation/evolution. One example, which I quoted earlier, described a visit to a school and the resultant openness of the students to the gospel message. I shared the testimony of a young student from that school. One of the things I did not mention was the virulent opposition of two ministers from that district who tried to bar my entrance to the school. Their reason? They said I would only confuse the students. They indicated that I had no right to insist that the Bible be taken literally. If they had been successful in their endeavor, many of those students would not now be open to the gospel.
At another school one of the local ministers spent a great deal of time obtaining special permission for the creation science team to speak to some of the classes. Another local minister went to the school and demanded the right to speak after we had spoken. He told the students that he was a Christian and a minister of religion, and then appealed to them not to believe what we were saying. He said he believed in evolution and did not believe Genesis was true.
Such events have occurred many times during my experience as a creation ministries’ speaker. Again and again, we hear ministers claim that we would only confuse students and so should not be allowed into schools. These ministers are oblivious to the fact that students are being told there is no God and everything (including man) is a result of random chance. Our message is simple. We are telling the students there is a God, that He is Creator, and the Bible can be trusted. How can men, who are supposed to be caring pastors, prefer that students be told there is no God? These men have no faith in their own pilgrimage. How can they ever hope to shepherd others? They should actually visit the school and ask the students what the teaching of evolutionism is doing to them.
In one church school in Tasmania, Australia, the official position was to teach evolution with God added to it. The local bishop tried his hardest to prevent my visit to the school, but one of the teachers was allowed to present the creationist position to the class, and he invited me as a special speaker. At the conclusion of my presentation, 69 of the 70 girls surrounded me and verbally attacked my stand on creation. They shouted statements such as: “There is no God!” “Buddhism is better than Christianity!” “Evolution is true!” “You can’t trust the Bible!” “The Bible is full of mistakes!” “We are not interested in what you have to say.” Because of the compromise with evolutionism, they were even less open to God’s Word than public school students. They attended a “church” school. Why wouldn’t they know the “truth?” So far as they were concerned, they already had all the answers. One young girl, however, came to me with tears in her eyes. She thanked me for the foundation given her faith. She said she was a Bible-believing Christian and that she found it very hard to be in that particular school, as the teachers were attempting to destroy her faith in Christianity. They had obviously weakened the faith of many of the other girls in the class.
During a question time at one church, the minister raised a vital question. Because there was no Christian school in the district that taught from the creationist perspective, should parents be advised to send their children to the local public school with its known anti-Christian philosophy or to the compromising Christian school? There was silence as the congregation awaited my answer.
What was my answer? Send their children to a church school which compromised with evolution and only taught a secular philosophy or to the local public school? My first answer was, “I would send them to neither—I would keep them home!” Of course, this is becoming a real option for many parents today, and the home school movement is growing. However, I did go on to add that it was easier in one sense to tell the students they were being taught an anti-Christian philosophy in the public school. A church school that is supposedly Christian but has compromised with secular philosophy is no different from the public schools, except that it purports to be Christian.
The Lord makes this clear to us in Revelation 3:15–16. In reference to the compromising church, we read: “
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art then lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”
This is probably the reason why we often get a far better response to our ministry in public schools than in compromising Christian schools.
Pastors! Theologians! Ministers! You must be aware of what evolution is doing to students’ minds. You must be aware of what is happening in the school system. There are fewer children attending our church education programs. There are fewer children interested in religious education in schools. In many schools, religious education classes are not allowed any more. Look at it practically. Is your compromise position working? It is not!
Some of the opposition we encounter could be seen in the interview on Australian radio on May 16, 1984, with Rev. Colin Honey, a Uniting Church minister and master of Kingswood College at the University of Western Australia. Rev. Honey was asked if he saw a fundamental confusion between Christianity and simple-mindedness. He replied, “I guess there will be in people’s minds, if fools keep telling us that the Bible says the world was created in six days.”
You would be in for a shock if you wrote to some of our theological or Bible colleges and asked them what they teach in that college about creation. But be very specific—don’t just ask them if they teach creation. Ask them what they believe about Genesis. Do they believe the days were real days? Do they believe the flood of Noah was worldwide in extent? Do they take Genesis literally? Do they see the importance of Genesis to doctrine? I have often said to people in churches that I knew the theological college of that particular denomination either taught evolution or the view that Genesis does not matter. Most people reel in shock. They had believed their theological colleges taught that the Bible is true. One of the problems we have in the West is that most theological and Bible colleges produce ministers who have been trained to question the Scriptures rather than accept them. That is why we have so many shepherds in our churches who are really leading the sheep astray. If you support any of these institutions financially, why not ask them what they teach about these matters?
At one seminar three ministers from a Protestant denomination came up to me. They said that what I was teaching was a perversion of the Scriptures. As we talked, it became obvious that we were arguing from two totally different approaches to the Scripture. I asked these people how God made the first woman. I said the Bible claims that God took from Adam’s side and made a woman—did they believe that? Their answer went something like this: “Yes, we do believe the symbolic picture implied here that men and women are one.” “No,” I said, “I asked you whether you believed that that is how God actually made a woman.” They said they certainly agreed that this theological picture implied that men and women are one. I repeated my question a number of times, saying that the Bible claims this is actually how God made a woman. Not only that, but in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 11:8, we read where Paul states that the woman came from the man and not the man from the woman, obviously supporting the historical creation account in Genesis.
We were getting nowhere, so I asked them if they believed that Jesus was nailed on a cross as the New Testament states. “Oh, yes,” they said, “we certainly believe that.” I then asked them why they did not believe God actually took Adam’s side and made a woman. They told me it was the difference between accepting Genesis as poetry rather than history, suggesting that if it were poetry it should not be believed. Genesis, of course, is history. And, besides, even if something is written in poetic form, as indeed other parts of the Scriptures are, does this then say that we do not believe it?
They informed me that, for much of Scripture, it was not what was said that was important, but the theological picture that was implied. I asked them how they determined what that theological picture was, on what basis did they decide what was the true theological picture, and how could they be sure that their approach to Scripture was the right one? From where did they obtain their authority to approach the Scripture this way? They said it was their study of history and theology over the years that enabled them to decide what was the correct way to approach Scripture and to determine what these symbolic pictures were. I then told them it sounded as though they simply held an opinion as to how to approach Scripture. How did they know it was the right opinion? This is where the conversation abruptly ended. These men want to tell God what He is saying rather than letting God tell them what the truth is. This is the position of many theological leaders.
After speaking at a church in Victoria, Australia, one of the local ministers (who was obviously upset) told me in front of a large number of people that I had no right to force my interpretation of the Bible on others. He was extremely vocal and emotional about this issue. The thing I found amazing was that he was trying to enforce his interpretation of the Bible on me and the others that were present. He could not comprehend that aspect.
There are many passages throughout the Bible in which God rebukes religious leaders for leading people astray. Jeremiah, for instance, was called by the Lord to warn the Israelites about teachers and priests who were not proclaiming the truth. Jesus openly rebuked many religious leaders, calling them such names as “vipers” (Matt. 12:34).
These same warnings apply to many today who claim to be teachers of the Word of God, but who, in reality, are causing many people to fall by the wayside. Many of you will no doubt be aware that much of the opposition to the work of the creation organizations worldwide comes from theologians and other religious leaders. Many of the humanist groups often enlist people who claim to be Christians but believe in evolution to support them (on television, radio, and in publications) in their effort to combat the creation ministries. I have seen TV reporters and radio announcers reveling in the fact that they can have someone on their program who claims to be a Christian but opposes the Bible and creation.
At one creation-versus-evolution debate, an evolutionist stated that the issue was not whether God created or not. He said that he believed in creation and that he was a Christian. He then went on to vehemently attack the Bible and Christianity. During the question time, someone in the audience asked this person whether he could testify to Jesus Christ being his personal Saviour. The evolutionist debater, caught off guard, was obviously wanting to avoid the question. However, he decided to attempt an answer. He told the audience he did not use the same terminology as others, and that he certainly did not accept the Bible at all and would not have anything to do with fundamental Christianity. Basically, he described fundamental Christianity as the belief that accepted the Bible as true. Yet, many probably had believed that he was a Christian because he publicly stated so. Here was a wolf in sheep’s clothing leading sheep astray.
Many shepherds of the sheep in today’s world can be found in one of the following groups, in the sliding progression from “toleration” to “capitulation” to “error.”
Many tell us we should tolerate other people’s beliefs about evolution: that we must refrain from speaking against what they say. Or, we are told to consider all alternatives that scientists put before us and not be “dogmatic” about one view. Of course, this is a form of dogmatism itself, claiming that we cannot insist Genesis be taken literally so as to exclude evolutionary philosophy. Many theological colleges dogmatically insist that students consider all views on the interpretation of Genesis (e.g., theistic evolution, progressive creation, Day-Age Theory, Gap Theory, Six-Day Literal Creation), and go on to assert that no one person may say that any view is definitely correct, or incorrect! I am not suggesting that students at such colleges should not be made aware of these other positions. However, the fallacies of these positions should be pointed out in detail.
Many are saying that you cannot be sure what Genesis means or says, and perhaps that evolutionists are right after all. Because of the high respect for “academia,” and the immense amount of material from a large number of scientists pushing evolution, many Christians just add evolution to the Bible.
Here the error of evolution has been tolerated and given standing in the church. This has become a comfortable position because there is great harmony: the people in the church who believe in evolution don’t feel threatened, and they can all work together. Such people claim that God created, but if He worked through evolution, it does not really matter.
With people becoming so intimately involved with the error of evolutionary philosophy, this theory becomes generally accepted and taught through the churches, Sunday schools, Christian schools, and religious educational programs, as well as in the secular school classrooms. Consequently, the issue doesn’t bother people any more.
Evolution becomes accepted as fact, and anyone who dares to disagree is a “heretic.” As people accept evolution, and relegate Genesis to myth or allegory, they start to question the rest of Scripture. A rejection of the foundations of all doctrine contained in the Book of Genesis logically leads one to a denial of the entire Bible. Liberal theology becomes rampant.
It was interesting to note the reaction of a professor in genetics and human variation at the School of Biological Science at LaTrobe University. When he was asked a question during a debate with Dr. Gary Parker relating to the fact that many Christians do accept evolution, he stated: “I can only add that Christianity is fairly widely fragmented. Obviously, Christianity is in various stages of evolution; some sections of it seem to have just about dispensed with the theology altogether. It seems to be that the ultimate stage of evolutionary Christianity will be to just throw out all the theology and be left with an entirely rational and naturalistic system of outlook on life.” What he recognized, of course, was that there is really no difference between atheistic and theistic evolution—except that in the latter God is added to the system. Logically, therefore, theistic evolution is only one step away from atheistic evolution, and that is where he sees the ultimate end of such a compromise situation. In many denominations, there is real controversy and a lot of discussion concerning inerrancy of the Bible. When discussing this issue, the sad thing is that many evangelical scholars do not recognize or deliberately sidestep the importance of Genesis. The acceptance of the literal events in Genesis is foundational to the question of biblical inerrancy. If the conferences on inerrancy were to settle that issue first, the rest of the problems they have would disappear very quickly. This is another reason why any Statement of Faith being formulated for Christian schools, Christian organizations, churches, and such conferences should always be very specific concerning Genesis. It is not good enough to say that they believe God created. They need to understand the importance and relevance of accepting Genesis literally, of rejecting evolution completely, and of understanding the foundational nature of Genesis to the rest of the Bible.
Unfortunately, even much of the Christian school movement is devoid of this understanding. I know of Christian schools that are more concerned with their teacher’s view of eschatology (the Second Coming) than with what they believe and understand concerning the foundational issue of creation. This means they do not fully understand Christian education!
As the prophet Hosea says, “
The people that doth not understand shall fall” (Hos. 4:14). While there are many shepherds leading the sheep astray, we must remember that the sheep are also to blame, as God tells us through Jeremiah 5:31: “
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so” (emphasis mine). Let us pray that more men and women in our nations will be prepared to stand for the absolute truth of God’s Holy Word.
Exodus 20:11 states: “
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
A child in a Christian school class asked her teacher, “How could anybody create everything in six days from nothing?” Another very discerning young student blurted out, “But God is not just anybody!”
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.