- Christianity Today: “Evangelical Evolutionists Meet in New York”
Cloaked in anonymity, 60 “participants” gathered themselves into the BioLogos fold for a midweek education at the “Theology of Celebration” conference in New York City. Forty-one pastors and parachurch leaders were among those who came to hear an all-star line-up of church academics enlighten them on “concerns for the church—especially for young people who feel torn between science and the Bible.”
Exhorted to save their churches by compromising on the foundational truths of Scripture, “participants seemed particularly appreciative of . . . an elegant overview of evidence for evolution.” To explain disturbing Barna statistics—that over half of U.S. Protestant pastors believe creation took place in six ordinary days and that less than twenty percent are theistic evolutionists—BioLogos leaders denigrated “young earth creationism” as the product of “less formal, grassroots educational initiatives, often centered on homeschooling.”
“We have arguments, but they have a narrative,” said Pastor Tim Keller, speaking for the BioLogos position. Encouraging church leaders to tell a better story than either young earth creationists or “atheistic evolutionists,” Keller said developing a BioLogos narrative is “the job of pastors.”
While we are extraordinarily concerned about the exodus of young people from Christian churches, statistics reveal the problem is the churches’ failure to provide answers explaining the truth and relevance of the Bible.
While we are extraordinarily concerned about the exodus of young people from Christian churches, statistics such as those presented in the book Already Gone reveal the problem is the churches’ failure to provide answers explaining the truth and relevance of the Bible. Christian doctrines are all rooted in the early chapters of Genesis. God’s eyewitness account of His perfect Creation, the rebellion of the first Adam resulting in death and suffering, and the promise of the coming Christ all appear in the first three chapters of the Bible.
When people are told to reinterpret Genesis chapters 1–2 “as the inauguration of the earth as God’s temple,” as one speaker at the conference did, the coming of Christ as the “Last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45) to be cursed on the Cross for our sins loses its theological moorings. What death did Christ come to conquer if not the death that began with the sin of man?
And how can pastors who preach that God’s Word cannot be trusted in Genesis expect young people to trust Jesus Christ—who Himself proclaimed those Genesis truths. After all, Jesus is quoted affirming both the creation of the first man and woman at the beginning and the Flood of Noah. Jesus also warned, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writing, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46)
Many in the church are “wowed” by the rhetoric that science has proven molecules-to-man evolution occurred over millions of years. They fail to grasp the galactic difference between observational science and origins science. The scientific method requires hypotheses be subjected to repeatable observable testing. Evolutionary and long-age conclusions exist in the realm of origins science and are based on unverifiable assumptions about the past. Observational science, not origins science, is the basis for the wonderful medical and technological discoveries that bless our lives. There is no conflict between observational science and the Bible.
Instead of helping Christians understand the worldview-based character of origins science, however, BioLogos—in the words of its founder Dr. Francis Collins—offers “a comfortable synthesis of what science teaches us about the natural world and what faith teaches us about God.”1 Thus, the BioLogos position ranks opinions of fallible human beings above God’s Word. “Comfortable,” Collins says, but a comfortable compromise that erodes the power of God’s Word and—in the words of Jesus Christ—makes “the word of God of no effect” (Mark 7:13).
So rather than accepting invitations to a BioLogos conference about the “Theology of Celebration” on the condition they can remain anonymous, church leaders eager to strengthen their churches might consider offering biblically sound answers echoing Christ, the true Head of the Church, “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). As Creator (Colossians 1:16), Christ has spoken authoritatively about when and how He created all things. And while pondering whether to travel the middle ground of compromise recommended by BioLogos, perhaps pastors should also consider Christ’s warning to a compromised, self-deluded church:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked (Revelation 3:15–17, KJV).
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