Quite a challenge
‘Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone’ (Colossians 4:5–6).
That’s quite a challenge for Christians. To ‘proclaim the gospel’ at every opportunity, as Jesus commanded his followers to do, can be quite intimidating. Indeed, Nobel prize-winning American physicist Steven Weinberg, who disparagingly likens Christianity to belief in a tooth fairy, wonders whether the Christians around him even want to witness to him:
‘In my experience many Americans think of religion as important, and want to do whatever they can to support it. But if you ask them what they themselves believe, you’ll find they’re very uncertain about their religious beliefs. …
‘One piece of evidence I give for this is the fact that I have very good friends who belong to religious denominations whose teaching is that since I don’t accept their teaching I am damned for all eternity. And you would think that these friends would try to convert me. But they never do.’1
Assuming this is so,2 why aren’t his professing Christian friends making the most of this obvious witnessing opportunity? Weinberg speculates:
‘Now, you could explain this in various ways. It may be that they really don’t like me very much and are just as glad to see me damned for all eternity—that’s a possible explanation.
‘But another explanation which I tend to think is more likely is that although they know what their church teaches and they give lip service to it, they really don’t believe that if you don’t follow that particular form of worship you’re damned for all eternity.’
The uncertainty that Dr Weinberg sees in his friends seems to afflict many in the church. Their widespread ‘invisibility’ contrasts with the biblical injunction to be ‘salt’ (both a preservative and seasoning).3 As our reader feedback shows, such uncertainty about basic Gospel doctrines is often directly rooted in doubts about Genesis, fuelled by widespread evolutionary teaching.
Evolutionary theory is also at the root of the increasingly expressed notion (especially since the ‘9/11’ attacks in 2001) that ‘all religions are valid’. Sadly, even some church leaders have publicly said this, even though it contradicts what Jesus himself said!4 Superficially, the statement ‘all religions are valid’ might sound fair and democratic, and a ‘noble ideal’ to defend (hence the push to introduce ‘anti-vilification’ laws). But all ‘truths’ can be equal only if none are really true! So it really comes from the secular idea that all religions were just invented by humans. And that idea comes from evolution—i.e. man invented God, not the other way around.
But evolutionary teaching can be easily countered by the information you find in Creation magazine, as is evident from the testimony of Ph.D. scientist Dr Albert Mills (see ‘Back on solid ground’ in this issue). He used to believe in evolution largely on the basis of one particular evolutionary ‘icon’, but has now been turned ‘completely around’. It really is amazing what can happen when people are shown that the Bible’s account of our history really is trustworthy. Archaeologist David Down (see ‘Timing is everything’ in this issue) remembers being sceptical about this when he was a young man—so he probed more deeply and … it changed his life.
Some might now be thinking, ‘But wait, doesn’t the evidence from biology, geology, etc. show that evolution is true?’
Well, actually it doesn’t—it’s not the evidence at issue but how you interpret the evidence. Check out our article about the fossil ‘holy grail’ called ‘“Holy Grail” or another evolutionary tale?’—no wonder so many people believe evolution, when fossil evidence that readily speaks against it is actually touted as evidence for it!
Similarly, the ‘evidence’ that Charles Darwin encountered on his travels (see ‘Darwin’s Eden’ in this issue) fits with the biblical account, rather than being a deathblow to it. Especially in this year of the ‘Galápagos evolutionary propaganda campaign’ (see box in ‘Darwin’s Eden’), we trust readers will help spread this information far and wide.
References and notes
- Interview: Steven Weinberg, <www.pbs.org/faithandreason/transcript/wein-body.html>, 10 March 2005.
- I.e. taking Weinberg’s comments at face value. Of course it’s possible his friends are applying Matthew 7:6 in this case.
- Of course this does not apply universally—we are well aware that many churches are very interested in missions and evangelism (e.g. supporting overseas missionaries; holding Easter and Christmas programs with a strong evangelistic thrust; implementing the successful ‘Evangelism Explosion’ program). And the active campaigning by Christians against abortion, ‘gay marriage’, etc., shows that many are indeed trying to be ‘salt’. At the same time, though, many more believers would be witnessing, we feel, if they could be trained to answer the pressing questions of the day. That’s why this magazine can be so helpful.
- See, for example, John 14:6.