The situation in Australia about which this article sounds the alarm is an increasing global phenomenon. We trust it helps believers everywhere to be on the alert.
A leading evangelical institution runs evolution-promoting seminars across Australia—and look who's funding the campaign...
Published: 29 March 2012(GMT+10)
According to a well-known Christian training institution in Australia, when it comes to science and faith, there’s no choice to be made, and they’d like everyone to know that. Secular newspapers helpfully gave free publicity to Tabor’s nation-wide upcoming public seminars:
“This month Tabor Adelaide, a multidenominational Christian education centre, will host a series of free seminars around the country on God and science. The workshops aim to ‘dispel the myth’ that people have to make a choice between science and faith.”1
On the face of it, that is almost something that we at Creation Ministries International would say is our own charter, assuming that by ‘science’ Tabor means what we refer to as operational or experimental science, and that ‘faith’ refers to faith in the God of the Bible.
Alas, further reading of the newspaper articles promoting Tabor’s free public seminar series indicates that their usage of the term ‘science’ includes the claimed evolutionary ‘history’ which secularists parade as science. That is clear from the views of one of the seminar presenters, Rev. Dr Graham Buxton, Inaugural Director of Tabor’s new GCRI (Graeme Clark Research Institute2 —ostensibly set up to be of “Christian service to the community” particularly regarding the “public debate” re “science and faith”):
“Dr Buxton said that he believed God used a Big Bang and evolution to create the world. ‘There is no reason why someone can’t have a theistic view of evolution,’ Dr Buxton said. ‘I don’t have any problems with seeing a God who was involved and actually set in the conditions of the Big Bang everything that was necessary for the unfolding of the universe through the evolutionary process.’”3
Actually, if by ‘God’ they mean the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ who reveals Himself in the pages of His Holy Word, there are plenty of reasons why someone can’t have a theistic view of evolution (unless they illogically crave a mindset hopelessly divided against itself—cf. Mark 12:30).
First, evolution, as taught in school and university textbooks,4 does not invoke any need for a creator to start, let alone steer, the ‘process’.
The only way to make the evolutionary worldview compatible with biblical theism is to so radically alter the understanding of the entry of sin and death into the universe that the Gospel is not only gutted, it is in any rational sense abandoned.
Second, textbook evolution denies the existence of an actual spirit realm (instead dismissing it as spirit-invoking delusions of brain chemistry5)—see Evolution: the ultimate antidote to spirituality.
Third, the General Theory of Evolution certainly rules out any possibility of a creator who is the God of the Bible, given the multiplicity of contradictions between it and what the Bible says about cosmology (e.g. earth before stars), geology (e.g. water-covered earth before dry land appeared), biology (e.g. fruit trees before fish), paleontology (e.g. man appeared before fossils) and anthropology (e.g. horticulture and agriculture before nomadic hunter-gathering).
Perhaps Dr Buxton would be less overt about his faith in a ‘Big Bang’ if he was aware that even its secular physicist advocates are shrinking in number, given its increasingly evident failures to fit the known facts of the universe.6 (In fact, the ‘Big Bang’ would likely have been completely abandoned by today’s crop of physicists if only they could have concocted some other godless idea of beginnings to take its place.)
However, overarching all of these reasons why ‘theistic evolution’ is unsustainable even as a concept are the theologically destructive implications for Jesus’ redemptive death on the Cross if evolution is accepted by Christians. Because evolution puts pain and carnivory, death and thorns, before man (as do all long-age views).
In stark contrast to the evolutionary timeline, the Bible says the creation was cursed with death, pain and thorns only after the first man, Adam, sinned, after the completed creation had been declared by God to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31). And thankfully, because of the perfect sacrifice of the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45) on the Cross, Christians can look forward to the new heavens and new earth where there’ll be no more consequences of the Curse (Revelation 21:1,4; 22:3).
It’s only in the light of the biblical account of there being no death before Adam’s sin, that the shedding of blood because of sin makes sense (Hebrews 9:22)—with Jesus’ death on the Cross being the perfect sinless sacrifice; the only way man can be redeemed (Hebrews 10:4,10).
But if “God used evolution” as Dr Buxton says, then there were millions of years of blood-letting before Adam’s sin—in which case, why the Bible’s emphasis on the shedding of blood because of sin? God-used-evolution ideas completely destroy the whole basis for the Atonement. Also, if evolution is the means God uses to create, then the supposedly ongoing ‘evolutionary process’ today means that the creation is not yet completed. And because death (and disease and suffering) has been there all along, it means the creation has never been cursed because of man’s sin, therefore … what was Jesus’ death on the Cross all about? What’s the connection with the Genesis 3:16 (post-Curse) prophecy and the Romans 8:19–22 statement that the creation was “subjected to futility” and is “in bondage to decay”? Or the New Heavens and New Earth promised in Revelation, where death will be no more because “there will be no more curse”?
Equally serious for the credibility of the Bible and its Gospel message is that Jesus and the Apostle Paul obviously believed in a real Adam and Eve, the global Flood, a real Noah—and Jesus even believed in a young world, as admitted by a former head of ISCAST who then claimed Jesus did not know enough science(!) ISCAST is one of the theistic evolutionary organizations being promoted by Tabor. (For a summary of the way in which the NT affirms Genesis as history, see The Use of Genesis in the New Testament.)
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki: “Both mindsets in the same skull”
A newspaper article promoting the Tabor seminars says that “One of the key messages is there are plenty of scientists who are Christians”, and it quotes several well-known scientists in apparent support of that view. For example, the anticreationist science commentator and University of Sydney physicist, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki:
“Science depends 100 per cent on facts and zero on faith. Religion depends 100 per cent on faith and zero on facts. They are completely separate ways of thinking and you can carry both mindsets in the same skull.”
Evolution utterly dismantles, and is fatally devastating to, the Gospel message of Christ.
Actually, there are plenty of university-educated young people who admire ‘Dr Karl’ very much, but would disagree with him on that point. That’s because they know from painful experience that it’s not logically possible, and consequently have left the church, having been incorrectly taught that the ‘facts’ of science support evolution. Dr Graham Buxton might claim to be able to hold two mutually exclusive thoughts in the same skull, but most rational people can’t, and rightly so. Evolution utterly dismantles, and is fatally devastating to, the Gospel message of Christ.
People do have to make a choice
Young people who leave the church over the creation/evolution issue are correct in saying they were confronted with a terrible choice—Jesus or evolution? The tragedy is that they have (hopefully only temporarily) made the wrong choice; a choice based on incorrect and incomplete information. As CMI’s online and traditional print publications demonstrate, the observed facts of science (as opposed to creatively invented stories by scientists about what might have happened before they were born) support the Bible’s (unchanging) account of history, not evolution’s (ever-changing) storyline.
Thus, armed with this information, people can make an informed choice.
That’s why CMI, thanks to our Christian donors, sends out speakers from its panel of presenters to address churches and people at free public seminars on the creation/evolution issue, drawing the public’s attention to the availability and ever-growing armory of Bible-affirming materials across the range of relevant scientific disciplines. To let them know that the average intelligent person’s assessment of there being a contradiction between evolution and Christianity is correct, but that biblical creation, not evolution, is the rational choice.
The Tabor nationwide seminar series is targeted at two audiences in particular: school teachers and church leaders. The Tabor website7 has promotional brochures for each of the two seminar series targeting these groups:
God and Science: In the Classroom8
God and Science: In the Pulpit9
The promotional brochures are quite similar to each other in layout, with identical background/illustration (see Box: The power of the picture), with the only significant differences being minor alterations in the strategic wording intended for the target audience. E.g. from the Classroom brochure:
“Christian schoolteachers find themselves in a unique role as those who speak with authority in the classroom and at times they come across questions about science and faith they may not have the resources to answer. Teachers need to know how to respond to genuine questions from their students in an informed and intelligent way.
“The debate about creation and evolution remains a contentious issue, and contemporary concerns coupled with technological advances often add to the dilemma for many young Christian people.”
Cf. the Pulpit brochure:
“Christian leaders find themselves in a unique role as those who speak with authority in the congregation and come across questions about science and faith they may not have the resources to answer. Christian leaders need to know how to respond to genuine questions from their congregational members in an informed and pastoral manner.
“The debate about creation and evolution remains a contentious issue, and contemporary concerns coupled with technological advances often add to the dilemma for many Christians.”
Sounding the alarm (again!)
Who is behind the Tabor campaign of free public seminars nation-wide? The two promotional brochures say the seminar series is:
An initiative of the Graeme Clark Research Institute at Tabor Adelaide along with the John Templeton Foundation and ISCAST
Long-time readers of our website will recognize here the warning signs (if any were needed) as to the evolution-endorsing content of the seminars. We have long warned of the dangers associated with Bible colleges receiving funding from the Templeton Foundation, and of the nebulous ‘faith’ of many Templeton awardees (e.g. physicist and author of The Mind of God, Paul Davies10—one of the scientists acclaimed and quoted by the aforementioned newspaper article promoting these Tabor seminars).
Similarly we have sounded the alarm about Bible colleges with too-close affinities with ISCAST (whose leaders include those who claim that Jesus made mistakes in his teaching)—including warning of Tabor’s employment of ISCASTian Rev. Dr Mark Worthing, who is one of the co-presenters of this latest seminar series with Graham Buxton.
When we do so, of course, there is a real danger of being seen as harsh or unnecessarily critical towards our Christian brothers. But this concerns an issue, not personalities. And it is not some minor issue of doctrine or practice; the very core and heart of the Gospel is at stake. The only way to make the evolutionary worldview compatible with biblical theism is to so radically alter the understanding of the entry of sin and death into the universe that the Gospel is not only gutted, it is in any rational sense abandoned. The same words might be used, like ‘salvation’ and so on, but their meaning can no longer be related to the way in which the Bible uses them to relay the ‘“faith that was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 1:3).
And what we have here are not folk who have just ‘by default’ accepted evolution without understanding what it does to biblical faith (like the founding chairman of our ministry, Prof. John Rendle-Short, who was a theistic evolutionist for some 30 years, though never comfortable); we are talking about a conscious, institutional and organized decision to actively promote this major overturning of the Bible’s ‘big picture’ of reality: an originally good world, ruined by sin, to be restored to a future sinless, deathless paradise through Christ’s sacrificial death.
Here’s a sample of our past articles sounding such warnings (Worthing is the ‘alien advanced’ theologian referred to in article #3):
- Evangelical colleges paid to teach evolution; 6 August 2002
- Crisis in the colleges—A call for reformation; 23 November 2004
- Evolutionary theologian thinks aliens would have more advanced religion—Bible college crisis: leading staff violate their own statements of faith; 8 February 2006
- Theological colleges—on the ‘slippery slope’; 27 July 2007
We’re sorry to have to once again ‘sound the alarm’, in hopes that the many earnest Christians who support Tabor might use their lobbying influence to good effect.11 And the need is urgent, because Tabor is indeed ‘on a slippery slope’—and has been for some time. Just a week before this article was published, one of us received a letter from a supporter talking about how many years ago, though a Christian—even a medical missionary—he was continually troubled by evolution, and could never reconcile it with the Gospel, but did not know how to hold what the Bible so clearly taught. Until a lecture by one of us at Tabor, many years ago, he says, “broke the deadlock … I remember coming away feeling free for the first time to believe the whole Bible message unreservedly.” Back then, Tabor supported the straightforward view of Genesis creation. But for quite a few years now, sadly, such a message has been less than welcome in its corridors, and now there is an overt, in-your-face promotion of views that, if consistently followed, can only lead in the same Christ-less direction as that taken earlier by Rev. John Spong.
However, we don’t believe it’s impossible yet for Tabor to recognize the decline, and halt it by actively turning the institution around to re-establish orthodoxy as happened in the USA with the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. But Tabor are going to have to choose which way they want to go.
Jesus or evolution?
Will it be Jesus (not just the word ‘Jesus’, but the real biblical Jesus, including what He taught and believed)—or evolution? It’s Tabor’s choice.
The power of the picture
The illustrative background to the text on one side of the promotional brochures7,8 for the Tabor seminar series uses images of operational science in the present, such as complex mathematical formulae, and an illustration in one corner obviously chosen for its ready recognition as an ‘icon’ of our supposed evolutionary past. Three primate skeletons, each carefully positioned in an upright stance, and presented as a progression from left to right (pictured).
Perhaps the illustrators might have been less inclined to use such an ‘iconic’ image, if they had been aware of what leading paleoanthropologist Dr Bernard Wood, a leading authority on human evolution, had said about such a ‘progression’:
“There is a popular image of human evolution that you’ll find all over the place, from the backs of cereal packets to advertisements for expensive scientific equipment. On the left of the picture there’s an ape—stocky, jutting jaw, hunched in the knuckle-walking position. On the right, a man—graceful, high forehead, striding purposefully into the future. Between the two is a succession of figures that become ever more like humans, as the shoulders start to pull back, the torso slims down, the arms retract, the legs extend, the cranium expands and the chin recedes. Our progress from ape to human looks so smooth, so tidy. It’s such a beguiling image that even the experts are loath to let it go. But it is an illusion.”12
Sharp-eyed readers alert to the source reference of that quote will note that Dr Wood wrote that in 2002. Might there have been evidence since then to overcome Dr Wood’s skepticism? Not so. None of the much-heralded ape-man ‘discoveries’ in the decade since Wood made that admission in New Scientist have done anything to change his view. He recently wrote:
“The origin of our own genus remains frustratingly unclear.”13
Sadly, people glancing at Tabor’s promotional brochures for the God and Science series might presume that the evidential-looking skeletons so deceptively positioned and arranged are ‘proof’ of the ‘fact’ of evolution. Such is the power of a picture.
If only they knew the truth.
- Peddie, C., A leap of faith with science and God, The Advertiser (Adelaide), 2 March 2012, news.com.au Return to text.
- Named after the distinguished Australian scientist and surgeon who pioneered the multi-channel cochlear implant. Return to text.
- Bowdon, T., Faith is not an exact science, The Advertiser (Adelaide), 27 February 2012, accessed via Anglican Communion News Service—Digest News, www.anglicancommunion.org, 29 February 2012. Return to text.
- See DVD presentation by Dr Don Batten: How textbooks mislead. Return to text.
- Hence the title of Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion—see CMI’s review. Return to text.
- Lerner, E., Bucking the big bang, New Scientist 182(2448)20, 22 May 2004. See also the book by Alex Williams and Dr John Hartnett, Dismantling the big bang. Return to text.
- GCRI—God and Science seminar, http://taboradelaide.edu.au/about/gcri_godandscienceseminar.php, last accessed 26 March 2012. Return to text.
- http://taboradelaide.edu.au/downloads/downloads_about/downloads_gcri/GCRI_GodAndScience_Teachers.pdf Return to text.
- http://taboradelaide.edu.au/downloads/downloads_about/downloads_gcri/GCRI_GodAndScience_Leaders.pdf Return to text.
- Paul Davies abandoned conventional Christian beliefs as a teenager when the local vicar could not answer his questions about creation and the universe. The Australian, 9 March 1995, p. 1. Return to text.
- The last time we ‘went public’ about Tabor and evolutionary compromise, it seems it did indeed galvanize many of Tabor’s supporters to contact the institution’s management with their concerns. We actually received correspondence directly from Tabor leadership as a result. Unfortunately, that correspondence offered little in the way of hope that Tabor might re-evaluate their direction. Rather, they defensively tried to fob us off in their letter to us by saying that Tabor has “never taught atheistic evolution”—as if theistic evolution is okay for a “Scripture-based” college to teach. As the earlier part of this article makes clear, ‘Christian theistic evolution’ is an oxymoron. Return to text.
- Wood, B., “Who are we?” New Scientist 176(2366):44–47, 26 October 2002. Return to text.
- Wood, B., Did early Homo migrate “out of ” or “in to” Africa?, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 2011; published ahead of print 15 June 2011, doi:10.1073/pnas.1107724108. Return to text.
It's amazing that some people can hold "both mindsets (evolution & creation) in the same skull". While it seems to be possible, it is not rational to believe contradictory things!
I don't doubt the sincerity of many such compromising or confused Christians, but it's clear that they can't give a consistent and rational reason for the faith they have. Hence I'm not surprised that atheist Prof. Richard Dawkins says such beliefs are 'deluded' or 'barking mad'.
And of course Dawkins will happily debate such Christians, presumably because it's easy to show that they are illogical.
However, Dawkins avoids debating biblical creationists. It seems that he realises that biblical creationists are consistent and rational, hence a debate will expose the fact that Dawkins' holds a faith position (evolution) that is in no way a conclusion forced by the evidence. Rather, the real evidence is consistent with what the bible says, directly and indirectly, that god created everything and all life about 6,000 years ago.
Unfortunately the push by people who are turned away from young earth creationism to peddle their brand of origins is getting stronger. They rail against fellow believers trying to destroy their faith with no regard for the true consequences.
It's called REVELATION because that's exactly what it is.
God is telling us plainly what He created, when He created, and how He created and how long it took.
Without that information we could not know, and if we ignore that information, or don’t believe that information, we would for sure come to wrong conclusions.
In God's wisdom, God has decided that the world in its wisdom can’t come to know God in their own wisdom. It’s foolishness to him. It's impossible. Romans chapter 1.
"The workshops aim to ‘dispel the myth’ that people have to make a choice between science and faith."
Mmm—science is always tentative:
so therefore this statement is not scientific yet science is supported by it.
Science requires uniformity of nature:
and this also cannot be scientifically known yet science is supported by it.
Science assumes validity of induction:
and this also cannot be scientifically known yet science is supported by it.
So they are right—we do not have to make a choice between science and faith
because no matter which way we turn—all man start with belief.
Presuming man's intellect to be untainted by the fall and sufficient to autonomously know things requires falsifying the Bible—How long will this double minded absurdity last?
Do they suppose when Jesus said "apart from me you can do nothing" he should have added; except for science?
Do they suppose when Jesus said "those who are not for me are against me" He neglected to add the disclaimer: "except for intellectual and scientific pursuits"?
Maybe the Bible is also wrong when it states that—all treasures of wisdom and knowledge reside in Christ?
Perhaps the intellect was not affected by the Fall?
Whatever it takes to put man on the same level as God—just like in the garden—nothing really changes.
If one does not have to choose between "science and faith" then the choice is already made—God is not ultimate
and Jesus therefore lied—might as well get honest and ditch the whole Bible—why do they keep on?
(If one chooses to not make a choice, he still has made a choice.)
Thank you CMI for consistently showing the Christians who do not stand on the only possible solid ground that they cannot stand.
Harmless as doves and wise as serpents; we Christians tend to put more emphasis on the dove portion of this verse. I hope if I ever encounter a preacher who professes theistic evolution I will have the courage to oppose his heresy. I've done some reading on an atheist site and they take great joy in poking fun at creationists. It must give them that belly laugh that nearly reaches the point of pain to encounter a person who believes in Christ and evolution, not to mention surplus ammo to use against belief in God. I hope there are some Young Earthers in the audience to ask questions that point attendees in the direction of the truth.
"to make a choice between faith and science" the thing is unless you go to church and are filled with the holy spirit etc, it really is making a choice-between the so called science you see on tv/media (which many people may believe) etc and jesus, because without the holy spirit you may be fooled into thinking that what you see is "true" or "accurate" (i love how people say when speaking of certain things (especially evolution)"its a scientific fact",(lol))so to the unbeliever there may be some mutually exclusiveness there. and real science and the bible have no issue, obviously if god created the heavens and the earth then our investigation into the creation is going to yield that. oh and everything in life takes faith and science. ie walking down some stairs- your using "science" (i call it common sense/man using his senses)to determine how far away the next stair is, how high to lift your leg, when to set it down etc, and faith, ie i have faith that when i put my leg down on the next stair its not going to break through etc, so yeh not everything is as it appears...
As a former Tabor Bible College student, I am deeply saddened by this move. Having read the works of those involved in this campaign and actually taking classes with them as my lecturer, it reveals to us as biblically based Christians that we are indeed living in end times and that now, more than ever, we must hold fast to the truths and theologies of Scripture. I pray that Tabor Bible College may repent and believe in the infallibility and truth of Genesis.
I can't help seeing the similarity between Satan's subtle seductive approach to Eve (by eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, she would become like God), and the invitation of evolutionists for Christians to join the scientific community and become "respectable" in the eyes of the world.
I started a degree at Tabor College around 2001. I was so surprised when I read in a book recommended for study for one of their courses that "Jesus may have sent out the 60 because he was aware his own ministry may have failed". It seems that some Christians don't realise that Jesus is God in the flesh.
It is not a mystery to me that such contradictory views can be held in the same skull. After some 6000 years of the effect of sin marring our physical and mental constitution we are prone to a process of devolution which facilitates such a possibilty. When you add to this the temptation of the instigator of sin it becomes unsurprising how this situation is becoming so desperately common. ...
As a firm believer in the literal creation account I am inspired by the fact that Bible based researchers always are finding new reasons that support this world view. However it seems the inevitable and futile struggle of evolutionists, that retaining faith in their model requires that the model must be changed to account for the new facts. Relative truth is a dangerous platform to base your life around. Its as risky as building on shifting sand. You can never be sure what the next change will do to your life and hopes.
... What I do with the truth is my free choice but a relationship which is based upon truth, love and faith in the promises of God is surely the best recipe for a lasting and fulfilling one with him. ... Richest Blessings.
How is it that so many CHristians I talk to don't seem to realise the incongruity between the "great evolutionary lie" and God's truth?
I had my doubts ever since I was in grade 10, with the climax of tension during grade 12 when people in my class challenged me on genesis. I gave ground that day, and proclaimed intelligent design as truth. How I lost my faith, doubted the nature of the bible and simply lost faith.
Lucky I found creation.com, lucky I actually have a background in science, and lucky creation.com people are honest about science. I have read too many "bad" Christian science articles online. But creation.com has been awesome.
Now which bible college am I going to attend? The way one treats the historicity of genesis will be paralleled in their treatment of other parts of the bible.
**Is there a good creationist bible college in Australia?**
Tabor is training up the next generation of christian teachers, who will in turn be teaching our next generation of christians in schools. What a shame that these christians may not come out of their training with a biblical world view, but a secular one. Let's pray that these students see the truth & question Tabor's stance.
It is such a shame when colleges have such a poor witness like Tabor. I hope that they might one day turn around their position, and pray this might be the case. There is a Bible college that is a good creationist Bible college, because I've been to it! I went to Adelaide College of Ministries.
Michael H., Australia, 8 April 2012
**Is there a good creationist bible college in Australia?**
There absolutely is Michael! Adelaide College of Ministries - check us out @ www.acm.sa.edu.au
The irony is that the so-called "theory of evolution" is not true science, since it is an untestable, non-falsifiable belief about the past. It is really just another anti-God faith... a false religion which should be rejected by all faithful, believing Christians.
The Word of God says: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5 NIV) I pray that Tabor College will return to faithful teaching that acknowledges Jesus as the Word, through whom all things were created. (John 1:2 NIV)
Just another plug for Adelaide College of Ministries. It is such a great Bible orientated school for anyone wanting to be honest with what the Bible teaches. The hermeneutic you use in Genesis is foundational for how you treat the rest of the Bible. Check out ACM if you want to study more!
All Christians need to pray against this evil within our 'so-called' Christian Bible College. Send them lots of literature and truths to reveal their sins against God. How can we trust our 'so-called' Christian Leaders? Tabor College representatives - Go and read your Bible and Believe it! Otherwise you are wolves in sheeps clothing for us true Christians and non Christians.
The Lord Jesus Christ spoke of a two person sudden creation. In doing so He was speaking of His own handiwork. He spoke, and it all happened. But 'they make Him out to be a liar,' and preach 'science, falsely so called.' None believe in hell either!
When I decided to attend a Bible College, I enrolled in a Correspondence course at Salt Lake Bible College(by the way the College is Baptist NOT Mormon). It is King James Only and is creationist based. If one wants a sound Bible - based education enrol at Salt Lake Bible College. It is a recognized degree.