Unity cannot exist if believers cannot agree on the foundations of the faith.
First published in a CMI-US Update newsletter, August 2021
“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
Paul tells us that those who divide the church are not the ones who confront false teaching. Rather, they are those who teach things that are contrary to the Word of God. Paul commands Christians to identify and avoid such people (not just ignore false teaching). Paul declares that anyone who preaches a different Gospel is accursed (Galatians 1:6–10). In the book of Revelation, Jesus threatened the churches that tolerated false teachers (Revelation 2:14–16, 20–24) with destruction; and in 2 Peter chapter 2, Peter reserved the harshest criticisms for the false teachers of his day. This is pretty strong stuff, but the Bible emphasizes doctrinal unity as being extremely important. It is defined as unity in the truth.
Genesis alone is not the Gospel, but it is central to the Gospel because it is the foundation for the Good News.1 Almost every major doctrine directly or indirectly stems from the first 11 chapters of Genesis. The infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture, the necessity of physical death and resurrection of Jesus, the blessed hope (Titus 2:13–14) and the restoration of all things, depend on the foundational chapters of Genesis. It is worth noting that many other essential doctrines depend on the first few chapters of Genesis 1–11 as well.
The heroes of faith were found in Genesis
One of the most important doctrines is the doctrine of justification by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8; Galatians 3). As an evangelical ministry, CMI regards this teaching to be an essential doctrine of the faith. Paul taught this doctrine in Hebrews 11. In what has come to be known as the ‘Hall of faith’, Paul goes through the Old Testament to show that the heroes of the faith were all justified through faith. But he doesn’t stop at Abraham. He goes all the way back to Abel (Hebrews 11:4), Enoch (v.5), and Noah (v.7)—the very individuals that liberal theologians claim did not exist. Other doctrines that depend on Genesis include the doctrine of original sin, the reason why we die, why we cannot save ourselves, and why we need a kinsman redeemer to die in our place. In short, belief in a literal Genesis history is not negotiable because it is foundational to the Good News and the authority of God’s Word. If Genesis cannot be trusted, then where does the truth begin? We are reminded of how the serpent deceived Eve in the garden: “Did God actually say … ” (Genesis 3:2).
The atheist, Richard Bozarth correctly pointed out in a debate,
“[T]he whole justification of Jesus’ life and death is predicated on the existence of Adam and the fruit he and Eve ate. Without the original sin, who needs to be redeemed? … Without Adam’s fall into a life of constant sin terminated by death, what purpose is there to Christianity? … If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.”2
Unfortunately, some supposedly ‘Christian’ organizations exist to undermine biblical creation. Darrel Falk, the former president of BioLogos wrote:
“Option #1 [that Adam and Eve are actual historical people] is the standard argument put forward by those who believe in a young earth created by God in six twenty-four hour days less than 10,000 years ago. BioLogos exists in no small part to marginalize this view from the Church. A fundamental part of our mission is to show that Option #1 is not tenable.”3
Treason in the church?
Some of these organizations are well-funded and provide huge grants to promote the teaching of evolution in churches and seminaries.4 Their influence in mainstream churches is growing and I’m sure they probably genuinely believe they are helping to ‘save’ the church. However, it has long been known that belief in evolution makes atheists out of people. Karl Giberson, a former seminary teacher and former physics professor at Eastern Nazarene College was also the former vice-president of BioLogos. He naively believes that Christians will be strengthened in their faith if they are taught to believe in evolution. Not surprisingly, he lamented that he found the opposite to be true. Giberson wrote:
“[I]nstead scientifically informed young evangelicals became so alienated from their home churches that they walked away, taking their enlightenment with them. … Many of my most talented former students no longer attend any church, and some have completely abandoned their faith traditions.”5
Such an admission should set off alarm bells. Why should we expect people to believe in the Gospel if we tell them that there are mistakes in the Bible? Giberson rejects the notion of a real hell, calling it a “secondary doctrine”. So again, what does he think we are being saved from?
Indeed, Dr Albert Mohler (former president of the Southern Baptist Convention) wrote an open letter to Giberson saying:
“You are straightforward in your celebration of evolution, and you utterly fail to demonstrate how an embrace of evolution can be reconciled with biblical Christianity. Your rejection of an historical Adam and Eve is one precise point at which the Gospel of Christ is undermined, and your proposed ‘new and better way to understand the origins of sin’ is incompatible with the Bible’s clear teaching.”6
As Jesus said in John 5:46–47:
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul warns us that false teachers will arise from within the church (Acts 20:29). Thus, factions must exist to separate genuine believers from the false.
“For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.”
Making a stand
This is a call for genuine believers to make a stand and to stand up against those who undermine the Word of God. It is those who confront and separate from false teachers, who are united in the truth (cf. Romans 16:17; Revelation 2:6) in the same mind and judgment (1 Corinthians 1:10). But for unity to be unity, we must also encourage and support those who make a stand for truth for the sake of the kingdom. CMI is committed to biblical unity and we strive to make a difference in the kingdom of God. We covet your prayers, and we would like to invite you to partner with us in the ministry of the Gospel. Philippians 1:3–5.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
Charles S. was born and raised as an atheist, and so thoroughly persuaded by evolution that he would often scoff at those who believed in a creator God. He explained:
“As a former atheist, I struggled hard with Genesis until I saw clearly [that] evolution was fraudulent. How glad I am [to have] now … abandoned such a foolish, short-sighted and harmful ideology. It harms good science.”
References and notes
- Tay, J., Is it OK to be a Christian and believe in evolution? CMI-US Prayer News, July 2020; republished on the web on 5 Jan 2021. creation.com/ok-christian-evolution. Return to text.
- Bozarth, R, “The Meaning of Evolution,” American Atheist, Feb 1978, p. 9. Return to text.
- Fangrad, R., BioLogos, theistic evolution and the Pelagian heresy, Mar 22 2014; creation.com/biologos-pelagian-heresy. Return to text.
- Witteveen, J., Follow the money … from the Templeton Foundation, Aug 31, 2017; creation.com/follow-the-money. Return to text.
- Sarfati, J., Evolution makes atheists out of people; Feb 17 2015; creation.com/evolution-makes-atheists-out-of-people. Return to text.
- Mohler, A., On Darwin and Darwinism: A Letter to Professor Giberson, 25 August 2010. Also see creation.com/giberson-unmasked. Return to text.