Should I stay in a church that compromises on biblical creation?
Decisions are not always easy
The title is a question we sometimes get from supporters.
Without knowing your exact circumstances, we will highlight some important considerations to think through first.
- Genesis 1–11 is often known as the “foundational chapters” of the Bible because almost every major doctrine in the Bible either directly or indirectly stems from these passages. Every New Testament author, and even Jesus Himself, quotes or alludes to the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Biblical creation is a Gospel issue. Can a church truly be Gospel-centred if it has already undermined the very foundation upon which the Gospel stands?
- A biblically qualified elder/overseer must not only teach and hold firm to sound doctrine, but he must also rebuke those who contradict it (cf. Titus 1:9). Can a pastor effectively rebuke those who contradict what the Bible teaches on biblical creation if he errs on this topic? Remember: biblical unity cannot exist if believers cannot agree on the foundations of the faith.
- While a pastor who holds to a compromised position on creation may inconsistently profess to hold to the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, compromise on biblical creation often leads others to eventually deny inerrancy and infallibility, and define their own novel interpretations of Scripture in many areas. We’ve seen this time and again. Jesus said, “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?” (John 5:46). Here, Jesus stakes his reputation and authority upon the inerrancy and infallibility of Moses’ writings. If there are errors in Moses’ writings (the first five books of the Bible, including Genesis), what are you going to do with Jesus?
- Does your church openly espouse a compromised view of creation, or does the church have ‘no official position’? Having ‘no position’ on an important doctrinal issue like biblical creation suggests a real deficiency, but it is different from a church that openly promotes, teaches, or even requires its members to accept or remain open to compromised views of creation. Or is your pastor just non-committal on the subject (Which would bring us back to point 2)? In our experience, those who are openly hostile to the creation account have a liberal theology that will lead to compromise on same-sex relationships and similar issues. What criteria can we use to test if a church truly believes in the word of God? Or to put it another way, how would your pastor fare in light of the evangelical litmus test? Here are nine questions to ascertain whether your pastor takes a straightforward view of Genesis. See: Are you a biblical creationist.
- Finally, is your pastor open to discussing what the Bible teaches on biblical Creation? Some people choose to remain in a compromised church in the hope that by doing so, they may influence the pastor and others in the right direction. This of course depends on whether your pastor is receptive to the truth.
Our speakers here at CMI are constantly out on ministry every few weeks, preaching in churches about the Bible and creation. Individually, we need a sanctuary where we can be spiritually refreshed on weeks we are not serving in ministry. Therefore, most of us would consider a church that affirms biblical creation to be non-negotiable, rather than fighting battles in our own churches as we are doing every other day of the week. However, we recognize that different situations call for different approaches.
Just not aware of the great info available
Many pastors have never thought through the topic and therefore fail to see how compromise on biblical creation affects the rest of the Bible. There needs to be a distinction between a person who is ignorant, and one who is hostile or opposed to biblical creation. It may be worth sitting down with him to discuss what the bible teaches about biblical creation. Of course, make sure that you are first equipped to defend the faith.
Consider buying your pastor a helpful resource such as Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s commentary on Genesis 1–11, The Genesis Account. If you have the opportunity to lead a church Bible Study or Sunday School, consider using The Genesis Academy. This is a curriculum designed for use in an adult Sunday School setting. Genesis Academy takes your church through Dr Sarfati’s commentary in 12 lessons. Alternatively, consider Dr Sarfati’s Refuting Compromise, which focuses on progressive creationism and other old-earth views.
A presentation makes a huge difference!
Last but not least, consider inviting a CMI speaker to speak at your church. This always makes a big difference. We have many testimonies of people inviting a CMI speaker to speak at their church, and this often leads to their pastors coming around to embrace biblical creation.
Consider this testimony by Pastor Barry B.:
“At least a dozen years ago (maybe more) I purchased a book from your ministry called, Refuting Compromise by Dr Jonathan Sarfati. It has been one of the best books I have ever read … I have bought & given away this book half a dozen times. I have read it 3 times. I gave it to my OT prof. at seminary who read it and said it was spot on. I gave it to … my father-in-law and it changed his mind on evolution, and to a fellow pastor. The fellow pastor switched to a young earth view based on your exposition of Exodus 20:11.”
We recognize that not every situation is the same, but if this is an issue you are facing, we encourage you to be discerning and be in prayer for your church and your pastor before coming to a decision.