Karl Giberson unmasks himself

‘Fifth columnists’ in our seminaries

Wikipedia.org Karl-Giberson
Karl Giberson


Published: 22 May 2014 (GMT+10)

Dr Karl Giberson, professed Christian, seminary teacher and former physics professor at Eastern Nazarene College (ENC), Quincy, Massachusetts, resigned in 2011 after 27 years at the university. He recently wrote a column lamenting that 2013 was a terrible year for evolution.1 Catalysts for his sadness included the success of Dr Stephen Meyer’s book, Darwin’s Doubt, which exposes the problem of the ‘Cambrian Explosion’2 for the evolutionary story, and a recent poll3 that showed a 6% drop in support for evolution in the USA since the last poll in 2010.

But Giberson also lamented his exit from ENC, three years after his publication of Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution in 2008.4

Giberson also has had a high profile involvement with the development of Biologos, an organisation set up to promote the acceptance of evolution by Christians.5

Can you be a Christian and believe in evolution?

Dr Giberson claims that evolution does not threaten the Christian faith, but his own words from his book suggest otherwise:

“…my belief in God is tinged with doubts and, in my more reflective moments, I sometimes wonder if I am perhaps simply continuing along the trajectory of a childhood faith that should be abandoned. As a purely practical matter, I have compelling reasons to believe in God. My parents are deeply committed Christians and would be devastated, were I to reject my faith. My wife and children believe in God, and we attend church together regularly. Most of my friends are believers. I have a job I love at a Christian college that would be forced to dismiss me if I were to reject the faith that underpins the mission of the college. Abandoning belief in God would be disruptive, sending my life completely off the rails. I can sympathize with Darwin as he struggled against the unwanted challenges to his faith.” (pp. 155–6)
Putting a horse in a dairy does not make it a cow. And pretending to be a Christian to keep your cushy Christian college job is hardly a transparent thing to do.

This shows that Giberson is really not any sort of ‘Christian’, if he thinks that just going to church because his family expects him to and would be disappointed if he didn’t, makes him a Christian. Putting a horse in a dairy does not make it a cow. And pretending to be a Christian to keep your cushy Christian college job is hardly a transparent thing to do.

Giberson rejects the historicity of Adam and Eve and the Fall, and as Dr Albert Mohler (former president of the Southern Baptist Convention) said in an open letter to Giberson,6

“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.”
That they lost their pre-college faith he blames on the churches from which they came for teaching them the Bible as straightforward history rather than the view that it is ‘poetic’, etc.

Giberson also rejects the notion of hell, calling it a “secondary doctrine” (so what are we to be saved from by Jesus?). Jesus spoke quite a bit about the notion of hell (unpleasant consequences for the unrepentant in the afterlife; e.g. Matt. 13:41–42). Was He misinformed? Apparently so, according to Giberson.

In fact there is not much (anything?) that Bible-believing Christians accept that Giberson agrees with. He even uses the atheistic argument of ‘bad design’ against any divine design in living things at all. But apparently God is not responsible for the death and suffering over the millions of evolutionary years because ‘evolution’ created the world, not God! God did not even have a role in the creation of life, which even dyed-in-the-wool atheists acknowledge is a problem for a materialistic (evolutionary) explanation.7

Giberson’s position confirms what the Cornell University atheist biology professor, William Provine, said,

“… belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.”8

This is not new. Historian Richard Weikart9 commented on Charles Darwin’s own life’s journey:

“So, what lessons can we draw about the relationship between religion and evolutionary theory from Darwin’s own trajectory? First, as he developed his evolutionary theory, he moved from Christian belief in a personal God to a deistic position to agnosticism. It is not clear to what extent his religious views shaped his evolutionary theory, or vice-versa. It seems reasonable to think they developed in tandem. Second, he rejected any divine intervention or even divine purpose in his evolutionary scheme. Third, he rejected the religious basis for morality. None of these points is good news for those trying to refashion Darwin into a religious believer whose evolutionary theory is no threat to religion, especially to traditional forms of Christianity”

Deliberately subversive teaching

Giberson is open in his article about the subversive nature of his teaching career at ENC, an ostensibly evangelical Christian college. He is clearly fully aware that his teaching ran counter to the tradition of the college and the expectations of those who sent their kids there. This is a key point that parents need to be aware of: education is not neutral and this origins issue cannot be relegated to some side issue of the faith.

wikimedia.commons Eastern-Nazarene-College
Eastern Nazarene College

He is candid about the number of young people that he convinced that evolution was true. He seems to be proud of it. That they lost their pre-college faith he blames on the churches from which they came for teaching them the Bible as straightforward history rather than the view that it is ‘poetic’, etc.

He is also open about the subversive ‘plan’ that he and other like-minded academics in Christian colleges have: to train up kids from evangelical churches in a more ‘enlightened’ way of thinking about the Bible. Those graduates would return to their evangelical churches to become agents of change to shift those churches away from their conservative stand on Scripture. Unfortunately, laments Giberson, the result was that those graduates dropped out altogether or left their evangelical church roots, so they did not become agents of change and the churches are still conservative—further cause for Giberson’s sadness!

A few years after the publication of his book, Giberson was forced to leave the college where he had been teaching. Rather than recognize his own accountability in this, he blames ‘fundamentalists’ from outside the college who brought pressure to bear by threatening to withdraw their donations and to cease sending their kids to the institution.

Parents can influence colleges

This indicates that supporters and parents can bring effective pressure to bear on these wayward institutions that are betraying their heritage. But part of the problem is getting the subversive academics to publicly reveal their real beliefs. Giberson did that by publishing a book, his articles via Biologos and even public debates. Others are more careful, as Giberson admits he was earlier, just quietly doing his thing in classes, before he went public with his book and involvement with Biologos.

This subversion is going on at many ‘Christian’ colleges. And very often it is going on with the connivance of the college authorities. As Giberson said, he had no opposition from within the college; it all came from outside.

Giberson cites other evolutionists who also left Christian institutions after years of influencing students to be evolutionists, such as Howard Van Till of Calvin College. But as Jonathan Sarfati wrote,

“Howard van Till of Calvin College, … argued for decades that evolution was no threat to Christianity, and his college supported him. But after retirement, he showed his true colours … by abandoning any pretence of believing in any supernatural God. One report says, ‘Over the next two decades, he became the heretic his critics had suspected.’10

As Dr Jerry Bergman commented on reviewing Giberson’s book,

“except for its thin veneer of close to meaningless theism, this book is almost identical in content and conclusions to the many atheists’ books on the market published to disprove the major arguments for God, the cosmological and teleological arguments. The reasoning in this work is also very similar to the writings by atheists and others against creation and ID. Even mocking believers is present, although not quite as vicious. When I was an atheist we used to call people such as Giberson ‘useful idiots’ who were making major contributions to destroying their own religious edifice.”

Make no bones about it; Giberson and company are on a mission to destroy the evangelical church, to make it just like the ‘mainstream’ churches, which, having accommodated cosmic evolution, have ceased to believe anything important that counts for eternity. Termites will destroy a building as effectively as a tornado, albeit more slowly. The ‘new atheists’ are the tornado, but the Gibersons are the termites that are trying to do it from within, undercover, even while being paid salaries by the very institutions they are undermining.

Pastors, parents and young people in Bible-believing (‘evangelical’) churches need to be aware of what is going on. Be careful which ‘Christian’ academics you heed. Be careful what colleges you support or decide to attend. It might be better to attend a secular institution where the agenda is openly anti-Christian rather than a ‘Christian’ one where the approach is subtle and subversive. A trusted ‘Christian’ can be much more effective at indoctrinating a Christian student in faith-destroying evolution than an atheist.

Jesus said: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15

References and notes

  1. Giberson, K.W., 2013 Was a Terrible Year for Evolution, The Daily Beast, 2 January 2014. Return to text.
  2. The sudden appearance of a wide range of fossils in ‘Cambrian’ rock layers with no evidence for their evolutionary ancestors. Return to text.
  3. gallup.com/poll/21814/evolution-creationism-intelligent-design.aspx. Return to text.
  4. See Bergman, J., The tragic toll of toxic teaching, Journal of Creation 25(3):33–36, 2011. Return to text.
  5. See Bates, G. and Cosner, L., It’s not Christianity! Biologos says: Christian parents and students should believe evolution (and suggested related reading), 2 October 2012. Return to text.
  6. Mohler, A., On Darwin and Darwinism: A Letter to Professor Giberson, 25 August 2010. Return to text.
  7. Batten, D., Origin of life. Return to text.
  8. Provine, W.B., “No free will” in Catching up with the Vision, Margaret W. Rossiter (Ed.), Chicago University Press, p. S123, 1999. Return to text.
  9. Weikart, R., Did Darwin Believe in God? American Thinker, 18 September 2011. Weikart is a professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus, and author of From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (Palgrave Macmillan). Return to text.
  10. Sarfati, J., Chamberlain and the Church, Creation 30(4):42–44. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

From Creation to Salvation
by Lita Cosner
US $14.00
Soft Cover
The Genesis Account
by Jonathan Sarfati
US $39.00
Hard Cover
Refuting Compromise, updated & expanded
by Dr Jonathan Sarfati
US $17.00
Soft Cover
15 Reasons to Take Genesis as History
by Dr Don Batten, Dr Jonathan D Sarfati
US $3.50
Soft Cover

Readers’ comments

S. S.
Good article. Christian colleges should force all professors to sign a confession of Faith that explicitly denies the validity of biological macroevolution and same-sex "marriage" so as to prevent tares like Giberson from spreading false doctrines.

If only people would start applying the same pressure to all other professors at all other Christian universities who secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them.

Anybody who is as intellectually dishonest as Giberson should not teach at ANY university.
Kenneth W.
Why was he allowed to stay so long at the college?
Bill J.
First of all, thank you CMI for all you do. After reading about Giberson's involvement with Bilogos, it reminded me of the fact that on the board of advisors at Bilogos, is none other than Amos Yong. Amos Yong is dean of the School of Divinity at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. In case anyone did not know, Pat Robertson is founder and chancellor of Regent University. Not long ago before millions of viewers on the 700 Club, in response to a lady concerned about dinosaurs and the Bible, Pat Robertson publically criticized young earth creationists, and said basically dinosaurs were around before Bible times! Would not want to send my children to Regent or any college that did not support the historicity of Genesis, and a young Earth.

Jay L.
I'd like to respond to Steve M. of New Zealand, if I may. Let me say, first of all, that I understand his sentiment, and, yes, Mr. Giberson is to be pitied - poor, lost, deluded soul that he is; however, he is also a wolf in sheep's clothing, consciously seeking to subvert young people's belief with the goal that Bible-belief be then subverted by them. That's about as insidious as you can get, and, therefore, some less-than-politically-correct-politeness is, I think, very much in order. He should be called what he is that he and others may be warned. He is a liar and deceiver and working for his father, the Devil, the father of all lies. May God grant him repentance.
John F. K.
I have two relatives who lost their faith because of higher education. One went to a Christian college teaching evolution. One went to a state institution that, of course, taught evolution. Both had heard Dr. Gish in debates and had been exposed to creationist literature. Evolution won. Now I can't find a church that will take a stand for Genesis and against evolution and an ancient earth.
Richard G.
As a missionary for an interdenominational mission who has had occasion to visit churches of many different denominations in both America and Europe, I have seen the same process repeated again and again. (I'm withholding names, but can furnish them on request) The decline of Bible-believing churches almost always begins in their Bible colleges and seminaries. First they are infiltrated by professors who claim to agree with their statement of faith, but who harbor real doubts. After those faculty members gain influence, then they let in professors who are openly antagonistic to the Bible-believing faith of the founders of the college. The final result is unbelievable, but it happens that colleges that were begun as training schools for Christian workers end up having atheists, Buddhists, and even Muslims in high positions. The incredible thing is that they still keep sending out promotional materials to donors claiming that their teachers are still teaching the same faith that was the faith of their founders. In other words, these "Christian" colleges are not only not Christian according to the Word of God, they are actually lying about it. No wonder a large percentage of students leave these colleges with no real faith at all. In the end, all those involved will have to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, who will tell them, "I never knew you: depart from Me. . . "
Linda M.
Why do Christian colleges allow people to teach their own views and not the views of the college?
Victor B.
Thanks Don - The very relevant, real and sad consequences of compromise with evolution is highlighted by your article. Christian academics and leaders should read this and not be so dismissive of the spiritual battle.
Alan H.
Even when being force fed evolution at school I did not feel comfortable. There seemed to be a mind block that prevented information being remembered. It was a noticeable barrier to prevent education being absorbed. Only later after becoming a Christian did I realise what I was experiencing . The knowledge such as evolutionary claptrap was toxic. It was counter to the truth. That barrier I experienced was a protection, even so it has taken me some time re-educate myself from the state 'education' previously received. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, to that which is false He is an impenetrable barrier. God made the Heavens and the Earth not a Harry Potter like random chance and eons of time!

In the article it is also poor old me from the teacher and no concern whatsoever to the damage done to his students.
Aaron H.
Interesting stuff. A couple years ago I finished a Master's from a Seminary. In many ways I saw that move to rejecting everything viewed as "fundamentalist"- although I only know the views of origins of one prof, I'm referring more to other theological issues that seemed to push limits. I'm not saying it was an entirely bad experience there though. Now I'm at a secular college again and I'm surprised how many Christians are here, although some of them seem a bit the mainline type. Each school can be different and it's sometimes surprising.
Don Batten
Yes, profs that have a less-than-orthodox view of Genesis rarely have thoroughly orthodox views of the rest of the Bible's teaching. An unwillingness to believe Genesis is often just symptomatic of deeper issues: are we going to believe what God says, or pick and choose what we find convenient?
Steve M.
Rather than condemn Dr Giberson for his beliefs I think it more fruitful to pity him.

Indeed when I am sure of where I stand there is no need to condemn him or anyone else

Clearly Giberson's Christianity is but a veneer and he has nothing to keep out the cold of a world without God. For he has no One to go to to have his doubts dealt with, and this is agony

I don't call him a termite or a heretic, even if he is these things.

I call him a lost soul.

Poor man
Don Batten
The purpose of the article was not to condemn Dr Giberson, but to alert Christian colleges (and the parents of would-be students) as to what is going on so that they can avoid being white-anted by academics of like mind to Dr Giberson, who admits that his activity in the college was subversive. So, he should not just to be pitied, but be opposed.
The article is also intended to reinforce the point, made effectively by Dr Giberson himself, that it is not possible to accept evolutionary thinking and at the same time maintain a viable, vibrant, real Christian faith (if you think about it!).
It is vitally necessary to provide such warnings in this day and age.
The article is about protecting future generations from having their faith destroyed by subversive academics. The pity is that it even has to be written.

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