Subscriber objects to Creation magazine interview
Published: 10 June 2012 (GMT+10)
Often, the people we interview for Creation magazine are known for holding certain positions in areas outside CMI’s ministry mandate, and when the interview is published, people who disagree with the individual on those issues write in, wondering how we can publish an interview with someone who to them ‘clearly’ has missed the boat in these areas.
First, our policy is to refuse to take a position as a ministry on areas outside our non-denominational, creation-focused ministry mandate, such as eschatology.1 (Of course, as our Statement of Faith makes plain, we strongly affirm the future bodily return of Christ and the bodily resurrection of the dead). So, if we refused to interview a person based on, say, their particular eschatological position that in itself would be taking a sort of position of sorts on eschatology.
Second, the main goal of our interviews is to show that there are Christians in a multitude of areas of expertise who subscribe to the Bible’s views on creation. We make sure that each interviewee holds to a biblical view of creation (six real days, recent creation, global Flood).2 But outside that, we don’t apply any denominational ‘litmus tests’. For one thing, to do so would shrink the pool of potentially interesting interviewees considerably!
Lita Cosner responds to Neil S. below, who wrote in with concerns about our interview with Randy Alcorn, which appeared in Creation 34(2).
I have been very thankful and blessed by your Magazine and Website for many years now.
I would like to comment on the latest Creation Magazine, Vol. 34 and particularly the article on Randy Alcorn and his belief in the literal 24 hour days of Creation.
This is good but he does not practice what he preaches on the importance of taking God’s Word literally in other places.
When it comes to Revelation 20:1–7 and the six times repeated words “one thousand years” for the period of Christ’s Millenial Reign, he no longer takes it literally which is very inconsistent of him. In an abridged version of his book on “Heaven,” which you display or advertise, called “50 Days of Heaven” he states on page 127 that he “tends to embrace the literal viewpoint” but then tells his readers that they can believe whatever they want.
What a sad contrast with his strong stance on the literal days of Creation.
Because of his failure to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) the book is riddled with false doctrine as he claims that all scriptural references to Christ’s literal 1000 year millenial or Kingdom Age reign on earth refers to Heaven.
I could not possibly recommend this book to anyone as there are far too many doctrinal falsehoods throughout the book.
One example is his insistence that the so called parable in Luke 16:19–31 describes Heaven despite the clear statement in verse 23 that it is Hades, not heaven that he is in.
Yes, I hold very firmly to the Pre Trib doctrine and let’s face it, that is the only belief system or doctrine that takes the entirety of God’s Word literally throughout. Others have to “spiritualise” or “allegorise” whole portions and books of the Bible that prophesy of the end time events.
Apart from this I thank God for your Ministry and strong doctrinal teaching throughout over so many years.
May God continue to richly bless you all,
Yours in His service,
Thanks for writing in. There are two issues here, and I hope that you’ll keep an open mind while I’m explaining this. First, when we are considering candidates for interviews in our magazine, we examine whether they are evangelical Christians, and whether they subscribe to a biblical view of creation. If we required that they agree with us on every point, we would not be able to interview very many people at all! So we don’t tend to consider eschatological positions to be a critical factor as long as they accept the future return of Christ and bodily resurrection from the dead.
Second, I believe you’ve misunderstood Alcorn’s position (and I recommend that you write to Eternal Perspective Ministries for more clarification if my answer here doesn’t satisfy you). Please understand that CMI does not take an issue on eschatological issues other than to affirm the future return of Christ and the bodily resurrection of the dead, so the following quote from page 140 of Heaven is just to clarify what I believe Alcorn’s view is:
“Though I don’t believe the case for postmillennialism is strong (either biblically or in light of human history), both premillennialism and amillenialism have many biblical points in their favor. I personally believe there will be a literal thousand-year reign of Christ on the present Earth (though I’m not dogmatic on this point), but I also understand and respect the strong interpretive arguments that have been made in support of amillennialism” (emphasis added).
In light of this, I’m not sure where you got the idea that “he claims all scriptural references to Christ’s literal 1000 year millennial or Kingdom Age reign on earth refer to Heaven.”
As a New Testament specialist, I have to point out that the apocalyptic genre of Revelation is quite different from the historical narrative of Genesis, and that there are numerous undisputed instances of symbolism (for instance, no one thinks that Jesus will literally have an actual sword coming out of His mouth as in Revelation 19). If we accept that there is symbolism in places in Revelation, then it becomes a matter of discerning where the symbolism is, and where the author intends to be taken literally—which from the start differentiates it from Genesis which is straightforward history. So without ‘tipping my hand’ as to what my personal view is, disagreement among eschatological positions is usually a difference in interpretation, while disagreement among views about creation is usually a difference in authority. See our article End-times and early-times for more along these lines.
I hope this has clarified things a bit.
Creation Ministries International (US)
- Eschatology = the study of ‘last things’—end times beliefs, etc. Return to text.
- Unless it is clearly stated otherwise, and we were wanting the interview to make some important teaching points. For example, we interviewed ID author Michael Behe who is a long-ager. And we would probably not pass up an opportunity to interview Dawkins, e.g.) Return to text.
I greatly appreciate Neil's comment, and Lita's response ! What a wonderful website this is! So thankful it is available, and that it is my homepage! Thank you CMI!
Am consistently blessed and impressed with Cosner's writing.
What a great response given to Neil by Lita (I tend to be like Neil :). The spirit and tone of the response is how all Christians should interact on differing points of view.
This just affirms my respect and support of the quality people and ministry of CMI.
Thank you for explaining this issue so clearly. "[D]isagreement among eschatological positions is usually a difference in INTERPRETATION, while disagreement among views about creation is usually a difference in AUTHORITY" (my emphasis) puts it in a nutshell!
I confess I am not personally sure if the Millennium is a literal and exact 1,000 years or means something else; but that doesn’t make me a heretic! Doubting a literal 1,000 years Millennium is, as you say, quite different from doubting the historicity of Genesis.
Many of the numbers and images, in Revelation are almost certainly symbolic. Others may or may not be literal. These things REPRESENT something literal and real, but not necessarily in a literal way.
Apocalyptic imagery seems very like dream imagery. A good example is Pharaoh’s dream of the seven good and seven bad ears of corn and cattle in Genesis 41. The dream represented something real – famine - but the bad cattle or ears of corn didn’t LITERALLY eat the good ones!