Major US denomination ‘affirms evolution’—and more4 July 2006
The Episcopal Church is what Anglicanism is called in America. This church has many solid Bible-believers, but sadly its hierarchy has recently elected the first openly homosexual bishop, Gene Robinson.
In another even more recent ‘first’, Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected Presiding Bishop, the first woman primate (national head) in the Anglican communion worldwide. Schori, a trained oceanographer, is an enthusiastic evolutionist. Not long after her election, she presided over her church’s 75th annual convention. At this meeting, the church passed a formal resolution to affirm evolution. This delighted the openly humanistic National Center for Science Education (NCSE), an organization founded and operated by atheists, specifically set up to oppose creationism in schools (as opposed to educating students in real science such as physics, chemistry, etc.).
In a press release dated June 18, 2006, Schori said inter alia, ‘Evolution most definitely should be taught in school. [We would agree, so long as it’s taught along with all its problems, etc.] It’s a well-tested premise [Actually materialism is the premise; evolution is the conclusion, i.e. deduction from this premise] and the best model that fits the data available. [We think this website demonstrates otherwise.] Creationism can’t make that claim. I believe in the creeds. They say God created the world, but they don’t say how.’
Help wake up the church and so unleash the power of God’s ‘dozing army’—hand out the new, compact 32-page book ‘15 Reasons to Take Genesis as History’ widely to your fellow Christians. For bulk prices see here. 15 Reasons is compact enough so as to be read at one sitting—ideal for busy lifestyles.
Notice that she is not saying, ‘I believe the Bible’ but rather, ‘I believe in the creeds’. No matter how well-meant, accurate or appropriate they may be, creeds by definition are totally man-constructed statements. Also, the creeds were designed mainly to refute heresy, rather than be exhaustive belief systems. For example, the great Nicene Creed was written mainly to refute the dangerous Arian heresy, which denied that Jesus is God and taught that He was a created being (much like the modern Jehovah’s Witness cult). Hence the creed states that Jesus was ‘true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father.’
Also, the creeds presupposed the authority of the Bible, since even the Arians tried to twist the Bible to support their view. Thus they were intended to distil and derive important aspects of the faith and their applicability from the Bible. Importantly, they were meant to point to the Bible itself. They were never meant by their authors to substitute for the Bible, nor to be exhaustive in representing all that the Bible teaches. Almost certainly, the authors of the creeds to which she refers would be horrified at the notion that their work could be called upon to support a rejection of the truth of Genesis creation (see What did the Church Fathers believe about Genesis?).
Actually, one often hears a similar argument about the Bible itself. Namely, that Genesis tells us ‘who created, and why, but not how or when’ (sound familiar?). But Genesis actually never tells us why God created. Conversely, it makes it clear that it is giving us plain history of when (about 6,000 years ago) and over what time frame (six consecutive normal-length days). It also provides us with a sequence of events that was affirmed elsewhere in the Bible, which in itself makes an evolutionary ‘how’ inconceivable (see the classic Refuting Compromise). Indeed, this sequence drastically contradicts in many points the order in which evolutionary/long-age views would have it, as tabulated in Evolution vs the Bible. Indeed, the insuperable contradiction was responsible for long-age compromiser Davis Young abandoning the day-age theory.
The problem is this: if we can’t trust it to be telling the truth about, for example, the order in which God created, how can we trust it to be telling the truth about God being the Creator, for example (compare Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus in John 3:12)?
It is not as if the Episcopal Church hierarchy has suddenly come to this position on evolution. Rather, this announcement (probably a public response to the recent controversies on origins) is stating a position that has been widely held for a long time, well before Bishop Robinson’s controversial ordination.
There is a very plain and obvious bottom line in all of this—namely the Truth and Authority of the Bible [‘TAB’] It is no coincidence that professing Christian bodies which so openly and officially reject TAB in an area such as approving of homosexual behaviour will invariably turn out to have long ago rejected TAB in this foundational area of origins/Genesis.
Conversely, one has yet to hear of a church, denomination, Bible college or other significant Christian institution which firmly adheres to the truth of 6-day creation, and which at the same time rejects the Bible’s plain teaching on sexuality.
For the most comprehensive biblical and scientific refutation of all the ‘compromise’ views of Genesis, see the classic Refuting Compromise.
Quite a number of more theologically ‘conservative’ denominations, and the conservative wings of many others, have already quite some time ago started down that same slippery slope that has now led the Episcopal Church to so openly defy God’s position on sexuality as to appoint an unrepentant, practising homosexual to a senior pastoral position. (Unfortunately, the slippery slide in many denominations parallels the slippery slide in many individuals, such as the late Charles Templeton).
Until and unless the bulk of the church in general is woken up to the importance of this issue of origins, and what is really at stake, we can be saddened, but should not really be surprised, at a continuing decline in the amount and quality of biblical faith within even once-great denominations.