My pastors don’t believe Genesis. Should I leave my church?
We received the following question from a supporter in Australia who was surprised to discover the pastors of his church did not believe Genesis. Tas Walker talks about some of the issues that need to be considered.
Hi guys, I love your work, and have subscribed to the magazine and am continually encouraged by what you guys publish.
I have a question. I’m at a church which I’ve attended for the last 12 years (I’m now 30). I’ve since realised that none of the 3 pastors take a straightforward reading of Genesis, and at least 2 of the 3 (haven’t yet checked the 3rd) don’t even believe the Flood was global. I was wondering if you had some advice on what I should do about this. I have 2 kids and 1 on the way and I want them growing up in a biblically sound church. Apart from Genesis our church is excellent. Do you think leaving the church is too drastic?
ove to get your feedback, thanks heaps!
Tas Walker replies:
Thank you for your question about being part of a church where the pastors do not accept Genesis as written. Unfortunately that is more common these days than it should be.
The decision as to which church you and your family should belong to depends on many different factors. Here are some issues for you to think and pray about.
- There is no such thing as a perfect church. In some areas the church may be really good for you but in others it may be totally unhelpful. So you have to balance a lot of factors in your life.
- There are usually good reasons in your life why you belong to the church you do, but churches change with time. E.g. sometimes the youth ministry is strong and other times it struggles. Your pastoral team will change and that will bring a different dynamic. So, perhaps by waiting you may see things improve.
- Church is not just about what you can get out of it, but it is a place where you can minister to others with your gifts. Your passion and experience with creation may be one area where you can be a blessing to others.
- In every church you will have to stand for and speak out the truth, and this can apply to many different issues. In this particular church the issue that you need to bring to others is the truth and foundation of Genesis. But speak the truth in love, with tact and in a winsome way. Look at this as an opportunity to share some wonderful truth that otherwise would not be shared. Rather than pushing creation in six days on people as if it is your hobby horse, use it to meet their needs as you become aware of them. Thus, you can present the truth to people along the following lines: “You may find this will help resolve some of your doubts and give you a firm foundation as you follow Christ.” I always take back issues of Creation magazine to church, as well as brochures and DVDs, which I freely give to people as the need arises.
You may be influential in the thinking and life of your pastors. It’s important to love them and support them. Don’t be divisive or argumentative. Don’t be a one-issue person but show that you are interested in the wider ministry of the church and that your passion is to serve Jesus Christ and to help others come to Him and grow in Him. Here are two examples of how a person in the pews was pivotal in helping their minister come to the truth of Genesis:
- A young man in a church lent a book to his minister who was big enough to read the book and research the issue and who changed his mind (see Esa Hukkinen interview).
- This pastor, Owen Butt, believed Genesis was myth but changed his mind after attending a creation meeting, and that changed his whole approach to ministry. What this article does not say is that it was one of his congregation who fed him information and invited him to the creation meeting, where his whole way of thinking was changed (See Catching the vision).
- Make sure that your family is properly instructed in the truth of Genesis and creation by providing books, DVDs and other resources for them. Talk about the question and issues as they arise. However, note that it is really important to always speak in a positive way about your pastors and your church, especially with your children. If there is a critical spirit and an undermining of your pastors and your church in your home, that will poison things for your children.
- If the situation becomes very difficult for you, with say the pastors instructing you not to talk about the issue you may need to think about moving. In the same way, you could not accept a ministry offer from the pastors if they included a condition that you could not talk about creation in that ministry or in the church. So if there is a hardening and aggressiveness develops toward your position, say from the pulpit, you may need to think about moving.
In our life’s entire journey it is important to seek the Lord and His will for our lives.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5