Refusing to be muzzled
A church job opportunity lost for refusal to be silent about creation
Published: 9 December 2017 (GMT+10)
Dear staff at CMI,
My questions today are largely pastoral, so I hope you can help me. I have been a member of our local (Sydney, Australia) Anglican church for the past 19 years and a Christian in other churches from childhood. During that time, I have served in various aspects of ministry, kids church, play group, leading a women’s Bible study group, cleaning, music, etc.
Under a new minister, we did a sermon series on Genesis. Inevitably, my belief in a 6-day recent creation came to his attention resulting in a couple of meetings where he tried to dissuade me from my stance. He claims to be open to the idea that the world COULD have been created as per the historical-grammatical reading of Genesis 1, but clearly doesn’t believe so himself. I’ve tried to question him on how his ‘interpretation’ of the biblical text and his belief in long ages intercept but he is adept at turning the conversation away from my line of questioning, so I really don’t have a clear understanding of where he is at.
He is otherwise a very talented and intelligent young pastor and gifted preacher who would claim to uphold the authority of Scripture and undeniably loves Jesus with a deep and intimate relationship.
In keeping with the sombre responsibility entrusted to him by God, he is very careful when appointing leaders from the laity. In a meeting with him he expressed his desire to have me serve as a leader within the church, possibly even a paid position when my son starts high school. He has asserted that my character is in line with the expectations of leadership and my gifts well suited to the leadership of women and children. His only concern is that I might confuse others and put stumbling blocks in the way of people’s faith if I bring up my view of Genesis 1–11.
So, whilst he says he is happy for me to hold my viewpoint, and considers it an open-handed issue, I can only lead if I guarantee not to share my belief in a young earth with others within the congregation. It would also necessitate a censorship of my social networking so that I don’t mention or post anything which is pro recent creation. (I occasionally will share on my Facebook page one of the CMI daily articles which I receive by email).
Hence my dilemma. I dearly want to reach people for Christ and proclaim the Gospel. The most natural way to do so is within the context of my local church. I’m not about to bail out on my church family just because of a difference in opinion with our current pastor. I’m pretty sure, God willing, that I will still be here long after he has moved on, and perhaps God is calling me to patient submission to the current authority. Or perhaps I should just pull my head in, agree to the terms of leadership, and get on with the job of reaching people for Christ. I can’t work out, though, how to divorce my understanding of Genesis 1–11 from the Gospel of Jesus. I think my witness would become wishy-washy as I labour to say the politically correct thing.
Do you have any suggestions? Surely many of you have worked and churched with Christians who hold a theistic evolution viewpoint. What do you think is the best way forward from here? To maintain integrity, I would have to elect not to be part of the leadership team at church. To be part of the leadership team and reach women and children for Christ I, would have to set aside the very foundation of my understanding of God and the Gospel in the way I address the questions of sin and salvation. I know plenty of people reach others for Christ with an inconsistent view of Scripture and history but having had my eyes opened to the truth it is hard to step back into blindness. Am I missing the big picture of impacting the world for Jesus, though, if I insist on upholding the recent creation view to the exclusion of serving my congregation?
Don Batten responded:
Thanks for sharing your situation, which is sadly not uncommon in otherwise conservative churches today. I think in putting your thoughts ‘down on paper’, you have answered your own question:
“To maintain integrity, I would have to elect not to be part of the leadership team at church. To be part of the leadership team and reach women and children for Christ I would have to set aside the very foundation of my understanding of God and the Gospel in the way I address the questions of sin and salvation. I know plenty of people reach others for Christ with an inconsistent view of Scripture and history but having had my eyes opened to the truth it is hard to step back into blindness.”
If you acquiesce to your minister’s attempt to muzzle you, he will have achieved two things:
- There will be no ‘troublesome’ creationist influence any more within the church, thus consolidating the current ‘liberal’ (I use the term loosely) approach to understanding Genesis, and obviously other Scriptures that interpret Genesis in a grammatical-historical manner (such as Mark 10:6, Luke 3, and Luke 17; see The use of Genesis in the New Testament). This will also make it more likely that when he moves on, the next minister will be more of the same or more ‘liberal’ because there will be no one in the church who understands the issues and their importance to have an influence on who is appointed.
- He will have you tacitly agreeing with him that this is an ‘open handed’ matter that doesn’t really matter. Regarding his position that our understanding of Genesis is of secondary importance, I recommend the DVD Is Creation a Secondary Issue? (Actually, it’s all about Jesus!) by Dr Martin Williams, who is Head of Theology at the Reformed Theological College in Melbourne.
- (As you realize) you will be silenced in all circumstances because you will never be able to be ‘plain Jane’ while-ever you are in this official role in the church. It will be extremely frustrating for you. Any mention of creation apologetics will be disloyalty/breaking your covenant.
- You will not be anywhere near as effective in your teaching or witnessing. What if a child asks about evolutionary stuff he/she is being taught at school? Or a mum asks you about her son who says he is not sure that he believes the Bible anymore and can’t see much point in coming to church because ‘science has disproved the Bible’? Could you really say, ‘Sorry, I can’t talk about that’?
- Withholding the truths of creation from children is going to prepare many of them for abandoning the faith when they get exposed to evolutionary teaching at school and university. You won’t be able to point them to ‘life saving’ material that helps them to think through these things. I have three grown children, all university graduates, who were brought up with creation apologetics (Creation magazine, videos, etc.), and it had a hugely positive impact on their lives. I know others who actively opposed biblical creation, preferring to talk in metaphors (e.g. framework hypothesis) and their children are far from the Lord. It seems to be, ‘If Dad and Mum don’t believe the Bible, why should I?’ Our documentary, Fallout! shows how young people from churches that don’t teach them how to think logically about these matters drop out when exposed to evolutionary propaganda in the education system (surveys indicate ~75% dropout rate across all churches).
I wrote an essay that The Melbourne Anglican editor requested, but then would not publish it because the editor could not find anyone willing to refute it! It is a succinct reminder, in 800 words (the strict limit set by the editor) of how many doctrines are undermined by not taking Genesis as Jesus did (literally); see Church censors biblical creation. It also starts with an apt testimony of a youth worker in an Anglican church in Melbourne.
Your minister “has asserted that my character is in line with the expectations of leadership and my gifts well suited to the leadership of women and children.” Now he should realize that one of the reasons you have those qualities is because you respect the Bible as the Word of God from the beginning and therefore have a consistent Christian worldview. Why is it that few others have those attributes? I suggest it is because they do not have that same consistent biblical (creationist) worldview.
Might I suggest, if I may, that you speak to your minister, expressing your appreciation of his confidence in you and your desire to be involved in ministry, but that the very attributes that he sees in you are a product of your confidence in the Bible as the Word of God, which in turn comes from your ‘creationist’ convictions. If he wants you to be involved in ministry, then it must be ‘all of you’; you can’t leave aside the logical foundations of your faith and remain effective (like cutting off Samson’s hair!).
You might say something along the line of: ‘My heart’s desire is to love and serve the Lord Jesus through His church and I have appreciated the opportunities that I have had to minister in various ways through this church in recent years. I am honoured that you have raised the possibility of serving further in the ministry that you outlined, and I would also do that as unto the Lord. However, I could only accept such an offer provided I was at liberty to minister in accordance with my heartfelt convictions from the truth of God’s Word. That is the way I have ministered in the past, and as far as I know I have not caused any offence or upset within the congregation. In all my dealings I have sought to be supportive of the church and of the leadership. In the ministry you discussed with me I would continue to work in line with my character as you know me as I have in the past, endeavouring to do so with faithfulness and integrity to honour Christ. So, I would be happy to accept, but only provided no restrictions were placed upon me about what I could or couldn’t say with regard to the truth of the Word of God. Of course, if I was saying anything heretical, I would want to be corrected.’
I hope I have not overstepped the mark in offering my thoughts. I think you knew what you needed to do before you asked!
PS. If you think it would help, one of us CMI speakers/scientists would be willing to meet with your minister privately to discuss the issue of Genesis history and the serious Gospel implications.
Thank you so much for your well-considered reply. In my prayerful contemplation I had pretty much come to the same conclusion. I will re-approach our minister in the way you suggested and see what comes from it, although I’m not overly hopeful. I know that God is sovereign over the situation though and that even if I’m blocked from leadership roles within the church God can continue to use me effectively in ways that I probably haven’t even dreamed of yet.
Thank you for the ongoing ministry of CMI. I have learned so much and grown immensely in my faith and love of Jesus as a result.
Postscript: J. declined the church position, preferring not to be muzzled. However, she continues to be involved in effective Gospel ministry.
I think the problems that J raised are a serious issue. How can a church be faithfully led by a pastor who doesn't believe the Word of God 100%?
While abandoning such a church congregation, as some have suggested, may be the first reaction, it is perhaps not the best course of action. We are in a spiritual war, so let's use a war analogy here: Abandoning this church congregation because of that errant pastor is like some soldiers in an army's camp abandoning that camp (and their fellow soldiers within it) because of the intrusion of one or two members of the enemy. But abandoning ground to the enemy is not what an army would do. They would immediately take action to neutralise the enemy within the camp, to protect both their fellow soldiers in the camp and maintain control over the ground they have fought hard to obtain.
We Christians ought to do the same, gathering support from fellow congregants to either expel errant leaders from leadership positions or to correct them thoroughly back to the inerrant Word of God. To walk away would leave all the other church goers in danger of Satan's subtle influences to doubt God's Word, and would eventually cause the capitulation and demise of that congregation - that light in the community - to the detriment of the entire surrounding community.
I believe Creation will become an issue in the last days. See the message of the angel in Rev 14:7, which is clearly a reference to God as the Creator.
If creation is "an open-handed issue" then the thing that is needed in your local church is discussion and debate, not censorship. Your pastor obviously has no love of the Truth because he rejects the normal means of reaching unity on "open-handed" issues.
To be as fair as possible to the pastor, I think he meant by open handed that it was a matter of ongoing dispute among Christians and that there were various acceptable positions to take. Of course we would strongly disagree. Positions other than that taken by the church since the beginning, that is, no-death-and-disease-before-the-Fall biblical creation, destroy the Gospel; if you think about it.
Creationism is evidently a religion in its own right and should not be confused with the essential Christian Gospel. A pastor is wise to exclude it because of the damage it does by its exclusivity. The Bible is not a scientific treatise and those who treat it as such catastrophically alienate people who use their God given brains to apply logic to the observed world.
Wow! Let’s tease this incredible comment apart.
“Creationism is evidently a religion in its own right”
A separate religion?? Not Christianity? Wow and wow! No, biblical creation is the view that the Church Fathers and the Reformers had (Luther, Calvin, etc.). All of them believed in a ‘young’ earth (‘young’ compared to the ludicrous billions of years of today’s secular creation myth), with no death and disease before Adam sinned. This is the historic church doctrine of Creation, Fall, and Flood of the Christian church. It is not an ‘ism’ (and no, Augustine gives no licence for the deep time accommodationist mythologizing of Genesis that goes on today).
“and should not be confused with the essential Christian Gospel.” Well here’s the problem: if Genesis does not record real history, as it is read, then there is no basis for the Gospel. If death and disease did not begin with the sin of the first Adam, how could the last Adam (Jesus, the Messiah), save us, the descendants of Adam, from the consequences of sin (physical death and disease)? See Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, where the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection is tied to the real events in Genesis. All deep time accommodations have death and disease as part and parcel of God’s creation from the beginning of life. See: Did God creation over billions of years?
“A pastor is wise to exclude it because of the damage it does by its exclusivity.” Wise? Hardly, in view of the Gospel ramifications. Jesus said, “narrow is the way …”. Truth tends to be exclusive. However, if you are alluding to the old canard that we say you must agree with us on every point to be a Christian, then I suggest you do some further reading on creation.com. Indeed, I was a Christian before I became convinced of the truth of biblical creation (I was an unhappy theistic evolutionist).
“The Bible is not a scientific treatise…” By that I guess you mean that if the Bible talks of matters scientific, we can ignore what it says and defer to the ‘scientists’ (especially the secular elite ones). If the Bible errs in matters scientific, what would that say about its inspiration by God? However, what we are most concerned about are the historical claims (the Bible is fundamentally a record of history); claims that lay the foundation for the Gospel. See ‘But Genesis is not a science textbook’
“as such catastrophically alienate people who use their God given brains to apply logic to the observed world.” What alienates people most is Christians who don’t believe their own book and then expect others to take (some of) it seriously. We have heard this testimony repeatedly; for example, one person was converted on reading Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s Refuting Compromise, which was written to help Christians get their thinking biblically and logically consistent (I recommend you read it). Richard Dawkins called the theistic evolutionist church leaders “barking mad” and tacitly acknowledged that at least we were logical (but wrong in his view of course).
How about you read the Bible, believe what it says, and then apply logic to understanding the world around you in the light of God’s revelation? Facts don’t speak for themselves; they are fitted into a worldview. Put on a biblical worldview and you will see how the ‘facts’ fit. There is no turf called ‘objective neutrality’ where things can be viewed, especially things that impact our confidence in God and His Word.
I was brought up Methodist then Lutheran as the Methodist Church was already wobbling. (My late father was one of his generation's leading Wesley AND Luther scholars). I stopped going to Church in 1971. I met two men who were uncompromising Biblical Creationists 6 Day Young earth. They led me to Christ. I was baptized in an AoG Church in 1985. When I first went to it I asked the Pastor if they believed Genesis was a myth or history. History of course was the reply.
Non belief in Genesis is the Devil's same ploy he used on Eve "Has God said?" - it was carried by the German Higher Critics and crystallized by Karl Barth, one of the enemies of the Gospel referred to in Jude. I now attend a Reformed PCA Church but believe in believers Baptism. My counsel to you is leave the position and if the Pastor is so worried about his own belief regarding Genesis, then what else? Evolution is the greatest tool Satan ever used against humanity but the greatest weapon he uses against the Church is questioning the authority of Scripture. I commend you to the teachings of RC Sproul and Ligonier Ministries in the USA. RC went home to be with the Lord last week. He will have his reward. I pray you get yours. Happy Christmas.
J. did not take the position, which should be clear from the article.
Pastors are not to be, "lords over God's heritage, See 1Peter 5:1-3.
However gifted, those who deny the Bible or parts of the Bible, are sinning against the warnings in Revelation 22 not to add or take away from the Word of God.
We need pastors who have been Bereans (Acts 17) not university or Bible school graduates who have been steeped in the Higher criticism from 19th. century Germany.
People, pastors included, can be incorrect about their understanding of Genesis and its importance to the Gospel without being 'steeped in Higher Criticism', although this is indeed evolution applied to our understanding of the Bible.
The problem is much deeper than just believing in Genesis, it's accepting the Bible as God's instruction manual for us. Who does God tell us should be Pastors and Elders ? This church, like many others, has become 'unequally yoked' with the World. God gave us roles as men and women, in which He desires to be worshipped and will not accept our ideas or the Equality Agenda to dictate to Him what is acceptable. When any church starts ignoring Holy Scripture or disobeying God's clear instructions on how He wants his Church to be run, this is a recipe for disaster. The Holy Spirit cannot bless or co-operate with such an assembly. As true believers we're told what to do in these circumstances in 2 Corinthians 6:14 -18, "Come out and be separate". Rejecting Jesus's chosen apostle Paul and the Bible will result in an active Homosexual clergy, same sex marriage and the destruction of those churches, if not by man then God. If any Christian is in any doubt, just open an a newspaper or turn on your telly. The evidence is plain to see for everyone.
I have been in a conservative Baptist church for 45 years. In all that time, only one Pastor was an out and out 7 Day Creationist. All the others would talk about God the Creator but if asked would say, "The Bible says that God created but it doesn't say HOW He created". I once arranged to do a 3-part teaching series for parents on 'Why evolution isn't scientific', based on this website's articles but was blocked by the pastor. In all other areas our pastors have been sound men and solid preachers. As the other churches in our small town are even more liberal, I remain, but always teach 7 day creation when one on one. BTW, I used to do RI in schools with one Anglican Minister who openly said that he had refused to sign the Articles when he was ordained because he didn't believe most of them. He was in charge of at least 3 churches in the district. It's very sad, but we all have to work our way through this problem as best we can with the Lord's help and pray for those in leadership positions who do not see the seriousness of their stand.
I am currently a Wollongong Anglican Diocese church member.
I compromised myself when I first raised 6 day creation with my young pastor, agreeing not to cause division, so a false "peace" exists.
I am angry underneath, but believing that God's purposes are not established by anger (except holy, i.e. Jesus' anger), I keep myself in check.
Much is currently made of the 500 year old Reformation in the Diocese; what is desperately needed is a current Reformation based on historical Creation; I pray so and even more so since, if we Australians love this land and it's people we need to preach the whole Gospel to our poor deceived Aboriginal people, starting with God's Creation story in Genesis 1.
Lastly, a personal thank you to Dr Carl Wieland when he got me "off the fence" when he addressed a meeting at Capernwray Moss Vale all those years ago.
May God continue to bless you all at CMI.
I went to UNSW and attended Sydney Anglican University Ministry. One observation was surprising - of Phillip Jensen, the pastor at the university at the time (I can mention the name because it is a positive observation). The ministry is continually afflicted with the beliefs of the students coming to university such that the result is not solely influenced by what is preached. Phillip openly permitted and quietly encouraged spreading the creation message typical of CMI's stand, yet in his own ministry he simply did exposition of scripture without going to implications on natural history. There was this issue and the issue of the power of God to interact with and miraculously help people today that were at the forefront of contention. I think they still are.
Thank you for being strong enough to maintain your integrity and "stand" in the face of unbiblical oppression. You are a witness to us all. I would love to hear the outcome of your meeting.
May the LORD who created all that is seen and unseen in 6 days and then made Himself known to us in human form bless you richly and continue to uphold you this Christmas season.
how sad I was trusting you would take the step you have as I read through to the end. pray God will keep your heart at peace & open doors for you to witness. so many of our Churches are full of folk needing jesus.. how many don't even see new converts or evidence of God's working. Pray God will guide & use your outreach to touch others in a mighty way.
by the way I already receive Creation ministries material on the computer. fantastic. Decided after having a guy from Creation ministries speak at our Church to give our 8 grand kids Christmas gift from Creation ministries this yr. the older two boys subscriptions. the lady on the phone was so helpful guiding me as what would suit each child.so glad to receive the creation INFO bites on the computer. God bless
I don't get how some in the church can have arrived at the idea that Genesis is a side issue. In Genesis we learn: who God our Creator is (Elohim); our role in the Creation and the value of human life; the significance and importance of human relationships with God; about family and godly sexual relationships... the list goes on. Nearly all attacks on the Christian faith in the last centuries have centred on the teachings of Genesis, and we see the fruit of those attacks in our societies and churches (sadly) today. Genesis is a side issue, right...
I am glad I read the article to the end, else I would have thought the first suggestion (that the writer had already answered her own question), was the complete answer.
I am certain it was mentioned in another creation.com article that Genesis is the foundation of the entire Bible, so if you do not accept the foundation, how can you accept what is built upon it. This is especially the case when so much that is built upon it references it. Without Genesis being exactly what it says, then the entire Bible falls apart.
I think that the pastor is convinced that if he compromises with athiests, agnostics, evolutionists, etc, he will gain more followers. I believe that many who take a serious look at that compromise find more reasons for staying away from the truth.
I believe the better approach is the complete solution, as stated, being able to point out how the truths are consistent with the young earth "interpretation."
I would say that "J" is already a leader in her church even if the official leadership doesn't recognize her as such. It may be time to change her mindset from parishioner to missionary within her church and proclaim the truth that has been revealed to her, even if it goes against what the church leaders direct. Let's pray God will bless her new ministry and give her perseverance and wisdom to succeed for His kingdom and His glory.
The incident described here is sad but not surprising. I've grown up in the Sydney Anglican Church, and have only just changed denominations for various reasons. Having been about the only biblical creationist within my church, I can sympathize with J. The Sydney Anglican diocese is in some ways a strange bowl of fish. Whilst being deeply conservative on the vast majority of doctrinal issues, there is this one blind spot. I've given it some thought over the years, and the best I can come up with is it's a matter of pride. Sydney Anglican pastors place a very high value on academic rigor. Moore college grads are seen to be extremely highly trained, theologically. I think this can flow onto perhaps valuing academic respectability a little too highly. To believe in biblical creation, flies in the face of popular academic opinion. To one who values their academic reputation, it's embarrassing. That's my thinking on this, but I'm happy to be proved wrong!
I think that you are on the mark here. There is respect for academia in general, but academia has largely departed from God and shows zero respect for the Bible as the Word of God, or for the academic excellence of any Christian institution, including Moore College. The respect flows in one direction only. If the Bible is dismissed as a colection of campfire stories from desert nomads, it does not matter how 'excellent' the scholarship is that expounds it! Unfortunately, the approach to Genesis that regards it as Ancient Near Eastern myth only reinforces this view. While Richard Dawkins is rather rude in the way he puts it, calling theistic evolutionists “barking mad”, he echoes an almost universal view now amongst academics at the world's top universities (most of which were once Christian institutions).
Sadly, it is not just Moore College in Sydney (as bad as that is). Others are infected with the same view.
A deeply conservative view (and we are thankful for that!) will not be sustained into future generations with a conflicted view of the Bible's authority (believe its theology but feeling free to hold loose its history). Creation Without Compromise by Donald Crowe documents a case history (Princeton) of how compromising on the history in Genesis led to outright liberalism (no Gospel).
Great article! Why is it that as soon as a ministry position offers a salary, liberals immediately capture it? You don't find too many liberals working in 'live by faith' positions, nor in dangerous missionary fields either. One solution would be to get paid ministry staff to undertake periodic trips to extremely unpleasant ministry spots, where they are likely to be promoted to glory...this would ensure those paid positions were filled by people who had truly left everything for Christ.
I don't know this pastor, but from what the member of his church said, he could hardly be classified as a liberal. There is a spectrum from thoroughly evangelical to liberal, but I think to qualify as the latter, one would have to deny the substitutionary death of Jesus for our sins, and his bodily resurrection.
Also, I know of very dedicated missionaries who sacrificed much for the Lord who at the time were not 'on the page' regarding biblical creation. Dr Robert Guerney's story comes to mind.
Of course the pastor and the missionaries alike would be much more effective in proclaiming the Gospel if they came to grips with the historicity of Genesis 1-11, especially those ministering in a secularized culture soaked in the atheists' creation myth, cosmic evolution.
Sadly it seems that many Pastors will not spell out what they believe about creation, or if they do, they are vague and when you seek further clarification, none is forthcoming. Apparently many don't have the knowledge or conviction to argue for what they believe and are perhaps afraid of criticism or of being shown to be wrong.
We can but persevere and stick to our own integrity wherever that leads.
At this point in the article, I'm paused at "Don Batten responded:" It is very likely that my opinion will differ quite vastly from Don Batten's and CMI's in general, but I think it's important to weigh in with my own experience with similar situations before reading CMI's response.
I think this may be part of a Revelation 13:17 implementation and that compromise in this matter may be a salvation issue for some people. I don't think it is in J's case (one might want to pray about that), but it probably is for the church leadership in this particular case. My own personal experience wasn't with creation, but with some grudge that the leadership could not even specify, let alone explain or support. Fortunately for my sanity, God personally read me 1 Samuel 8:7. So, in that particular case, I didn't really have a decision to make, I was finished with them before I knew it, and they were actually explicit that there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. In further searching discussions with people (including atheist social workers), living according to God's will does seem to cause massive problems with church relationships, and is slightly less reliable at causing massive problems with worldly relationships. I don't compromise on things like being dishonest or allowing circumstances which threaten human life to continue when I can do even small things about them (such as bringing them to a supervisor's attention.) It is typically on that level that I've had problems, but I can see it happening with creation. I would certainly not want to be encumbered in the realm of intellectual or theological discourse, especially in a leadership position. Under these circumstances, my most likely course of action would be to leave the church entirely.
The idea of a commenting system is to comment on the article after you have read it. :-)
How encouraging that there are those who are standing for truth and prepared to sacrifice for the sake of Christ!
There is hope. God will preserve a remnant.
Are we ready to stand? Do we realise that there may be only a very short time left and we need to keep our priorities right? Do you trust God or man? On EVERY issue.
Romans 3:3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, "That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged."
Thank you, Don, for your thoughtful and needed reply.
Dear J, if I may attempt to reinforce Don’s 3rd “furthermore” bullet-point:
1. Please put before the pastor the seriousness of the pastor’s own Bema judgment. How much of the many good works of the pastor will convert to “hay, wood, and stubble”, when Jesus shows the pastor the spiritual-crisis cost (to the church’s children & youth) of the pastor’s lack of due diligence regarding (addressing) Genesis 1-11? (You may need to do this loving intervention, if the pastor declines to have CMI make a personal visit.)
2. Consider giving the pastor the findings of a fellow creationist organization—through their book “Already Gone”—showing statistics of that danger. Many of the people (reported there) who walked away from God and the Bible did so because of a perception that they had to do so in order to keep intellectual integrity. They heard one reality from the bible; they heard another reality from school; and their church leadership never talked about that conflicting issue—mentally shying away from it. (Exactly as this pastor has.) The former youth concluded that the bible was wrong—and walked. Some did so—in their minds—as early as 12 years old.
3. Your pastor might be blocked through a wrongly-informed conscience, where he thinks his existing stance is required, to keep integrity. He needs to humble himself, and personally reexamine the facts, in obedience to 1 Thessalonians 5:21. Since he sounds like a person serious about biblical discipleship, lovingly challenge him in this area. His obedience would eliminate the blockage—when certain of his convictions are exposed as being “hollow deception" (Col. 2:8).
CMI's Fallout! short documentary shows the dire consequences of churches not helping young people with appropriate teaching to counter the evolutonary hegemony that now besets the once-Christian world.
The link is for an extended trailer, but I strongly recommend sharing this with all church leaders, youth leaders, etc. There is a link in the recommended resources on the article (top right).
I've just read the sad story of 'J' who seems to be a lovely thoughtful Christian lady. It might be worth her remembering that she is already serving the LORD in her life by taking the bible seriously as God's word and being His faithful witness, even if she is not in paid employment within the church. Sadly, the two things are not always the same.
'Faith comes by hearing' the Truth, which Satan, I suppose, knows right well. Satan would 'muzzle' utterances that bring anyone closer to our most holy faith.
Satan works through deluded and/or rebellious 'authorities' that, through the influence of the powers of darkness, insinuate their way into the ranks of the faithful.
The King will destroy all such 'dominion, authority and power' opposed to light and truth (1 Corinthians 15:24).
To suffer for holding to the truth is to suffer much as all of God's holy prophets and apostles.
Silence is the fate of the dead. Hatred desires death for the one it hates.
The Teacher: "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first." (John 15:18).
One who seeks to exclude the light and muzzle the truth is being worldly, quite worldly, whether he realizes it or not!
Am I the only one to have read this article and become angered by the actions of the pastor? If the pastor feels it's a "second hand issue that doesn't really matter" why doesn't he remain silent and allow those whom are obviously passionate about the issue discuss it freely. Mildly upsetting to say the least. God bless!
Wow - you guys are so gentle and patient in your response to a truly bizarre situation. This cannot be done apart from resting on the sovereign one (as mentioned). This comes out clearer than the apparent issues that are at the surface.
Keep going! This indirect exposing of foolishness is what the world so desperately needs (but doesn't want).
If this is an "open handed" issue how does the pastor know this? On what is he standing to that he knows this?
It cannot be the Bible since God clearly revealed the genesis of man and on what he stands (earth) and what supports what he stands on (unseen laws). Thus the pastor is misguided and in effect no different than those who attempt to rest on man.
Over time the effect of this belief must grow to rule over other areas of his controlling principles.
Or He must die to them in favor of Christ
Col 2-19-20, Jer 17:5
He has not and cannot refute you - as evidenced by his reliance on deflecting questions by cleverly attempting to turn it into conversations. The world is becoming so good at this - one can hardly find a political leader who will answer a question fairly - It is no surprise that some pastors follow this path.
It is not popular to be for the truth. As Jesus said, "everyone on the side of truth listens to me" just before he was sentenced to death.
I hope I have the courage to stand for truth to this point.
"His only concern is that I might confuse others and put stumbling blocks in the way of people’s faith if I bring up my view of Genesis 1–11."
Ironically, it's his view of Genesis 1-11 that actually puts stumbling blocks in the way of people's faith.
As scripture Matthew 24:24 For there will arise false Christ and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, so that if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect.
Thank you for standing for the truth. Christ is with you.
My first reaction is find a new pastor or find a new church.
The whole reason Darwinian evolution and secularism has such a great stranglehold on society is precisely because the true church has continually compromised. It is time we stand firm in our beliefs to counter this depraved culture, 2Ti 4:2-4. Ask your pastor, does he believe God almighty who doesn't change or does he believe fallible man whose hypotheses change from day to day? Besides your pastor needs to keep up with current events in the scientific community. The creation model is far more rational at explaining our observations while evolution is gaining more dissenters all the time because it is not rational and can't explain! New discoveries are turning evolution on its head all the time, (dinosaur soft tissue, volcanically active small moons, DNA research and to many more to mention here). Evolution is on the ropes but atheists won't let it go down easily because they want respectability!
So you stand firm on the gospel J, no matter what may come!
When in doubt, pray, pray, pray and he will answer.
you can take heart in your faithfulness to God and His Bible. Many like you have been ostracized by our former churches, but I recommend you find a church that believes John 3 where it says 'you must be born again; and also, yes, God did make Adam and Eve, not as babies but as adults. And as if that is not amazing enough, He made the Atoms, Stars and Planets, and I know estimates of the size of the universe vary, but say we agree that the universe is 90 Billion light years across, so how is it possible that He stretched out this universe in 6 days about 6,000 years ago (search out how many times it says 'stretched out' and also 'one day it will be rolled up'). It says in Psalm 135:6 (CEBA) The LORD can do whatever he wants in heaven or on earth, in the seas and in every ocean depth. But Hebrews qualifies this with 'God is holy, and He cannot sin.' Personally I am very comfortable with the teaching in the ACC (former AOG churches), and the Baptist Churches seem ok. To stay abreast, I visit Creation Ministries International regularly, and have podcasts from Joyce Myer, JD Farag, Joseph Prince, Jan Markel, Ravi Zacharias, Dr Michael Youssef, Lamb Lion Ministries, and recently discovered Amir Tsarfati on 'Behold Israel'. J remember how many times it says not to worry or fear or be troubled. To protect yourself remember Ephesians 6 encourages us to "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. " and most importantly, it says 'having done all, to stand' (King James Version). Prayers for you and Blessings, signed Gary
Another question is whether or not your stance on creation is in violation of the statement of faith of the Anglican church. Some church statements of faith, (not Anglican, which I could not find) that I have read are very limited in their coverage; certainly not mentioning anything to do with Genesis.
Perhaps you could gently challenge him by asking where you are falling foul of the Anglican statement of faith. In fact, you may be the more correct, if the statement of faith upholds the authority of scripture.
Your pastor has probably not just been influenced by evolution, but also by higher criticism of the bible, meaning that he does not completely trust the bible, although he would probably never share that with the congregation.
It would be interesting to know his response to this question: Do you believe that the bible in its original transmission is the inerrant word of God?
The Anglican church is based on The 39 Articles (Google it). There is nothing there specifically about creation in 6 days. However, many conservative 'Reformed' Anglican churches would subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith, which does prescribe creation "in the space of six days" (reflecting the words of John Calvin). However, I don't think that this would be required of ministers.
Note that when the 39 Articles was formulated, no one denied creation in six days and no death before the Fall, etc., so there was no need to stipulate such. Remember that Archbishop Ussher and Bishop Lightfoot, both known for researching the age of the creation and coming up with ~4,000 BC, were 'Church of England'. (Ussher was Church of Ireland, but the same thing).
J's problem is well stated and Don's response is spot on. I consider the stated problem as a "watershed" issue since it conflates with almost all other Biblical determinants (as demonstrated in the referenced articles). Having encountered this conflict in the past I have taken the approach that I would not attend nor would I accept any responsibility or teaching position in a congregation whose pastor does not comply with the CMI statement of belief concerning creation. I believe it would not be Spirit led to teach or discuss something in the church that is not supported from the pulpit. My responsibility in the church setting is to help and assist the pastor to be the best possible pastor he can be. This cannot be accomplished with such a basic contention between that person and myself.
I am so thankful that my present church home is one in which the Bible is the complete authority in all doctrinal matters and this includes the proper hermeneutic re: creation account.
After 45 years of teaching, preaching and writing about the proper exegesis of the creation account including the scientific considerations I can do no less. I guess what I am saying is that after 85 years it would be too hard to change!! (lol)
Jack S., retired medical physicist
No doubt many a [denomination x,y and z] will go to hell, as will many an Anglican will enjoy the eternal presence of Christ; the bible does NOT state that holding the 'correct' view of creation is essential for being saved; as it is by grace, and grace alone that we are saved. BUT we are called upon to love God with inter alia our whole mind, and as soon as you start compromise there, where will you end? The words of Christ come to mind, and kindly allow me to revert to the ‘The Catholic Public Domain Version’ of the bible as it is a good translation here: Rev 3:16 "But because you are lukewarm and are neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit [koine Greek emeo, to vomit] you out of my mouth."
does not the lack of applying your mind to the word of God make you lukewarm?
Wise advice Don.
J, I have prayed for you and the conversation with your pastor, and that he will allow you the freedom to declare the truth of God's word.
As a member of a church that loves God's word, and yet is still nervous about officially declaring YEC/6 day creation, I feel I can relate to your situation. Fortunately I have not been muzzled to anywhere near the extent that you have.
I would dearly love to see the lecturers at M* College apply their love for God's word to YEC. In so many other respects they are godly leaders, it's a shame that they capitulate to academia and the "wisdom" of the world in this area.
Let's keep praying for a change of heart that sees *all* of God's word treated with the respect it deserves. Sola Scriptura!
Jesus answered, ... Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
(from John 18:37)
I love this article! First, I deeply respect J's position in wanting to both serve her church, and accurately portray the Word of God. I feel most people in my church think that I am overly concerned with what they believe is the "side issue" of Creation. To me it is obvious that if we can't take God for His Word in the first 11 chapters of the Bible, then how can we believe Him in the rest? The entire Word of God is supported by the foundations that He carefully laid in Genesis. I also think that CMI's reply to J was brilliantly worded. We must stand on the truth of God's Word, but at the same time be respectful to the church leaders that He has appointed over us. Perhaps God will use J to open her pastor's eyes to the importance of Creation to the rest of the Bible. Awesome stuff! God is using this ministry in a powerful way to reveal His truth! All blessings and Glory to Him.
I fully understand if you do not publish this!
Your response, and the course of action are admirable. Congratulations. What you did not mention, however, is this is suggestive of manipulation and control. Long live Martin Luther! Keep praying for your pastor, and have a clear conscience before God in your witness. You know Whom to obey.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
- Proverbs 3:5
The "it's not a salvation issue"with a twist. That the church leadership sought to muzzle and undermine conviction and faith in the Word of God is a huge contradiction that would have created an unjustified situation.
And that J had to go outside the church for good guidance and support is of real concern. Yet that can be the case often enough.
There seems an offence and upset when it comes to God's creative power demonstrated in six days and death after the fall. And that this is instilled and masked in church leadership seems a deception...Politics & robots.