Salad bar Christianity!
You can’t just pick and choose what you want.
Published: 14 November 2013 (GMT+10)
Originally published in August 2013 Prayer News Update.
Sometimes Christians treat the Bible’s doctrines like a ‘salad bar’, where they can choose the nice doctrines, like loving one another, but avoiding controversial or tough issues like Genesis creation. One of the major reasons CMI exists is to overcome objections raised by the world that the Bible is not trustworthy in its historical account. And not just in the area of origins and Genesis creation, but even whether the miracles recorded by the Old Testament writers, and those attributed to the Lord Jesus Christ, could actually have occurred. All of this history was recording the fact that God was separating a nation for Himself, from which, ultimately, the Savior of the world would come.
And this skepticism of the Bible’s history is on the increase. The skeptics try to find holes wherever they can. But if we can demonstrate that the foundation for their skepticism—their interpretations of facts and data—are wrong, what does that do to their ‘faith’?
Alarmingly, it is not just the skeptics. An increasing number of militant professing Christians are aligning themselves with the atheists. When we receive their emails they are often citing ‘evidence’ produced on the specifically anticreationist sites like Talk Origins etc. A major and growing compromised view is that of theistic evolution. That is, actually believing that God used evolution over billions of years. This is worrying because this view accepts virtually all of the interpretations of secular science including the view that the geologic column is not only a record of slow gradual deposition of sediments on the earth, but that it represents a record of the biological evolution of organisms from a common ancestor (turning bacteria into biologists). It’s odd that this view is growing, despite this being a time when believers have more access to good solid creation teaching than ever before. It would be fair to say we now have a wealth of resources in virtually every scientific discipline and theology.
One wonders why any Christian would want to take part in, and glean from, an openly atheistic website. It’s because so many people have simply never heard a decent, clear explanation of a biblical interpretation of the facts all around us. Thus, they have been misled into thinking that there is more overwhelming evidence for evolution and millions of years than for biblical creation.
It doesn’t help
Yes, we would agree that the origins issue is a potentially divisive one, but biblical creationists are not the ones being divisive. We simply believe what the Bible says, and anyone who can read (if being honest) would have to confess that a plain understanding of Genesis 1 indicates six 24 hour days of creation. To do otherwise, is to defer to a secular (read: ‘non-Christian’) interpretation if one adds millions of years, which does violence to Gospel doctrine in the process. Taking advantage of the old adage “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”, these often militant Christians deliberately burn the pastors’ ears in churches, so much so that the pastor might become reluctant to host a creation event for fear of dealing with any aftermath of dissent. But is this the reality?
We can speak from experience that, overwhelmingly, the answer is NO. Very little opposition is ever raised at events, and if so, it is actually dealt with (graciously and appropriately) by the visiting speaker anyway. Also, the ensuing ‘feeding frenzies’ at the book tables is proof that confused people are in need of answers, and have been switched on by the powerful biblical presentation of the evidence. No doubt, this creates angst for the theistic evolutionist sitting in the pews; after all, they think that creation ‘is antiscience’ (as our detractors often claim). Again, NO; it’s anti secular ‘science’, really secular worldviews and philosophies. Dianne D. confirmed her realization of this when she wrote:
“I was a theistic evolutionist because evolution was the only thing taught in school. I never thought too deeply about whether it was logical because the church taught me it was a matter of faith. When I found CMI and began reading their wonderful articles, a weight was lifted from my heart. Now, at last, I can embrace God’s Word without reservation and know that science doesn’t contradict the Bible, but supports it. I thank God for CMI in my prayers daily. May God continue to bless this ministry.”
A victim of our own success?
Now here’s the ironic problem. Because pastors are somewhat cautious or at best uninformed about raising the creation/evolution issue in church, they avoid the subject altogether. So, people in church never get to hear the evidence for creation. Then, because most are raised in the public education system, they only get to hear the secular view. So, the idea that it might be a contentious issue actually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy!
I recall speaking at a large church recently. My itinerary had a note from the pastor: “Be sensitive to those in the church who might hold a different view about Genesis.” Good! That’s no problem, as our aim is to win people over with a logical presentation—not to beat them to death from the pulpit! The response from congregants was overwhelming, and so many people just thanked me for attending the church and for helping them clear up the confusion and doubts they had. This is consistently and overwhelmingly the feedback from the majority of folks in the church. But on occasions (like this one) there will be some detractor who will comment to the leadership after the speaker has left the church, when he can continue the ‘termite’ process.
Silence is not ‘golden!’
Quite simply, if the church avoids dealing with Genesis, then the world will fill the void, and respond to the doubts, with its information. And when they do, it can and often does lead to a crisis of faith. We have testimony after testimony of people who have come back to the Lord or have been strengthened in their faith by realizing there is no conflict between the Bible and real science. But how many of those ‘lost’ will we never hear from again (the statistics say up to 88% of our youth)? When we link people to our resources during our presentations, it fills that void. For instance Philip B.’s case was symptomatic of this issue not being addressed properly:
“I was a young science student who was challenged in my faith while attending university. Though I would have considered myself a strong Christian, I had probably drifted along in my faith for two to three years and was certainly not a particularly effective Christian by the time I reached Uni. … I had so many questions that no one had ever addressed, particularly about origins. A Christian youth leader put me onto your organization; I began subscribing to Creation magazine and reading as many of the books in your catalogue as I could get. It was only after this that the Bible suddenly became alive, all because I could see its trustworthiness not only regarding creation, but in all other aspects as well. It was your material that turned me into an effective Christian. Not surprisingly I have used many of CMI’s materials when teaching young adults in Bible study groups over the last few years, with great effect. Your ministry truly was a blessing to me … . Keep up the amazing work.”
Note that it did not just help his faith, but also turned him into an “effective Christian” and increased his desire to reach others. Now what pastor doesn’t want that from his congregation?
Why the doubts?
Many think (including the theistic evolutionists) that we simply don’t have to deal with Genesis. “Just preach the Gospel”, or “It doesn’t really matter what one thinks about Genesis”, or “The Gospel starts in the New Testament anyway”, are all common statements we hear.
But the biggest problem is that the very Gospel itself emanates from the events in the Garden of Eden, so if Genesis does not mean what it says, then where does the truth begin? According to evolutionists (and of course theistic evolutionists) the fossil record puts millions of years of death before the first appearance of man (which some theistic evolutionists say could be some pre-human hominid, not Adam and Eve). If death was on the earth before the first man, then what does the rebellion of man mean (sin), and the subsequent comment from God to Adam, “You shall surely die”?
Because the idea of millions of years is an interpretation of the geologic record, a naturalistic acceptance of that record destroys the very reason that God established the nation of Israel from which the Messiah came. Or that death will be eliminated in the future Restoration due to the removal of the Genesis Curse. Like falling dominoes the rest of the Bible’s historical narrative comes tumbling down, and everything in Scripture is fair game! If naturalism is really one’s ‘Bible’ then one is also likely to attribute miraculous events like the parting of the Red Sea as some unseasonal high winds over a shallow sand bank. Or Jesus’ turning water into wine as a cheap party trick with some food coloring. If a materialistic view of the world eliminates miracles then it cannot be possible for someone to rise from the dead!
This is why we cannot cherry-pick the Bible and leave out passages that we don’t like or feel we cannot explain. Even our understanding of miracles comes from the straightforward belief that God is the Creator of the universe, and therefore he is not bound by the physical laws that govern our universe. As our own Dr Jonathan Sarfati often points out, part of the usefulness of science is that it can demonstrate when a miracle has actually occurred.
Powerful Christian witnesses
And just think how much more effective Christians will be if they can demonstrate to questioning skeptics that the Bible’s history is really true, by having a logical defense when there are claims that science has invalidated it. This is exactly what happened to Suzanne W. who wrote:
First, thank you all for the wonderful work that you do that provides such blessing for so many. I personally was led to the Lord a number of years ago now via a creation science publication, and have since become an avid reader of all the materials. … My husband has also since become a Christian, something I feel that the logic and sensible reasoning provided by the field of creation science has greatly aided. We now have four wonderful, small children, who will grow to love the Lord and know without doubt that all God’s Word is just that! God’s Word … totally true and trustworthy. Again, many thanks for all that you do. You are continually in our prayers.
So, please consider talking to your church leaders about having CMI at your church to present this faith-equipping and life-changing information. You can contact us for more information.