Communicating the truth of creation with grace
As biblical creationists, we can see how important the doctrine of creation is to the Bible’s ‘big story’ of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. Many of us recall what it was like when the lights first ‘went on’ and we realized that Genesis could be trusted as an actual historical record. And especially when that revelation is fairly new to us, we can have great zeal when communicating that truth to others who have not yet had that ‘aha’ moment.
At CMI, we love it when people get excited about creation, of course. Some of the most encouraging feedback we receive is about people becoming more confident in their faith, or even coming to faith for the first time, as a result of this life-changing information.
However, sometimes, the zeal of the newly converted (or those newly convinced about creation) can play out in ways that are less than helpful. So here are some ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ when beginning to share creation with others.
Don’t: Suggest people are unconverted if they don’t share your view of creation.
We know many people whose eyes were opened to the truth of biblical creation only after decades of having faith in Christ. There are good people who are evangelizing, preaching, and doing other Kingdom work, even with a deficient view of creation. We can point out the inconsistencies of their approach without calling their salvation into question. We need to recognize that God’s work of sanctification progresses throughout the life of the believer in all areas, including the mind.
Do: Use a profession of faith as a ground for calling them to believe God’s Word.
Rather than questioning someone’s salvation, it is much more effective to use someone’s profession of faith as a means of calling them to believe what God has communicated in Genesis. When you’re no longer contesting that person’s faith, but using a shared profession of faith as a common ground to explore what God has said about creation, you’re much more likely to influence them. This is especially so when you can graciously point out how evolution and long-age beliefs clash with the Bible in so many ways—including such Gospel-critical issues as the origin of sin and death.
Don’t: Make every conversation about creation.
If every conversation with the old-earth deacon in your church is about where you differ about creation, he’s going to begin avoiding you pretty quickly. You don’t want to be ‘that guy’ or ‘that gal’ who is known only for being strident about this one doctrine.
Do: Have a well-rounded view of theology and service.
If, on the other hand, you’re known as someone who loves God’s Word, and all of its teachings and doctrines (of which creation is one), and you pair that with a passion for helping others and living your Christianity out practically, your defence of biblical creation becomes more credible.
Don’t: Think you have all the answers.
All of us need to be open to learning from Scripture, and from the other Christians God puts around us. And there is always more to learn. None of us completes our sanctification in this life. Just because you have the correct grasp of creation doesn’t mean that you have nothing to learn from others about doctrine or practical wisdom.
Do: Maintain a humble and teachable spirit.
People are more likely to be open to talking about their beliefs if it’s an equal ‘give and take’. Perhaps your interlocutors have a deficient understanding of creation, but maybe they have something equally important to teach you. This is especially the case if they are significantly older or have been a Christian for longer.
Do: Trust God to do the work of sanctification!
Finally, remember that we are not the Holy Spirit. We cannot change people’s beliefs, whether it comes to the Gospel itself or a very important, foundational matter like Genesis history. We can present the issues truthfully in a way designed to persuade, but only God can do the critical work of changing hearts and minds.