Valentine’s Day shock
Calvin Smith’s article earlier this week, Sticks and stones may break bones, but … “Your words hurt me!” say atheists, prompted Australian reader J.P. to write to us of her experience last weekend, on Valentine’s Day no less, at someone being “hurt” by her words. Note that 12th February was the 201st anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, commemorated as ‘Darwin Day’ by atheists, with ‘celebrations’ continuing through the weekend.1 While J.P. has given us permission to publish her name, we thought it best in this case to limit the identifying details of the people, and the church, concerned. Here is J.P.’s letter:
Thank you so much for this article. It has helped me put into perspective the upsetting incident that I encountered last weekend, St Valentine’s day.
I accompanied my mother to her church to find the [denomination2 withheld—Ed.] minister towards the end of his sermon stating that all over the world pastors had decided that Feb 14th was now to be Evolution Day.
He began a rant extolling the need to thank God for evolution and painted a picture of 4 and a half billion years ago life evolved … the big bang …
I was so shocked and stood up and objected saying I felt like weeping to hear such heresy in a [denomination deleted] church. I exhorted that the Bible clearly teaches that God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days 6 thousand years ago and that evolution is the greatest lie, a fairy tale told to adults!
I was attacked from the pulpit by this minister for being intolerant and judgmental. I countered it was not to do with my beliefs but the authority of the Word of God.
My mother and I were ushered by the ministers’ female offsider to talk outside. She began with what she thought would be a knock down argument to taking the account of Genesis seriously by asking me if I thought Jesus was a door!
I continued to contend for the historical narrative straightforward understanding of Genesis etc. J. [minister’s offsider’s name withheld—Ed.] was reduced to a final argument that minister C. [minister’s name withheld—Ed.] was such a lovely person and a true Christian that it offended her that I should disagree with him. She was so hurt. We should just accept each other and believe in evolution and not be contentious.
How many people were offended with Wilberforce and his insistence that slavery was evil precisely because every person is created in the image of God?
This church is full of elderly people and why should this so-called ‘shepherd of the flock’ be promoting evolution from the pulpit?
My mother and father started a home church 55 years ago (which grew exponentially) and then after looking into the various denominations, decided the [denomination withheld—Ed.] kept to the Scriptures best. They began the [identification withheld—Ed.] church.
How tragic that such compromised churches exist today? I challenged J. to be open to a CMI speaker talking to the [identification withheld—Ed.] church. The reaction was ‘over my dead body’!3
My mother was shocked that I confronted them but later confided that she was secretly proud of my action! It reminded her of the search my father had made 55 years ago searching for an affiliated and Bible believing church umbrella. This was a time of massive compromise in the churches which continues today.
So it is not just the atheists that are hurt and offended when we uphold God’s Word, it is so often those within the very church that is supposed to be proclaiming the Gospel and teaching of Christ and His death and resurrection.
Before the minister launched into evolution he set the scene with talk of Truth being a relative thing which every person decides for themselves. My public outspoken countering of that with Jesus’ words that “He is the Truth, the Way and the Life” didn’t go down too well!
We understand that there are lots of pressures on those in church leadership today. (Including, no doubt, from individuals in the pews who interrupt a church service to publicly object to something the minister says!)
In the face of evolution being taught as fact from virtually every quarter—schools, universities, learn-to-read books, television documentaries, tourist guides and scenic lookout signs—it’s perhaps not surprising that many pastors have indeed heeded the call from evolutionists to have an “Evolution Sunday” or “Evolution Weekend”.4 Presumably it is the pastors’ genuine (but misguided) attempt to somehow show that the church is rational and not out of step with modern science (see A circus of clergy).
However, pastors who take such a line are obviously unaware of the difference between operational science and the theory of evolution. Evolution is better viewed as a cleverly-invented ‘history’ being paraded as ‘science’. But was it actual history? No, for it was never observed,5 in contrast to the historical account in the Bible, which fulfils the requirement that “every matter must be established on the testimony of two or more witnesses” (Deuteronomy 19:15b, 2 Corinthians 13:1).6 The fact that many PhD scientists believe the Bible’s six-day creation account as actual history is in itself testimony against the widespread misconception that Christianity is opposed to science. Disagreements between evolution-believing scientists and creation-believing scientists only arise when they discuss the past, which is outside the direct province of modern scientific observation.
If only the 12,000 pastor-signatories to the “Evolution Weekend” project could be made aware that there’s no need to defile their love for Jesus with a philosophy that denies Christ was Creator, as the Bible’s account of history can be trusted. The more than 7,000 articles on this website alone provide an abundance of sound, credible scientific information to support the Bible’s account in Genesis. No wonder that J.P., a regular reader of creation.com, was sufficiently upset by what she heard in church last weekend that she was moved to confront the ‘Evolution Day’ pastor so publicly.7
Evolution and Jesus can’t both be right
Jesus clearly accepted the “Books of Moses” as being a reliable account of history, and should be trusted as such. Jesus said that people who do not believe what Moses wrote are not likely to believe in Him (John 5:46; Luke 16:31). He also said that those who do not believe His words in regard to earthly matters are not likely to believe what He says about heavenly matters (John 3:12). Jesus clearly stated that people were on Earth from the beginning of Creation (Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6)8 not towards the end of a billions-of-years process (see also Jesus and the age of the world and Genesis: Bible authors believed it to be history).
Of course, by definition, Christians are those who believe in Jesus Christ, who was fully God and fully man, and through whom all things were created (John 1:1–18)—see Q&A: Jesus Christ. Yet evolutionary theory as taught in school and university textbooks is not only as darkness is to light as far as orthodox Christianity is concerned (2 Corinthians 6:14), but actually is poisonous even to any liberal church notions of ‘spirituality’, too. See Evolution—the ultimate antidote to spirituality.
What about the “Jesus was a door” jibe from the ‘Evolution Day’ minister’s offsider? That and similar objections to taking the Bible as literal history are answered in Should Genesis be taken literally? And in relation to the minister’s “truth is relative” claims, he would be well-advised to read That’s nice for you, but it’s not for me.
Why are so many pastors captive to evolutionary ideas?
Almost all pastors who have a ‘loose’ view of Genesis, and who have compromised a straightforward reading of that account with ideas about long time periods and/or evolution, seem to have picked up such ideas at theological/Bible college.
We have published numerous articles with testimonies of how destructive many liberal or neo-orthodox Bible colleges can be to faith (even with some students having ‘lost their faith’ during their theological studies)—see “Related articles” below. Those articles explain some of the funding and academic pressures that Bible colleges face, which might, at least partially, account for the problematic curriculum material presented to students.
And, with their faith thus weakened, the graduates subsequently move into church leadership positions, often perpetuating (unwittingly or otherwise) to their congregations the same kinds of notions that undermined their own faith while at college.
Perusal of the website of the church that J.P. visited last weekend shows that the minister not only has the highest academic and theological qualifications obtainable, but has himself taught students at theological colleges in Canada, USA and Australia.
What can you do for your church to counter the problem?
If you live in a country in which Creation Ministries International has accredited speakers,9 why not consider asking your church leadership to request that CMI come and minister to your church?10 (See Ministry programs for your church.) At the very least, it’ll let you know where your church leadership stands vis-à-vis the creation/evolution issue. However, some of you might be in for a shock as to what your pastor actually (dis)believes. We unfortunately anticipate hearing many more reports from ‘people in the pews’ who tell us, incredulously, that “we discovered our pastor doesn’t believe the Bible!”
Thankfully, however, there have been times that such pastors, who often say by way of defence that “there are many views of Genesis”, have been prevailed upon to allow their congregation to hear the case for biblical creation. Here is CMI speaker Dr Don Batten’s report of his visit to just such a church (which incidentally is of the same denomination as the one visited by J.P. last weekend):
“The pastor said to me before the service that he didn’t think the creation/evolution thing was that important, but there were people in his congregation who were really keen on our ministry so that’s why he had me there (I bit my tongue, knowing that what I had to say would probably be a big challenge to him). Although he said that, he said this was my meeting and I could take as long as I liked and do what I liked. So he didn’t make things difficult, or anything like that, there was a real freedom there to speak. By the time I’d finished he’d had a real change of heart.”
And it wasn’t just the pastor. Unbeknown to Don, one of the people who attended church that day was known to the pastor as a non-Christian:
“There was a real buzz afterwards. Many people expressed appreciation. A man introduced me to his biochemist wife who was buying The Genesis Record. She wanted advice on what she should buy. I suggested Michael Denton’s Evolution—a theory in crisis. I found out later it was her first time at church in a long time. She believed Christians “leave their brains at the door” when they go to church (this is an exact phrase I’d used during my talk, encouraging Christians not to do that). Her son was dying of a heart problem and it turns out the pastor’s wife had a nephew die of the same problem, and was able to talk with her in an understanding way. The biochemist lady was very open and very challenged.”
What a great outcome—and similar to ministry feedback we receive again and again. This isn’t really a surprise, given that the meaning of anything really only makes sense in light of origins, and Genesis is a true account of our origins! Sadly, though, the congregation of the church visited by J.P. last Valentine’s Day is apparently not about to hear such an encouraging CMI presentation anytime soon, if the pastor was serious about his “over my dead body” threat.
- “Darwin Day is a global celebration of science and reason held on or around Feb. 12, the birthday anniversary of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin.” International Darwin Day Foundation, http://www.darwinday.org/. Return to text.
- Do not presume that this denomination couldn’t be yours, as it’s one with a reputation for conservative theology. Return to text.
- Parishioners from denominations who think theirs is particularly conservative theologically might be surprised if they knew of the difficulties CMI has in obtaining a hearing for its position in the hierachies of almost all denominations. Return to text.
- Nearly 12,000 pastors worldwide have now signed up to the scheme—Evolution Weekend, The Clergy Letter Project, http://www.theclergyletterproject.org/ —which is lead by self-avowed atheist Michael Zimmerman. As Adrian Bates so aptly put it, Zimmerman is a “wolf in wolf’s clothing” (see Clergy Letter Project a circus). Return to text.
- Microbes-to-man evolution is presumed to have occurred in the past, but it has never been observed, as even arch-evolutionist Richard Dawkins has admitted: “Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening.” ‘Battle over evolution’—Bill Moyers interviews Richard Dawkins, Now, 3 December 2004, PBS network. Return to text.
- In answer to the skeptic retort that the Creation account does not fulfil the requirement for “two or more eyewitnesses”, the Spirit of God (Genesis 1:2), God the Father and His Son (note “us” and “our” in Genesis 1:26) were all present, with 2 Peter 1:20–21 accounting for how the written account reliably came into man’s possession. Return to text.
- Of course we don’t recommend interrupting church services, but there are many other ways of graciously confronting similar manifestations of unbelief. Return to text.
- Note that in quoting from both Genesis chapters 1 and 2 in tandem, Jesus’ words refute the modern objection that those two chapters are contradictory—clearly, Jesus didn’t think so. See also Genesis contradictions? Return to text.
- USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. CMI also regularly sends speakers to Singapore at the invitation of churches in that country. In addition, CMI speakers have periodically toured other countries too, e.g. in Europe and Pacific island nations. This year a ministry trip is being planned to Indonesia. Return to text.
- CMI speaker presentations demonstrate that there are straightforward answers to the common objections and queries people have relating to the creation/evolution issue, which are some of the most frequent objections to faith in Christ. For further info, see under ‘Speaking and direct ministry’ on the What we do page. Return to text.