Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, October 18, 2010

Evangelicals and Atheists Together

An old earth antagonist of mine, who attempts to "exhort" me with frequent emails and document bombs that complain bitterly against young earth creationists, alerted me to an upcoming conference:

The Vibrant Dance of Faith and Science

The first thing I noticed is how it is utterly devoid of any young earth, biblical creationists. I guess that is to be expected.

I am sure the participants in this event plan to come together, present happy talking lectures "respecting" everybody's views, and otherwise gaze at their navels as they vainly attempt to find common ground on how to understand creation and origins. From what I see, however, it appears to be a cacophonous confluence of popularizing evidential apologists and anti-fundamental Socinians. Basically, a Together For the Heresy conference, or maybe we can call it Evangelicals and Atheists Together. With the diverse group of speakers they have pulled together, why not throw in Richard Hoagland while they're at it.

Now, for those folks who wish to inflict a severe wedgie upon me for offering such a harsh criticism, what am I to conclude? Seriously? I mean, it's not like the Bible is unclear as to how God created. Do we really want to pretend like we don't know what God revealed about creation? Is the historical record of Genesis honestly up for debate here? In my mind, this is like all the Jesus apologists like Gary Habermas and Michael Licona having a conference with the Jesus Seminar cranks in order to find common ground regarding the Gospels.

There is a group of sponsors for this symposium/conference thing. In the sidebar of the home page we see listed Reasons to Believe, the American Scientific Affiliation, Biologos, The Discovery Institute, and some outfit called the Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies to name a few.

Among just this handful of organizations the divergence of conviction is striking.

A few of these "ministries" offer up a doctrinal statement. Consider what is believed about the Bible:

The doctrinal statement at Reasons to Believe says this about their understanding of Scripture (note my emphasis):

We believe the Bible (the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) is the Word of God, written. As a "God-breathed" revelation, it is thus verbally inspired and completely without error (historically, scientifically, morally, and spiritually) in its original writings. While God the Holy Spirit supernaturally superintended the writing of the Bible, that writing nevertheless reflects the words and literary styles of its individual human authors.

Okay. Let's look at another one,

The host church for this conference, Grace Covenant Church, has a similar doctrinal statement regarding the Scriptures (again, note my emphasis):

1. The Holy Scriptures We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the verbally inspired Word of God. Inspiration is God's superintending of human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error His revelation to man in the original autographs. All Scriptures are authoritative and without error in any category of knowledge, including science and history, and are of supreme and final authority in all matters about which they speak. We believe the Scriptures are to be interpreted in a literal and normal way. This means to consider history, grammar, context, and harmony with other Scriptures as guidelines for interpretation. We believe that the Holy Spirit guides the believer to understand the Bible. We believe that God's revelation to man is complete, and that He speaks to man primarily through the Scriptures.

The operative word between these doctrinal statements is history. According to both Hugh Ross and his staff and the elders at this church, they consider the Bible to be authoritative and without error in a number of specific categories particular history. Genesis, dare I say, presents an entirely different take on history than what the typical secular deep time evolutionist believes and presents to our nation of youths. Yet Biologos has clearly come out on the side of the deep time evolutionists against the authoritative view of Scripture both Reasons to Believe and Grace Covenant Church claim to affirm. In fact, over the course of the last few months, Biologos has devoted a number of essays and articles redefining, dumbing down, and in most cases, outright rejecting the doctrine of inerrancy, the very doctrine Hugh Ross and the elders of Grace Covenant claim to uphold with conviction. And they want to Tango with these people?

Consider another sponsor, the obscure organization called the Institute for Biblical and Scientific Studies. It is headed up by a guy named Stephen C. Meyers. Not the Discovery Institute guy who wrote the Signature in the Cell book, who ironically is one of the keynote speakers at this conference, but an unknown, disgruntled anti-fundamentalist. In his testimony, which is a long, raging diatribe against his fundamentalist upbringing, he writes about being liberated from the darkness that had blinded him to truth. In one section where he rejects the conservative view of Exodus for the higher critical version, he writes, Not only was the Bible not a science book, it was not even a historically accurate history book. Indeed. So here we have another participant with this group who denies the historical authority of Scripture.

Near the bottom of the page explaining the background and motivation for this conference, there is a little section titled, Values and Issues to Address. Point #2 states, Collegiality and Respect – irrespective of sincerely held differences, we will seek to promote collegiality, respect and community among symposium participants and attendees. In other words, we don't care what sort of wack-a-doodle nonsense you may believe about Genesis, evolution, the creation of man, the reliability of the historical Genesis record, the fall of Adam into sin, or how the denial of an historical Adam severely impacts Christian theology, no one will say anyone else is wrong, in error, or otherwise a promoter of heresy. The only ones to whom this statement does not apply are biblical, young earth creationists.

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Blogger DJP said...

Love it. Well done, Fred.

9:01 AM, October 17, 2010  
Blogger Escovado said...

One verse comes to mind:

"Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" (2 Thes 2:3-4).

Just sayin'...

11:00 AM, October 17, 2010  
Blogger Escovado said...

Another thought...

I hope this "Vibrant Dance" isn't anything like the one the daughter of Herodias gave to Herod for his birthday.


11:10 AM, October 17, 2010  
Blogger donsands said...

"..disgruntled anti-fundamentalist."

This seems to be a driving force for many of the Emergent type Christians, and those who embrace Genesis 1-2 as a story, and even up to chapter 11.

Brian McLaren has the same type of testimony.

And I have friends who were put off by preachers like Jerry Falwell, and so they hear a Brian McLaren, and they smile, and listen, and follow.
Not sure if this fits with your post, but it seems like it may.

4:02 PM, October 17, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

The odd thing is that we have on the one hand individuals who would not be emergent as it were, like Hugh Ross and his outfit and perhaps the Discovery Institute Stephen Meyers, yet on the other one or two of the sponsors are emergent in their philosophy.

It's all sorts of weird. What is it with the evidentialist apologists and them wanting to buddy up with outright heretics on this one issue regarding Genesis?

4:51 PM, October 17, 2010  
Blogger Rupert said...

There can be no dance of science and faith. It's more of a kick-boxing match!

Biologos, give me a break! They don't even know what they stand for anymore.

And the DiscoTute? Everyone knows their doctrine is just a front for trying to get creationism treated as science - charlatans.

It is either God or it isn't, right Fred?

10:36 PM, October 17, 2010  
Blogger Daniel said...

I loved the whole post, but the line that made me giggle -and it may just be because I didn't get much sleep last night, I don't know- was:

..talking lectures "respecting" everybody's views..

That is such a perfect way of expressing this particular trend, that I couldn't help by giggle and the beauty of how you captured that.

6:20 AM, October 18, 2010  
Blogger RealityCheck said...

I find my own response to this group interesting. As a YEC I obviously take issue with the compromise that is so rampant among these guys. That said, I notice that I’m harsher with some than others. For example, I have pretty much no respect for Ross and really can’t stand to listen to him while at the same time have heard Meyers (from Discovery) speak several times and enjoy him very much. I think it boils down to how I see their different agendas. Meyer’s agenda is ID and then he brings his Christian beliefs in after. IOW, he doesn’t pretend that his Christianity is what he’s about... it’s what he sees as making most sense of the evidence from his ID pursuits. Ross, IMO, tries to give the impression that his Christianity comes first, when it’s very obvious that science trumps the bible for him. I can’t think of any “Christian” that has spent more time promoting an old earth than Ross. It is obviously a very important part of his beliefs. And it’s that real agenda of his that I have no respect for.

I think D'souza’s “What’s So Great about Christianity” was a good defense of Christianity in general although the compromise with an old earth was sad, unconvincing and unnecessary.

As far as Falk and his “An Evolutionary Creationist’s Perspective on the Universe”… gag! He’s put those words in exactly the order of their priority to him.

I don’t know the rest of them and with good reason, I mean let’s face it, there are better things to do… like read this blog Fred. Thanks.

11:33 AM, October 18, 2010  
Blogger thomas4881 said...

Fred, what you're adressing is really the bigger issue of heresy and possibly apostacy. I know from personal experience that when a Christian knows the truth and refuses to obey it they will be severely hurt.

If God has mercy he will discipline that Christian and it won't be pleasent. It can leave marks in the soul of that Christian for the rest of their short earthly life that will always remind them to not forsake the way.

This issue you're adressing is an issue of obedience. They know that the Bible is clear about how the earth was created in six literal days about 6000 years ago. They refuse to obey the truth and they will be disciplined if they truly belong to God.

11:31 PM, October 20, 2010  

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