googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Some Churches Just Don't Get It

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Some Churches Just Don't Get It

Christmas is usually the time I restock my library. When friends and family ask me for gift ideas, I often suggest books I'd like to read. At least part of any cash I get is also spent on books. The other day, I was browsing for some book ideas and was reading the reviews of the book, Already Gone. By the way, it bugs me that sometimes people use Amazon book reviews like a debate forum but that's not my point now. The premise of the book is that nearly 2/3 of teens and young people who attend church now will likely not continue to attend church after they leave home. One reason for this mass exodus is that they don't see the Bible as being relevant to the “real world” and a lot of the reason revolves around the creation/evolution issue.

One critic of the book, who claims to be a former youth leader took exception with the book's premise and said, “[K]ids aren't stupid, and know a specious argument when they hear it. If (in essence) they're being told that "The Flintstones" represents real and true history,... and that all they are watching on the History or Discovery channels is a sinister secular conspiracy to do away with God, then it's no wonder they fall away from the faith.”

No where in his criticism did he actually claim to have read the book. He merely takes exception with the premise. His solution is to engage in the very practice that the book identifies as the problem. He says, “I see (and have involved myself in) a Church and a Christian School which take a line which would be anathema to Ken Ham, freely endorsing a harmony between modern Science and a grounded Christian faith.”

I guess some churches just don't get it. There is no “harmony” between a belief in evolution and the Bible. The only way the two beliefs can be reconciled is to believe the Bible doesn't mean what it says. People who claim to believe both the Bible and evolution either pigeon hole the differences and not think about them or they ascribe to the Bible the genre of allegory/parable/myth. Thus they create the contradiction in kids' minds: the Bible isn't the “real world.”

Jesus made it very clear that people who reject the Old Testament also tend to reject Him. Consider just the following three verses:

John 3:12, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?”

John 5:46-47, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”

Luke 16:31, “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

All of these were spoken by Jesus. They demonstrate clearly how there is a causal link, an “if-then” condition, that if someone rejects what the Bible says about worldly things (which must include the creation) then he will also reject Jesus. It's expected really. If the Bible is wrong about one thing, then how can it be trusted about anything? Even more so if the Bible is wrong at the very first verse!

The sad fact is that many churches have compromised on this fundamental point. Some see it as a divisive issue and therefore avoid discussing it. They might give lip service to defending the Genesis account of creation but won't proclaim it too loudly lest they offend some evolution-believing members of their church.

Other churches, like the one represented by the critic above, openly proclaim that evolution is true and they use science as their paradigm to interpret Scripture. To them, Genesis can't mean what it says because science says otherwise. Obviously, their opinion of science is higher than their opinion of the Bible. This is a dangerous path to trod. Science also says that virgin women cannot conceive children. Science also says that dead men don't come back to life. Do these events in the Bible belong in the same “non-literal” genre as the creation? If we don't trust the plain meaning of the words of Scripture, then in what part of the Bible can we ever have confidence?

Read the critic's quote again. Note carefully how he condemns young-earth creationists for saying that, “"The Flintstones" represents real and true history.” Should I remind him that I believe the plain meaning of the words of the Bible? He is essentially saying that the Bible presents a Flintstones-like representation of history and creationists are stupid for believing it.

It's no wonder that many churches fail to reach the lost. What is their gospel? That it's OK to not believe the Bible – just believe in Jesus? What kind of gospel is that? Though these churches may claim to follow Christ, their attitude lies in direct opposition to what Christ taught. He said that if someone doesn't believe the Bible then neither will he believe in Him. They just don't get it.

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