Evolution, Waltke, and the Pandora Problem…

I love Pandora.  Not the goddess; the software.  I love creating ultra-personalized radio stations based entirely on my tastes. I love knowing that because my artists, and somethings like them, are all that will be played, I’ll never be disappointed again while listening to music, and if I am, I can punish Pandora with a “thumbs down” rating on a song and rest assured that my tastes have been even further refined.

As a result, though, I’ve become way less tolerant of normal radio, which forces me to endure tastes other than my own, if only for a mile or two in the car.  I usually won’t stand for it and start surfing for something, anything, even sports talk radio, instead of whoever it is who’s style or singing is distasteful to me.  Pandora the goddess opened the jar because of curiosity and unleashed evil on the world.  Pandora the music software also unleashes evil, but for the opposite reason: it seems to shut down curiosity.

Our entire culture is infected with this fear based lack of curiosity because we’re increasingly retreating into self-referential subcultures.  Are you liberal?  Read the Huffington Post.  Are you conservative?  Listen to Glenn Beck.  In either instance you’ll find enough fodder to reinforce your world view and never be confronted with the untidy realities that might altar it.  Increasingly it appears that this closed-minded fragmentation occurs, not only in music and politics, but churches and theology, much to our shame and loss.

A recent example was the resignation of Bruce Waltke, a brilliant Old Testament scholar, from Reformed Theological Seminary.  He made some comments implying that we should be in dialogue with those who believe in evolution because, if there’s evidence for it and we refuse to listen, “to deny that reality will make us a cult”.

The event reminds me of an earlier time, written about here, which includes this:  it strikes me how ignorant most Christians are of earlier battles from which we should have learned. The classic example is how the church handled Copernican theory and Galileo. The church had “Biblical truth” and evidence on her side against the “godless” theory that the earth orbits the sun rather than vice versa.

This isn’t a post about creation/evolution debates.  I have my beliefs and teach on Genesis regularly.  This is a post about listening.  This is a post wondering why the man who helped translate the NIV Bible, and the NASB, and who has served the church faithfully for decades with solid Old Testament scholarship should lose his teaching position because he suggested that maybe we should listen and dialogue, consider and if necessary, alter our views.  But somehow, the thought of listening and considering was too much for the school whose slogan is “A Mind for Truth – A Heart for God.”

Truth seeking, it seems, should make us fearless of new ideas because after all, we’re committed to truth, not our current conceptions of truth.  Is there danger in listening?  Of course.  We need discernment, humility, and the courage to defend our convictions or altar them.  Fail at any point we run the risk of careening down the mountain, crashing in a heap of heresy.

The problem, though, is that there are dangers in not listening as well.  The Pharisees didn’t listen, and the killed Jesus, and later Stephen, and later tried to kill Paul.  They knew their Bibles, but weren’t open to the possibility that their understanding was incomplete.  The flat earth society stopped listening.  The church, justifying slavery for centuries, had stopped listening.  When we stop listening, we stop learning and are, as a result, no longer open to transformation.

I’m convinced that Jesus is, as he said he was, “the truth” and so I’ll be astonished if my enquiries ever lead me to love him less.  But I’ll keep enquiring, because the only other option is to declare that I’ve already arrived, that my understanding God’s Word and the World are perfect.  I don’t have the presumption to go there.  That others do, and have stopped listening as a result, strikes me as self-referential Pandora theology, and makes me sad.

I welcome your thoughts.

About Richard Dahlstrom

As Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Richard teaches with vision of "making the invisible God visible" by calling people to acts of service and blessing. It's working, as a wilderness ministry, homeless shelter, and community meals that serve those living on the margins are all pieces of Bethany's life. "We're being the presence of Christ" he says, "and inviting everyone to join the adventure." Many have, making Bethany one of the fastest growing churches in America in 2009 according to Outreach Magazine.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

    Well-written, Richard. I appreciate how well you articulate certain thoughts. I’m so thankful for your example of listening to others, and being gracious in doing so- I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m glad to have some excellent examples to follow.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

    Well-written, Richard. I appreciate how well you articulate certain thoughts. I’m so thankful for your example of listening to others, and being gracious in doing so- I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m glad to have some excellent examples to follow.

  • Andrew

    Another area where I believe it is important is how we see and consume news and other information. With newspapers and other similar forms you had a set of editors likely from all different backgrounds trying to come up with the “best” way to deliver the news to a wide audience. When we abandon these methods and instead only use our newsreaders or websites tailored to our general desires, we loose the chance to encounter something maybe a little different. What will take the place of these forms of media to create well-rounded individuals?

  • Andrew

    Another area where I believe it is important is how we see and consume news and other information. With newspapers and other similar forms you had a set of editors likely from all different backgrounds trying to come up with the “best” way to deliver the news to a wide audience. When we abandon these methods and instead only use our newsreaders or websites tailored to our general desires, we loose the chance to encounter something maybe a little different. What will take the place of these forms of media to create well-rounded individuals?

  • http://thehappyrock.com The Happy Rock

    Thanks for the awesome post.

    It is just that it is such a scary world when we have to admit that we may not know the total truth or worse yet we admit that we could be wrong. It is much safer to insulate and surround ourselves with people and things that don’t challenge us.

    It is even worse for those of us, like me, that try and hide their insecurity behind being smart and being right.

    It is a battle that I am actively trying to fight though, and one that is worth it.

  • http://thehappyrock.com The Happy Rock

    Thanks for the awesome post.

    It is just that it is such a scary world when we have to admit that we may not know the total truth or worse yet we admit that we could be wrong. It is much safer to insulate and surround ourselves with people and things that don’t challenge us.

    It is even worse for those of us, like me, that try and hide their insecurity behind being smart and being right.

    It is a battle that I am actively trying to fight though, and one that is worth it.

  • Sherry

    Just when I think I’ve read the most uplifting, challenging, thoughtful post from Richard Dahlstrom I stumble upon another that tops the last. Thank you, this will be one I share with my family and friends.

    Richard Cizik was another asked questions and suggested we listen to others and was roundly criticized and more.

    I don’t think that the God of the universe is threatened by our questions, confusion or doubt.
    In my particular case, questions have led to a richer devotion and deeper trust in the power of the Spirit, all through listening and learning and applying.

  • Sherry

    Just when I think I’ve read the most uplifting, challenging, thoughtful post from Richard Dahlstrom I stumble upon another that tops the last. Thank you, this will be one I share with my family and friends.

    Richard Cizik was another asked questions and suggested we listen to others and was roundly criticized and more.

    I don’t think that the God of the universe is threatened by our questions, confusion or doubt.
    In my particular case, questions have led to a richer devotion and deeper trust in the power of the Spirit, all through listening and learning and applying.

  • Linda

    I say that RTS had every right to fire or require Waltke resignation since he was not living up to his contract or RTS’s standards, how much simplier can you get.

    Evolution has no credible missing link fossils to support it, evolution has not been proven to be true.

    To satisfy anybodies curiosity about evolution and creationism in a biblical and scientific way I recommend going to an excellent website called “Answers in Genesis” :

    http://www.answersingenesis.org

    • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

      Sure, private organizations have the right to fire people for whatever reasons… but I think you missed the point of the post. It wasn’t really about whether evolution is or isn’t correct, or about Waltke’s removal- in fact, it actually says “This isn’t a post about creation/evolution debates.” The post was about being willing to listen. Perhaps you should reread it without thinking about evolution or creation at all, or maybe insert the words rock / country in their places- that might help you better understand the post without getting mired in the issues used to illustrate it. In the meantime, I’ll go check out the website you listed :) May God bless you for your dedication to His Word. :)

      • Linda

        How do you know that RTS has not listened to evolutions argument already and came to the conclusion that evolution is not compatible with the Word of God, therefore that was there reason to go with creationism to be taught only standard.

        I urge you to go to http://www.answersingenisis.org, this site is ran by competent scientists they clearly show that evolution has no credible support whatsover from science itself. Go there and satisfy your curiosity.

      • Lamont

        “As the RTS Administrators read more and more of the BioLogos positions, it was clear that the phrase ‘as represented by BioLogos’ meant Waltke’s position could be interpreted as agreeing with those who believe that genetic science has ‘proved’ that Adam and Eve could not have been the only ‘original’ humans, but that as many as 1,000 were needed to produce the genetic codes that science as identified. Not to mention the fact that ‘creation by evolution’ denies the miraculous creation of Adam and Eve from dust.”

        Source: http://theaquilareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1855:ot-professor-bruce-waltke-resigns-from-rts-orlando-faculty-amid-historical-adam-and-eve-controversy

        I don’t believe for one instance that there is an issue w/the dialog. The problem as I see it is, if we don’t accept Waltke’s, and his “BiosLogos cronies” idea of Theistic Evolution, then we’re no better than Cults…? Bioslogos has made similar statements like that as well. Waltke’s stepping down was “no doubt” the right thing to do and he knew it. He’s honorable in that way. Just as Peter Enns’ dismissal from WTS was the right thing as well (good for Westminster)! Ultimately, if you do some research, what is at stake here is the inherency of scripture. Do we interpret God’s word through the lens of Science? Or do we interpret science through the lens of God’s Word?
        I think some have succumbed to the same kind of “false guilt syndrom” that caucasions
        should feel guilty because of slavery, you feel guilty for what the church did to Copernicus?
        How about those who stand up under fire to preserve the integrity of God’s word!
        I suppose even among Christians, those big meanies at the seminary are religious kooks.

        I would have to side with RTS, & WTS, and hope that KTS has the wisdom keep the leaven out of the lump as well.

    • raincitypastor

      here’s another take on origin issues Linda… from someone who’s both a scientist and a Christian.
      http://bit.ly/vEObB Collins writes: “It’s also now been possible to compare our DNA with that of many other species. The evidence supporting the idea that all living things are descended from a common ancestor is truly overwhelming.I would not necessarily wish that to be so, as a Bible-believing Christian. But it is so. It does not serve faith well to try to deny that”

      It’s that last phrase that was my point – “it does not serve faith well to try to deny that (there is at least some evidence that all life came from one single source)” That we need to engage in that dialogue is precisely what Waltke said in his interview.

      • Ken

        The point of evolution is that it arose not from science, but as an answer for life’s existence absent of a Creator God. Trying to put the genie back in the bottle and making evolution Theistic is really stretching both Theology and science. Personally it really is entertaining to see how “scientists” research to support their theories (i.e. preconceived conclusions) instead of the other way around, but believers should always be cautious not to fall into either their traps or for that matter Theological ones of similar design.

  • Linda

    I say that RTS had every right to fire or require Waltke resignation since he was not living up to his contract or RTS’s standards, how much simplier can you get.

    Evolution has no credible missing link fossils to support it, evolution has not been proven to be true.

    To satisfy anybodies curiosity about evolution and creationism in a biblical and scientific way I recommend going to an excellent website called “Answers in Genesis” :

    http://www.answersingenesis.org

    • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

      Sure, private organizations have the right to fire people for whatever reasons… but I think you missed the point of the post. It wasn’t really about whether evolution is or isn’t correct, or about Waltke’s removal- in fact, it actually says “This isn’t a post about creation/evolution debates.” The post was about being willing to listen. Perhaps you should reread it without thinking about evolution or creation at all, or maybe insert the words rock / country in their places- that might help you better understand the post without getting mired in the issues used to illustrate it. In the meantime, I’ll go check out the website you listed :) May God bless you for your dedication to His Word. :)

      • Linda

        How do you know that RTS has not listened to evolutions argument already and came to the conclusion that evolution is not compatible with the Word of God, therefore that was there reason to go with creationism to be taught only standard.

        I urge you to go to http://www.answersingenisis.org, this site is ran by competent scientists they clearly show that evolution has no credible support whatsover from science itself. Go there and satisfy your curiosity.

      • Lamont

        “As the RTS Administrators read more and more of the BioLogos positions, it was clear that the phrase ‘as represented by BioLogos’ meant Waltke’s position could be interpreted as agreeing with those who believe that genetic science has ‘proved’ that Adam and Eve could not have been the only ‘original’ humans, but that as many as 1,000 were needed to produce the genetic codes that science as identified. Not to mention the fact that ‘creation by evolution’ denies the miraculous creation of Adam and Eve from dust.”

        Source: http://theaquilareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1855:ot-professor-bruce-waltke-resigns-from-rts-orlando-faculty-amid-historical-adam-and-eve-controversy

        I don’t believe for one instance that there is an issue w/the dialog. The problem as I see it is, if we don’t accept Waltke’s, and his “BiosLogos cronies” idea of Theistic Evolution, then we’re no better than Cults…? Bioslogos has made similar statements like that as well. Waltke’s stepping down was “no doubt” the right thing to do and he knew it. He’s honorable in that way. Just as Peter Enns’ dismissal from WTS was the right thing as well (good for Westminster)! Ultimately, if you do some research, what is at stake here is the inherency of scripture. Do we interpret God’s word through the lens of Science? Or do we interpret science through the lens of God’s Word?
        I think some have succumbed to the same kind of “false guilt syndrom” that caucasions
        should feel guilty because of slavery, you feel guilty for what the church did to Copernicus?
        How about those who stand up under fire to preserve the integrity of God’s word!
        I suppose even among Christians, those big meanies at the seminary are religious kooks.

        I would have to side with RTS, & WTS, and hope that KTS has the wisdom keep the leaven out of the lump as well.

    • raincitypastor

      here’s another take on origin issues Linda… from someone who’s both a scientist and a Christian.
      http://bit.ly/vEObB Collins writes: “It’s also now been possible to compare our DNA with that of many other species. The evidence supporting the idea that all living things are descended from a common ancestor is truly overwhelming.I would not necessarily wish that to be so, as a Bible-believing Christian. But it is so. It does not serve faith well to try to deny that”

      It’s that last phrase that was my point – “it does not serve faith well to try to deny that (there is at least some evidence that all life came from one single source)” That we need to engage in that dialogue is precisely what Waltke said in his interview.

      • Linda

        Common DNA could also mean a common Creator (God), do you not agree????? Also the DNA needs to be common because we live in a common environment, do you not agree????

        So logically thinking one would think common DNA does not conclusively support we all came from a common ancestor, do you not agree????

        Really the true issue is do you take the Bible to be the Word of God as the truth or do you take the word of man as being the truth???? Which one do you take Richard as being the truth – God or man???

        Evolution (death before the Fall) destroys the reason why Jesus came to Earth the first time and it also destroys the reason He will come back the second time – He came to redeem a fallen man and a fallen creation. Can you explain why a person can believ ein evolution and the need for redemption through Jesus Christ both at the same time, I am curious to hear your answer.

        In Christ,
        Linda

      • Lamont

        Gen 1:7,8
        -then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

      • Ken

        The point of evolution is that it arose not from science, but as an answer for life’s existence absent of a Creator God. Trying to put the genie back in the bottle and making evolution Theistic is really stretching both Theology and science. Personally it really is entertaining to see how “scientists” research to support their theories (i.e. preconceived conclusions) instead of the other way around, but believers should always be cautious not to fall into either their traps or for that matter Theological ones of similar design.

  • Linda

    The Scriptures tell us that “by sin, death came into the world,” and that the “the wages of sin is death… ” Evolutionists, however, vigorously deny that sin has anything to do with death, but rather that death is natural. Life, they insist, would be impossible without death.

    Certainly, evolution would be impossible without death. Death, in fact, has been called the “engine” of evolution. Carl Sagan said: “Only through the deaths of an immense number of slightly maladapted organisms are we, brains and all, here today.” picture
    How foolish to think that the almighty and eternal Creator and Sustainer of the universe would have to bide His time, waiting for beams of staarlight to reach the earth.

    Evolutionism inevitably breaks the relationship between sin and death, thus negating the need for a Savior who would save us from sin, death and the power of the devil.

  • Linda

    The Scriptures tell us that “by sin, death came into the world,” and that the “the wages of sin is death… ” Evolutionists, however, vigorously deny that sin has anything to do with death, but rather that death is natural. Life, they insist, would be impossible without death.

    Certainly, evolution would be impossible without death. Death, in fact, has been called the “engine” of evolution. Carl Sagan said: “Only through the deaths of an immense number of slightly maladapted organisms are we, brains and all, here today.” picture
    How foolish to think that the almighty and eternal Creator and Sustainer of the universe would have to bide His time, waiting for beams of staarlight to reach the earth.

    Evolutionism inevitably breaks the relationship between sin and death, thus negating the need for a Savior who would save us from sin, death and the power of the devil.

    • Becca

      But even Christ says that in order to live we must die.

  • Linda

    The problem with the pharisees was that they DID listen to other men including themselves, but they did not listen to Jesus, who is the truth, and who is God in human flesh. So the real problems come about when men listen to men and not God. RTS is simply listening to God and not men, they are simply following Jesus, so why are you attacking them for following the Lord Jesus Christ?

    • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

      Linda, I don’t think Richard is attacking them at all. And if you’re advocating that we only listen to Jesus, does that mean we throw out what Paul had to say about Jesus? I think it’s worthwhile to listen to both Jesus and other people, particularly people who have a huge measure of faith. I don’t know Waltke myself, but I’m pretty sure he listens to Jesus, and I’m pretty sure the staff of RTS also listens to the voices of inspired men and women other than Jesus (like Paul!). I’m also pretty sure Richard listens to Jesus, too ;) Maybe you should listen to Richard, too, so you can understand that he’s not attacking anyone, just encouraging us to be curious, listen, seek the truth, and follow it.

      • Linda

        I mean the Word of God, the Holy Bible, which contains the words of Jesus and Paul and others. The scientists words are not inspired of God.

        I urge people to to really think for themselves too, to really think about what evolutionists are saying, go ahead and listen to them but realize that are not inspired by God.

        If you take the time to study evolution you will realize that it has no credible scientific support for being true let alone biblical support.

      • Lamont

        Hi Beth!
        Beth, can I ask you a question please?
        Would you tells how we are to know if someone (outside of the Bible) is inspired?
        Thank you! :)
        Lamont

      • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

        For some reason I can’t reply to you directly, but I honestly don’t think it’s possible to know whether or not someone is inspired until their life is over, and we have the perspective to see its trajectory over time. Take Paul- he started out as a persecutor of Christians who converted and after his life was over, his writings and the entirety of his life were decided upon as inspired by the fathers of the early church. What about Peter? He certainly was inspired and was one of Jesus’ disciples, but he denied Jesus, before turning again to Him.

        Was Luther inspired? I would say yes, but his writings make it clear that he was an anti-Semite. How about Billy Graham? I think he’s an amazing, inspired man of God, but I’ve had the opportunity to observe his life over a long period of time, but a youth group once rejected him for being ‘too worldly.’ Mother Teresa? I find her life incredibly inspiring, but she suffered through a long crisis of faith- nevertheless, she will doubtless be canonized as a saint for her work in Calcutta.

        And then there are those who I just don’t know about. Is Pat Robertson inspired? He has done some amazing things in the name of God, but he has also falsely prophesied. Only God knows if Robertson is inspired- perhaps his false teachings will be redeemed. Is Jim Wallis? He has worked incredibly hard for the marginalized in the name of Jesus, and I find myself inspired by him… but there are elements of Sojourners and the social justice movement that can be fairly critiqued. What about Ted Haggard, who has struggled with his sexuality? Will his journey of faith be something that we can call ‘inspired’ in a few hundred years? Was George W. Bush’s presidency inspired? He certainly made it clear how important his faith was, but he also sent thousands of citizens to their death in a war based on faulty information. Was Bill Clinton an inspired man? He struggled with infidelity, lied about it on the stand, but his marriage has outlasted that of his vice president’s, but he’s made it clear that he believes in the literal truth of Scripture (http://www.beliefnet.com/News/Politics/2004/09/All-Of-Us-See-Through-The-Glass-Darkly.aspx?p=2).

        All of these people, though, within the Bible and without, are human beings, prone to sin. We can’t know for sure whether they’re inspired. Some of the giants of faith in the Bible stumbled and had long periods where they looked like they were completely faithless, devoid of trust in God and faith in Jesus. And yet, the Bible still lists them in Hebrews 11 as heroes of faith- the prophets, the prostitute, the kings, and the adulterers. Do you presume to know what kind of man Waltke is? Or the administrators at the Reformed Theological Seminary? Can you absolutely say that Waltke isn’t inspired, or that the administrators are? What happens the next time they sin? Does their faith automatically get discredited, their ‘inspiration’ swept away like so much dust? I wouldn’t dare presume to know the hearts or the faith or the ultimate end of anyone in this world- if David is called a man after God’s own heart, after murdering a man so he could marry his mistress, whether or not someone believes in evolution is pretty small potatoes in my book. God can use anyone, anyone can be inspired by Him, and I don’t presume to know who is and isn’t- I’ll just wait and see who’s hanging out in heaven when I get there.

      • Lamont

        Thank you Beth!
        There’s know doubt that they are sinners. That isn’t what I was asking. I’m merely asking for clairifcation, because, in a Christian context when that term is normally used, it has (I think) a meaning that is different then the way you used it.
        What I mean is, when you say that Bruce Waltke, Richard Dalhstrom, Billy Graham etc… are inspired, do you mean you’re putting their words on par w/the writers of the Bible?
        To say that they are “inspired” do you mean to say that their words have a greater authority then, say, Linda’s, or your’s or mine?
        I know that the Bible is inspired (2 Tim 3:16), and it teaches me that the men that wrote it were inspired too (2 Pter 1:21).
        Are these men inspired in the same way, and if yes, should we add their words to the Bible?

        Soli Dei Gloria!
        Lamont.

      • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

        Lamont- I never actually said that Waltke or Richard are inspired (Graham, yes, but that was clearly within the context of my own opinion). As for whether I should put the words of Waltke or my pastor or Graham on par with the writers of the Bible, I would give a pretty emphatic no. But I will say that I think Graham and Dahlstrom both have spiritual authority in my own life- if I knew more about Waltke, perhaps I would also subject myself to his authority- he’s never been my teacher or my pastor, though. I don’t know you or Linda, nor do I know what your background is, nor have I subjected myself to your authority in my spiritual life, nor do I have any clue whether you’re an inspired man of God or not (or, in Linda’s, whether she’s an inspired woman). Because I can tell that you both care about God, I would put you on par with Waltke in my own life- men and women to listen to and see what I can learn from, and wait to see whether you are inspired by God or not. Having only known you, Waltke, and Linda in a very limited context, though, all I can do is listen to you.

        What I did say was that Richard listens to Jesus- I know that from having observed him over a period of time. I also suspect that Waltke listens to Jesus, and that the staff at RTS listen to Jesus. The point of the post was that we should listen to one another, correct? I like to listen to other Christians and learn from them- some of them are inspired by God, and I figure we’ll find that out after our lives are all over. Some of them may not be, and I’ll use my best judgment to determine who I should and shouldn’t listen to, but I can’t rely only on my judgment- I know I’m a flawed human, and so are both the inspired writers of the Bible and the men and women who I’m learning from today. Doesn’t mean I can’t listen and learn from everyone, and withhold judgment on who is and isn’t inspired.

      • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

        One last note, Lamont- I think it’s also important that we listen to non-believers and those who aren’t obviously inspired men and women of God. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks, but to do so gently and respectfully. For this reason, I also listen to those who don’t claim Christ- atheists, agnostics, and men and women of other faiths. I don’t subscribe to their beliefs, necessarily, but I can always listen to and learn from them- and I hope and pray that they listen to and learn from me- and that they might come to know Christ through that.

      • Lamont

        Thanks Beth, that’s great.
        I agree that the men who God used to write the Bible were sinners (flawed), yet, what they wrote was not. The point was that all of our judgements on spiritual/moral issues etc… should be filter through Gods word, and I think that is what I’m hearing from you. I agree also that I am under the authority of, and accountable to, my church’s leadership. I belong to a Reformed Orthodox Presbytarian Church, I know that very well! Our church does not cut corners on dicipline. Souls are at stake! Also, I can be held accountable by any believer.
        Although there is much that I disagree w/Richard and Billy Graham in matters of theology, they are brothers in the Lord, and that is what ultimately matters. It’s our common thread. It’s where we can unite.
        As for what I can learn from an unbeliever… How to ride a motorcycle, how to bake a cake, perhaps a good diet plan, How to shoot a Gun, how to read, etc…
        But, when it comes to the worship of God, the Buddhist, Muslim, Mormon, or, garden variety pagan they have nothing to offer. Nor should I learn anything from them in this regard. That would be a strange fire, and unacceptable to God. They worship idols.

        Soli Dei Gloria!
        Lamont.

    • lee

      1 Cor 14:34

  • http://www.chainedbrain.org Duane

    It seems some of the comments in this post mirror the exact behavior that Richard was writing about. If we choose a side and go looking for evidence to support that side we will always find proof to prove our point. I agree that evolution doesn’t take God into account, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t the means that God used to create humanity. To say evolution doesn’t have credible scientific support may be going a bit too far. It is bordering on fact in the non Christian scientific community. I’m not saying we need to agree with scientific theory because, it is after all theory, but if the theory is false that’s all the more reason to have an open dialogue about the issue. If there is in fact no evidence then it should be easy to prove the point. In the meantime they will teach evolution to our children in school as fact anyway, and we will continue to live in a culture that worships science. God forbid they find intelligent life on another planet. It’s a good thing our faith is based on Jesus Christ and not on such scientific squabbles.

  • http://www.chainedbrain.org Duane

    It seems some of the comments in this post mirror the exact behavior that Richard was writing about. If we choose a side and go looking for evidence to support that side we will always find proof to prove our point. I agree that evolution doesn’t take God into account, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t the means that God used to create humanity. To say evolution doesn’t have credible scientific support may be going a bit too far. It is bordering on fact in the non Christian scientific community. I’m not saying we need to agree with scientific theory because, it is after all theory, but if the theory is false that’s all the more reason to have an open dialogue about the issue. If there is in fact no evidence then it should be easy to prove the point. In the meantime they will teach evolution to our children in school as fact anyway, and we will continue to live in a culture that worships science. God forbid they find intelligent life on another planet. It’s a good thing our faith is based on Jesus Christ and not on such scientific squabbles.

  • dan

    What you are proposing seems to me to make us slaves to any claim people make about Christianity. If we need to listen to and investigate every claim, with the amount of voices that are out there now, will we ever get anything done? There must be a place where we can say there are certain things we hold to, things that we believe to be true. There must be a place for us to say that we HAVE investigated something and come to a conclusion on the issue. Whether the issue is evolution, the inerrancy of scripture, or the birth of Christ, surely we must look into these issues with much care and concern, but it has to be ok for us to come to a decision on them as opposed to being forced to perform an inquiry each time with are confronted with ideas on these issues.

    In your post you say that you believe Jesus is “the truth”. If you I or someone else presented you with a proposition in which Jesus was not “the truth” but something else would that be something that you would have to fully inquire about, or perhaps would you rely on your past inquiries. The truth is that all of us are everyday confronted with new ideas and thoughts on the things which Christianity holds as truth. What are we to do with these things? If your issue is specifically with evolution, I understand what you are saying, but you specifically say that it isn’t, that it’s just about listening. Well where do we draw the line?

    I personally attend the seminary which has just hired Dr Waltke, and I could not be more excited to take classes taught by him, it is a spectacular opportunity to learn from such a giant of our faith. I guess I just feel like you aren’t giving RTS the freedom to have a stance on an issue like this. Why do you assume that they haven’t listened? Surely we can give that school the benefit of the doubt at least to the point where we would assume at some point they have investigated this huge issue and have come up with a stance. It seems like you are saying that they have not done this, that they have not listened, and because of that they are not free to have an opinion and act upon that opinion. This does not seem fair to me nor does it seem like it is listening to both sides.

    Perhaps I am doing to you the same thing I don’t like and feel like you are doing to RTS. It’s always much easier to see others faults than your own. That being said I just wish we would all show each other more grace, assume the best of each other instead of the worst. You seem like a good dude and lots of my friends follow you on twitter so you can’t be all bad. I hope that your ministry in rain city is blessed because we certainly need more of Jesus there. Peace.

    p.s. certainly the church in general typically has the problem of being too close-minded as opposed to being too open minded, perhaps this is what you are getting at. I guess I am just concerned about the logical conclusion of that.

  • dan

    What you are proposing seems to me to make us slaves to any claim people make about Christianity. If we need to listen to and investigate every claim, with the amount of voices that are out there now, will we ever get anything done? There must be a place where we can say there are certain things we hold to, things that we believe to be true. There must be a place for us to say that we HAVE investigated something and come to a conclusion on the issue. Whether the issue is evolution, the inerrancy of scripture, or the birth of Christ, surely we must look into these issues with much care and concern, but it has to be ok for us to come to a decision on them as opposed to being forced to perform an inquiry each time with are confronted with ideas on these issues.

    In your post you say that you believe Jesus is “the truth”. If you I or someone else presented you with a proposition in which Jesus was not “the truth” but something else would that be something that you would have to fully inquire about, or perhaps would you rely on your past inquiries. The truth is that all of us are everyday confronted with new ideas and thoughts on the things which Christianity holds as truth. What are we to do with these things? If your issue is specifically with evolution, I understand what you are saying, but you specifically say that it isn’t, that it’s just about listening. Well where do we draw the line?

    I personally attend the seminary which has just hired Dr Waltke, and I could not be more excited to take classes taught by him, it is a spectacular opportunity to learn from such a giant of our faith. I guess I just feel like you aren’t giving RTS the freedom to have a stance on an issue like this. Why do you assume that they haven’t listened? Surely we can give that school the benefit of the doubt at least to the point where we would assume at some point they have investigated this huge issue and have come up with a stance. It seems like you are saying that they have not done this, that they have not listened, and because of that they are not free to have an opinion and act upon that opinion. This does not seem fair to me nor does it seem like it is listening to both sides.

    Perhaps I am doing to you the same thing I don’t like and feel like you are doing to RTS. It’s always much easier to see others faults than your own. That being said I just wish we would all show each other more grace, assume the best of each other instead of the worst. You seem like a good dude and lots of my friends follow you on twitter so you can’t be all bad. I hope that your ministry in rain city is blessed because we certainly need more of Jesus there. Peace.

    p.s. certainly the church in general typically has the problem of being too close-minded as opposed to being too open minded, perhaps this is what you are getting at. I guess I am just concerned about the logical conclusion of that.

  • http://Redlightorphanage.wordpress.com Ryan Reed

    I think that most of these comments hv gone way of course. The point was simply that people should be open to curiosity and even self-evaluation when it comes to their worldviews. This does not me allowing for heresy but rather a constant pursuit to being open to further understanding God and the diverse theologies regarding him. The evolution/literal creation debate us a futile argument in this blog because it wasn’t the point in the first place. Theistic evolutionists and literal creationists all agree on one point: God is the creator of the world. They just disagree on the method and in the long run it doesn’t matter how it only matters that he is God and can work however he wants to. Be careful of what you hold too tightly to because we can quickly fall into the trap of limiting who God can be and how he can work.

    • Linda

      “Theistic evolutionists and literal creationists all agree on one point: God is the creator of the world. They just disagree on the method and in the long run it doesn’t matter how it only matters that he is God and can work however he wants to.”

      I disagree it does matter how, evolution undermines the gospel itself, if evolution is true then there is no need for a Savior, why can’t you see that???

    • Linda

      I believe people should be certain of the worldview they hold, to be sure of what they believe, and if that means learning more about evolution and creationism then they should do that. But they need to come clean when it come to the Bible, they should either believe all of it or none of it.

      There is no room for evolution if you believe the whole Bible, period.

      • fluger

        How do you resolve things like women speaking in church or all the sticky stuff in Leviticus? Have you gouged out your eye when it caused you to sin? Have you gone and stoned some wiccans recently? Do you believe the Earth doesn’t move?

        All or nothing is a pretty strong statement and one that I don’t think any Christian does. Like it or not, we have, as a community, for centuries, cherry-picked what we will or will not believe in.

        I too struggle with the concept of theistic evolution for the same reasons you propose (undermining original sin); but to claim that we must take everything in the Bible at face value misses a lot of the nuances of the Bible as well.

      • Lamont

        Fluger.

        All ask you some questions in the order of the questions you asked Linda starting w/women talking in the church.

        Ever learn how to read a passage it’s historical context context?

        Do you know what ceremonial laws are?
        Do you know why God put them there?
        Do you know why they are no longer binding?

        Do you know what a metaphor is?

        Do you know what a theocracy is?
        Are Christians in a theocracy?

        Did you know that from mans perspective the earth doesn’t move?

        That sinful men cherry pick the Bible because of there own evil, or, ignorant reasons does not mean all do, “WHAT’S YOUR POINT?”
        Did you know that just because you don’t know what your talking about, it doesn’t mean somone else does?

        You said: “All or nothing is a pretty strong statement and one that I don’t think any Christian does.”
        “I do!” “I’m a Christian!”

        You said: “… but to claim that we must take everything in the Bible at face value misses a lot of the nuances of the Bible as well.”

        For example…..? (Jeopardy theme song playing in background).

      • fluger

        This is a reply to Lamont, but I can’t reply directly for some reason…

        “Ever learn how to read a passage it’s historical context context?” Yes, I can, which is why I don’t advocate any of the strange stuff in the Bible that made sense, historically, to the story God wanted to tell; but at the same time has little to no bearing on modern faith.

        I’m endinperfectly aware that the laws in Leviticus and Numbers and such were set up in a different situation under a different covenant; but I find it strange that people can so easily dismiss certain parts of the Bible based on historical prescedent and not others. You are, in fact, not taking the Bible at face value already in the examples you give above(finding historical context, metaphor, etc… is looking BEYOND face value already…); so I don’t understand the point of your, frankly, needlessly confrontational ending to your post.

        “Do you know what a metaphor is?”

        Yes! I’m quite aware, in fact, that is essentially my point! The question is, how do you determine when a metaphor is being used and when it is not? The eye-gouging one is pretty obvious; but I know most Christians take the book of revelations and many of the prophecies to be metaphors; or in some way representative of things that are else (and not completely literal). My question is, why do we view prophecy as metaphorical and not the story of Genesis?

        “Did you know that from mans perspective the earth doesn’t move?”

        Of course, but the point you and others are making is that the scripture is inerrant, and that is a part of scripture that is patently wrong. Man’s perspective should have nothing to do with it, because Moses, writing Genesis, wouldn’t’ve had first-hand knowledge of the events and is relying on the perspective of Men. From Man’s perspective…couldn’t the 7 days be simply an abstraction of a bigger truth? Much like the earth not appearing to move?

        You really can’t have it both ways, *you* are cherry picking which parts should be viewed as “man’s perspective” and “historical” and “metaphorical” and which are to be taken at face value. You are essentially proving my point for me.

        I’ll reiterate again, since you seemed to miss it in my previous post; I *also* am hung up on the issues Theistic Evolution brings to the table in regards to the role of death in creation and original sin; I don’t think it jives with the gospel message as a whole; but my disagreement isn’t based on Chapter 1, it’s based on Chapter 3.

        “Did you know that just because you don’t know what your talking about, it doesn’t mean somone else does?”

        Nice. Do you know me? Do you know my testimony? Do you know how long I’ve studied evolution vs creation in both my spare time and for scholastic endeavors? No, you don’t. Instead of assuming ignorance and being rude (with terrible spelling); you might try to be more…oh I don’t know…open and inviting to other opinions, which was the whole point of this blog post…

      • Lamont

        Fluger
        Let’s take an example and work from there.
        Flugar: “Of course, but the point you and others are making is that the scripture is inerrant, and that is a part of scripture that is patently wrong.”
        Please show me where the Bible is patently wrong (false) please? Show me where God errs? (This is just an assertion).
        So then, when Jesus (God in the flesh) stated: “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
        but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Mth 4:4), and the people he spoke to at that time only had copy’s of the O/T Scriptures (i.e. Septuagint) was he wrong (in error?) since there are errors in the Bible and you can’t know for sure what God has really said?
        If He was in error, how do “you” know that He was? How do you determine what is true from the Bible and what is not? What is the reference point you use?
        Fluger said: “Man’s perspective should have nothing to do with it, because Moses, writing Genesis, wouldn’t’ve had first-hand knowledge of the events and is relying on the perspective of Men.”
        Let’s look at the above statement.
        First of all, the Bible never claims to be the word of “Man” but, the “Word Of God!” It is God speaking to His creatures, by the use of words in a book. God speaks from two perspectives, His, and mans. An example from Gods perspective is Job 26:7
        He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
        he suspends the earth over nothing.
        And when the Bible states that the earth doesn’t move (you didn’t quote a specific verse here), God is speaking from the perspective of man. In fact, until rockets, satellites, television &etc… the rotation of the earth was only theory. And, Moses did have first hand Knowledge! God, who created everything that exists, visible or, invisible (Col. 1) wrote “through Moses!” God attests to this in His inerrant/infallible Word!
        2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…
        *2 Peter 1:20 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the “will of man”, but men “spoke from God” as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (emphasis mine).
        Why can I whole-heartedly “Trust” (put my “Faith” in) the old testament?
        Because Jesus (God the Son) said to His Father (God) John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” Testifying to the veracity of the O/T Scriptures.”
        And the N/T John 14:26 Jesus was speaking to the Apostles… “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
        W/that said I’ll address your comments …

         Nice. Do you know me? Do you know my testimony? Do you know how long I’ve studied evolution vs creation in both my spare time and for scholastic endeavors? No, you don’t. Instead of assuming ignorance and being rude (with terrible spelling); you might try to be more…oh I don’t know…open and inviting to other opinions, which was the whole point of this blog post…
        I don’t need to “know you” to engage what you have said. Your personal testimony is irrelevant, since we’re not talking about it, and, I couldn’t care less if you have more degrees then a thermometer! Your confusing categories because this whole argument is about “the inerrancy of Scripture,” and your attack on it, “not” creation evolution! You’re making assumptions about the Bible w/out any substantiation! You complain about me being rude, yet your lack of humility in stating warranted (as far as I am concerned) a like response. Perhaps if you spent all that time studying the Bible we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because this is the area where you are ignorant on! I didn’t say you were an ignoramus!
        Pulling the “my personal testimony can beat-up your personal testimony” is tantamount to pulling the “race card,” and isn’t valid in the trailer park I live in.
        Lastly,
        I probably have mis-spelt some words! Correct spelling does not win your case! This is not a spell’n B. If it was, I wouldn’t have entered it! (your adhomenim is noted)
        With that said, show us were the Bible errs, and how you know?
        Thanks!

      • fluger

        Again, can’t reply directly: To Lamont

        “1 Chron. 16:30 – “yea, the world stands firm, never to be moved.”

        Psalm 93:1 – “Yea, the world is established; it shall never be moved.”

        Psalm 96:10 – “Yea, the world is established, it shall never be moved.”

        Psalm 119:90 – “thou has established the earth, and it stands firm.”

        That’s not even counting all the parts about foundations of the earth and all that.

        Again, you continue to do exactly as I said; all your examples give reasons for how to interpret various passages to either be metaphor, or else to view it in context. You are picking and choosing passages; as we all are.

        I’ve had enough debates with atheists to know most of the areas were there are contradictions and such in the Bible, if you want, I could trot out those and we can discuss them.

        How do *I* choose which parts are to be taken at face value, and which to take as metaphor? I try and follow the Spirit’s leading. Frankly, this is how we came about the scriptures we have now. Men at various Synods in the late 300s chose which books would be canon and which not. I firmly believe God led them to choose the right books; but there was debate and dissention on those. Why do various Christian faiths have different canon, why do we have different beliefs about different parts of the Bible? If we all took the Word at face value, wouldn’t we all believe the same things about everything? Or should we accept that certain portions of the scriptures aren’t clear and left open to interpretation by the faithful?

        All of your quotes are fine and dandy; but none say the the scripture is inerrant.

        Don’t misinterpret me, I believe the Bible is the Word of God; but to claim that everything has to be taken exactly as written is to ignore both the fact that we are virtually forced to figure out what is metaphor and what isn’t as well as what is appropriate for modern times and what isn’t (should we bring back polygamy and slavery?); as well as the fact that actual text we must study and be influenced by was debated and discussed as well.

        All that said, I think its a strange position to view taking a look at Genesis 1 as metaphorical as egotistical or somehow a deviance when we look at so many other parts of scripture as metaphorical.

        In regards to testimony being irrelevant, I’d have to disagree; like all of us here, I am a sinner and my righteousness is as rags; but that doesn’t detract from the fact that I *have* studied this and I do know what I’m talking about. What we are debating here is a matter of opinion, not fact; and to say that I am ignorant simply by dint of not agreeing with you is a foolish position because you have no way of knowing whether I am informed on the subject or not.

        The continuing absurdity of our conversation is that we are coming from the same side of the central debate; but with different reasonings for it. Frankly, I’m less interested in your argument (scripture is inerrant ergo creation = 6 days + rest) than I am in hearing someone defend theistic evolution’s issues with original sin and death. That was the reason for me entering this millieu.

      • Lamont

        Fluger.
        Bear with me here!
        If you can’t interpret scripture, then did you make the statement that inerrancy is “Patently wrong?”
        I don’t get that! That’s not the Bible’s fault? There are great resources, commentary’s & out there to use. There are “NO” contradictions in the Bible! Not one!
        The error is on our part, not God’s!
        Also, remember when dealing with unbelievers, that they cannot understand the Bible, because they are spiritually dead, and must be regenerated to in order to do so.
        Here’s a great web-site that could be a place to start.: http://www.monergism.com/
        I’ve no time to respond to the rest at this time.

        Grace.
        Lamont.

      • fluger

        Lamont, I love your enthusiasm and obvious love of Christ; that is great; but I think you’re off base and mis-reading things.

        Go back and read what I wrote; I didn’t say that a view of inerrancy is patently wrong (I disagree with it, but that’s something else), I said that the specific passage about the earth moving is patently wrong.

        I don’t know how you can look at that and say, “That’s just man’s perspective and therefore can’t be judged by new information we have now.” and not take the same perspective on Genesis.

        Really? No contradictions? Here’s a short list that isn’t even comprehensive (and a few in there I think aren’t really contradictions). http://www.freethoughtdebater.com/tenbiblecontradictions.htm

        At a certain point, you have to accept that some of these things don’t line up from different people’s perspectives (like how Judas dies is different in the Gospels…). Having slight variances on the testimonies of the works of God doesn’t negate the inherent and inerrant truth of the Gospel message; but it does speak to them being written by fallible humans.

        Essentially, you are left with three options in regards to scriptures (IMO).

        1. Its all written by well-intentioned people and has no divine spark. Men chose the best books that best represented their opinions on Christianity at that time.
        2. It is written by people who were divinely inspired and represents their best efforts at conveying the awesome and life-changing good news of Christ. Men chose the best books for this effect.
        3. The scriptures are always right, every single iota of the Bible is as it should be, if you’re reading something that sounds off, then the issue is you.

        You took option 3, I take option 2. Frankly, I’ve seen too much of the Bible that doesn’t jive with other parts to claim that the Bible is 100% inerrant. I’ve read too much about how the Bible was formed and the decisions that went into picking what we hold as the Bible now to be convinced that there is 0% chance that a ja or tittle was mis-written somewhere. Much like how God uses flawed people to show His love, I believe the scripture contains flaws, but the Spirit overcomes these issues. Does not God work through his servants to bring people to Him all the time?

        In the end though, this is a “window dressing” debate, as my father would call it. I think Richard spoke accurately last Sunday about how anything outside of the apostle’s creed is really just a fun debate; and not fundamental. That people can get whipped up into a lather and get angry at fellow believers over some parts of scripture that have no direct bearing on the gospel really vexes me.

        I skimmed your website, and I didn’t find anything truly compelling arguing for inerrency just simply an assertation of belief that it is so.

      • Lamont

        Fluger
        Please read this as you have time as a reference. It’s By A.A. Hodge, and B.B. Warfield. I’ll get back to this you A.S.A.P. Very Busy! “Stay-Tuned!”
        Soli Dei Gloria!

        http://www.bible-researcher.com/warfield4.html

      • Lamont

        Fluger

        You familiar w/Warfield?
        It was his specific job @ Princeton, to go out and “Crush” any new attack on the Bible that was coming down the pike. Brilliant Godly man!
        I’m going to buy it.

        FYI. http://www.monergismbooks.com/Inspiration-and-Authority-of-the-Bible-p-16896.html

      • Lamont

        Fluger.

        Looking at the list you have, if there is something in particular you would like answered, let me know. Here’s Paul manata’s response to the “Rational Response Squad” or, “The Ship Of Fools” from 60 minutes fame. Paul answers many of the same kinds of questions that you have posted.
        I will still responed on some of your questions/comments soon ( I hope). Very busy w/work and prepareing for vacation w/the daily routine on top of it!
        Hope things are well!
        Grace!

      • Lamont
      • fluger

        Lamont: I read the big point by point rational debate in regards to the RRS. Very interesting and informative; but I don’t think it really touches on the inerrancy debate which was the core of this whole discussion. In fact, there’s plenty in there about taking the Bible NOT at face value in certain circumstances (which, going back to my original post about cherry picking points of the Bible, continues to be my point about why inerrancy is not a solid reason to discount theistic evolution).

        What he’s getting at is that Christianity is rational to Christians. Which is tautalogical and unnecessary IMO. The gospel is nonsense to non-believers, and defending the rationality of it smacks of poor faith. I’ve engaged in endless apologetics debates with atheists, and I just don’t think its productive for anyone except perhaps the Christians involved to look at things more deeply within their faith; but the truth of the matter is that I don’t care if my faith appears rational to anyone; it is based on my relationship with God and is intensely personal.

        In point of fact, my faith should appear irrational as I should be acting in ways counter to what would be natural.

        Debating logically is a fun exercise to a point; but I think you could count on two hands the number of people saved by it in history; God is demonstrated by those who know Christ and by the world around us. (by the way, I love, love, loved Richard’s anecdote from a while back of the skeptic on his youth hiking trip who came to Christ, not because of carefully constructed argumentation, but by the beauty of nature. That really hit home for me.)

        But, I’m going on a tangent; and really, we’ve reached an impasse; I think that the possibilty exists (and has been shown) that there are errors in the Bible; but I don’t think that diminishes (I actually think it strengthens) the message of the Gospel in any way. You think it is 100% inerrant; which is a perfectly fine position as it is; but one I disagree with.

        Perhaps if we discussed things further we’d discover we have different perspectives on classic theological debates (security of the believer, predestination, et al…); and engaging on them is fine and good; but at a certain point we need to step back and realize we are not going to agree.

        To clarify my position yet again; I believe that whether inerrant or not; Genesis 1 isn’t a solid enough reason to discount theistic evolution because it can easily be viewed as man’s perspective of something that they would not have understood, or metaphorically.

        I’m still hoping someone else will step up and give a concrete way in which original sin and theistic evolution can jive. That is, if anyone else is still reading this…

      • Lamont

        Fluger.
        I will be out of town for a week. Hope you will responed to my recent reply, but especially like to know if you believe that man evolved from apes guided by God (if that is your definition of theistic evolution)? And how you use scripture to come out w/that outcome if this is so?
        Thank you!

      • fluger

        Lamont, I don’t want to be rude, but have you been reading what I wrote at all? I said from the beginning that I don’t think theistic evolution jives well with Original Sin (its in my FIRST comment). I’m actively trying to have someone support that position because, from my perspective, it appears faulty.

        I originally was very pro-7 days creationist; read everything by the Discovery Institute, could ramble on about Darwin’s Black Box and all that. I am fully cognizant of the scientific quandries evolution has (I think the logic fallacies in it are pretty glaring); however; I’ve also studied enough on the issue to come to the conclusion that the theory of evolution is pretty strong in a lot of areas. Frankly, I think there’s enough evidence accumulated that one could reasonably state its the best theory available.

        Now, as a Christian, this presents, IMO two quandries: one (IMO) minor, and one major. The minor issue is Genesis 1 describing creation in detail. Like I’ve stated previously, I don’t see how this couldn’t be interpretted metaphorically like how the earth moving is metaphorical and many other passages. To me, its a minor hang up. The major issue for me is that the theory of evolution requires aeons of death and suffering before man arrives. If we believe in Original Sin and the consequences of it and the world’s need of a savior (basically the entire basis of our faith!), then that clashes drastically with evolution prior to men, because if God used death and suffering as a mechanism to create man; then we have some serious problems.

        I know that more theologically trained minds than my own have come to the conclusion that evolution and original sin can co-exist, but I have yet to read a very compelling argument for it.

        My current position is this: whether evolution or 7 day creation happened is not relevant to my faith in Jesus; its a debate that I would like to see resolved, but, if not, I won’t worry about it too much.

        So, if someon incontrovertably proves evolution to be accurate; it won’t change anything for me; and if it gets debunked it won’t anything for me either.

  • Erin

    This posted reminded me of a great quote by Sir Francis Bacon:
    “Read not to contradict and confute, not to believe and take for granted, not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. ”

    We all need to open up our heart and minds and listen to what others have to say whether it is through written word or verbal communication. We do not need to take what others say as the truth but weight and consider what impacts and possibilities the ideas and thoughts of others may have and then make our decision. Thank you Richard for reminding us to be open to others thoughts and ideas.

  • Erin

    This posted reminded me of a great quote by Sir Francis Bacon:
    “Read not to contradict and confute, not to believe and take for granted, not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. ”

    We all need to open up our heart and minds and listen to what others have to say whether it is through written word or verbal communication. We do not need to take what others say as the truth but weight and consider what impacts and possibilities the ideas and thoughts of others may have and then make our decision. Thank you Richard for reminding us to be open to others thoughts and ideas.

  • Ken

    I learned a principle many years ago which can be applied in practically any situation. Take the question, issue, problem, theory, etc. at hand and carry it out to further and further extremes to see where it goes. The evolution-creation debate is a great example of how things begin to focus the more intensely the position is pushed to the extreme. In creation (in the broad sense that scripture outlines it)… we find the reality of a Creator. In evolution (in the broad sense that modern science defines it)… we come to random chance as the driving life force. For myself, those general parameters color my views of the debate. Backing up to the specific details of the evidence presented by the two sides it seems we often get lost in those details to the exclusion of the larger picture of what the argument is really about. Is there a God in charge or are we simply cosmic “star stuff” as Sagan used to say. As with so many issues of our day listening with as open a mind as possible while maintaining a Godly perspective is forever a challenge, but can be so rewarding when we discover some “new” revelation that had previously eluded us. I don’t suspect evolution to somehow win me over no matter how much “evidence” that side comes up with unless they somehow change to the rules of mathematics to make impossible odds possible. Yet there are many, some believers too, that look past the obvious and for whatever reason make a choice to believe in it. And there may still be something in the details of the theory worth our attention, even if we ultimately cannot give it our faith. Is evolution so different from any of the myriad of other roadblocks humankind places between themselves and God? Does it differ from the walls we build between one another? The sadness in this story is that believers in positions of Biblical scholarship have shown they faced a situation they couldn’t seem to sort out. As the Church we are all slightly diminished because of that. Perhaps it is only a temporary loss however, because life has shown me over the years that even things that often look disastrous to us work to God’s great benefit in spite of our shortcomings.

  • http://gdargan.blogspot.com Geoff

    The big problem with the evolution/creation issue, as many of the above posts show, is not simply that there is a lot of misinformation and illogical thinking, but also a clash between foundations. We have two a priori foundations which seem to be incompatible: God the creator, and evolution, the theory of random chance + unlimited time. For many people, there is no way these two views can ever coexist. Personally, I don’t see that. If God is God, then evolution isn’t a threat to God, even if it’s a solid theory. Whether it is or not is a debate I’ll leave to the rest of you.

    But, whether you agree with evolution or not, the point I think Richard is making is that, as Christians, we are called to follow Christ. That involves a level of trust in God that surpasses our particular views on science, etc, and allows us to really get involved in people’s lives and love them wherever they are. If they are scientists who support evolution, Christians don’t need to be afraid of that. We can talk to them, listen to their views, ask questions, and discuss our own perspective without trying to condemn them or “prove them wrong.” If we trust in Christ, we don’t have to be threatened by this. And that is where I think many Christians still get caught — we are threatened by things like evolution, so we lash out, rather than loving those with whom we disagree.

  • http://gdargan.blogspot.com Geoff

    The big problem with the evolution/creation issue, as many of the above posts show, is not simply that there is a lot of misinformation and illogical thinking, but also a clash between foundations. We have two a priori foundations which seem to be incompatible: God the creator, and evolution, the theory of random chance + unlimited time. For many people, there is no way these two views can ever coexist. Personally, I don’t see that. If God is God, then evolution isn’t a threat to God, even if it’s a solid theory. Whether it is or not is a debate I’ll leave to the rest of you.

    But, whether you agree with evolution or not, the point I think Richard is making is that, as Christians, we are called to follow Christ. That involves a level of trust in God that surpasses our particular views on science, etc, and allows us to really get involved in people’s lives and love them wherever they are. If they are scientists who support evolution, Christians don’t need to be afraid of that. We can talk to them, listen to their views, ask questions, and discuss our own perspective without trying to condemn them or “prove them wrong.” If we trust in Christ, we don’t have to be threatened by this. And that is where I think many Christians still get caught — we are threatened by things like evolution, so we lash out, rather than loving those with whom we disagree.

  • Lamont

    Geoff.
    Only the Christian world view can account for mans origens, meaning , morality, destiny, epistemology, reason….
    Evolutionist must use the X-tian world view to support their God-less worldview. They also use it to attack us!
    The X-tian worldview is the “necessary precondition for all intelligability.” W/o it you can’t know anything! It is the X-tian’s job, to “tear off” the veil that the unbeliever uses to hide from God, and give them the Gospel. Only the X-tian worldview alone can account for creation etc…

    1 Cor 10:3-5 3For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

    We are to love them by telling the truth. Not comprimising it. (I don’t believe you are saying we should comprmise it.)

  • Mitch

    Just so you understand where I’m coming from, I will start by declaring that I’m a Christian who is also a biological scientist with a PhD in biochemistry.

    I’m glad that you are talking about listening to those on the “other side” in this debate, because once one has a correct understanding of both science and religion you can see that there is no “other side”.

    Science has nothing to say about the existence or non-existence of God. It cannot, because that is a question that science cannot touch. Can science prove that the universe is truly billions of years old or that all life on earth — including human life — is the result of gradual evolution from simpler organisms? It can’t. Science can only say that all the physical evidence we have available to us points to those conclusions. If you choose to believe that God supernaturally created all of this physical evidence 6000 years ago, or even 6 seconds ago, science can never prove that isn’t so. It is a hypothesis that science cannot test. The scientific method by definition has no way to measure supernatural phenomena, only natural ones.

    But personally, I believe that if God wished to create the universe in the manner the scientific evidence points to, there is no reason he couldn’t have done so. Nor is it necessarily inconsistent with the Bible. The Bible is not a science text. To describe how we now believe the universe and life came to be would have taken a detailed treatise many times the size of the current Bible, and it would have been incomprehensible to all but the most recent generation of humans. Obviously, such a book would not have served God’s purpose. The purpose of the creation stories is not to provide a detailed scientific blueprint for HOW the world was created — God left us plenty of physical evidence and ingenuity to figure that out. Instead the Bible answers the questions that science cannot answer: Is there a God who created the universe? What is His relationship to us? How does this God feel about us? The Bible answers the question of WHO created the universe, and WHY — questions science cannot get a grip on. Thus science and religion are complementary and not at all in conflict.

    Those who look at science and the theory of “philosophy” (not sure what that is) of evolution as proof of God’s existence or non-existence — whether they are scientist or theologian — is barking up the wrong tree. As in so much of God’s creation, science is incapable of providing any proof of the supernatural or the divine. Nor should we expect such proof to ever exist. If we ever had absolute proof of God’s existence there would be no place for faith or free will, and that is not how our God operates.

    Interestingly, a similar debate to the current one played out in this country in the 1700′s. Benjamin Franklin’s discovery of the nature of lightning and the invention of lightning rods was seen as heretical and a denial of God’s existence:

    “Ben Franklin’s life-saving invention, the lightning rod, was condemned by many Christians as an insult to Almighty God, or at least, to his aim. Because the Bible says God “sends forth lightnings…He covers His hands with the lightning. And commands it to strike the mark. Its noise declares His presence?Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, And His lightning to the ends of the earth… Whether for correction, or for His world, Or for loving kindness, He causes it to happen.” [Job 36:27-33 & 37:1-13 & 38:35]”

    See, http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/skepticism/franklin.html

    Yet today most Christians would find it ridiculous to believe that the modern scientific understanding of the nature of lightning somehow denied the existence of God. Indeed, if there was no explanation of lightning other than a supernatural one, it would be absolute proof of God’s existence and would negate the need for faith.

    Thus there is no need to try to undermine the science of evolution and claim that it is somehow “wrong” or “incomplete”. There is no doubt among legitimate scientists that evolution explains how all life — including human life — came to be on this planet. There are only creationists in scientists clothing pretending there is doubt. Yes, there are fine details of the evolutionary process that have yet to be resolved, just as there are fine details of the theory of gravity that are yet to be resolved. There is no evidence that those fine points are unresolvable or that they in any way negate the big picture, as it is now understood. And the use of the term “theory” by scientists does not connote doubt or uncertainty on the part of scientists. That is a layman’s usage of the term “theory”. Among scientists, a theory is a scientific proposition that has been proven to the highest degree possible, and which is considered to be a proven framework for understanding a particular natural phenomenon.

    If you are truly open to listening to what I just said, you will see that science and faith do not have to be conflict, and that people of good will can simultaneously accept both scientific and religious truths as complementary ways of understanding our universe.

    So believe, if you wish, that the physical evidence that scientists use to understand natural world was created supernaturally to somehow mislead the human race as to the actual nature of creation. No scientist can dispute that contention. But don’t misrepresent what science says or believe that scientists create these theories out of some secret agenda to undermine religious faith. That is a disservice to both sides of the debate.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

    Linda, I don’t think Richard is attacking them at all. And if you’re advocating that we only listen to Jesus, does that mean we throw out what Paul had to say about Jesus? I think it’s worthwhile to listen to both Jesus and other people, particularly people who have a huge measure of faith. I don’t know Waltke myself, but I’m pretty sure he listens to Jesus, and I’m pretty sure the staff of RTS also listens to the voices of inspired men and women other than Jesus (like Paul!). I’m also pretty sure Richard listens to Jesus, too ;) Maybe you should listen to Richard, too, so you can understand that he’s not attacking anyone, just encouraging us to be curious, listen, seek the truth, and follow it.

  • Linda

    I believe people should be certain of the worldview they hold, to be sure of what they believe, and if that means learning more about evolution and creationism then they should do that. But they need to come clean when it come to the Bible, they should either believe all of it or none of it.

    There is no room for evolution if you believe the whole Bible, period.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

    For some reason I can’t reply to you directly, but I honestly don’t think it’s possible to know whether or not someone is inspired until their life is over, and we have the perspective to see its trajectory over time. Take Paul- he started out as a persecutor of Christians who converted and after his life was over, his writings and the entirety of his life were decided upon as inspired by the fathers of the early church. What about Peter? He certainly was inspired and was one of Jesus’ disciples, but he denied Jesus, before turning again to Him.

    Was Luther inspired? I would say yes, but his writings make it clear that he was an anti-Semite. How about Billy Graham? I think he’s an amazing, inspired man of God, but I’ve had the opportunity to observe his life over a long period of time, but a youth group once rejected him for being ‘too worldly.’ Mother Teresa? I find her life incredibly inspiring, but she suffered through a long crisis of faith- nevertheless, she will doubtless be canonized as a saint for her work in Calcutta.

    And then there are those who I just don’t know about. Is Pat Robertson inspired? He has done some amazing things in the name of God, but he has also falsely prophesied. Only God knows if Robertson is inspired- perhaps his false teachings will be redeemed. Is Jim Wallis? He has worked incredibly hard for the marginalized in the name of Jesus, and I find myself inspired by him… but there are elements of Sojourners and the social justice movement that can be fairly critiqued. What about Ted Haggard, who has struggled with his sexuality? Will his journey of faith be something that we can call ‘inspired’ in a few hundred years? Was George W. Bush’s presidency inspired? He certainly made it clear how important his faith was, but he also sent thousands of citizens to their death in a war based on faulty information. Was Bill Clinton an inspired man? He struggled with infidelity, lied about it on the stand, but his marriage has outlasted that of his vice president’s, but he’s made it clear that he believes in the literal truth of Scripture (http://www.beliefnet.com/News/Politics/2004/09/All-Of-Us-See-Through-The-Glass-Darkly.aspx?p=2).

    All of these people, though, within the Bible and without, are human beings, prone to sin. We can’t know for sure whether they’re inspired. Some of the giants of faith in the Bible stumbled and had long periods where they looked like they were completely faithless, devoid of trust in God and faith in Jesus. And yet, the Bible still lists them in Hebrews 11 as heroes of faith- the prophets, the prostitute, the kings, and the adulterers. Do you presume to know what kind of man Waltke is? Or the administrators at the Reformed Theological Seminary? Can you absolutely say that Waltke isn’t inspired, or that the administrators are? What happens the next time they sin? Does their faith automatically get discredited, their ‘inspiration’ swept away like so much dust? I wouldn’t dare presume to know the hearts or the faith or the ultimate end of anyone in this world- if David is called a man after God’s own heart, after murdering a man so he could marry his mistress, whether or not someone believes in evolution is pretty small potatoes in my book. God can use anyone, anyone can be inspired by Him, and I don’t presume to know who is and isn’t- I’ll just wait and see who’s hanging out in heaven when I get there.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

    Lamont- I never actually said that Waltke or Richard are inspired (Graham, yes, but that was clearly within the context of my own opinion). As for whether I should put the words of Waltke or my pastor or Graham on par with the writers of the Bible, I would give a pretty emphatic no. But I will say that I think Graham and Dahlstrom both have spiritual authority in my own life- if I knew more about Waltke, perhaps I would also subject myself to his authority- he’s never been my teacher or my pastor, though. I don’t know you or Linda, nor do I know what your background is, nor have I subjected myself to your authority in my spiritual life, nor do I have any clue whether you’re an inspired man of God or not (or, in Linda’s, whether she’s an inspired woman). Because I can tell that you both care about God, I would put you on par with Waltke in my own life- men and women to listen to and see what I can learn from, and wait to see whether you are inspired by God or not. Having only known you, Waltke, and Linda in a very limited context, though, all I can do is listen to you.

    What I did say was that Richard listens to Jesus- I know that from having observed him over a period of time. I also suspect that Waltke listens to Jesus, and that the staff at RTS listen to Jesus. The point of the post was that we should listen to one another, correct? I like to listen to other Christians and learn from them- some of them are inspired by God, and I figure we’ll find that out after our lives are all over. Some of them may not be, and I’ll use my best judgment to determine who I should and shouldn’t listen to, but I can’t rely only on my judgment- I know I’m a flawed human, and so are both the inspired writers of the Bible and the men and women who I’m learning from today. Doesn’t mean I can’t listen and learn from everyone, and withhold judgment on who is and isn’t inspired.

  • fluger

    How do you resolve things like women speaking in church or all the sticky stuff in Leviticus? Have you gouged out your eye when it caused you to sin? Have you gone and stoned some wiccans recently? Do you believe the Earth doesn’t move?

    All or nothing is a pretty strong statement and one that I don’t think any Christian does. Like it or not, we have, as a community, for centuries, cherry-picked what we will or will not believe in.

    I too struggle with the concept of theistic evolution for the same reasons you propose (undermining original sin); but to claim that we must take everything in the Bible at face value misses a lot of the nuances of the Bible as well.

  • Lamont

    Fluger.

    All ask you some questions in the order of the questions you asked Linda starting w/women talking in the church.

    Ever learn how to read a passage it’s historical context context?

    Do you know what ceremonial laws are?
    Do you know why God put them there?
    Do you know why they are no longer binding?

    Do you know what a metaphor is?

    Do you know what a theocracy is?
    Are Christians in a theocracy?

    Did you know that from mans perspective the earth doesn’t move?

    That sinful men cherry pick the Bible because of there own evil, or, ignorant reasons does not mean all do, “WHAT’S YOUR POINT?”
    Did you know that just because you don’t know what your talking about, it doesn’t mean somone else does?

    You said: “All or nothing is a pretty strong statement and one that I don’t think any Christian does.”
    “I do!” “I’m a Christian!”

    You said: “… but to claim that we must take everything in the Bible at face value misses a lot of the nuances of the Bible as well.”

    For example…..? (Jeopardy theme song playing in background).

  • Lamont

    Fluger
    Let’s take an example and work from there.
    Flugar: “Of course, but the point you and others are making is that the scripture is inerrant, and that is a part of scripture that is patently wrong.”
    Please show me where the Bible is patently wrong (false) please? Show me where God errs? (This is just an assertion).
    So then, when Jesus (God in the flesh) stated: “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Mth 4:4), and the people he spoke to at that time only had copy’s of the O/T Scriptures (i.e. Septuagint) was he wrong (in error?) since there are errors in the Bible and you can’t know for sure what God has really said?
    If He was in error, how do “you” know that He was? How do you determine what is true from the Bible and what is not? What is the reference point you use?
    Fluger said: “Man’s perspective should have nothing to do with it, because Moses, writing Genesis, wouldn’t’ve had first-hand knowledge of the events and is relying on the perspective of Men.”
    Let’s look at the above statement.
    First of all, the Bible never claims to be the word of “Man” but, the “Word Of God!” It is God speaking to His creatures, by the use of words in a book. God speaks from two perspectives, His, and mans. An example from Gods perspective is Job 26:7
    He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
    he suspends the earth over nothing.
    And when the Bible states that the earth doesn’t move (you didn’t quote a specific verse here), God is speaking from the perspective of man. In fact, until rockets, satellites, television &etc… the rotation of the earth was only theory. And, Moses did have first hand Knowledge! God, who created everything that exists, visible or, invisible (Col. 1) wrote “through Moses!” God attests to this in His inerrant/infallible Word!
    2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…
    *2 Peter 1:20 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the “will of man”, but men “spoke from God” as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (emphasis mine).
    Why can I whole-heartedly “Trust” (put my “Faith” in) the old testament?
    Because Jesus (God the Son) said to His Father (God) John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” Testifying to the veracity of the O/T Scriptures.”
    And the N/T John 14:26 Jesus was speaking to the Apostles… “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
    W/that said I’ll address your comments …

     Nice. Do you know me? Do you know my testimony? Do you know how long I’ve studied evolution vs creation in both my spare time and for scholastic endeavors? No, you don’t. Instead of assuming ignorance and being rude (with terrible spelling); you might try to be more…oh I don’t know…open and inviting to other opinions, which was the whole point of this blog post…
    I don’t need to “know you” to engage what you have said. Your personal testimony is irrelevant, since we’re not talking about it, and, I couldn’t care less if you have more degrees then a thermometer! Your confusing categories because this whole argument is about “the inerrancy of Scripture,” and your attack on it, “not” creation evolution! You’re making assumptions about the Bible w/out any substantiation! You complain about me being rude, yet your lack of humility in stating warranted (as far as I am concerned) a like response. Perhaps if you spent all that time studying the Bible we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because this is the area where you are ignorant on! I didn’t say you were an ignoramus!
    Pulling the “my personal testimony can beat-up your personal testimony” is tantamount to pulling the “race card,” and isn’t valid in the trailer park I live in.
    Lastly,
    I probably have mis-spelt some words! Correct spelling does not win your case! This is not a spell’n B. If it was, I wouldn’t have entered it! (your adhomenim is noted)
    With that said, show us were the Bible errs, and how you know?
    Thanks!

  • fluger

    Again, can’t reply directly: To Lamont

    “1 Chron. 16:30 – “yea, the world stands firm, never to be moved.”

    Psalm 93:1 – “Yea, the world is established; it shall never be moved.”

    Psalm 96:10 – “Yea, the world is established, it shall never be moved.”

    Psalm 119:90 – “thou has established the earth, and it stands firm.”

    That’s not even counting all the parts about foundations of the earth and all that.

    Again, you continue to do exactly as I said; all your examples give reasons for how to interpret various passages to either be metaphor, or else to view it in context. You are picking and choosing passages; as we all are.

    I’ve had enough debates with atheists to know most of the areas were there are contradictions and such in the Bible, if you want, I could trot out those and we can discuss them.

    How do *I* choose which parts are to be taken at face value, and which to take as metaphor? I try and follow the Spirit’s leading. Frankly, this is how we came about the scriptures we have now. Men at various Synods in the late 300s chose which books would be canon and which not. I firmly believe God led them to choose the right books; but there was debate and dissention on those. Why do various Christian faiths have different canon, why do we have different beliefs about different parts of the Bible? If we all took the Word at face value, wouldn’t we all believe the same things about everything? Or should we accept that certain portions of the scriptures aren’t clear and left open to interpretation by the faithful?

    All of your quotes are fine and dandy; but none say the the scripture is inerrant.

    Don’t misinterpret me, I believe the Bible is the Word of God; but to claim that everything has to be taken exactly as written is to ignore both the fact that we are virtually forced to figure out what is metaphor and what isn’t as well as what is appropriate for modern times and what isn’t (should we bring back polygamy and slavery?); as well as the fact that actual text we must study and be influenced by was debated and discussed as well.

    All that said, I think its a strange position to view taking a look at Genesis 1 as metaphorical as egotistical or somehow a deviance when we look at so many other parts of scripture as metaphorical.

    In regards to testimony being irrelevant, I’d have to disagree; like all of us here, I am a sinner and my righteousness is as rags; but that doesn’t detract from the fact that I *have* studied this and I do know what I’m talking about. What we are debating here is a matter of opinion, not fact; and to say that I am ignorant simply by dint of not agreeing with you is a foolish position because you have no way of knowing whether I am informed on the subject or not.

    The continuing absurdity of our conversation is that we are coming from the same side of the central debate; but with different reasonings for it. Frankly, I’m less interested in your argument (scripture is inerrant ergo creation = 6 days + rest) than I am in hearing someone defend theistic evolution’s issues with original sin and death. That was the reason for me entering this millieu.

  • fluger

    Lamont, I love your enthusiasm and obvious love of Christ; that is great; but I think you’re off base and mis-reading things.

    Go back and read what I wrote; I didn’t say that a view of inerrancy is patently wrong (I disagree with it, but that’s something else), I said that the specific passage about the earth moving is patently wrong.

    I don’t know how you can look at that and say, “That’s just man’s perspective and therefore can’t be judged by new information we have now.” and not take the same perspective on Genesis.

    Really? No contradictions? Here’s a short list that isn’t even comprehensive (and a few in there I think aren’t really contradictions). http://www.freethoughtdebater.com/tenbiblecontradictions.htm

    At a certain point, you have to accept that some of these things don’t line up from different people’s perspectives (like how Judas dies is different in the Gospels…). Having slight variances on the testimonies of the works of God doesn’t negate the inherent and inerrant truth of the Gospel message; but it does speak to them being written by fallible humans.

    Essentially, you are left with three options in regards to scriptures (IMO).

    1. Its all written by well-intentioned people and has no divine spark. Men chose the best books that best represented their opinions on Christianity at that time.
    2. It is written by people who were divinely inspired and represents their best efforts at conveying the awesome and life-changing good news of Christ. Men chose the best books for this effect.
    3. The scriptures are always right, every single iota of the Bible is as it should be, if you’re reading something that sounds off, then the issue is you.

    You took option 3, I take option 2. Frankly, I’ve seen too much of the Bible that doesn’t jive with other parts to claim that the Bible is 100% inerrant. I’ve read too much about how the Bible was formed and the decisions that went into picking what we hold as the Bible now to be convinced that there is 0% chance that a ja or tittle was mis-written somewhere. Much like how God uses flawed people to show His love, I believe the scripture contains flaws, but the Spirit overcomes these issues. Does not God work through his servants to bring people to Him all the time?

    In the end though, this is a “window dressing” debate, as my father would call it. I think Richard spoke accurately last Sunday about how anything outside of the apostle’s creed is really just a fun debate; and not fundamental. That people can get whipped up into a lather and get angry at fellow believers over some parts of scripture that have no direct bearing on the gospel really vexes me.

    I skimmed your website, and I didn’t find anything truly compelling arguing for inerrency just simply an assertation of belief that it is so.

  • Lamont

    Fluger

    You familiar w/Warfield?
    It was his specific job @ Princeton, to go out and “Crush” any new attack on the Bible that was coming down the pike. Brilliant Godly man!
    I’m going to buy it.

    FYI. http://www.monergismbooks.com/Inspiration-and-Authority-of-the-Bible-p-16896.html

  • Lamont
  • Lamont

    Hi Fluger.
    Thank you for your patience. I’m going to address one of your prior letters since there’s some things there I feel obligated to respond to, but, your last comment at the end of the page was:

    “Frankly, I’m less interested in your argument (scripture is inerrant ergo creation = 6 days + rest)….”

    Being an inerrant-ist doesn’t make you a young earther. You can be either. I never said I was a Y.E.’r

    As for interpreting scripture I’d have to say read up on hermeneutics & etc…
    http://web.archive.org/web/20021219112011/www.modernreformation.org/mr93/marapr/mr9302hermeneutics.html

    Monergism is the richest resource website on the internet for practically anything regarding Theology.
    http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Biblical-Theology/
    Hope you find it useful.

    In response to this….

    “….Why do various Christian faiths have different canon, why do we have different beliefs about different parts of the Bible?”

    Rome for instance holds the apocrypha as canonical yet not the protestant church. For obvious reasons… 1. The Jews never held the apocryphal works as scripture 2. They contradict scripture in many places & etc…

    “If we all took the Word at face value, wouldn’t we all believe the same things about everything?”

    Why would we? All spiritual gifts are given by God. So not everyone is a Calvin, Augustine, Turritin, Spurgeon, Livingston, Boettner, Carey, Whitefield, Edwards, Fluger, & etc…
    Some have been Christians for a year, 5, 10… etc, Some study harder then others…. There’s a myriad of different reasons, but, it’s the Lord who ultimately determines this Heb 6:1. Some bring presuppositions in which they read scripture through.

    “Or should we accept that certain portions of the scriptures aren’t clear and left open to interpretation by the faithful?”

    I can agree w/that! Yet, there are great theologians throughout history that the Lord has given us to assist in these things, and before one throws in the towel they should be consulted.

    “All of your quotes are fine and dandy; but none say the scripture is inerrant.”
    The word trinity isn’t in the Bible? Nor incarnate, nor theocracy, theodicy, etc…
    Also, Jesus had access to the same Septuagint, scriptures Hebrew texts & etc…
    Notice he didn’t have an issue with them, and “always” referred to them as authoritative. Also it’s an argument from silence.

    “…but to claim that everything has to be taken exactly as written is to ignore both the fact that we are virtually forced to figure out what is metaphor and what isn’t as well as what is appropriate for modern times and what isn’t (should we bring back polygamy and slavery)…”

    Yes! Virtually forced! You don’t become strong by looking at the weights. You actually have to lift them. Pray for the grace, to understand, to learn. He is faithful to see it through. He is the one who gave you the desires and tools to do the work you’re doing now. It sounds like He’s (perhaps?) moving you in the next direction (for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure Phil 2:13).
    The Lord has provided us with great exegetes throughout history to help us w/the interpretation of scripture. What I look for is consistency. Does the interpretation given flow with the whole of scripture?
    And, as far as “polygamy and slavery” are concerned, you won’t find the scriptures supporting your assertion that the Bible ever condoned either of them! That people did these things are recorded in the bible. But it does not condone it! You are mis-understanding it.

    “All that said, I think its a strange position to view taking a look at Genesis 1 as metaphorical as egotistical or somehow a deviance when we look at so many other parts of scripture as metaphorical.”

    Are you implying that Gen 1 is a metaphor? No. It’s not! I’d be happy to work through that w/you! Hint. Jesus did not view them as a metaphor, (nor Jonah and the whale) but as the 1st couple.

    Your personal testimony is your personal testimony, praise God for that! It’s not an argument.
    I hold to inerrancy (as defined, in that; the Bible is perfect and w/o error in the autographs.
    The Bible we have today, to be 99% accurate, and that none of the errors that it does have affect any doctrine, or the truth of any events, or salvation &etc…. that off the top of my head).

    Stop.

    Your last letter….
    Paul Manata holds to the inerrancy of scripture. When I had problems w/the Bible, I had (at least) the humility to say that “I” was the one w/the problem, and not God’s word! This attitude has served me well over the years, hence I continue to learn. Why not accept that you have the problem, not the Bible?
    I sent that particular website to you because it had many of the same question/answer issues as the one you sent to me.

    Christianity is the only rational worldview. It alone can account for our origin, meaning, morality, destiny, epistemology, reason, & etc….
    By rejecting The True and Living God the unbeliever cannot account for “anything,” and borrows from the Christian worldview in order to attack it! What Manata’s MO is, is to “stop the mouth of the fool” by ripping off the mask (fig leaf) they’re hiding behind, and exposing the lie they are living.

    “Debating logically is a fun exercise to a point; but I think you could count on two hands the number of people saved by it in history;”

    So I guess debating “illogically” works for you? What’s your body count up to now?
    casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

    “God is demonstrated by those who know Christ and by the world around us. (by the way, I love, love, loved Richard’s anecdote from a while back of the skeptic on his youth hiking trip who came to Christ, not because of carefully constructed argumentation, but by the beauty of nature. That really hit home for me.)”

    No he didn’t! No-one every came to Christ by the beauty of nature! Have you ever read Romans? Make no mistake about it! Man knows that God exists, His invisible attributes, His eternal power…. Etc… etc… but he suppress’ that truth in his wickedness.
    Any man who came to Christ was drawn by the Father (No one can come to me UNLESS the Father who sent me draws him Jn. 6:44) because of the proclamation of the Gospel that was preached to him. (1How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Acts 10:14-15).
    No, that person may think that’s what attracted him to Christ, but, the Bible tells the true story, and God is glorified for it! So, who’s right? The Bible (God) or the hiker? I’ll side w/God!
    What if the hiker had been with a group of Mormons on that beautiful mountain? And they were up there just were loving each other, and caring for each other needs as Mormons do? There is another hiker story somewhere else that could “testify” of that story!

    You think it is 100% inerrant; which is a perfectly fine position as it is; but one I disagree with.
    No. That’s why I stated above what (and if you read the link I gave you should have got that), I assumed since (at the beginning of this whole thing that you knew what the daoctrine of inerrancy was, but… I was wrong to assume. That’s a communication 101 error! Sorry Fluger!

    “Perhaps if we discussed things further we’d discover we have different perspectives on classic theological debates (security of the believer, predestination, et al…);”

    No doubt there brother! I’m a Calvinist! The Bible clearly teaches that the will is enslaved to the devil (Jn 10, 2 Tim 2:24, 25), and incapable of any good (Rom 1), or of even making one step toward God by his own “free unaided will” (Jn 1, 3, 6, 10, Rom.) election, Predestination….
    “and engaging on them is fine and good; but at a certain point we need to step back and realize we are not going to agree.”

    Of course not! You’ve already made up your mind! I on the other hand, have been where you are, but am no-longer there. I am quite confident in my theology (as limited as it is). The more I talk w/the garden variety evangelical, the more I’m confident that they don’t know what they’re talking about. Yet, they espouse the virtues of being “Bereans” (Act’s 17:11) and “The Love of Jesus” but when confronted w/scripture that doesn’t fit their presupposition of God, they resort to ad hominem attack rather then put their scripture where their mouths are. When I grasped (by God’s grace) the Doctrines of grace, or, “Calvinism” as it’s called, it was interesting how the sheep seemed to turn on their own.
    (I digress. Sorry.)

    “To clarify my position yet again; I believe that whether inerrant or not; Genesis 1 isn’t a solid enough reason to discount theistic evolution because it can easily be viewed as man’s perspective of something that they would not have understood, or metaphorically.”

    To use Richard’s term… Would you unpack that for me? For instance, are you saying that man evolved from the ape w/God’s guidance?

    And…

    Show me how it can be: “….easily viewed as man’s perspective of something that they would not have understood, or metaphorically.”

    “I’m still hoping someone else will step up and give a concrete way in which original sin and theistic evolution can jive. That is, if anyone else is still reading this…”
    Question begging! You haven’t proved theistic evolution and Genesis!
    Original sin is self evident! You don’t need a Bible to know that!


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