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Friday, February 10, 2006

10,200 Apostate Pastors

10,200 pastors, elders, and Christians teachers in America have signed away the authority of Scripture. Is your pastor on this list?

These pastors have signed a statement that inappropriately forces the integration of evolution into the text of the Bible, or worse, reduces the Bible to allegorical “moral stories”:
We the undersigned, Christian clergy… believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth….To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children….. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth(cite).
Beginning with the Bible, it is simply impossible to arrive at evolution. These 10,200 pastors arrogantly or ignorantly deviate from Christian tradition and orthodoxy by claiming their opinions trump the thousands of years of tradition and the plain reading of the Bible. The relativistic language, "forms of truth," confirms that this is an appeal to pastors duped by the cultural influence of tolerance.

Why should Christians consider this action apostasy? Several reasons:
Pastors should not pick and choose which biblical passages they believe. When they do, they become the authority instead of God. Under the guise of reason, they elevate their opinions over the power of God to transmit truth through the Bible.

By elevating evolution to the same or higher quality of truth than the Bible—and then preaching about it merits—they are effectively adding to the Bible; thus violating an expressly forbidden biblical command (Rev. 22:18).

Scientific understanding shifts through the centuries. These pastors are guilty of using science to interpret the Bible. Allowing personal experience or shifting science to guide interpretation is to make it primarily a subjectively understood book and reduces the power of the Gospel to "moral stories" that may or may not have happened.

To reduce the biblical account of creation to “beloved stories” means Jesus is a liar (Mark 10:6), that the consistent messages regarding origins throughout the Bible are lies (Gen 2:7; Isa 57:16; 1 Cor 8:6; Gen 5:2; Matt 19:4; Eph 3:9; Deut 4:32; Mark 10:6 ; Col 1:16-17; Neh 9:6 ;John 1: 1-3; Heb 11:3; Ps 89:47; Acts 4:24; 2 Pet 1:3; Isa 45:12; Romans 1:19-20; Rev 4:11) and it weakens every other major doctrine in the Bible including the significance of sin, Jesus’ identity as the last Adam, the image of God in man, and even the sacredness of marriage.
But, it gets worse...

On the 197th anniversary of the birthday of Charles Darwin (February 12), 412 churches in 49 states will celebrate “Evolution Sunday.” Created in the imagination of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh professor Michael Zimmerman, "Evolution Sunday" celebrates the "harmony of evolutionary science and faith". Dismissing the Biblical accounts of creation as “beloved stories found in the Bible,” and as, “a different order than scientific truth,” Zimmerman and these churches proclaim that when science contradict the Bible, science wins.

Even atheist and chief evolutionist Dr. Richard Dawkins from Oxford University rejects this syncretism:
People like to say that faith and science can live together side by side, but I don’t think they can. They’re deeply opposed. Science is a discipline of investigation and constructive doubt, questing with logic, evidence and reason to draw conclusions. Faith, by stark contrast, demands a positive suspension of critical faculties.” Dawkins added, “Charles Darwin hit upon a truly brilliant idea that elegantly explains all of life on earth without any need to invoke the supernatural or the divine” (cite)
I am irate that these church leaders use the privilege of the pastorate to declare evolutionary science "truth". Why are pastors so willing to abandon the Bible and base their preaching on science? After preaching science trumps the Bible, how can they claim that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and trainingin righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16)? How can they then claim that they are "approved [by] God, a worker who doesn't need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth" (2 Tim 2:15).

Paul, mentoring Timothy, says, “Preach the Word;” these pastors should be ashamed that they so willingly violate the sacredness of their role as shepherd and model for their parishoners that personal perspective trumps bibical authority.

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Thoughtful Readers Speak:
The theory of evolution doesn't actually say anything about the origin of life. It simply states that allele frequencies in populations change over time. You're confusing evolution with abiogenesis. Abiogenesis is much less well supported than evolution, because of the simple fact that we don't actually know what conditions were like early in earth's history. We can make educated guesses, do a few different experiments, and study planets where life might possibly be/have been. But unless we develop time travel, the origin of life on earth will probably never be known for certain. A lot of people believe that life was instigated by supernatural force X and went on its merry way, perhaps with a bit of guidance here and there. Thus, evolution and theism can coexist.

P.S. What Dawkins has to say about faith in that quote isn't particularly complimentary.
 
Dawkins quote doesn't concern me except that it confirms my suggestion.

Your distinction is interesting.
 
My dad says that people who try to take the Bible and use it to explain the world ruin both religion and science. He says that religion and science serve two different purposes, thus there should not be a conflict between them. My dad is the lay leader of his Methodist church and has led adult "Sunday school" (which is basically a study group) ever since I was small. I'm going to have to let him know he's an apostate :D
 
Send also my warmest regards... :)

There are many different styles of writing in the bible (ie. poetry, history, letters, prose, songs). However, this does not preclude the existence of fact therein.

When something is written acurately in a historical style, it just as much fact as something accurate written in a scientific journal. Don't you think?

But, when people begin to pick and choose which parts of factual, they become the authority instead of God. I reject this thinking.
 
There's actually very little factual scientific support for the theory of evolution--but it is an interesting theory.

The Bible is not meant to be a science book--it is meant to reveal the nature of man and his relationship to the Creator and to himself and others.

We weren't there, not at the Big Bang or at the Garden of Eden. So, either way it all adds up to faith in one's system of belief.

To hold that life was generated and evolved by chance mechanisms truly shows a lack of wonder or understanding regarding the diversity and complexity of life. And, it lets one off the hook (one presumes) regarding one's responsibility to that Creator.
 
I was raised to believe the same things you do about evolution and the Bible. Unfortunately, I became too familiar with the science, and realized that a literal interpretation of Genesis and the plain physical evidence don't match. It's the same way the Book of Mormon conflicts with American archeology. So you have to choose. Do you believe in a deceptive creator, who covers his tracks, making it look like he really DIDN'T create the world the way he said he did? Or, do you learn to understand the Bible in a new way?
 
I believed the bible blindly until I researched each side of the issue and arrived at a different conclusion.
 
I find it amusing that an obvious Protestant can say anything about orthodoxy and not appreciate his/her own obvious hypocrisy.
 
Ya know, as a Catholic, who appreciates the most recent comments by the church regarding ID, I have to say that this posting is kind of creepy. It does seem to represent a rather desperate form of belief in God. I think Father Coyne's view http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=18504 is a pretty good starting point about the difference between science and religion. God gave us the brains and curiosity to discover how His universe works. The scientific method has given the human race great advances in terms of our quality of life, and our understanding of the life of creatures on the earth in the past. Intelligent Design does not past muster as a truly scientific theory, which strictly forms it theories based on what is observed in God's world. God created the universe, our solar system, this planet, and it's life. Why try to ignore what God's creation is telling us about the life on this planet? Arguing against evolution is simply a rather thinly veiled attempt by someone who needs to psychologically consider themselves special, and considers the idea that man evolved from an apelike ancester as a threat to their "specialness". If everything that exists in this universe was created by God, why is the idea that man evolved from another one of God's creatures such a threat?
 
JR said:

"Your distinction [between abiogenesis and evolution] is interesting."

Interesting? It's inescapable. Would you respond to someone claiming that psychology and geology are distinct fields of scientific inquiry as "interesting?" Like as not, you can't merely reduce matters of fact to matters of opinion simply because this is convenient to your world view and your lack of sufficient background and comprehension. Well, I suppose you can, but such frivolous relativism serves only your psyche and this blog, not reality.

Randy said:

"There's actually very little factual scientific support for the theory of evolution..."

Sure, Randy. As long as you equate a failure to examine that (ample) support with its nonexistence, you're exactly right. A more rigorous process would involve apprising yourself of the vast body of knowledge establishing the irrevocable legitimacy of evolution -- which, make no mistake, forms the basis of all meaningful biological inquiry -- but it doesn't appear that you're game. Oh well; the findings of science don't rely on their universal acceptance in order to to stand as factual. They'll always be there, waiting for the unenlightened to catch up, should they choose to make the leap toward reason.
 
This writer shows the ignorance of fundamentalism. The "tradition" of Biblical Literalism is nothing more than a modern, principally American, perversion of Christianity. The true traditions of Christianity, dating back to St Augustine, have never been about literal interpretation of the Bible
 
Is it hypocritical to suggest that intelligent design should NOT be taught in science class but evolution SHOULD be taught in church?
 
"The true traditions of Christianity, dating back to St Augustine, have never been about literal interpretation of the Bible"

Well, your claim of my ignorance is made in ignorance. You should be careful before throwing around such rhetoric.

Actually, it was with the elevation of the apocrypha (I believe around the 10-12th century) in the Catholic church that the literal interpretation of the Bible became distorted. Some in the Catholic church do indeed view the Bible as allegory.

However, the church fathers (Clement of Rome, Mathetes, Polycarp, Ignatius, Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus) interpreted the bible literally. And, beginning with Martin Luther and the Reformation, the literal interpretation of the bible was re-birthed.
 
CGM, you asked some great questions. Thanks. First, however, I'm not desperate. I don't have anything to prove--why would I?

God gave us the brains and curiosity to discover how His universe works. The scientific method has given the human race great advances in terms of our quality of life, and our understanding of the life of creatures on the earth in the past. YES, and YES

Intelligent Design does not past muster as a truly scientific theory, which strictly forms it theories based on what is observed in God's world.

This is kind of confusing. You seem to make a distinction between "theories based on what is observed" and the scientific method (which is based foremost on observation. So, I'm confused.

"Intelligent Design" is a differnt paradigm for looking at the world. Does it's "difference" mean that it is incorrect? Maybe, but not inherently. If you can remember Galileo's theory that the Earth revolved around the sun was also scoffed and mocked and condemned by then-modern-day scientist. Could it be possible that Intelligent Design is receiving the same slander by today's modern day scientist?

God created the universe, our solar system, this planet, and it's life. Why try to ignore what God's creation is telling us about the life on this planet?

No one's ignoring. Science is a search for truth. There's nothing to be afraid of in truth. There are simply differences in the conclusions drawn from the available evidence.

Arguing against evolution is simply a rather thinly veiled attempt by someone who needs to psychologically consider themselves special, and considers the idea that man evolved from an apelike ancester as a threat to their "specialness".

I think you're special. :) And I disagree... To refuse to examine the criticisms of evolution is intellectually deceptive and ultimately harmful. It devalues the credibility earned by scientific community over many years.

If everything that exists in this universe was created by God, why is the idea that man evolved from another one of God's creatures such a threat?

Well, to believe in evolution, you have to believe the bible has errors in that death came before sin (the theological significance of this is incredible), that jesus was a liar, the the consistency of the bible in describing creation (at least 18 times in both the old and new testament) is wrong, and that man's observations trumps the ability of God to communicate to man through the bible.
 
Contrary to jr's comments, the opposition to Galileo was purely religious, that his theory was heretical. Heliocentricism had a long scientific history, dating back to Aristarchus of Samos (c 270 BC). Geocentricism was already in serious scientific trouble by the time of Galileo. Tycho and Islamic astronomer such as Ibn al-Shatir and Nasir al-Din al-Tusi were moving away from purist Geocentricism, though not wholly abandoning it. Copernicus proposed a Heliocentric system but avoided charges of heresy by claiming it to be entirely hypothetical.

The reason why scientists 'slander' Intelligent Design is its complete lack of explanatory power, testable predictions or anything else that makes a scientific theory useful. This is in many ways the ultimate test of Science: does it allow us to better understand, and thus manipulate the natural world? Biologists pervasively find the Theory of Evolution to be useful in their research in a wide range of fields. Nobody has found the slightest use for ID other than to prop up the religious beliefs of Biblical Literalists who feel threatened by Evolutionary Biology.
 
It's not possible to be a biblical literalist, as JR claims he is, because the bible is incompatible with itself. The examples are almost endless. There are two different creation stories, just for starters. I recall it says the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds, when it is not. This is obviously metaphorical and allegorical, but JR refuses to understand it this way.

Does JR advocate stoning harlots and homosexuals? I mean, really, how literally do you take the bible, JR?

Because it's not possible to take everything in the bible literally, and because it's perfectly evident that nobody does, all fundamentalists pick and choose what to take literally (cafeteria style, you might say). I mean, you don't hear fundies fretting much about a firmament or wondering how several hundred spacecraft have managed to get through or around it, avoiding eating dinner with those who have "evil eyes," and so on.

I mean, come on, be serious.

So my point is that a flat statement that evolutionary theory doesn't arise whole from the bible is absurd and bizarre. Neither does heliocentrism. Neither does the germ theory of disease.

Shall I go on?
 
When you find that your theology contradicts reality, it's time to reevaluate your theology. Some of the things you think are "God given" are human constructs and thus fallible. To say that "the Bible contains all things necessary to Salvation" does not logically imply that "All things in the Bible are necessary to Salvation."

Thus it is perfectly possible to take Scripture seriously, but not literally.
 
Why do you say that it's time to reevaluate your theology? Why isn't it time to reevaluate your perspective of reality?
 
Mr. or Ms. Anonymous,

I understand that the Bible presents a lot of confusing statements and some that may appear to contradict itself. But, I want to assure you that there are no contradictions.

It is especially easy for anyone to take a few words or phrases from the beginning of the book and a few from the end and suggest that they contradict one another. Without looking at contexts, this can be done in anything. For years, I have been studying these apparent contradictions and the contexts around them. I assure you that Bible is credible and trustworthy.

For a primer on reconciling the old and new testaments (for starters), see this.
 
Why do you say that it's time to reevaluate your theology? Why isn't it time to reevaluate your perspective of reality?

My, JR. How very relativist of you.
 
:)
 
When a population of Colerado potato beetle develops resistance to an insecticide, you've just witnessed evolution. When two populations of a species of Naucoridae can no longer interbreed because they've been living in ponds at the tops of two different mountains for several hundred generations, you've witnessed evolution.

Let's get one thing straight. Creationism/ID isn't some new radical theory that all the old school scientists are laughing at. Creationism has been around since, well, Biblical times. And face it - you guys haven't exactly accumulated large quantities of scientific evidence to support your "theory" in the past 2,000 years.
 
I and most people I know draw a distinction between a plant or animal adapting to the challenges of the environment (something that has been well evidence), and a species evolving into another species (something that lacks evidence).

"Intelligent Design" as a theory has only been around since the late 1980's. As a phrase, it's only been around since the late 1800's.

Creationism is distinct from Intelligent design because it's presuppositions is a theistic biblical inerrancy based on the book of genesis.

Intelligent design does not start with the bible. It starts with the evidence and concludes design--not necessarily theism.

Do you understand the distinction?
 
JR, thank you for putting up a good fight. Jesus and Paul had said that ALL scripture is God inspired:

2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God...

Titus 1:2 says, “God cannot lie”.

John 17:17 says, "Thy word is truth."

I hope those reading here would seek to know the truth. Evolution is a theory, a weak theory at that. Hovind (at the link below) tries to piece together the creation theory and many believe a convincing effort. Watch his debates with evolutionists and see how the holy professors of indoctrination buckle when presented with true logic. I, for one, will pray for each of these leaders in my area that they will realize that this does nothing but discourage people from believing the Word.

Matthew 18:6 - But if anyone causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to lose faith, it would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around the neck. ~ NLT

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I realize this post is a bit dated, but the issue remains. I represent the Creation Letter Project at CreationLetter.com, the Biblical Creationist response to Zimmerman's pro-evolution Clergy Letter. At this point, the Christian version of the Clergy Letter has generated over 12,000 signatures [though these numbers have been conflated by the inclusion of Unitarian Universalist clergy, Unity cult members and others who should not be included on a list of Christian clergy per se] and is used as an alleged prooof of the irrelevance of those of us who take a stand for the literal, historical veracity of God's revealed Word. It is also used erroneously to suggest that there ought not be any conflict between evolution and Christianity, when it merely shows that there will always be those who are willing to compromise the plain meaning of God's Word to maintain a semblance of respectability in the sight of the world. This ought not be so.

Jesus decried the sort of false dichotomy the Clergy Letter promotes. Rather than affirming that science and religion are separate truths, He who is Truth itself warned Nicodemus, "If I tell you of earthly things and you believe not; how shall you believe if I tell you of spiritual things." If we can't trust the Bible when it comes to the Beginning, how do we trust it for anything else?

I think it's disgusting that this modern-day Goliath has been allowed to mock the Word of God with no definitive answer in kind. I founded CreationLetter.com a full year ago in the hopes of finding Christians [clergy and layman alike] who would be willing to add their name to a letter affirming the historical veracity of Genesis to put these compromisers and those who mock us with this list to silence.

Thus far, we have only 160 signatures and only 29 of them clergy. The Clergy Letter began with 188 signatures and gained about 10,000 more in its first year. The enemy is not ashamed to put their names and reputations on the line to boldly add their names to a statement that compromises the truth and athority of God's revealed Word.

So I ask, Who is on the Lord's side among you?

Answer by adding your name at CreationLetter.com.
 
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