Tennessee’s Rev John Shuck’s Upcoming Evolution Sunday & What It Means: Portrait of a Pro-Evolution Clergy Letter Signer
I came across a rather interesting blog post from a Rev John A Shuck, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tennessee, and a signator of atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman’s pro-evolution Clergy Letter Project. He was of course critical of Answers In Genesis’ upcoming Tri-Cities Origins Conference in Johnson City, TN. He assured his readers that he and his parishoners would not be attending this Biblically sound event, but would continue to celebrate an Evolution Sunday as they have for the past 6 years, since atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman’s very first Evolution Sunday back in 2006. Sadly, he comments that “Evolution Sunday has proven to be one of the biggest Sundays of the year for us.”
The Rev Shuck’s worship service for Sunday, Feb 13, 2011, advertizes gthe following:
“February 13th Evolution Sunday
Romans 8:14, 16,17, 19, 22 I Corinthians 3:9
Theme: From Cosmos to Cosmogenesis
This is Evolution Sunday. On this Sunday closest to Charles Darwin’s birthday, we celebrate our cosmic and evolutionary history. We celebrate the creativity of science. Science has unfolded for us a new creation myth. The universe has taken 14 billion years to create you and me here at this moment. We are participants in the extravagant unfolding of the universe. As relatively conscious beings we are now the ears and eyes of the universe (as far as we know). We can tell the universe’s story. We can tell the story of Earth and of Earth’s creatures. We are struggling to learn the human story. Who are we? Who are we becoming? How will and how might we better relate with Earth? Now as much— perhaps more—than any time in human history, we are calling on our creativity, the creativity of the universe, the creativity of God/dess to direct us toward life-enhancing choices for ourselves and for Earth.”
A couple of things stand out. For starters, he admits that accepting the claims of evolutionary science over the plain meaning of Scripture and the interpretations of creationist scientists has forced him to reject the traditional view of the Creation Week for a “new creation myth.” He’s rejected the truth and exchanged it for a fable.
I’m sure he didn’t intend such a meaning when he mentions “the creativity of science,” but this nonetheless an apt description of the imagineering that goes on in the name of fabricating our supposed “cosmic and evolutionary history” instead of celebrating the true history of the universe as revealed in God’s Word.
Lastly, I note that since he threw out the Bible as his ultimate authority where it concerns our history and origins, he has no problem compounding his error by rejecting the clear teaching of God’s Word on the identity and gender of the Creator in refering to God as “God/dess.” The Bible identifies Christ Jesus as the Creator… as well as the Judge before whom we must also appear! I would not wish to be Rev Shuck on tthe day he must give an account for the misinformation this false shepherd doled out to his hireling-tended flock. Commenting on a photo in another pro-Evolution Sunday post, he declares:
“This 130 million year old fossilized worm is one hundred thousand times older than YHWH (who was created by humans in the first or second millennium BCE). There is far more evidence that this worm lived than that YHWH did (except in our imaginations). Nothing against imagination, but it seems to me long past time for religious folks to move on and put things in order.”
His estimation of the Bible and its authority and authorship are no less blaspemous:
“Rather than the Bible being a word from God, perfect in every way, to us, we see it as a work of human beings reflecting about God and themselves. The authority of the Bible and the authority of the church’s beliefs that are based on a pre-critical reading of the Bible are therefore challenged. The Theory of Evolution challenged the pre-critical understanding of the Bible’s story. The biblical narrative of creation, human fall into sin, the story of redemption in Christ, and future hope in the holy city is no longer seen by many of us as a literal account of what happened or what will happen. It is a narrative of an ancient people trying to understand their place in the whole thing.
In another post, he showes his support for gay clergy and applauds efforts to strike the wording of an ammendment that required that “hose who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness,” because he believes that “being gay is not a sin.” Did the Rev Shuck glean this view of sin from the Bible? Of course not. His theological views seem informed by the latest liberal trends rather than the revealed Word of a holy, unchanging God.
Apparently, Rev Shuck considers “Darwinmas” his favorite holiday. Not Easter. Not Christmas. Not any holiday that has to do with Christ Jesus. No, the Rev Shuck unapologetically admits, “My favorite Holy Day is Darwin’s Birthday. It is such a shame that Evolution Sunday comes but once a year.” Why his reverence for Darwin at the expense of Christ? Oh, because he’s a fan of the apostate Jesus Seminar who deny the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and promote false “gospels,” such as the Gnostic heretical work, the Gospel of Thomas.
I asked him directly, “Do you believe in the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ?”
His response: No.
Rev Shuck, you’re not even a Christian, for the Bible insists that you must confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead in order to be saved! [Romans 10:9]
While he signed a letter that supports the excusive and uncritical teaching of evolution is public schools, his own experience testifies to the adverse effects of teaching kids evolution as a scientific fact: “As a kid I was bugged by this end of time idea, as well as evolution. It didn’t coincide with what I was learning in science and history classes, and I decided that this religion is not working well. I followed my wife into the Presbyterian Church and decided to go into the ministry.” In other words, a public school education that amounted to an evolutionary indoctrination caused him to doubt Christianity. This admission mirrors my own testimony and the statistical data collected regarding youth apostasy in the book, Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer. His doubt and unbelief continue today though his denomination has seen fit to ordain such an unbeliever anyway.
Yet he admits that he full well knows the meaning of evolution:
“As far as I can see, there is no design behind [evolution] or consciousness guiding it. There is no It to be aware of you–and yet you are.”
Evolution is a blind, unguided process that does not require God’s agency. What room does the good Rev Shuck leave for a Creator of any sort? Apparently none. He admits elsewhere that he believes:
“It took the universe 13.7 billion years to make you. So you ought to see yourself as pretty darn special. That is original blessing. Wow. Early thinkers on matters of theology were so impressed with themselves that they thought that they were created in the image of God. My guess is that they created God in their image but were too bashful to give themselves credit” [emphasis mine].
In a further comment upon his post, the Rev Shuck reveals that he does comprehend the issue at hand, more to his condemnation:
“I am discovering that the real issue for these folks has nothing to do with “God as Creator” or of course anything scientific. It has to do with a theological house of cards. If humans evolved rather than appear in a garden, and if Adam and Eve weren’t real people, then there is no “Fall into sin” and therefore no need for Jesus to die on the cross to save people from their sins.”
Compare this to the estimate of atheist Frank Zindler:
“The most devastating thing though that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation there is no need of a Savior. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity.” –[Frank Zindler, debate with William Craig, Atheism vs Christianity video, Zondervan, 1996.]
Or G. Richard Bozarth:
“Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.” — quoted from The American Atheist, September 1978, p. 30.
Martin Lings noted that “more cases of loss of religious faith are to be traced to the theory of evolution… than anything else” (Studies in Comparative Religion, Winter 1970. – quoted from Christian Century, July 7-14, 1982, p. 755). Rev. Shuck is hard evidence of evolution’s degrading effect on Christian faith and theology.
I urge anyone reading this post to consider the fruit of evolution and the meaning of Evolution Sunday in our churches. Rather than celebrating Darwin from our pulpits this February 13th, we urge you to celebrate a Creation Sunday instead. Let’s get back to the Word of God as our ultimate authority! You can find Creation Sunday 2011 happenings near you at http://creationsunday.wordpress.com.
- Ex-Christians: The Evolution Factor - A brief survey of the statistical and anecdotal reality that children who are taught evolution as scientific truth largely go on to reject religious truth wholesale.
- Resurrection Apologetics - Why belief in Jesus’ historical existence, actual physical death and literal resurrection from the dead is reasonable given the evidence.
- Letters to Zimmerman – Email correspondence with atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman. Notably, a series of email exchanges in March 2009 addressed whether the signers of the Clergy Letter could even affirm basic Christian beliefs like the bodily ressurection of Jesus Christ.
- More Presbyterian “Rev” John Shuck: Why He’s Not Saved & Why He’s a Minister Anyway – A follow-up post to this one.