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Tennessee’s Rev John Shuck’s Upcoming Evolution Sunday & What It Means: Portrait of a Pro-Evolution Clergy Letter Signer

January 22, 2011

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.

The Rev John A Shuck

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.

 

Evolution Sunday Was Started By An ATHEIST... Hmmmmmm...

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.

 -Rev Tony Breeden
 

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2011 10:16 pm

    Shuck is entitled to his opinions but he is a living a lie by calling himself a reverend. He’s just another functional atheist without the intellectual integrity to get out of the church completely.

  2. January 23, 2011 10:35 pm

    The following is a comment thread between “Rev” Shuck and myself, in which he admits that he does not believe in the physical, bodily resurrection of Christ and is therefore not a Christian much less a valid clergyman:

    revTony: Are you completely unaware that evolution leads to apostasy? Or are you suffering from the whole frog in a kettle syndrome?

    Let me ask you a direct question, “Clergy” Letter signer: Do you believe in the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ?

    Rev Tony Breeden
    CreationLetter.com

    John Shuck:

    Are you completely unaware that evolution leads to apostasy?

    Yes.

    Or are you suffering from the whole frog in a kettle syndrome?

    Ummm. Ribbit?

    Do you believe in the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ?

    No.

    Have a nice Darwinmas!

    revTony: John Shuck,

    If what your response to my comments were honest, you’re ordination and office are a farce, for you are not even a Christian if you do not affirm the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ [per Romans 10:9].

    Your own evident lack of faith in core Christian beliefs is symptomatic of the link between faith in evolution and religious unbelief. Might I suggest you read Already Gone by Ken Ham & Britt Beemer? I know you have no love for Mr Ham, but unless you are prepared to arbitrarily accuse him of lying, the statistics he presents in this book should convince all but the most heretical liberal of the link between evolution and loss of faith.

    Rev Tony Breeden
    CreationLetter.com

    John Shuck: @Tony

    Ho hum.

    the link between evolution and loss of faith

    Science has a way of undoing superstition. May the loss of “faith” continue!

    revTony: “Rev” Shuck,

    Your glib attitude toward the fate of men’s souls is unbeffitting a true minister of the Gospel. You do realize that when I speak of loss of faith that I am in no way refering to a loss of superstitious belief. Rather I am talking about people abandoning all Christian belief and going to an eternal hell!

    If that doesn’t bother you [and it should since that is your destination is you don't get saved, friend], you’ve no business pretending you care at all about the flock you illegitimately tend.

    For the record, I do not deny science; merely the erroneous evolutionary interpretations of some of that science. To conflate science and evolution is to commit the logical fallacy of equivocation. Would that your commitment to reason and the Cross matched your devotion to evolution and leftist political agendas! Clearly you’re nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    How can you escape the damnation of hell?

    Rev Tony Breeden
    CreationLetter.com

    John Shuck:

    I am in no way refering to a loss of superstitious belief. Rather I am talking about people abandoning all Christian belief and going to an eternal hell!

    And that’s not superstition?

    Well you have been a barrel of laughs. I am pleased you commented here.

    It is always good to be reminded with whom we are dealing.

    You can move along now.

  3. January 24, 2011 1:27 am

    I actually did research in seminary on the reasons that people give up Christian faith and ‘convert’ to atheism. The answer was not evolution – the number one answer I found, in the hundreds of testimonies I watched and read, was reading the Bible, which was the primary reason for loss of faith cited in more than half of the testimonies I looked at.

    I accept evolution and am a Christian pastor, and it doesn’t cause me to doubt my faith. Then again, my faith never depended on literalism. If it did, the list of things that would cause me to doubt it would be pretty much infinite.

  4. January 24, 2011 8:45 am

    Doug,

    I take it you don’t do a lot of Scripture reading in your congregation. Nevermind that we are to study the Scriptures for they are able to make us wise unto salvation. In those studies, did they also mention that those folks felt there were contradictions in the Bible that no one bothered to answer for them? Because that’s what creation apologetics is all about.

    I once thought as you do, sir. My wife asked me [almost a decade ago], “What about evolution?” and back then, I replied, “I suppose God could have used evolution.” Since then, with investigation and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I have come to realize that the death issue negates the possibility of marrying evolution to Christian doctrine, if our Gospel is to remain at all consistent. If evolution is true, death and suffering existed before Adam’s Fall; yet the Bible [the Christian's ultimate guide and authority; the revealed Word of a God who does not lie and is a Faithful Eyewitness] tells us that death and suffering are the results of Adam’s sin. Both cannot be true. When faced with such a contradiction between the interpretations of men [who weren’t there, don’t know everything and conduct science by a philosophy [naturalism] that precludes God from all consideration a priori] and the revelation of God, we ought to say, “Let God be true and every man a liar!” Even if we don’t have the answers [neither does evolutionary science] we ought give God’s testimony the beneft of the doubt over the conclusions of men who are largely antagonistic towards Him.

    btw, just because you can accept evolution and Christianity doesn’t mean those you teach can. Read Ex-Christians: The Evolution Factor [above]

    It is a shame that you say you can’t trust your Bible to mean what it says and that you feel you would simply doubt it if you thought you had to trust it so, for that is what you are saying.

    Let me ask you a question that I asked of “Rev” Shuck: Can you affirm the literal, physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ?

    Think about it,
    -revTony

  5. Sandra permalink
    January 24, 2011 11:58 am

    “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?”

    This from a preacher who claims his favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard?

    Your argument is invalid.

  6. January 24, 2011 5:53 pm

    Rev. Tony, so glad you are taking on the fakes. They are so wildly dishonest. What is bizarre is that they really think they are Christians. If you quote to them any of the seemingly endless warnings about false teachers they’ll act like you’re the one with the problem, because of course they don’t believe those verses either. They have made up their own gods and don’t even believe the command from the real God about why they shouldn’t do that.

  7. January 24, 2011 11:58 pm

    Sandra,

    In my defense, most Christmas movies are about Santa… and Die Hard is a much better movie than It’s A Wonderful Life. I should point out that Darwin’s Birthday isn’t really a Holy Day, while Easter and Christmas are.

    But all that’s beside the point. [Your argument is something of an irrelevant thesis.]

    Here’s the deal: On the one hand it’s rather sweet of you [the church secretary] to come to the defense of your pastor. On the othe hand, the man isn’t actually saved if he denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. That means he’s disqualified from pulpit that he’s been teaching error and heresy from. You need to pray that your pastor gets saved, Sandra Garrett.

  8. Sandra permalink
    January 25, 2011 11:18 am

    So then why don’t you actually DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT – you know, like go to the trouble to charge him with heresy? Oh, I know, because you would actually have to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, rather than hew and cry and wring your hands and bemoan the loss of the church.

    But to your credit, at least you didn’t say your favorite Christmas movie is “The Passion of the Christ”, like a couple of people I know.

    Don’t misunderstand, Tony. I’m glad you do what you do. There are people who need your kind of ministry, just as there are people who need John’s kind – and Pat Robertson’s kind, and Jim Wallis’ kind and even Fred Phelps’ kind, sorry to say.

    As for John denying the bodily resurrection of Christ, he didn’t give your question much effort, because you haven’t given him much effort. The rest of the answer (he give to more thoughtful commentators) is a quote from Peter Rollins (who I imagine you will find fault with also):

    “I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.

    However there are moments when I affirm that resurrection, few and far between as they are. I affirm it when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees, when I speak for those who have had their tongues torn out, when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.”

    I’ve looked at your website here and your facebook page, and it seems you actively turn your back on some of those mentioned in the above quote, Tony. FPCe doesn’t. FPCe welcomes LGBT people into all aspects of the church. They welcome people who can’t write a check on Sundays. They welcome people who haven’t walked into a church in 20 years – in their whole lives (that would be me). And this isn’t John Shuck. The history of working for the oppressed at FPCe goes back to before the war for Independence.

    If you want to scare the devil out of people, that’s fine. Some churches prefer to focus on positive and meaningful work for justice and compassion. There’s a songwriter in our area who has written a nice little song about the need for diversity in all things – including ministry. It’s called “You Handle Your Snake and I’ll Handle Mine,” and that is my advice to you. Enjoy your Creation Letter Project, and we’ll enjoy celebrating Creation and Evolution at the same time.

  9. Sandra permalink
    January 25, 2011 1:47 pm

    Oh, and by the way – about this comment: “On the one hand it’s rather sweet of you [the church secretary] to come to the defense of your pastor.”

    Could you be any more patronizing?

  10. January 25, 2011 1:52 pm

    Sandra,

    I didn’t intend it to be patronizing, but I apologize if that’s how it made you feel. I actually felt it was noble, if, as I said, misguided.

  11. January 25, 2011 2:20 pm

    Sandra,

    I could not agree less that the world needs preachers like Fred Phelps. He has disqualified himself from ministry by his hate as much as your pastor is disqualified by his unbelief.

    I’m glad John Shuck does some good. And I never said he didn’t, but that’s not what’s at issue here. What’s at issue is that he is not a Christian, by his own admission, because he rejects the bodily physical resurrection of Christ Jesus. You see [and I loved that quote btw], the resurrection in the figurative sense that Rollins and the Apostle Paul [Christ in you, the hope of glory!] note should be evident in a Christian’s life is MEANINGLESS sentiment if there was no actual, physical resurrection to begin with:

    “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-18

    Those who know me also know that [while the focus of my website is Biblical authority], I have always welcomed those who cannot write a check on Sundays [and I've even been that guy!], that I welcome those who haven’t been to church in a decade or so [having once been such a prodigal], that I have a heart for special needs kids. Those who know me know of my oftimes fierce denouncement of racism wherever I see it. Regarding LGBT, I happily invite them to come to my local church, but I love them enough to tell them that Jesus paid the debt for their sin so they could be free from it; I don’t tell them they are free to sin [Romans 6:2] and go to hell because we “love” them too much or are too politically correct to tell them there’s a way of salvation. That’s true love: the kind that tells them what they need to hear rather than giving lipservice to love while letting them go to hell.

    On a final note, no one can celebrate both evolution and creation at the same time without being irrational, for these are antithetical concepts. I know your “reverend” says that evolution is simply the process by which God created, but it’s contradictory to state that an unguided, wasteful process that seeks to explain the world without God’s agency or an appeal to a supernatural Creator was the agency God used to create the universe. It’s like saying He did something by not doing anything at all!

    Think about it.

    In the meantime, I am writing the PCUSA [as an outsider] to see why they condone a nonbeliever in the pulpit.

Trackbacks

  1. More Presbyterian “Rev” John Shuck: Why He’s Not Saved & Why He’s a Minister Anyway « CreationLetter.com
  2. Give Me That Mountain! or Why Caleb Is One of My Favorite People In the Entire Bible « CreationLetter.com
  3. Presbyterian “Rev” John Shuck: Undermining The Authority of the Bible AND The Credibility of Atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman « CreationLetter.com
  4. On the Compatibility of Christian Faith & Evolution: Which Atheist is Lying To Us? « Defending Genesis

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