In December 2008, I founded CreationLetter.com with the aim of providing a Biblical creationist response to atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s Clergy Letter Project. At the time, the Clergy Letter had nearly 12,000 signatures. In the 8 years since, Zimmerman’s NOMA-based Letter has gained about 1400 more signatures. Since 2006, Zimmerman has also promoted Evolution Sundays (and later Evolution Weekend).
Here’s a basic breakdown of participation over the years:
Not exactly a pattern of spectacular growth. Answers in Genesis rightly characterized Zimmerman’s efforts as “An Atheist’s Fizzle.”
To be fair, though I haven’t really kept track of numbers for several years, my efforts to provide an answer to Zimmerman’s Letter and his Evolution Weekend have met with a small amount of support. I suspect that the reason for this is that [a] I’ve been rather passive in promoting CreationLetter.com and CreationSundays.com (What can I say? I’m just one man in West Virginia and I have a life outside of this project), and [b] the sort of conservative Christianity that has an interest in actively defending the historical veracity of Genesis is deeply fragmented. The doctrine of secondary separation (the idea that we must not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, apostates and heretics nor those who do not separate themselves from such) has become a pernicious source of schism within the Body of Christ. Alt-fundamentalists (i.e., hyper-fundamentalists, ultraconservatives, Bob Jones separationists, Modern-day Pharisees and Judaizers, and legalists by any other name) have hijacked the doctrine of separation far beyond what Jesus Himself practiced… meaning that if they were consistent they’d have to separate themselves from Jesus too! There is also (sadly) a sort of proprietary view of such efforts among major creationist organizations. Basically this means that many creationist organizations won’t support each other’s efforts or support a project jointly. It has to be their project, more or less.
I digress. The point is that there are Christians who affirm Biblical Creationism but who will not lend support to any venture that either [a] does not have a detailed beliefs statement and/or [b] has any point of doctrinal difference. Statistics show that Biblical [young earth] creationism has more public support than theistic evolution. According to Gallup polls beginning in 1982, an average of 44% of Americans espouse the view that God created everything over six days less than 10,000 years ago compared to nearly 40% who hold the theistic evolutionist position implied in atheist Michael Zimmerman’s Clergy Letter Project. Only about 14% affirm the sort of all-natural evolution taught exclusively in our public schools. So statistically, unless Zimmerman’s padding his numbers with atheists (and he is), if the level of support for the Clergy Letter (which implies a belief in theistic evolution) is 13,400, the level of support for a Biblical creationist letter should be 14,740.
Alas, this is far from the case with CreationLetter.com. Despite national recognition each year for our CreationSundays.com outreach and despite being promoted by a major creationist organization (Answers in Genesis), the current number of signatures is merely 383. This means I’ve only been able to secure 0.025% of all potential signatories. So CreationLetter.com hasn’t been very effective, numerically speaking.
On the other hand, we have been able to answer the hubris of Zimmerman’s efforts. For example, we’ve pointed out that many of those who’ve signed his pro-evolution letter are rank apostates. We’ve also noted how many of the churches slated to celebrate an Evolution Sunday were doing nothing of the sort! More importantly, we’ve dissected the Letter itself to highlight it’s logical and Scriptural flaws.
Which brings up one other thing that CreationLetter.com has consistently done: we’ve challenged the way Dr. Michael Zimmerman misrepresents the significance of the Clergy Letter Project. He has used the Letter as a bully club over the years to suggest a greater level of support for evolution in the church than actually exists, to suggest that the creation/evolution debate is just an in-house argument, and, more recently, to suggest that at over 13,000 ministers support various things that he himself supports. For example, in a recent blog post, he claims that over the past year the “Clergy Letter Project” condemned Islamophobia and homophobia, made its first ever political endorsement, and sent an open letter to the Secretary-Designate of the US Department of Education “urging her to respect the religious differences present across the country and not privilege the beliefs of a small minority.”
Um, waitaminute. Didn’t we just note that, statistically speaking, a belief in all-natural evolution is the view of a small minority? Oh, that’s right; he’s misrepresenting Biblical creationism as a minority view again. Silly atheist.
Inarguably, “thousands of ministers” didn’t do any of these things. Zimmerman just did it in the name of the Clergy Letter Project.
And this is why we will continue the effort at CreationLetter.com. Michael Zimmerman and his Clergy Letter Project cannot continue to make their claims unchecked.
If we accomplish nothing else but an expose’ of the errors and hubris of Zimmerman’s efforts, we will have provided a service to mankind and the church. Yet we’ve done more than that. CreationSundays.com is an internationally recognized effort that was built into the Creation Letter. The fact that many churches now dedicate an annual church service to the doctrine of Biblical Creationism is one of my proudest achievements.
Going forward, we promise to continue to promote Creation Sundays and to expose the lies of Dr. Zimmerman and his Clergy Letter of compromise.
“The thought that aliens might be living on other planets may sound innocent enough. But lurking underneath are some deep theological dangers.”
This little blurb begins Dr. Danny Faulkner’s article, “Is Belief in Alien Life Harmless?” in the Oct/Dec 2015 issue of Answers magazine. It lets us know right from the start where the article is heading. No surprises. Little green men are bad for the Bible.
Dr. Faulkner’s conclusion is just as starkly bleak for Christians who love science fiction:
“So while alien visitations might have a fun place in frivolous fiction, the heart-felt belief that life really does exist elsewhere can have eternal ramifications.”
As a science fiction author, I had to know what he had sandwiched in between these statements to support his claim.
Dr. Faulkner begins by referring to a 2012 Kelton Research survey of a random sample of 1114 Americans adults. Of those…
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Reposted from AnswersinGenesis.org [Feb 10, 2012] regarding Evolution Weekend 2012, including an overview of atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s efforts and how they’ve largely failed to make an impact in USAmerican churches.
This weekend is “Evolution Weekend” or so proclaims atheist Michael Zimmerman. This atheist has been working with certain clergy to influence church and culture to believe evolution and millions of years. But is this project really that successful? Who are these pastors who have joined with an atheist?
According to Wikipedia (sometimes you have to take it with a grain of salt), “Michael Zimmerman (born 1953) is an American biologist and Vice President for Academic Affairs / Provost at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He previously served in a number of academic and administrative positions including Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis and Dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh for 14 years. Before moving to Wisconsin, Zimmerman spent 12 years at Oberlin College as a professor of biology and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to that he worked at The College of William and Mary as well as Hampshire College.”
Zimmerman’s involvement in the creation vs. evolution controversy goes back to the 1980s. He was writing against creationists while working with a group called “Ohio Center for Science Education” and editing their newsletter. The National Center for Science Education (headed up by atheist Eugenie Scott) awarded Zimmerman their “Friend of Darwin Award” in 2007. He currently writes for the left-leaning Huffington Post website (where we often read articles that vehemently attack those who take God’s Word as written). Zimmerman lists the evolutionist and liberal BioLogos as a website of interest along with NCSE and other pro-evolution organizations.
Let’s read what Michael Zimmerman claims about himself in his own words; he states, “In fact, I too am an atheist. And I’ve been one for 40-years but what I think is important is that we recognize that people can believe what they want, that there are lots of different kinds of worldviews, there are lots of questions that are asked. Science, as powerful as it is, can only answer a subset of the questions that are of critical importance to humans” (Conversations with Christian and Atheist Activists: Michael Zimmerman).
Zimmerman started what he called “The Clergy Letter Project.” He states the following on this page:
For too long, the misperception that science and religion are inevitably in conflict has created unnecessary division and confusion, especially concerning the teaching of evolution. I wanted to let the public know that numerous clergy from most denominations have tremendous respect for evolutionary theory and have embraced it as a core component of human knowledge, fully harmonious with religious faith.
In the fall of 2004, I worked with clergy throughout Wisconsin to prepare a statement in support of teaching evolution. We were called to action by a series of anti-evolution policies passed by the school board in Grantsburg, WI. The response was overwhelming. In a few weeks, nearly 200 clergy signed the statement, which we sent to the Grantsburg school board on December 16, 2004. Additionally, groups of educators and scientists sent letters to the Grantsburg School Board and to the Superintendent of Schools protesting these policies. In response to all of this attention, as well as the efforts of others, the Grantsburg School Board retracted their policies.
The outpouring of support from clergy around the country encouraged me to make this a nationwide project. If you want to read more about it or join us in sharing this important perspective, click here. Encourage your clergy to consider signing the statement and please feel free to link to these webpages.
The Clergy Letter Project has also sponsored annual Evolution Weekend events. These events provide an opportunity for congregations around the world to come together, in the way each feels most comfortable, to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. By doing so, we are educating thousands and elevating the world-wide discussion of this important topic. If your congregation would like to participate in an Evolution Weekend event, please contact me.
Most recently, The Clergy Letter Project has created a data base of scientists interested in working with clergy members to answer questions about all aspects of evolution. To view this growing list, click here (If you are a scientist and would like to be added to our data base, please send me a note.)
Founder and Executive Director
The Clergy Letter Project
The Clergy Letter Project is cosponsoring a website with the “Center for Inquiry Austin” (a secular humanist organization) to promote evolution in Texas schools.
But who really are these clergy who sign this letter? Is the project really successful in this atheist’s attempt to infiltrate the church with his anti-God beliefs? Well, the majority of those signing the “Christian Clergy Letter” are from liberal denominations that include an inordinate number of female pastors and churches of secular humanism (Universalist, for example).
The Clergy Letter Project resulted in an annual event to promote evolution in churches. It was originally called “Evolution Sunday” (2006 and 2007), but in 2008, it was changed to “Evolution Weekend” to accommodate Jewish congregations and those churches that meet on Saturday.
Now let’s look at some statistics since 2006 concerning the number of congregations that participated in this evolution promoting weekend:
- 2006 Evolution Sunday—462 congregations
- 2007 Evolution Sunday—618 congregations
- 2008 Evolution Weekend—841 congregations
- 2009 Evolution Weekend—1049 congregations
- 2010 Evolution Weekend—861 congregations
- 2011 Evolution Weekend—652 congregations
- 2012 Evolution Weekend—554 congregations (as of the writing of this blog post)
It must be discouraging for this atheist and his liberal clergy friends to see a major downward trend in participation since 2009. He’s lost almost 50% of participating congregations since the 2009 Darwin celebrations.
Now consider the following list of the primary denominations and organizations participating in Evolution Weekend (these numbers are subject to change):
- Unitarian Universalist (79)
- United Church of Christ (74)
- Episcopal (58)
- Lutheran (58—mainly ELCA)
- Methodist (52—virtually all United Methodist)
- Presbyterian (45—mainly PC-USA)
- Jewish (43)
- Baptist (9—American Baptist for the most part)
- Unity Church (7)
- Friends (6—Quaker)
- Metropolitan Community (3—homosexual churches)
- Gnostic Churches (2)
- Muslim (1)
Other interesting participants include the following:
- Suncoast Hospice (What kind of message do you give dying people based on evolution?)
- Gardenia Center—“Bringing the metaphysical community together”
- Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago
- Center for Spiritual Living Long Island
- Osher Institute for Life Long Learning
- Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (Nashville Chapter)
- Machar—The Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism, D.C.
- Officers of Avalon (“We seek to provide a community and network for Pagan first responders and to serve as a voice for them.”)
- Religious Science of Greater Milwaukee
Now what do you notice about these churches and organizations? They are mostly either very liberal theologically or well known anti-Christian organizations. Not surprising at all is that the leaders of these Institutions would decide to yoke with an atheist! (It is also interesting to note that Crooked Creek Baptist Church of Indianapolis gives mention of Dr. James McGrath—anti-creation blogger and ardent AiG opponent at Butler University whom I have written about a number of times. I gather this may mean McGrath will either preach or teach a class on evolution this weekend.)
Now, after looking at the list of churches above that are part of this Evolution Weekend project, consider the following statistics from 2000 reported by the Association of Religion Data Archives concerning the number of churches in the USA:
- Baptist: 62,649
- Lutheran: 18,327
- Methodist/Wesleyan: 38,535
- Orthodox: 2,039
- Presbyterian: 13,952
- Reformed: 1,764
Here are the individual denominations:
- Southern Baptist: 41,514 (included in 62,649 Baptists above)
- Catholic: 21,791
- Churches of Christ: 13,027
- Assemblies of God: 11,880
- Mormon: 11,515
- Episcopal: 7,314
- United Church of Christ: 5,863
This source claimed that there were 268,240 congregations in the USA, including Buddhist, Hindi, Muslim, Mormons, Zoroastrians, etc.
So what does this mean? As would be expected, a small number of very liberal churches and a number of secular humanist organizations are promoting “Evolution Weekend.” But, by far the majority of churches in the USA have nothing to do with this atheist–founded project.
So, we do praise the Lord that this atheist’s efforts to infiltrate the church have largely failed!
But, the church needs to be warned about the spiritual battle that is going on around us. And sadly, even though Zimmerman’s “Evolution Weekend” is a fizzle (though the secular media often make out that it is a major impacting project), much of the church has already been infiltrated by those who compromise evolution and millions of years with the Bible. In one sense, many churches have an “Evolution and/or Millions of years Weekend” every weekend as they don’t take the stand they should on the authority of the Word of God.
Let’s pray that Christian leaders will stand up and be counted in this nation for their stand on the authority of God’s Word beginning in Genesis.
And let’s pray that churches who do preach the Word of God as they should would never yoke themselves with an unbeliever like Zimmerman.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Evolution Weekend’s Book Promotion Undermines Atheist Founder’s Argument For Compatibility of Evolution And Christianity
At some point over the last few years, atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman signed me up to receive updates for his Clergy Letter Project and Evolution Weekend. I never asked for this dubious honor. Nevertheless, it is occasionally useful to me.
For example, recently, I received the following Evolution Weekend promotion:
“Dear Members and Friends of The Clergy Letter Project,
It’s not too late to sign up for Evolution Weekend 2014 – but it is getting close! Please join with hundreds of your colleagues from around the globe to raise the quality of the dialogue about the relationship between religion and science. To make it even easier to celebrate Evolution Weekend 2014, here’s a free book offer!
Thanks to the generosity of The Clergy Letter Project’s good friends at Polebridge Press and the Westar Institute, I have free copies of Lloyd Geering’s new book, From the Big Bang to God, to give away to help you prepare for Evolution Weekend 2014.
Polebridge Press describes this exciting new book by saying, “Until two hundred years ago, most people in the Western world believed that earth and sky were no more than six thousand years old. Then science brought that date into question. In the pages of From the Big Bang to God, Geering simply and concisely tells the story of evolution and traces the rise and fall of God as a human response to discoveries about the universe.”
The Rev. John Shelby Spong has said, “Lloyd Geering is one of the wonders of the theological world. For the past fifty years he has been a voice calling organized religion to deal with reality. This book brings theology and evolution together in a magnificent dialogue.”
You can read more about the book and you can listen to Clergy Letter Project member Rev. John Shuck interview Lloyd Geering by clicking here.
I’ll award a free copy to every fourth person who requests one until all copies are claimed. If you’re not one of those to receive a free copy, Polebridge has also generously agreed to provide a 20 percent discount to Clergy Letter Project members who order online. Simply go to http://www.westarinstitute.org/store/from-the-big-bang-to-god/ and enter CLWP20 as a discount code at checkout to receive 20 percent off the normal price.“
Let’s quickly examine this promotion.
First and foremost, he’s promoting the big idea that microbes-to-man evolution and Christianity are compatible. They are not. One proposes a supernatural origins and the other an all-natural origins. They are wholly incompatible.
Secondly, he’s promoting a book by an allegedly Christian author who is a champion of evolution to help folks celebrate Evolution Sunday. [Oddly, Geering does not appear to be a signer of Zimmerman’s Clergy Letter as of the writing of this post!] Zimmerman provides a quote from Spong, who gives the author a raving review. Unfortunately, Spong is an infamous apostate of the worst sort, denying God, the resurrection of Christ and other key elements of Christianity in numerous books. So his endorsement of Geering is not at all reassuring, to say the very least.
Zimmerman likewise encourages us to listen to an interview between the author and John Shuck. As noted on this site elsewhere, Shuck is an unbelieving apostate to rival Spong. I find it odd that Zimmerman blithely continues to refer to Shuck in connection with Evolution Weekend and the Clergy Letter Project since Shuck actually undermines his credibility!
Zimmerman fails to note that Geering also authored another book with the telling title of Christianity Without God. A short list of Geering’s unbelief includes the following: God is not a personal being, there is no life after death, human beings have no eternal souls, the Bible is not infallible, Jesus was not divine but wholly human, and that Jesus’ remains lie somewhere in Palestine and that the interpretation of His resurrection as a physical resuscitation is in error.
In order to promote interest in an event that is supposed to show how Christianity and evolution are compatible, Zimmerman offers a book by a faithless apostate interviewed by another apostate and endorsed by yet another apostate. Oh, and did I mention that the book in question basically says that we made up God to explain the universe and that we don’t need this concept anymore? How is that notion at all compatible with traditional Christianity?
Yeah. Epic fail, Dr. Zimmerman.
If this is the only sort of logic evolutionists are capable of, I fully expect Ken Ham to rip Bill Nye a new one in their up-coming debate on February 4th.
In the meantime, as always, I urge you to celebrate a Creation Sunday this Feb 9th rather than this logically-challenged atheist’s proposed Evolution Sunday. I also encourage you to get involved in Question Evolution Day this Feb 12th.
Atheist Michael Zimmerman Pleas For Consistency: How That Would Effect the Teaching of Evolution In Schools
Atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman has written another alarmist HuffPu puff piece claiming that Barbara Cargill, chair of the Texas State Board of Education, is trying to sneak creationism into public schools.
Cargill’s sin is that she advocates “teaching another side to the theory of evolution.” Despite accurately quoting her as saying that faith-based theories should be taught at home or in church, not in the public school classroom, Zimmerman attempts to poison the well by suggesting that when she says we need to teach another side to the theory of evolution, she reeeeeeeeeally means that we need to teach religion-based alternatives. Because he has grossly distorted her meaning, he goes on to accuse her of being inconsistent with the stated position of the Methodist Church which roundly condemns teaching creationism in public schools.
But that’s not what she’s saying. Here’s what she said:
“Our intent, as far as theories with the [curriculum standards], was to teach all sides of scientific explanations. … But when I went on [to the CSCOPE website, ] last night, I couldn’t see anything that might be seen as another side to the theory of evolution. Every link, every lesson, everything, you know, was taught as ‘this is how the origin of life happened, this is what the fossil record proves,’ and all that’s fine, but that’s only one side.”
CSCOPE is a curriculum management tool developed by Education Service Centers around the state and used by many school districts. Cargill’s point was that if CSCOPE reflected the intent of Texas’ curriculum standards, it would not present a one-sided view of all-natural evolution. Instead, it would teach BOTH the strengths AND weaknesses of evolution.
Teaching evolution critically is not the same thing as teaching a religion-based alternative. I realize that as an atheist Zimmerman has to poison the well somehow. He is misconstruing her as saying she wants creationism taught in schools, because he no doubt realizes that if all-natural evolution is taught critically in schools, students may reject it in favor of religion-based alternatives. And that is a possibility, but that doesn’t mean that schools are overtly advocating any religion-based alternatives by exposing children to non-religious criticisms of evolution [the abiogenesis problem, the gaps in the fossil record, irreducible complexity, whence came the information, etc].
In fact, if we were being consistent, we could not advocate the uncritical teaching of all-natural undirected evolution in public schools even one day longer! You see, if we were to call the teaching of evolution’s weaknesses unConstitutional on the basis that it could add credence to a religion-based alternative, we have a problem: humanism is recognized by the Supreme Court as a religion and undirected evolution is one of it’s central tenets, so if we cannot teach something because it might support a religion, we could not consistently teach all-natural evolution in schools in the uncritical manner we have been doing so in lest we support the recognized religion of humanism!
I wonder if Zimmerman realizes that he’s cutting off his nose to spite his face when he opposes the critical teaching of evolution rather than an uncritical, one-sided indoctrination.
Here’s to hoping the country adheres to a consistent application of the establishment Clause rather than Zimmerman’s dream of a fascist humanist state.
Hypocrisy: Evolution Weekend’s Michael Zimmerman Calls the Creation Museum a “Theme Park” During Plea Against Name-Calling
Well, Evolution Weekend is upon us again and atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman has written his obligatory HuffPo post promoting it. Once again, he claims that lots and lots of signatures from liberal and apostate clergy somehow prove that Christianity and microbes-to-man evolution are compatible.
Oh, he did add some nonsense about being outraged that Young Earthers are telling people they will go to hell for believing in evolution [Holy Straw Men, Batmen… NOT TRUE]. Every major creationist organization is on record as stating that you can be a Christian whether or not you believe in millions of years of evolution. Rather it’s a Biblical authority issue, not a salvation issue. But thanks for completely misrepresenting your opposition, Zimmerman.
The irony… nay, the hypocrisy is that after quoting President Barack Obama as saying, “We cannot treat… name-calling as reasoned debate,” Zimmerman makes repeated pleas for reasoned debate and against name-calling…
Only to call the Creation Museum a “theme park” in the very next breath. Way to take your own advice, Mike. You’ve reeeeeeeally elevated the discussion with your use of weasel words [aka name-calling]. Kudos.
Celebrate a Creation Sunday tomorrow instead of an Evolution Sunday.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14
“For since in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:21
What the modern creationist movement – and Christianity as a whole – needs is more Gospel preachers. That might sound like a funny thing to say at first glance. After all, don’t we live in a world saturated with Christian media? Don’t we already have countless ministries dedicated to the defense and proclamation of the Gospel?
I certainly think we could use more apologists and even more Christian media, but the reason I’m saying that we need more Gospel preachers is because we have few who are doing it effectively. We need to preach the whole Gospel from Creation to the Cross to the Consummation, with a renewed emphasis on God’s wrath and eternal judgment. As a preacher, I’ve noticed that sin, the law and hell generally get only a cursory nod, but the Good News can only be fully appreciated in light of the Bad News. These days, many preachers deliver an abbreviated version or another gospel entirely, one that promises us great benefits for a token fealty. Worse still, we preach a message that has no context.
I began thinking about this as I was listening to Dr. David Menton speak at a 2010 Answers For Pastors conference. He noted that one of the many deficits of the Intelligent Design movement is that it lacks a history. Humanists and secularists have begun to become aware of the importance of an overarching story to provide a context for our beliefs.
CreationLetter.com and CreationSundays.com are two of the better-known ministry outreaches of DefGen.org. When I discovered that over 12,000 Christian clergy had signed atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s pro-evolution letter that called Adam and Eve and other Biblical accounts “teaching stories” akin to Aesop’s Fables, I decided to do something about it. I created CreationLetter.com to allow Christians [clergy in particular] to sign a letter affirming the historical veracity of Scripture. Since Clergy Letter signers also preach evolution from our very pulpits on Evolution Sunday, we began encouraging folks to have a Creation Sunday instead. At some point, we became aware that some churches were using Michael Dowd’s Epic of Evolution, also called the Great Story, as part of their Evolution Sunday celebrations. Michael Dowd describes his Epic of Evolution as “humanity’s common creation story. It is the 14 billion year science-based sacred story of cosmic genesis, from the formation of the galaxies and the origin of Earth life, to the development of self-reflective consciousness and collective learning, to the emergence of comprehensive compassion and tools to assist humanity in living harmoniously with the larger body of life.”
Interestingly enough, Connie Barlow1 acknowledges that “a coherent cosmology (creation story / worldview) through which to enjoy and securely navigate the years of childhood wonder, learning, and innocence” is a “basic human requirement.” Train up a child…
Yet when she comes into churches to teach children the Great Story, what does she teach about the ultimate authority of the Bible? She gives kids a skewed view of God’s Word:
“Do we present children with only the shiny bright side of ancient religious stories and teachings?” she asks. “Wouldn’t that be unfair to them (and us!) — perhaps encouraging them to regard religious scripture as good and “holy”, like many of their friends do, rather than as just one more book to which modern critical and moral reasoning must be applied? “
It’s clear in her treatment of the Noachian Flood that her goal is to discredit the Bible and twist its revelation to suit her own humanist agenda:
“…Do we continue to promote “religious literacy” in children by using the picture book Bible story of Noah’s ark, with a rainbow overhead and cute creatures filing onboard two-by-two? Or do we share the dark and horrific side as well — and at what age? After all, if we invite children to put on their thinking caps, isn’t one obvious outcome a gasp of horror when they recognize what happened to those left behind? There, floating around the ark as the waters subside would be billions of bloated bodies: drowned bunnies and dead puppies and all the millions of boys and girls who were not taken aboard. Freely thinking, we begin to see that it is God who was responsible for this terrible crime against nature, against sentient life forms, and against innocent children.”
This skewed view of God and the Bible also extends to the Resurrection of Christ:
“And is there anything honorable to be done with the religious underpinnings of Easter? Is an alleged supernatural resurrection from death anything we want to have our kids take seriously enough to ponder and make up their own minds about? Do we want to expose our children to the fact that human beings not only used to torture people by nailing their hands and feet to wooden planks but that the cross that some of their Christian friends wear around their necks is an even more barbaric symbol of capital punishment than a noose? …Thank goodness the Easter Bunny gives us a secular alternative.”
Her real fear is that if children aren’t imprinted with the Epic of Evolution that they’ll believe in Christ Jesus:
“Let us not leave the business of imprinting to the whims of the world outside the family home, outside our church community. Imprinting in one way or another will occur. If there is a substantial gap in a child’s relational bond with the world at large, that gap will be filled — perhaps when their best friend says, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” and then extends an invitation to church camp.”
Michael Dowd has professed in his book, Thank God for Evolution, that he thinks of the supernatural as “pre-natural.” In other words, once we come up with all-natural answers, he presumes the supernatural is invalidated. A lot of people have this attitude. Science has wed itself to pure naturalism and refused to allow a Divine foot to enter the door. As a consequence, all science can offer us are all-natural answers which may or may not be true – and are certainly false where supernatural agency was responsible! The hitch is that science via naturalism is prevented from ever acknowledging the supernatural. Only all-natural answers are allowed. This is why Richard Dawkins must dissemble that the design he sees in nature is only “apparent design.” Yet a lot of folks make the assumption that once an all-natural answer is found, the supernatural answer must be discarded as pre-natural, pre-scientific ignorance. Professing themselves to wise, they’ve become fools who say in their hearts, There is no God.
Dowd, an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ [to their condemnation], denies the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and his physical resurrection from the grave2, the latter doctrine being a non-negotiable requirement of authentic saving faith per Romans 10:9. Seeing the supernatural as a synonym for the unnatural, he tells the Gospel as follows:
“An unnatural king who occasionally engages in unnatural acts sends his unnatural son to Earth in an unnatural way. He’s born an unnatural birth, lives an unnatural life, performs unnatural deeds, and is killed and unnaturally rises from the dead in order to redeem humanity from an unnatural curse brought about by an unnaturally talking snake. After 40 days of unnatural appearances he unnaturally zooms off to heaven to return to his unnatural father, sit on an unnatural throne, and unnaturally judge the living and the dead. If you profess to believe in all this unnatural activity, you and your fellow believers get to spend an unnaturally long time in an unnaturally boring paradise while everyone else suffers an unnatural, torturous hell forever.”
Is this how you would tell the Gospel? Remember that when these evolutionary evangelists come to your area that our children, most of whom are educated in government schools, have already been taught this Big History and apologetics for millions of years of evolution. In other words, they’ve been primed for the anti-Christ humanist message of folks like Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd!
We need to teach our children true history from the Bible instead. It isn’t enough to refute to evolution. The notion of millions of years is derived from the concept of uniformitarianism, the idea that the present is the key to the past. Many Christians fail to recognize that uniformitarianism presumes that God has never acted in the past to interrupt or override the processes we observe today and likewise sees supernatural revelation [the Bible] as irrelevant to the search for truth. Ironically, God promises us in Genesis 8:22 that we should expect to see uniformity in nature, but this promise is made after Creation, the Fall and the Flood! When children are being taught the history of the universe in terms of millions of years, their hearts and minds are being prepared to accept an all-natural worldview that excludes the supernatural from all consideration and divorces God from reality.
Some will probably object that we need only preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 2:2, but I must point out that the same Apostle Paul wrote that epistle started with creation when he spoke on Mars Hill. In Acts 17, Paul lays some groundwork for the Gospel, spending time to correct Greek notions of the Creator God, and then proceeds to speak of divine judgment and the Gospel itself. Some have pointed out that Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 concentrates only on the Gospel and judgment and that it was more effectively [numerically speaking] than Paul’s sermon to the Greeks; however, in Why Won’t They Listen?, Ken Ham makes a valid point that Peter spoke to a crowd with a foundational knowledge of the Scriptures, whereas Paul had to build from the ground up. In terms of the Parable of the Sower, Paul was dealing with a culture whose fallow ground was full of stones and choking weeds unreceptive to Gospel seed, whereas Peter dealt with ground that had been plowed and prepared for that glorious moment at Pentecost. Ham makes the argument that our present lack of success in evangelism stems from a common root: the culture’s lack of a Scriptural foundation. Whereas we could at one time preach only Jesus Christ and Him crucified and hundreds if not thousands would respond at mass crusades, in today’s post-Christian society we have few who understand what we mean by original sin and other basic Biblical doctrines.
Our situation is analogous to that of New Tribes Mission’s efforts to reach the Mouk Tribe of Papau, New Guinea. These missionaries tried traditional evangelism methods with almost no success. In order to reach a people with absolutely no Bible knowledge, they began with two months of Old Testament Bible stories. Only after this foundation was laid did they begin teaching about Christ. After teaching them about God and the Bible, NTM missionaries taught them about “Creation, and Adam and Eve, and man’s choice to sin. We explained how God promised a Savior would someday come to deliver us from sin.”
As a preacher, I’ve noticed that sin, the law and hell generally get only a cursory nod, but the Good News can only be fully appreciated in light of the Bad News. We are, one author has put it, selling Jesus, emphasizing the benefits of salvation while minimizing the parts folks might object to, like taking up our cross daily, hell and judgment, probable religious persecution, and repentance resulting in a changed lifestyle. This tendency to soft-sell the Gospel has resulted in a Christianity more concerned with personal fulfillment than self-sacrifice, prosperity rather than service, and comfort and popularity rather than evangelism and discipleship. Even though our Great Commission says to make disciples, we have pews full of believers who suppose that we’re really supposed to get folks to make decisions and that discipleship is somehow Next-Level Christianity. Rather than warning folks to count the cost, as Christ did, we tell them that nobody will be looking when they raise their hand.
These problems vanish when you start preaching the Greatest Story. You understand that a loving Creator made the world and crowned it with man, made in His own image. When you understand that Adam and Eve’s sin was rebellion/high treason against God’s command, you naturally realize that the same Jesus who is Savior must also be Lord of your life precisely because Christ is the Creator. You understand that the judgment of a worldwide flood in the days of Noah was righteous and that man was ultimately responsible for this awful event. When you read the Ten Commandments, you’re struck with your inability to save yourself, just as you’re reminded that way back in Genesis God promised a Redeemer. Which leads us to the Cross and to Christ. We used to call this the Greatest Story Ever Told. We just need to get back to faithfully telling it, from the beginning, just as God revealed it to us in His Word.
- All Connie Barlow quotes from her essay, Imprinting Is Not Indoctrination [8/30/10, TheGreatStory.org/imprinting.pdf]
- Comment asked by nephewofjesus on HuffPo article, New Atheists Promote Bible Study? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/nephewofjesus/new-atheists-promote-bibl_b_1320555_140325325.html and answered by Dowd: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/MBDowd/new-atheists-promote-bibl_b_1320555_140485474.html. He answered, “No, of course not, nephewofjesus! I know the difference between ancient mythic revelation and current evidential revelation. I also know the difference between inspiring myth and inspiring fact. It seems that you do not.”