Protecting the Message of the Gospel

The first part of this blog post is a report from AiG researcher Steve Golden. He attended a conference in Kentucky recently and I thought it would be good to share the report he sent to me.

The “Together for the Gospel” conference—held in Louisville, Kentucky, last week—tackled the theme of “The Underestimated Gospel.” The speakers included Al Mohler, Russell Moore, Ligon Duncan, David Platt, Kevin DeYoung, John Piper, and many other Christian leaders. While many issues were discussed and the heart of the gospel message was defended, a few key statements resonated with me personally, particularly regarding young-earth creationism.

I cannot speak for each man’s positions on Genesis, although I know some of them deny the historical aspects of Genesis and others affirm it. What struck me about their positions on Scripture was their conviction that if one part of Scripture is considered untrustworthy then the very heart of the gospel message is affected.

During a panel on complementarianism, Pastor Greg Gilbert made the statement that if “corrosive principles” infect our reading of Scripture in one area, those corrosive principles will begin to infect our reading of Scripture in many other areas—eventually infecting the gospel message itself.

Even though Pastor Gilbert was not speaking directly to the issue of a literal Genesis, is that not the same principle we should apply to our reading of the creation account? If corrosive ideas such as millions of years or molecules-to-man evolution infect our reading of Genesis and we essentially deny the trustworthiness of the first words of Scripture, then won’t our reading of the rest of Scripture be adversely affected as a result? For example, if we assume Genesis is not meant to be taken literally, then we have to somehow reinterpret the Apostle Paul’s words on Adam because Paul clearly believes he was a real person (1 Corinthians 15:45). And if we can’t trust Genesis or some of Paul’s words, can we trust Paul’s presentation of the gospel? These are the effects of corrosive interpretive principles.

Al Mohler, in a panel session on the inerrancy of Scripture, offered a well-articulated defense of the trustworthiness of the entire Bible (as he did at AiG’s pastors’ conference at the Creation Museum last October). His key point was that “heresy precedes orthodoxy,” meaning that Christians do not feel the need to lay down affirmations and denials until something heretical infiltrates doctrinal teachings. And Mohler’s idea applies to Genesis as well as to any part of Scripture. Answers in Genesis exists because a false teaching—namely, the idea that old-earth evolutionary beliefs can be squared with Scripture—has infiltrated the church. We want to equip the church to view the Bible—the Word of the One who did the creating—as the ultimate authority, and therefore to honor the Genesis account of creation as the true account of our origin.

Dr. Mohler even tackled the issue of Genesis 1–11, saying that some of the most lamentable arguments against the trustworthiness of Scripture surround these first eleven chapters of the Bible. He used Peter Enns’ beliefs as an example of where a denial of biblical authority takes us. Enns does not believe in a literal Genesis, and so he argues that Paul was simply wrong about Adam and Eve, despite Paul’s clear belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Enns’ views do not simply hurt one isolated area of Scripture—the logical conclusion is that if Paul was simply wrong about Adam and Eve, he could simply be wrong about Christ. And so could all the other Apostles. We can see once again the effects of corrosive principles in reading Scripture.

I am grateful to Dr. Mohler for his stand on Genesis 1–11, particularly at a conference where there undoubtedly was disagreement on the historical aspects of the Genesis creation account. To sum up Dr. Mohler’s statements, if we accept that God is truth, we must accept that His Word is truth. I pray that those in attendance and those men of God who spoke are challenged to rethink their views on Genesis so that they honor Scripture as the ultimate authority and protect the very message of the gospel. Christ died to save sinners, and through His death and Resurrection we have a free gift of salvation that comes through faith in Christ alone. We can trust the truth of the gospel because we can trust the truth of all Scripture.

Overflow Crowds in Kalamazoo

Here are some photographs taken at Calvary Bible Church of Kalamazoo, Michigan as the AiG conference began yesterday:

The auditorium during one of the morning services.

Dr. Andrew Snelling addresses the adult/teen Sunday school class.

Tremendous interest in the resources.

Families love AiG resources.

Auditorium Sunday evening (there was also an overflow room being used).

Two protestors (one in the morning and two at night) picketed the church while the AiG conference was on.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken