Christian Colleges and Compromise

A recent article in Christianity Today provided yet another example of the compromise going on in our Christian colleges. The article concerned Dr. Darrel Falk, who is a professor of biology at Point Loma Nazarene University—a Christian university in California—but he believes in millions of years and evolutionary ideas. Dr. Falk thinks that the church should also embrace this sort of thinking. He has been the president of BioLogos for the past few years—a group dedicated to propagating evolution and millions of years among Christians.

Well, Dr. Falk recently announced his resignation from his position as president of BioLogos (effective at the end of the year). At about the same time, Christianity Today published an article about Dr. Falk’s life, how he came to faith in Christ, and how he has reconciled evolution with the Bible. Dr. Falk calls himself an “evolutionary creationist,” which really is just another term for theistic evolutionist.

I have quoted Dr. Falk in some of my talks before, to show how some university professors at Christian schools are compromising on Genesis and teaching students to do the same. In one interview, Dr. Falk is asked the question, “If a young Christian undergraduate came to you and said, ‘what is our current understanding of the best proof for the age of the universe,’ what would you say?” Dr. Falk’s response plainly reveals his bias toward evolution and millions of years:

The age of the universe is around 13 billions years old. I would talk to them a little bit, and I would say the age of the earth is 4.3 billion years old. I’ve got various books I could refer them to, and I would go through and say, “Here’s the kind of data that shows the age of the universe.” And I would kind of lead them through that process of the role of astronomy that demonstrates so clearly how old the universe is; the age of the rocks which tells us how old the earth is. (You can listen to Dr. Falk’s full response on YouTube.)

First, it’s interesting to point out that the standard response from many evolutionists is that the earth is 4.5–4.6 billion years old. But Dr. Falk is claiming 4.3 billion—that’s 200–300 million years different! Now, Dr. Falk is a professing Christian and is teaching at a Christian university, so why would he choose to answer a student’s question about the age of the earth and universe without ever looking to Scripture? (Or maybe he did mention the Bible in the interview and the magazine did not quote him—but I doubt he did, considering how much I have seen of him in video interviews.) By not using the Bible as his basis, he’s essentially telling his students that what God’s Word has to say about the age of the earth and universe cannot be trusted.

I wrote about the compromise of Christian colleges and seminaries on Genesis in my coauthored book Already Compromised. Dr. Falk’s answer to the question above highlights perfectly the struggle our children will face trying to find biblically based answers to their questions in the university system. Even Christian universities are not exempt!

But do you know what I thought was even more interesting about this article? In Dr. Falk’s testimony, he said that as a child and teenager he believed Genesis was historical! The author wrote about Falk’s first encounter with evolutionary ideas. “In junior high he [Falk] encountered a textbook that pictured humans evolving from apes. He didn’t believe it was true—his church read Genesis with a strict literalism—but he feared that it might be and that his faith would be undone.” I suspect, after reading the article, that he wasn’t taught apologetics at church so he would be able to defend the Christian faith and know why evolution and millions of years are incorrect.

When did he begin to doubt the truth of Genesis? In college, when he took his first biology courses! Of course, Dr. Falk did not attend a Christian college, but the point is still the same—he was taught evolutionary ideas as fact, and he began adopting those as his starting point over God’s Word. The author writes that when Falk first examined the intricacy of the cell, he decided, “evidence that all of life is related due to common origin was clearly written in the cell.” The author goes on, “In the church of his boyhood, he found no place for this knowledge or this beauty. He only knew how to read Genesis as six-day history, which he could not reconcile with what enthralled him in the laboratory.”

Well, there are two problems with Falk’s conclusions here. First, he paints the church as somehow anti-science, as though the church doesn’t recognize the complexity of the cell. Of course Christians are not anti-science—at least not regarding science that’s observable and repeatable. The Bible teaches that God spoke into existence everything in creation, including those intricate cells Falk observed. Secondly, a literal reading of Genesis does not prevent Christians from pursuing and enjoying science. The Bible is our starting point and we are able to better interpret and use observational science because of it. However, by and large, most churches have failed to teach generations creation apologetics so they will not be led astray by the world’s false teaching. This became very clear from the research detailed in the book Already Gone, where we documented why so many young people are leaving the church when they become adults.

Dr. Falk’s encounter with evolutionary ideas contributed to his “slide away from the faith,” as the author calls it, noting that “it wasn’t principally because of science.” But Falk’s belief that evolution and millions of years can be mixed with Scripture had a lot to do with it, considering that when he did decide to go back to church, he could not find one that was thriving and that held to evolutionary ideas.

Dr. Falk’s experiences as a student and the outcome of his education in biology are a perfect example of what can happen to Christian students whose faith is shaken by evolutionary ideas. And the way he handles answering questions about origins for his students now serves as yet another warning for parents as they help their children choose a college to attend. Our children must be taught that Scripture is sufficient and that an attack on Genesis is an attack on the trustworthiness of Scripture as a whole.

I would encourage you to read the book Already Compromised for more information on how Christian colleges are compromising, and to visit www.CreationColleges.org for a list of schools that hold to a literal Genesis.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken

(I wish to acknowledge the research assistance of Steve Golden in the writing of this blog item.)