Nazarenes Defending Evolution

Blatant compromise in the church today sadly continues to be encouraged by many Nazarene university professors. Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California, has been the headquarters for BioLogos (probably the leading group promoting compromise on Genesis in the USA). The former president of BioLogos, Dr. Darrel Falk, is a professor of biology at Point Loma.

Well, Point Loma Nazarene University is hosting a conference next year called “Nazarenes Exploring Evolution.” On the conference website, the description states, “The Nazarenes Exploring Evolution conference will explore the compatibility or incompatibility of evolution and Christian theology in the Wesleyan tradition.” But are the conference speakers really interested in looking at the obvious incompatibility of evolution, millions of years, and the Bible? Well, judge for yourself—I’ve found and included quotes from each of the speakers (at least, the ones who have been announced so far) on their view of evolutionary ideas.

Mark Mann, associate professor of theology at Point Loma, writes in an essay that he accepts evolution—and that other Christians should too:

I believe that this is the case with evolution—that the time has come for Christians to come to see that their opposition to evolutionary theory is based upon an incorrect reading of Scripture. . . . Nevertheless, what I think is clear is that evolutionary theory not only can be demonstrated to be commensurate with Scripture, but can also give us deeper insight to what Scripture has to say about how God is at work within creation. (Mark Mann, “Creation, Incarnation, and Evolution,” Nazarenes Exploring Evolution, exploringevolution.com/essays/2013/02/20/creation-incarnation-and-evolution.)

Thomas Oord, professor of theology and philosophy at Northwest Nazarene University, writes about evolution and the Bible on his blog. In one post, titled “Evangelicals Accept Evolution,” he exhorts evangelical Christians to do just that—accept evolution:

We Evangelicals are adamant that we seek truth. Simply put, the general theory of evolution best accounts for the biological evidence we find in our world. Not accepting evolution means not accepting the best overall theory available to account for the data we find. . . . But Evangelicals can and should believe that God works through various evolutionary mechanisms as the initial and ongoing Creator of all things. There is no scientific reason to reject that God creates through evolution. I believe God works through or alongside natural selection, genetic mutation, self-organization, and other evolutionary mechanisms. . . . The key to seeing the Bible as consonant with evolution, therefore, is to ask about the purpose of Scripture. Evangelicals regard the Bible as reliable for revealing God’s will concerning salvation. They should not consider the Bible a scientific textbook against which contemporary science—including evolution—be judged. (Thomas Oord, “Evangelicals Accept Evolution,” For the Love of Wisdom, thomasjayoord.com/index.php/blog/archives/evangelicals_accept_evolution.)

Michael Lodahl, professor of theology and world religions at Point Loma, explains his view of evolution and the image of God in an essay on the Exploring Evolution website:

I still believe that God, revealed in the history of Israel – and revealed supremely in the person and works of Jesus – is the Creator of all things. I still believe that God has created human beings in the divine image. I also assume that God’s mode or method of creating is through the painstakingly gradual processes that we call ‘evolution.’ . . . This would mean that Genesis 1 does not encourage us to think of our being created in God’s image in terms of hierarchical superiority or absolute difference from all of the rest of God’s creatures. Instead, we are entrusted with a task that roots us deeply in this world with our fellow creatures. That task, to be sure, requires intelligence, creativity, and imagination. But there is no reason to assume that these capabilities could not have developed slowly and gradually through the processes we now identify as ‘evolution.’ (Michael Lodahl, “Humanity in the Image of God,” Nazarenes Exploring Evolution, exploringevolution.com/essays/2013/05/20/humanity-in-the-image-of-god.)

Another speaker at the conference is Richard Colling, a former biology professor at Olivet Nazarene University (another Christian college). In a BioLogos documentary, Colling talks about how sad it is that children are taught by their parents and pastors that “believing in evolution is sort of like denying the Christian faith. And so then they come to college and in that setting they learn that evolution is real, and that it’s part of God’s grand design. It literally broke my heart to see so many young students sometimes in my office in tears because their parents are telling them and their pastors are telling them that you’ve got to reject the science to be a Christian. And I just didn’t see that that was necessary.” Colling wrote a book called Random Designer, in which he asserts that “life began apparently 3.8 billion years ago” (p. 93).

Karl Giberson, who was formerly with BioLogos and Eastern Nazarene College but left BioLogos to pursue writing, is also one of the main speakers for the conference. Now, Giberson has written a number of books, including one where he rewrites Genesis to fit in with evolution and millions of years. (For more, read my blog post on Giberson’s book.)

During a discussion with Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic Magazine, Shermer asked Giberson how he reconciles Christianity and evolution. Giberson responded, “It’s only if we get distracted by the first couple of chapters of Genesis and elevate them in importance beyond what’s appropriate that we have a real conflict” (Karl Giberson, “Clip 1: How do you reconcile Christianity and evolution?” Templeton Foundation, www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNU9y-hgLJI).

What a low view of Scripture! So here is another example of a professing Christian teaching people that they can mix evolution and millions of years with Scripture. Of course, as I’ve said many times before, believing in a young earth and six literal days of creation is not a salvation issue—but it is an authority issue. And it’s a gospel-related issue, for believing in death, bloodshed, disease, and suffering before sin undermines the gospel! What Giberson and all these other men are teaching is that fallible, finite, sinful man’s opinion on origins is far more trustworthy than the infallible, omniscient, sinless God’s account of our origins in Genesis. (See my previous blog on Giberson for a fuller explanation of what he believes.)

Finally, Dr. Darrel Falk is speaking at the conference. Dr. Falk, like all of the men above, holds to a form of theistic evolution (BioLogos refers to it as “evolutionary creationism”). Parents, I want you to see what Dr. Falk would say to your children if they were students in his biology courses and wanted to know about the age of the universe:
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Did you hear that in the video? A universe that’s billions of years old, an earth that’s millions of years old, the rocks tell us how old the earth is—basically, fallible man’s opinions are greater than God’s  infallible Word. This issue really comes down to an authority issue—what will we believe? Man’s word or God’s Word? It’s not likely that the speakers at this conference will be highlighting the incompatibility of evolution with the Bible, since all the major speakers so far are convinced that the two can be mixed. Now, one of our scientists and a former professor at a Nazarene college, Dr. Georgia Purdom, has been invited to be a panelist at a session during this conference. I also understand that there is “a call for papers,” and if a paper is accepted, the author (e.g., an evolutionist or non-evolutionist) will get to give a short presentation during the conference. But as I look at the current schedule, it appears the event is dominated by evolutionists.

I urge you to pray for these compromising men, and for the people who attend this conference who may be lead astray by their blatant compromise of God’s Word in Genesis.  Pray that these teachers (whom God will one day hold accountable for what they have taught) would change their minds and see how their evolutionary/millions of years view of origins undermines God’s Word and the gospel. Because without a literal Genesis, a literal Adam and Eve, and a literal Fall—if death and sin have always been in the world—then there was no reason for Christ to die. But as the Apostle Paul says in Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

Make sure you begin your search for a college for your children by starting with the list at www.creationcolleges.com.  At least the colleges on this list have stated they agree with the stand of Answers in Genesis regarding the historicity of the Bible’s first book.

And if your child goes to a compromising Christian college like Point Loma Nazarene, don’t be surprised if they begin to doubt and ultimately reject the Word of God!  God hates compromise—and so should you!

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken

Steve Golden assisted in the writing of this blog post.