recent New York Times
op-ed, “The Evangelical Rejection of Reason,”1
would’ve busted a blood-pressure machine had I been connected while reading.
According to authors Karl W. Giberson, a “former professor of physics” at Eastern Nazarene College, and Randall J. Stephens, an associate professor of history there, affirmation of what many of us consider to be the basics of Christian faith, such as belief in a literal, recent, six-day creation, renders one anti-intellectual, and perhaps even un-Christian.
“Like other evangelicals, we accept the centrality of faith in Jesus Christ and look to the Bible as our sacred book, though we find it hard to recognize our religious tradition in the mainstream evangelical conversation,” they assert. “Evangelicalism at its best seeks a biblically grounded expression of Christianity that is intellectually engaged, humble and forward-looking. In contrast, fundamentalism is literalistic, overconfident, and reactionary.”2
Now, some Seventh-day Adventists would strenuously reject any association with “evangelicals.” Many more equally abhor “fundamentalism” as they understand it. However, in attacking core evangelical beliefs such as Creation and the sanctity of marriage, and in asserting, “Christian theology can incorporate Darwin’s insights and flourish in a pluralistic society,”3
Giberson and Stephens give their blessing to the kind of flaccid faith that likely won’t sustain anyone through anything. They are diminishing, in essence, some of the core beliefs of Adventism.
If the Bible account of Creation isn’t true, as Giberson and Stephens imply in offering to “incorporate” Darwinism in Christian faith, what must logically follow?
If there’s no Creation . . .
. . . where, and how, did sin enter the world?
. . . why do we need a Savior?
. . . from what did God, if He even exists, rest?
. . . why should we rest if, absent Creation, there’s nothing from which God rested?
. . . how can we believe anything else in the Bible?
One of the more popular fallacies being floated these days is that the Creation account found in Genesis is an allegory, a “celebration,” much in the way the ancient Hebrews took seven days to mark the inauguration of a temple.
Nonsense. Either the Creation account is true, or we can all sleep in next Saturday morning. As one speaker recently put it: “If God did not create man in His own image . . . how can we truly believe that He can re-create
us for a new heaven and a new earth?”
In the intellectual redoubts in which deconstructionism masquerades as “inclusiveness,” we are seeing the fruits of such exposition: good Christian youths leaving the institutions at which they arrived full of faith suffused with doubt, and drifting away from the church. The only surprise is that we expect anything different from those who seem to hold conformity to the world’s standards above allegiance to the Lord of hosts.
And yet it is those of us who try to uphold the Bible as the ultimate standard who are derided, whether it’s in the pages of the New York Times
or through media closer to many of our homes. It’s odd, isn’t it, that the much-vaunted “tolerance” of some has so little room for defenders of “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV).4
I make no apologies for believing the Bible. I do not regret taking God at His Word. And I have to believe, and pray, I am not alone among Adventists in these views.
1 See Giberson and Stephens, “The Evangelical Rejection of Reason,” NYTimes.com, http://nyti.ms/qxrFB6, accessed online October 18, 2011.
4 Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Mark A. Kellner is news editor of the
Adventist Review. This article was published December 8, 2011.