Yesterday at church, we had a speaker from Answers in Genesis whose 50-minute talk was titled: “Creation vs. Evolution: Why It Matters.” He painted a picture of the decline of American Christianity, the lack of moral absolutes both outside and inside the Christian Church, and the moral decay of our nation. The direction of the talk was that it’s time to fight back, storming the castle of evolution, burning the flag of hedonism, and popping the balloons (it was clip art, what are you gonna do?) that are the symptoms of this worldview (sexual immorality, pornography, alternative lifestyles, etc.)…but to still love the people who inhabit that castle, even as they’re jumping out of the crumbling structure into the surrounding moat.
Here’s the thing. I agreed with much of the content. I am a “young earth” guy, which means I have studied the issue and am fully at ease with a Judeo-Christian view of the age of the earth being approximately 6,000 years (5,779 according to the Jewish calendar). I am morally conservative on issues of Biblical purity and my concern over the chaos that will ensue if we let “everyone do what is right in his own eyes.” And I fully believe that God set this design in order for our own good, that we would live in lifelong marital monogamy. Does this matter? Yes, absolutely!
The question I wrestled with on Sunday and am still wrestling with today is: How do I affirm creation (more specifically, Biblical truth) while maintaining a loving view toward others that builds bridges, not chasms?
It shouldn’t be difficult, but it is really easy to come across as a narrow-minded, judgmental bigot when you hold certain points of view. And I’m not a narrow-minded, judgmental bigot! (Which, I know, is absolutely what somebody would say if they actually were a narrow-minded, judgmental bigot.)
Here are a few “don’ts”:
- DON’T be dismissive or condescending. A great way to talk to someone about same-sex marriage isn’t by saying, “Pretty soon a man will be marrying three women, or a woman will be marrying a dog, and did you hear about the guy who married his parakeet?” I’ve heard stuff like this, and it’s not a great bridge-builder. Say it with me: gentleness and respect, gentleness and respect.
- DON’T be unloving or overly judgmental/reactionary. We’re not great at listening these days, as the battle lines are already pretty clearly drawn in our culture. In my experience, listening to learn more about someone else’s viewpoint is more effective than listening in order to better formulate a rebuttal.
- DON’T be overly simplistic. Some of these societal issues are complicated, and so is some of the science. I love studying the science of everything from the scale of the universe down to the most microscopic. But I shouldn’t pretend to know everything about everything. That’s a really good way to get caught with my foot in my mouth. The same goes for cultural issues, where it’s really easy to paint a picture where “correlation means causation” in the moral downfall of our country. The church has lost much of its moral high ground on cultural decay, so we need to tread lightly (or better yet, humbly).
Now, here is one “do”: Be FOR things more than you are AGAINST things. We could preach some really long sermons if we detailed everything we’re against. The things we are “for” are simple:
- I believe the Biblical view of the origins of life are defensible.
- I believe the science of history supports a Biblical timeline.
- I believe the science of geography supports a Biblical timeline.
- I believe the science of archaeology supports a Biblical timeline.
- I believe the science of sociology supports a Biblical framework and value system.
- I believe trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior should make you a better scholar, not a worse one.
- I believe science and God are not at odds, because God created the laws of science that hold our world together!
- I believe God, by definition, is able to create all things out of nothing.
- I believe the Biblical account of creation is essential to the Biblical accounts of redemption and salvation.
- I believe Jesus is the foundation upon which Biblical truth and grace are built, and we’ll never properly understand the account of creation apart from faith and trust in Jesus.
There is SO much more to say about this, but that’s a start…