Brian McLaren Celebrates Ramadan; Nazarenes Too?

False teacher Brian McLaren is at it again, now encouraging Christians to participate
 in observances of Ramadan! It was equally disturbing to see so much agreement
with this man's ideology on a NazNet series of comments. 

 Here is Pastor Ken Silva's review at Apprising Ministries:

BRIAN MCLAREN OF EMERGING CHURCH TO CELEBRATE RAMADAN

By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Aug 17, 2009

Apprising Ministries asks if you might remember Anne Holmes Redding, who claims to be both a Muslim and Christian simultaneously, and whom we discussed in An Emerging Christian Muslim Priestess For Allah Says, “Jesus Led Me Into Islam.”
Well, the Global Family takes another step forward; we just couldn’t make this kind of stuff up as, at his website Brian McLaren, unquestionably a leader in the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—morphing into Emergence Christianity (EC)—tells us in Ramadan 2009: Part 1 What’s going on?:

Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting for spiritual renewal and purification. It commemorates the month during which Muslims believe Mohammed received the Quran through divine revelation, and it calls Muslims to self-control, sacrificial generosity and solidarity with the poor, diligent reading of the Quran, and intensified prayer.
This year, I, along with a few Christian friends (and perhaps others currently unknown to us will want to join in) will be joining Muslim friends in the fast which begins August 21. We are not doing so in order to become Muslims: we are deeply committed Christians. But as Christians, we want to come close to our Muslim neighbors and to share this important part of life with them… (Online source)

However lovely the sentiment, God has clearly told us not to do what McLaren and the “Christians” committing this violation of Scripture with him are about to do because those in the false religion of Islam:

sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons… Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? (1 Corinthians 10:20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, NASB)

And yet, as we see in Ramadan 2009: Part 2 Why is a committed Christian joining faithful Muslims in observing Ramadan?, McLaren is the type of teacher the supposedly evangelical Rob Bell is allowing in his church. It’s time to wake-up to the fact that these men are developing a whole other quasi-Christian religion based on their synthetic reality skewed by their Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism.

END OF KEN’S ARTICLE

In conclusion, I also give you these scripture references from my friend Jim:

1Cr 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
1Cr 8:10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
1Cr 8:11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

1Cr 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

1Cr 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.


Folks, please warn as many people as possible about this false teacher who is pulling the wool over many eyes and leading them down a wide path of destruction.

Emergent Ideology is Here, What Will You Do?

It is clear to me, that the movement called the emergent church movement has slowly but surely infiltrated into the very heart of the Nazarene denomination.  There is no doubt about it now.  The only question now is, what do we do?  At first I thought it was just a few renegade churches and colleges, but that is not the case.  It is more than that, and it is very disturbing.  It has particularly been welcomed by almost all Nazarene universities, and even our seminaries and Bible colleges.

It is obvious in the universities, with the consistent invitation of false teachers like Brian McLaren to speak, most of the time unchallenged, at seminars and even college chapels.  It is also obvious when you see Open Theists like Tom Oord of Northwest Nazarene University and Michael Lodahl of Point Loma Nazarene University, and evolutionists like Karl Giberson of Eastern Nazarene University, openly challenging the sovereignty of God in their writings and lectures.
It is evident in the curriculums, courses, and undiscerning recommendation of books written by highly suspect authors at best, and at worst, authors who are false teachers, such as McLaren and Rob Bell, and prominent and popular writer and spiritual formation guru Richard Foster.

It is also evident from the growth in popularity of spiritual formation courses and seminars, and new degrees and positions for “spiritual directors”.  But, is something that is very popular and highly recommended by our most learned professors and theologians and even pastors, automatically good for Christians?  That is the $10,000 question.  The answer is obvious; not necessarily.  Let us not make the assumption that just because spiritual formation is the rage now, that it is a good thing that all Nazarenes should adopt without investigating, and especially when looking at these practices in light of scripture.  After all, is not scripture the final and only infallible authority for our Christian faith and practice?

Upon first hearing this term “spiritual formation”, it sounds pretty good to most people.  It makes me think of growth as a Christian, and perhaps how as we read and study God’s word, pray, and fellowship with other Christians, we continue to grow spiritually and mature every day.  Ah, but that’s where the hijacking of terminology by the emergent church movement comes in again.  They are very good at using a word we may have used for many years, yet they put a different definition to it. (The term missional comes to mind).

Spiritual formation is simply a package that when you open it, has all the contemplative spirituality practices that the emergent church is resurrecting from the Desert Fathers of old.  The contemplative spirituality movement, as I have written before, goes hand in hand with the emergent church.  Where there is emergent, there is contemplative prayer practices.  There are often prayer labyrinths.  There is lectio divina in some places. There are breath prayers, and prayer stations, and now for the youth, straight from Barefoot Ministries, are the prayer ropes, prayer labyrinths, and recommended pilgrimages to interspiritual places such as the Taizé community in France, a popular center for contemplative, Eastern-oriented, interspiritual practices.  Do these things sound like traditional Nazarene to you?

And of course, the Rob Bell NOOMA videos are very popular. He is clearly one of the biggest threats to our youth today, because he is such a good speaker, and sounds so nice and caring when he speaks, but the substance of what he says is often a downright perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Yet he is applauded at many universities, and the kids just keep marching like lemmings towards the cliff, not seeing in their naivete that they are being duped by a slick, well packaged product that does not pronounce condemnation of sin, and does not clearly spell out the fact that unless we repent and turn to Christ, we are all lost and totally sin-ridden rebellious losers who are headed straight to hell.

You see, the gospel of Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and so many others, is a gospel full of non-condemnation, little reference to coming judgment, and more references to saving the planet and wiping out hunger and poverty, and the “can-we-all-get-along and hold-hands-with-all-the-religions-to-save-the-world” mentality.  Which is why Rob Bell (along with Doug Pagitt)  appeared on stage with the Dalai Lama and leaders of other false religions last year, at the Seeds of Compassion Conference in Seattle, WA.  What a disgrace!  He even referred to the Dalai Lama as “His Holiness”.  What an affront to every true Bible believing Christian!  If anything, that title is only deserved to be addressed to our Lord Jesus Christ, and not to the Dalai Lama, who is leading many people straight to hell.
Along with being there with a well known group of false religious leaders, Rob never once spelled out the saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the thousands there, as far as I know! What a lost opportunity for a Christian leader.  And he is considered by some Nazarene pastors as a good resource for youth? In my opinion, any pastor who recommends Rob Bell or Brian McLaren for a good read, other than to learn how bad their theology is, is sorely lacking in discernment.  The following scripture puts his appearance there in perspective:

  • Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.
    As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
    (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Rob Bell, and sadly, some Nazarenes, need to re-visit this passage.  There is too much ecumenical mingling going on here with this we-are-the-world mentality.  Perhaps Rob Bell is worshipping the Jesus of the New Age, rather than the Jesus of the Bible.  Rob Bell must be shunned as a teacher, while at the same time, we need to pray for him as well.

So all that and more, is what is getting into our universities and some of our churches, right now.  So the state of affairs in the universities is such, that I would not recommend automatically sending any of your children to any Nazarene university, until you have investigated it thoroughly.  I have a seven year old, so he has a long ways to go yet.  But I also have a checkbook.  I can safely say that, until there is some clarification from them as to where they stand, I will not give one penny to any Nazarene university seeking my help.  You see, money talks, and perhaps it is time to start sending letters out, or even better, pay a visit to your prospective college for your son or daughter, and ask some hard questions, before making a commitment.  You see, I am one of many who believe that if you have that Nazarene name on your school, you had better be upholding essential Nazarene principles as well.  The “we are a liberal arts school with an open mind to everything” explanation does not hold water.

One final note, regarding our Nazarene website.  What puzzles me is the switching of words on one of the Nazarene NMI web pages.  I got my first warning flag last year, when I encountered on an NMI webpage, a page titled “Emerging”.  After reading it, my gut reaction was, did Brian McLaren write this?  The emergent language was practically jumping out at me.  Its the usual postmodern-like terminology and fuzzy words that sound nice, but leave you wondering what exactly did it mean.  Well, when I went to the same site a few weeks ago, I was stunned that the same exact article seemed to be there, but every occurrence of emerging or emergent, was changed to “developing”.  Everything else looked to be the same words from before.

So, instead of emerging, we are now developing?  How does that change things?  Should I stop my campaign of warning others about the emergent church movement and believe that it is over now?  Should I assume that there is no more ideology of the emergent church coming into our midst, since the word has been changed to developing on the Nazarene website?

We have been waiting since General Assembly, for a statement from the General Superintendents, regarding the emergent church movement.  I pray that that will come soon.  We need to know where our leadership stands on this matter.  It is only right, and fair, to inform us. We deserve clarification on this emergent issue, as well as the issue of inerrancy of scripture as it pertains to how Nazarenes should treat the Bible: as perfectly reliable in all it teaches, or as semi-reliable, which would open up doubt in the minds of many, as to whether they should trust the Bible at all?

These are crucial times in our denomination, and as a pastor friend has said to me several times, the pendulum often swings during critical times in the history of the church.  The question is, will the pendulum swing in the direction of the emergent church, with its postmodern thinking, and its attempt to lower the bar on scriptural authority?  Will we allow the “ancient traditions” to come in and influence us with a lessened reliance on trusting the word of God for direction, and instead do we start trusting experience-based and ritual-based processes?  Or will the pendulum swing in the direction of scripture as the only trustworthy arbiter of truth?

The good news is that there are pastors, laypeople, evangelists, and others rising up to speak out, and their voices are getting a little louder every day.  Something is happening, folks, and many are not taking this laying down.  This issue will need to be addressed, but in a very serious manner.  Not just with a simple statement from leadership that “we are working on the problem”.  There are too many souls at stake, and time is of the essence.  We need to return to true holiness preaching, and throw out the nonsense of emergent “conversations”.

The sooner the better.

USA Today: “We Believe in Evolution—and God”

Several Nazarene professors, one who is from my old school, ENC, are still making a name for themselves while spreading their misguided evolution ideology.  I wrote a piece a few days ago on this, but here is a review from Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis.  I felt it was worthwhile to keep the attention on this for another few days, and get the perspective from these folks who have such a great ministry defending the Bible’s truths about our creation.

Two Christian evolutionists send a broadside our way with a USA Today opinion piece this week. But do they bring up anything new?
The authors of the piece are Eastern Nazarene College professor Karl Giberson (whom we wrote about last November) and Point Loma Nazarene University professor Darrel Falk. Both are co-presidents of the new BioLogos Foundation established by Christian evolutionist Francis Collins (see the May 16 edition of News to Note).
The two begin with an unsurprising assertion: “We find no contradiction between the scientific understanding of the world, and the belief that God created that world. And that includes Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.” They add that molecules-to-man evolution “unifies the entire science of biology,” and that “evolution is as well-established within biology as heliocentricity is established within astronomy.” Then they bring out their biggest guns:

The “science” undergirding this “young earth creationism” comes from a narrow, literalistic and relatively recent interpretation of Genesis, the first book in the Bible. This “science” is on display in the Creation Museum in Kentucky, where friendly dinosaurs—one with a saddle!—cavort with humans in the Garden of Eden. . . . Science faculty at schools such as Bryan College in Tennessee and Liberty University in Virginia work on “models” to shoehorn the 15 billion year history of the universe into the past 10,000 years.

And hence the misinformation begins, which we will answer in turn. Here, we wonder if Giberson and Falk dismiss plain readings of other Bible passages as “ narrow” and “literalistic” even if those passages, like Genesis 1 show the hallmarks of being plainly worded historical accounts. And the early church fathers’ supposed doubt concerning a literal Genesis has also been dramatically exaggerated (see The Early Church on Creation). Also, as we have explained before, the saddled dinosaur in the Creation Museum is not an exhibit, but rather a fun photo opportunity for young children; it is in the basement, far from the Garden of Eden display. And the authors merely beg the question when they write that our friends at Bryan College, Liberty University, and elsewhere must “shoehorn” old-earth ideas into a young-earth framework.

Challenging accepted ideas is how America churns out Nobel Prize-winning science and patents that will drive tomorrow’s technology. But challenging authority can also undermine this country’s leadership in science, when citizens reject it. . . . [We aim] to counter the voices coming from places such as the website Answers in Genesis, which touts creation scientists, and the Discovery Institute, a think tank in Seattle, that calls on Christians to essentially choose between science and faith.

First of all, the professors have conflated operational science with origins science—a common problem we point out. Also we have made clear many times, we certainly do not reject science; we just do not believe that everything labeled “science” or that everything believed by scientists actually is good, objective science. Likewise, we regularly emphasize that the supposed dichotomy between religion (or faith) and science is false. The issue is not that we fight the encroachment of science; rather, we believe that one’s starting point is an inherently religious belief that determines how one interprets the results of the scientific method.

Darwin proposed the theory of evolution in 1859 in On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. This controversial text presented evidence that present-day life forms have descended from common ancestors via natural selection. Organisms better adapted to their environments had more offspring, and these fitness adaptations accumulated across the millennia. And this is how new species arose.

Natural selection is a readily observed, experimentally verified scientific fact that requires no historical speculation, and as such, our Creation Museum has an exhibit that explains it. We agree that natural selection can lead to new species within a kind as it reduces the genetic information in a population, resulting in sexual incompatibility where there previously was none. But Darwin and those who follow him extrapolate backward from these observations all the way to a single ancestor of all life. That assertion can never be proved right or wrong from fossils or any other present-day scientific study.

We are trained scientists who believe in God, but we also believe that science provides reliable information about nature. We don’t view evolution as sinister and atheistic. We think it is simply God’s way of creating. . . . Evolution is not a chaotic and wasteful process, as the critics charge.

We agree that the scientific method can show certain hypotheses to be more reliable than others through the process of attempted falsification. However, “science” does not provide anything—saying as much is to commit the fallacy of reification. We also would ask if the authors believe in the true, bodily resurrection of Jesus, given that such is as “scientifically” unverifiable as creation. Next, by using the word “sinister,” the authors imply that young-earth creationists are afraid of evolution. Rather, we understand the idea of evolution; it is simply that we don’t believe it is true for biblical and logical reasons. And the authors seem to be deluding themselves by writing that evolution is not “chaotic and wasteful,” given that young-earth creationists believe God created a world of life in one week without any death. The fossil record, however, is a record of death and includes evidence of violence and disease, such as cancer. Why would God call that “very good” if death is an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26) introduced by sin, which could not have occurred before man (Romans 5:12–14)?

We understand science as a gift from God to explore the creation, a companion revelation enriching the understanding of God we get from other sources, such as the Bible. Many do not realize that making the Bible into a textbook of modern science is a recent development. What we learn from science cannot threaten our belief in God as the creator. If God created the universe in a [b]ig [b]ang 15 billion years ago, guided its development with elegant mathematical laws so that eventually there would be big-brained mammals exploring things such as beauty, morality and truth, then let us celebrate that idea, not reject it.

Again, we agree that science can help us explore creation. But the authors’ description of it as a “companion revelation” forces a question: is everything reported in a scientific journal automatically as valid as Scripture? What about when the two come into conflict—such as if an archaeologist alleges that the Bible’s history is inaccurate? Again, the church fathers overwhelmingly believed in a recent creation as the Bible taught. And of course we do not make the Bible a “textbook of modern science,” since it is a book of history. And again, the authors fallaciously reify “science.” What Richard Dawkins believes the scientific method shows certainly does threaten one’s belief in God. Finally, there is the word if: “If God created the universe in a [b]ig [b]ang 15 billion years ago . . . .” The authors seem to misunderstand our perspective entirely, again, falsely implying that our position is due to fear or unwillingness to consider what it would mean to celebrate the big bang, etc.
Sadly, the visibility of Giberson and Falk’s piece will surely misinform many who don’t actually know what we and other young-earth creationists believe. Even while lobbying tired old defenses of theistic evolution, the authors did not answer a single of our substantive problems with compromise (which are documented in the articles linked below). Still, we are thankful for the continued attention on the Creation Museum, which continues to be the best chance many have for beginning to understand the creationist’s perspective—and for meeting the Creator.
Here are some other related links from Answers in Genesis:

Ten Dangers of theistic evolution:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v17/i4/theistic_evolution.asp

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/couldnt-god-have-used-evolution

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/why-christians-shouldnt-accept-millions

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/did-jesus-say-he-created-in-six-days

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/is-natural-selection-evolution

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/wow/does-the-big-bang-fit

Karl Giberson Promotes “Christian Evolution” At ENC

Following my comments here, is the full article by Karl Giberson (original column at blogs.usatoday.com) promoting the idea that evolution is compatible with Christianity.  Which would lead me to the conclusion that Adam and Eve were not real, I suppose; and that we should not believe the account of creation, that God spoke everything into existence and created Adam and Eve the way Genesis tells it.  Oh no, we need to have a more rational explanation for creation, and ignore what the word of God says.  We came from apes, of course, and the creation story is just an allegory.
You can accept this evolution theory if you want, but I don’t agree with Dr Giberson.  You can either believe in evolution, or you can believe God’s account of creation in Genesis.  Either way, it would be nice if more Christian parents knew more directly whether there are any professors at their Christian school teaching evolution as being compatible with Christianity, so they can make informed decisions on whether they will send their children to that school or not.

For me, and many other Christian parents, this is really sad.  To think that more and more professors at our own Nazarene universities and other Christian institutions, are basically saying, you cannot trust the Bible completely.  They argue, like Giberson, that the fossil record is overwhelming, when in fact it is not.  The evidence in creation itself is overwhelming that it came about from the hands of a creator being.  The fact is, the evolution theory is full of holes, and constantly is trying to justify itself over time, as more assumptions often get dis-proven.  In their haste to come up with more “evidence”, many evolutionists make leaps of faith, ironically, to come up with more evidence of evolution.

The evolution believing Christians bring up a strawman argument, as Dr. Giberson says below, “Putting modern scientific ideas into this ancient story distorts the meaning of the text, which is clearly about God’s faithful and caring relation to the world, not the details of how that world came to be”.  Oh really?  How did you come to that conclusion about the meaning of the text?  From the light of the scriptures, I hope.  The Bible claims that it is the word of God, so the word of God says that God created man and woman in the way that it is written.  So where in the scriptures leads us to the conclusion that we should only believe certain parts of the Bible, and not all?  I would also dispute much more of what Dr. Giberson says, such as: “The “science” undergirding this “young earth creationism” comes from a narrow, literalistic and relatively recent interpretation of Genesis, the first book in the Bible.”

Dr. Giberson laments the fact that in a recent Gallup poll, 47% of Americans believe that “
that God created man in essentially his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.”  Let me add another survey result he did not mention: only 9 percent of the Americans asked said they believe that man has evolved from simpler forms of life by a purely materialistic process extending over millions of years.” Less than 1 out 10! I believe that this reflects the fact that even though most people are familiar with the theory of evolution, a vast majority of them do not believe it to be fact!
And let’s accept his claim that the vast majority of scientists, even the Christian scientists, believe in evolution.  If so, that does not make it a fact at all.  A consensus of opinion does not make something true, does it?  Similar to the global warming hoax that has been dumped on us and sadly has fooled so many school children into believing than this planet will burn up in 10 years if we don’t do something.

Dr. Francis Crick, the co-discover of DNA, and an atheist, conceded “
the improbability of life’s chance origin simply defies calculation. Crick, an atheist, said: “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle.” (Is God An Evolutionist?  Dr. David Menton).  The probabilities of the intricate operations of the eye and all that it does to process light and then allow someone to see, being a result of evolution, is unbelievably high.  So high that a Cray supercomputer, would take at least 100 years to process and duplicate just part of what the eye does in a matter of a few seconds!  Dr. David Menton goes into detail on thiat, and it is just fascinating to me, after reading it, that someone would still hold on to the evolution theory as fact.  You can read his full article, Can Evolution Create An Eye?, at my blog, reformednazarene.  You will be amazed at the information, and that is just one part of the creation all around us.

Here’s some questions for you then, Dr. Giberson, and perhaps many in leadership positions should be asked these as well, just to see where they stand:
1. Was Adam and Eve real?  If yes, did they evolve, or were they created immediately into existence as in the Genesis account?
2. Jesus referred to Adam as a historical figure.  Would Jesus deliberately mislead us like that?  Should he not have referred to him as part of an allegory or parable?
3. Did the flood great flood occur?  Did Moses part the Red Sea?  Was Jonah swallowed up by a large whale or fish, and lived for three days inside? Which “stories” should I believe, and not believe?  Is God able to perform miracles outside of the scope of human scientific understanding?
4. Romans also references Adam, and explains how sin and death came into the world through Adam.  How is that so, if evolution came first, and all that violence and death from all those dinosaurs killing each other happened for millions of years before Adam?  How do you reconcile that statement by Paul in Romans chapter 12?
5. Is it not a stretch to believe that the amazingly complex things in this world came as a result of millions of years of simple organisms “evolving” into extremely complex creatures, merely by chance?  To think that something as complex as an eye, can just appear after millions of years, poof!  just like that?
I’ll give you just one example to ponder on, which I was reading a few weeks ago, and that is the example of the complexity of the eye, and what it does.  After you read Dr. Giberson’s opinion below (my comments are in red), look at this and then you decide what you believe: Can Evolution Produce An Eye?

Here are Dr. Menton’s comments near the end of his article:

The implications of evolution
The Scriptures tell us that “by sin, death came into the world,” and that the “the wages of sin is death… ” Evolutionists, however, vigorously deny that sin has anything to do with death, but rather that death is natural. Life, they insist, would be impossible without death.

Certainly, evolution would be impossible without death. Death, in fact, has been called the “engine” of evolution. Carl Sagan said: “Only through the deaths of an immense number of slightly maladapted organisms are we, brains and all, here today.”
picture
How foolish to think that the almighty and eternal Creator and Sustainer of the universe would have to bide His time, waiting for beams of staarlight to reach the earth.

Evolutionism inevitably breaks the relationship between sin and death, thus negating the need for a Savior who would save us from sin, death and the power of the devil.

Finally, when the Lord returns in glory on the Last Day, and the dead are raised from their graves, will scholars attempt one last naturalistic explanation for even this? Or will we finally concede that God does miracles beyond our understanding? Will we finally be still before the throne of God, and let God be God, though every man be found a liar? We will indeed! (Is God An Evolutionist?, from Issues, Etc, Dr. Davin Menton)


In conclusion, denying the historical account in the Bible will lead to doubting many other accounts in scripture, all based on human reason instead of trusting the scriptures for what it says. It opens up doubt in many minds, especially new Christians, whether any other parts of the Bible are true.  If a professor or pastor is willing to say that only certain parts of the Bible are true, where did they get the authority to say that?  And if that is the case, then why should I trust in any part of it?  How can someone who does not trust the Bible completely, then go on and say to me that I can trust the rest?  On what basis, their word?  That is the thinking of man at work, believing that he is wise, instead of trusting the word of God.  What is your choice today?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Karl Giberson Pushing The Evolution Religion At ENC

(My comments in red)

We believe in evolution — and God

Nearly half of Americans still dispute the indisputable: that humans evolved to our current form over millions of years. We’re scientists and Christians. Our message to the faithful: Fear not.

By Karl Giberson and Darrel Falk

The “conflict” between science and religion in America today is not only unfortunate, but unnecessary.

We are scientists, grateful for the freedom to earn Ph.D.s and become members of the scientific community. And we are religious believers, grateful for the freedom to celebrate our religion, without censorship. Like most scientists who believe in God, we find no contradiction between the scientific understanding of the world, and the belief that God created that world. And that includes Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

(Illustration by Keith Simmons, USA TODAY)

Many of our fellow Americans, however, don’t quite see it this way, and this is where the real conflict seems to rest.

Almost everyone in the scientific community, including its many religious believers, now accepts that life has evolved over the past 4 billion years. The concept unifies the entire science of biology. Evolution is as well-established within biology as heliocentricity is established within astronomy. So you would think that everyone would accept it. Alas, a 2008 Gallup Poll showed that 44% of Americans reject evolution, believing instead that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.”

The “science” undergirding this “young earth creationism” comes from a narrow, literalistic and relatively recent interpretation of Genesis, the first book in the Bible. This “science” is on display in the Creation Museum in Kentucky, where friendly dinosaurs — one with a saddle! — cavort with humans in the Garden of Eden. (Good!) Every week these ideas spread from pulpits and Sunday School classrooms across America. On weekdays, creationism is taught in fundamentalist Christian high schools and colleges. (Good!) Science faculty at schools such as Bryan College in Tennessee and Liberty University in Virginia work on “models” to shoehorn the 15 billion year history (questionable) of the universe into the past 10,000 years.

Evolution continues to disturb, threatening the faith of many in a deeply religious America, especially those who read the Bible as a scientific text. (We should read the Bible as God’s word, as it says repeatedly over and over!) But it does not have to be this way.

Paradoxical challenges

Such challenges to evolutionary science are paradoxical. Challenging accepted ideas is how America churns out Nobel Prize-winning science and patents that will drive tomorrow’s technology. But challenging authority can also undermine this country’s leadership in science, when citizens reject it.

Darwin proposed the theory of evolution in 1859 in On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. This controversial text presented evidence that present-day life forms have descended from common ancestors via natural selection. Organisms better adapted to their environments had more offspring, and these fitness adaptations accumulated across the millennia. And this is how new species arose.

In 1859 the evidence convinced many people, but not without challenges. Paleontology, the study of fossils, was new; no reliable way existed to determine the age of the Earth, and the physicists said it was too young to accommodate evolution; and Darwin knew nothing of genes, so the mechanism of inheritance — central to his theory — was shrouded in mystery.

But the biggest problem was dismay that humans were related to primates: “Descended from the apes? Dear me, let us hope it is not true,” allegedly exclaimed the wife of a 19th-century English bishop upon hearing of Darwin’s new theory. “But if it is true, let us hope it does not become widely known.” Uneasy Christians hoped the advance of science would undermine Darwin’s novel theory, which threatened their understanding of traditional biblical stories such as Adam and Eve, and the six days of creation. (The advance of science has undermined the theory of evolution, I believe evolutionists simply are ignoring the evidence!)

In the years since Darwin argued natural selection was the agent of creation, the evidence for evolution has become overwhelming. The fossil record has provided evidence of compelling transitional species such as whales with feet. The discovery of DNA now provides an irrefutable digital record of the relatedness of all living things. (The complexity of DNA is yet another piece of evidence that laughs in the face of the theory that such complex structures came about through random chance, even though the odss were in the trillions of numbers!).
And even the physicists have cooperated by proving that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, providing plenty of time for evolution. (Can you document this proof?  As you know, carbon dating can be wildly off in determining the age of rocks or fossils, and is not nearly an exact system as some might think).

Evolution is not the enemy

We are trained scientists who believe in God, (what about the trained scientists who thoroughly reject your evolution theory?  What about them?) but we also believe that science provides reliable information about nature. We don’t view evolution as sinister and atheistic. (Well, it does reject, by logic, various parts of the Bible, including Jesus’s own words, and the biblical teaching that sin and death came through Adam.  What about that?).
We think it is simply God’s way of creating. (”We think?”.  How about being more sure than that before teaching this to students?).
Yet we can still sleep soundly at night, with Bibles on our nightstands, resting atop the latest copy of Scientific American. Are we crazy? (Do you want me to answer that?:-).

Evolution is not a chaotic and wasteful process, as the critics charge. (Many trained scientists think so).
Evolution occurs in an orderly universe, on a foundation of natural laws and faithful processes. The narrative of cosmic history preceding the origin of life is remarkable; the laws enabling life appear finely tuned for that possibility. The ability of organisms to evolve empowers them to adapt to changing environments. Our belief that God creates through evolution is a satisfying claim uniting our faith and our science. This is good news.  (This is bad news; this is a rejection of the biblical account of creation, and a lack of trust in God’s word!).

We have launched a website to spread this good news (www.biologos.org) and — we hope — to answer the many questions those of faith might have. BioLogos is a term coined by Francis Collins in his best seller The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. Collins, the Christian scientist who led the Human Genome Project, joined “bios,” or life, with “logos,” or word, from the first verse in the book of John in the New Testament.

The project aims to counter the voices coming from places such as the website Answers in Genesis, which touts creation scientists, and the Discovery Institute, a think tank in Seattle, that calls on Christians to essentially choose between science and faith.  (Do you consider these “places” examples of crazy people, perhaps even crazy fundamentalists?  It appears to me they are calling on Christians to either believe in the Bible, or not!).

We understand science as a gift from God to explore the creation, a companion revelation enriching the understanding of God we get from other sources, such as the Bible.

Many do not realize that making the Bible into a textbook of modern science is a recent development. (I think this argument is a strawman argument also; we just believe the Bible, period!).

Many biblical scholars across the centuries have not seen it that way, concluding instead that the biblical creation story is a rich and complex text with many interpretations. Putting modern scientific ideas into this ancient story distorts the meaning of the text, which is clearly about God’s faithful and caring relation to the world, not the details of how that world came to be.
(Another strawman argument, because the meaning of the text, is what the text says!).
What we learn from science cannot threaten our belief in God as the creator. If God created the universe in a Big Bang 15 billion years ago, guided its development with elegant mathematical laws so that eventually there would be big-brained mammals exploring things such as beauty, morality and truth, then let us celebrate that idea, not reject it.
(So you believe in the Big-Bang also?  An incident which itself defies a couple of the very laws of science that even you and I agree with, such as the second law of thermodynamics?  How can that be?).

Karl Giberson is a professor at Eastern Nazarene College, co-president of the BioLogos Foundation and author of Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution. Darrel Falk is a professor at Point Loma Nazarene University, co-president of the Biologos Foundation and author of Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds Between Faith and Biology.

Manny Silva

“The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” Psalm 119:160

Roman Catholicism Is Being Taught To Nazarene Youth (Part 2)

(This article and most of those I have been posting are relevant for any denomination, not just Nazarene.  Take heed and beware of what is being taught at your child’s university or in your youth groups, and use discernment).

In the previous post, I discussed the Barefoot Ministries book for youth, Sacred Life.  Although not all of the book’s chapters were discussed, I wanted to touch on a few other points I had not made.  I will then follow with a review of the second book I read, called Sacred Space.

In Sacred Life, I discussed the use of material from St. Ignatius and his work, Spiritual Exercises, and how he was deeply into mysticism, asceticism, and other spiritual practices which are unscriptural.  We also talked about the practice of the Jesus Prayer, which is simply “vain repetition” as forbidden in the scriptures, and the use of prayer ropes to aid in such type prayers.  In other words, praying the rosary is what is being taught in this book for Nazarene youth!  To have gone into some of the other methods, which were mentioned, would have made the article three times as long, but I covered enough ground to come to the conclusion that this is not recommended for any Christian youth to use as a guide for faith and practice.

Pilgrimages to Interspiritual Communities?
However, I will mention one more item from Sacred Life, before moving on.  There is the chapter on pilgrimages.  Someday I would love to go to the Holy Land and see it all.  I think most Christians would jump at that opportunity if they could.  But what does Mike King recommend as one of the pilgrimages to go on?  First, he states “in addition to the most common pilgrimage destinations connected to biblical places (Israel, Palestine, Rome, …”…“here are some other pilgrimage ideas”.  He goes on to specify seven locations, but the one that caught my eye was his recommendation to go to the Taize (pronounced teh-zay) prayer community in France.  Well, he calls it a prayer community, and that sounds all good and well, but again, a little more detail in description from Mr. King would have discerning Christians shocked, amazed, dumbfounded, appalled.

The Taize community is more than “just a prayer community”.  It is a hotbed of contemplative mysticism and interspirituality!  Lighthouse Trails Research describes it as this: “”Taize is an ecumenical prayer service designed to achieve a contemplative state through music, song and silence.”   Taize worshippers practice the silence with icons, candles, incense and prayer stations, and the description from Lighthouse says the same sentiment that King says, that it is attracting youth from all over the world.  David Cloud, in his excellent book documenting contemplative heresies, describes it like this: The Taizé services are non-dogmatic and non-authoritative.  There is no preaching” (Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond, pg. 9).

And this description: “It does not dictate what people must believe.  No confessions of faith are required.  No sermons are given.  No emotional, evangelical-style testimonials are expected.  Clergy are not required” (“Taizé,” Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, Sept 20, 2002).
For the details on this outrageously non-Christian community, go to their own website: http://www.taize.fr/en.  Mr.  King, what were you thinking when you recommended this?  You are either ignorant of what this is all about, or you know what it is, and you obviously embrace this interspiritual, universalistic type of ideology.  And this is where you recommend Nazarene youth take a pilgrimage to?

Pagan Practices in the Nazarene Community

On to Sacred Places.  This book is essentially two things, and I could argue, one thing in different forms.  It is mostly about walking through prayer stations in various situations and places, and secondly, it gives instructions on how to use a prayer labyrinth, which is another way of “doing” prayer stations.

In the opening instructions, it says: “Sacred Space… is your guide to an ancient practice for drawing closer to God.  It involves prayer and meditation using prayer journeys.  A prayer journey is a meditation that is done by moving through different stations, concentrating on a different aspect of the meditation at each station.” (p.7).  Okay, already on page 7, I’m a little suspect.  Where in the scriptures is this ancient practice described?  Does Psalms perhaps instruct us on how to meditate on God’s word by using different prayer stations?  No, certainly not.  I agree, these are ancient practices, but they are NOT ancient Christian practices, that withstand the scrutiny of scripture!  Further on, it says: “the traditional meditations are generally used on a prayer path or prayer labyrinth, but they can be used just about anywhere” (p. 7).  Traditional, yes.  Scriptural, no.

Finally, they ask the question of why we should pray this way?  The answer: “currently there is a hunger for authenticity and a desire to embrace the mystery of life. As you read this, ask yourself if you have hungered for authenticity and the mystery of God.  This ancient tool allows you to have both.”  Really?  I thought that most Christians have a desire to embrace the teachings of the Lord Jesus and the apostles, as revealed in scripture.  The things that Jesus has revealed to us are not mysteries.  And have you ever woken up one morning and felt that you “hunger for authenticity?”
That is just another emergent buzzword that is thrown around as part of their vernacular, and it really is a smokescreen to divert Christians into thinking that for 2,000 years, we have not had true authenticity, and now here is the way to be authentic, and at the same time, embrace the mystery of God.  In other words, let’s get mystical, because that is how you can really get to know God, in a way you never thought possible.  Friends, we get to know God by studying His word diligently, and with a clear mind that is thinking on His word and learning the meaning of God’s instruction through proper biblical study.

The prayer stations are just another form of doing what is called in Roman Catholicism, Stations of the Cross.  The chapters give instructions on how to do prayer stations in the following situations: in a public park, at the mall, on a campus, in the outdoors, and on a mission trip.  At the mall, for instance, the identified stations could be: the entrance, a candle store, an expensive jewelry store, a store window, a trendy clothing store, people passing by, the toy store, and the mall exit.

As an example of how to focus, when at the expensive jewelry store you are asked to:

  • “Spend a moment browsing through the jewelry store. Pick out your favorite item, a watch, a ring, or a necklace.  A store employee will probably ask if you need help.  Note how they treat you if they find out you are just looking and not buying….”

It goes on like this at other stations, with recommended scriptures, AND specific prayers for you to recite.  Enough said, you will need to perhaps read the entire book to understand how this plays out, but what it is, is is step by step guidelines that if followed correctly will bring some type of new experience with God that you would not have otherwise, like simply reading scripture to understand it.

Using A Pagan Ritual: The Labyrinth
Finally, there is the prayer labyrinth. At the end of the book are instructions on how to make a prayer labyrinth.  Again, the writers go out of their way to say “meditating at stations along a path is an ancient tradition”  (p. 123).  Again, I ask, but is it scriptural?  Far from it!  Let me tell you where the prayer labyrinth came from.  It is not a Christian tradition, although it is ancient; in fact, its much older than Christianity. The labyrinth’s roots come from pagan religions, including Greek mythology, centuries before the time of Christ. In mystical Judaism it is called the Kabala.  It is not found anywhere in the Bible!

David Cloud says about the labyrinth that “it was Christianized by the Roman Catholic Church as part of its desperate search for spirituality apart from the Bible” (Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond, pg. 89).  This statement very simply describes what the contemplative prayer and spiritual formation movement is all about: searching for spirituality apart from scripture.  What Richard Foster promotes is no different from what the “ancients” promoted and practiced: mystical and occultic systems of worship that take the focus away from proper scriptural teachings and instruction.

In his book, A Time of Departing, Ray Yungen states: “Those walking the labyrinth will generally engage in centering prayer or contemplative prayer by repeating a chosen word or phrase while they walk, with the hope that when they reach the center of the labyrinth, they will have also centered down and reached the divinity within” (A Time of Departing, p. 179).

Yet the writers give instructions on how to set a labyrinth up, and even proudly tell you to go to the Barefoot Ministries website to get detailed instructions and facilitator’s guidelines!

Bottom line: these things are extra-biblical.  The Bible warns us against ritualism.  (Matthew 6:5–8).  We do not need any new revelation from practices such as these; all that we need is found in scripture, and is sufficient for our faith and practice.

  • and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.(2 Tim. 3:15–17 NKJV)

All we need is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.  He is the only Way, Truth, and Life.  Rituals such as these diminish the sacrifice that He gave on the cross.

But now the emergent church is promoting these practices, and right inside the Nazarene church and other denominations.  Look at the labyrinth at Trevecca Nazarene University.  Look at the labyrinth used in a church’s District Assembly report.  I could go on and on.  They are appearing everywhere.

(Apparently some of us have touched a few nerves in the Nazarene hierarchy: at the NMI website, the word Emerging has been replaced with Developing!  (http://www.nazarenemissions.org/10002/story.aspx).  I have no doubt the emergent ideology along with its focus on contemplative mysticism and “ancient” and “traditional” practices has been embraced by many Nazarenes, yet countless “average” Nazarenes are not aware of it- yet.  What will you decide to do, accept or reject it?  If you accept, what is your basis for accepting?

We need to raise our voices and speak out against these practices, for if we keep quiet or look the other way, it will be a very shameful thing we do if we allow another gospel to come in and destroy the faith of our youth.

  • “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).