Karl Giberson’s BioLogos Taken To Task

The following is a post by Dr. Albert Mohler in another “battle” with Nazarene evolutionists Kark Giberson and Darrel Falk, the main leaders at BioLogos, and proponents of “Christian evolution” and open theism. Another team member is Professor Lowell Hall, from Eastern Nazarene College as is Dr. Giberson.  Dr. Falk is from Point Loma Nazarene University.
Many of us continue to raise questions about professors such as Giberson and Falk, as they continue to push the biblically untenable position that we all came from apes, that science is superior over scripture, and that the biblical account of creation is a myth, and Adam and Eve were fables.  It’s nice to see theologians like Dr. Mohler defend scripture, but it would be great to see some Nazarene writers start to express their opinion as to whether they agree with Drs. Giberson, Falk, and other Nazarene rofessors promoting this as the only serious way to read the Bibles account of creation, or whether they trust the Bible’s account, as well as trust Jesus and the apostles themselves in their affirmation of creation and Adam and Eve.

Update: Some Nazarenes have spoken out!  This Nazarene pastor is concerned and has said some things regarding the evolution problem: http://nazarenesforbiblicalcreationism.blogspot.com/

No Pass From Theological Responsibility- The BioLogos Conundrum

Tuesday, November 9, 2010, Dr. Albert Mohler

BioLogos is a movement that asserts theological arguments in the public square in order to convince evangelical Christians to accept their proposals. They now have the audacity to ask for a pass from theological responsibility. That is the one thing they may not have.

Public debate is unpredictable by nature, but I have to admit that the approach undertaken by the folks at BioLogos continues to amaze me. The BioLogos movement is a straight-forward attempt to persuade evangelical Christians to embrace some form of evolutionary theory. Organized by a group that includes Dr. Francis Collins, now the Director of the National Institutes of Health, the movement seeks to marginalize objections to evolution among conservative Christians. It offers a very sophisticated website and an energetic communications strategy.

The BioLogos approach to the issue is now clear. They want to discredit evangelical objections to evolution and to convince the evangelical public that an acceptance of evolution is a means of furthering the gospel. They have leveled their guns at the Intelligent Design movement, at young earth creationism, and against virtually all resistance to the embrace of evolution. They claim that the embrace of evolution is necessary if evangelicalism is not to be intellectually marginalized in the larger culture. They have warned that a refusal to embrace evolution will doom evangelicalism to the status of an intellectual cult.

Furthermore, they have been breathtakingly honest about the theological implications of their arguments. Writers for BioLogos have repeatedly made the case that we must relinquish the inerrancy of the Bible and accept that the biblical writers worked from a defective understanding of the world and its origins. They have asserted, for example, that the Apostle Paul was simply wrong in assuming that Adam was an historical person from whom all humans are descended. They have been bold and honest in rejecting the biblical account of the Fall as historical. They have warned that an affirmation of biblical inerrancy has led evangelicalism into an “intellectual cul-de-sac.” A complete inventory of the doctrinal concessions they will demand is not yet in sight, but as I have affirmed before, they deserve credit for the honesty of their proposals.

They are also clear about their motive. In their view, the acceptance of evolution is necessary for evangelism. They are motivated, they insist, by a concern that a rejection of evolution puts Christians in a position of intellectual embarrassment. The rejection of evolution places Christians outside the intellectual pale, they assert, leading to the discrediting of the gospel. They believe that intellectuals, especially scientists, will not respect an evangelistic witness to the gospel from one who is intellectually discredited by rejecting evolution. They are embarrassed by the fact that a majority of evangelicals reject evolution, and they honestly believe that some people will not come to know Christ because they are so offended by our unwillingness to accept evolution. They have repeatedly asserted that the credibility and integrity of our Christian witness is at stake.

The writers for BioLogos have been unsparing in their criticism of evangelicals who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible or are proponents of either Intelligent Design or creationism. They initiated a public debate by presenting their arguments in the public square. But now, it appears, they really do not want a public debate at all. They want a one-way conversation.

On November 8, an article appeared at the BioLogos site that was explicitly addressed to me. The author, Mark Sprinkle, had courteously informed me by e-mail on November 7 that the article would appear the next day. And so it did.

In his article, Dr. Sprinkle uses the account of Peter and Cornelius from Acts 10 to argue that “our theology is descriptive, not prescriptive; it is our collective and halting attempt to describe in coherent terms what we know of God by what we have seen of His acts and what we have read in His Word—and, above all else, by what we have seen in the acts of the Word, Jesus.” That argument points very clearly in the direction of minimizing theology and doctrine, but it is also false. Unless a church forfeits all doctrinal responsibility, at least some theology is always prescriptive.

But theology, he argues, “is put to the test not just by our logic, but by the witness of what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of others around the world.” He then states this: “Evidence of the Spirit at work is the only true measure we have of our theology; all other measures, including whether it fits our carefully-reasoned arguments of who is in and who is out, are vanity.”

That is an interesting statement, but it is nonsensical unless there is some means of evaluating what is and is not authentic evidence of the Spirit at work. And that, of course, would mean some kind of biblical and theological test. The effort to escape theology gets us nowhere.

Dr. Sprinkle then turns to me specifically, charging that I regard those involved with BioLogos to be “confused Christians” at best. He claims that my criticism of the arguments made by figures associated with BioLogos amount to my effort to limit “God’s ability to redeem and transform whomever He so pleases, in whatever manner He so pleases.” I would greatly appreciate any reference to where I have ever addressed such an issue with reference to BioLogos. There is none. At the same time, Dr. Sprinkle’s unavoidable implication is that God’s Spirit moves in ways contrary to God’s Word — and that I do flatly and energetically reject.

Dr. Sprinkle writes with concern about “Dr. Mohler’s repeated implications and suggestions, if not outright pronouncements, that I and anyone else who does not reject evolutionary processes are, therefore, not Christian in any but a nominal or diminished way, not authentic followers of Jesus no matter what we say and despite the evidence of the Holy Spirit both in us and working through us.”

At this point, given the public nature of this statement, I have to ask the only question I know to ask. Can these people read? I defy anyone to locate a single sentence where I have ever questioned the salvation of anyone in any context where I have addressed anything related to BioLogos. I have never questioned their salvation, nor have I attempted to interrogate their hearts. I accept at face value that their ambitions and intentions in their own minds are worthy. I cannot read their souls.

I can read their words, however. Their theological arguments are published in the public arena. They are not shy about making their proposals, and they call for a radical reformulation of evangelical doctrine. Their assaults upon biblical inerrancy have not been made in private conversations, but in public discourse. Their argument that the Apostle Paul was wrong to believe in an historical Adam and an historical Fall was made in public, as was their denial of common descent through Adam.

They will have to take responsibility for these arguments. They should expect no less than a spirited debate over their proposals, and it is nothing short of bewildering that they now ask, in effect, for a pass from all theological scrutiny. They accuse conservative evangelicals of driving evangelicalism into an “intellectual cul-de-sac” and into the status of an intellectual “cult,” and then they have the audacity to complain of the “tone” of those who argue that their proposals amount to a theological disaster.

Virtually every form of theological liberalism arises from an attempt to rescue Christian theology from what is perceived to be an intellectual embarrassment — whether the virgin conception of Christ, the historicity of the miracles recorded in the Bible, or, in our immediate context, the inerrancy of Scripture and the Bible’s account of creation.

Dr. Sprinkle kindly invites me “to come and see what I see in the hearts and lives of people in the BioLogos community.” I am willing and eager to enter into any conversation that serves the cause of the gospel. But a conversation that serves the cause of the gospel cannot avoid talking about what the gospel is — and that requires theology.

BioLogos is a movement that asserts theological arguments in the public square in order to convince evangelical Christians to accept their proposals. They now have the audacity to ask for a pass from theological responsibility. That is the one thing they may not have.

12 responses to “Karl Giberson’s BioLogos Taken To Task

  1. Dr “Babe Ruth” Mohler hit it out of the park again for the Wesleyan crowd.

    Regarding Act 10, at this point it doesn’t seem like Dr Mohler has had one, two or three large sheet and wild beast visions with a voice from heaven that says “Get up, Albert. Kill and eat.” (Act 11).

    Manny, thanks for the post.

  2. Just to clarify, Dr. Mohler is not an Arminian or a Wesleyan, he is a Southern Baptist. So if you are looking for a Wesleyan response to Dr. Giberson, Dr. Mohler is the wrong place to look.

  3. Dr. Mohler is a Christian who has got it right over many Wesleyans, Arminians, Calvinists, or whatever. I am only interested in the CHRISTIAN view, the biblical view. There are many pastors and laypeople at your NazNet site who are erring seriously in scriptural truth, and some of them by their own writing are apostates. You yourself have no respect for the word of God, according to your own words. You have called those of us who respect the authority of scripture as “bibliolaters”. You say Jesus is the Word- and then you disdain the very words He has given to us. You forget how He says that if we love Him, we will keep all His commandments. Well, where do we find His commandments? Why do you have such disdain for God’s word? By the way, Dr. Mohler agrees with us- it is the infallible, inerrant word of God.

    I daresay that your view is not the typical view of the vast majority of Nazarenes. If you or Dennis Bratcher want to make those views clear to the world, I’ll post them. But I would want short clear statements, like “I do or don’t believe that Adam and Eve were real historical figures.” See how that would go over in the minds of most Nazarenes. Or perhaps “I don’t believe God created man the way that the Genesis says he was created.” Or maybe “there was never a worldwide flood, even though the Bible says there was.” See how that goes over with the majority of Bible believing Nazarenes.

    So this is why I wish we had more people like Al Mohler speaking the truth- biblical truth, not some made up “truth” that suits the fancy of the post-modern emergent crowd. That belief system is another way of destruction, which as you know, I am fighting vigorously, alongside other Nazarenes, including pastors and evangelists who are speaking out against those over at Naznet who twist the truth.

  4. Never forsake the Word! Though not explicitly so stated, the next step after removing “theology” from the evolution issue is to remove it from the “virgin birth” issue, and ultimately to remove it from the issue of personal salvation through faith in the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

  5. Manny:
    After reading the article, I continue to find it strange that men like Dr’s Giberson, Falk, and Hall (without being judgmental) can endorse evolution as a fact especially in an Christian environment.

    I can more easily accept someone like Charles Darwin (1808-1882) recognized as the “Father of Evolution” over those mentioned above. Darwin’s acceptance of “evolution by natural selection” which proposes that change occurs among the species by natural selection without divine involvement or intervention.

    What is more alarming, Darwin was greatly influenced by men like Charles Lyell who believed that everything in nature came about by accident rather than divine means. The more Darwin embraced his theory, the more he began questioning the Bible.

    At age 40 Darwin gave up on Christianity and in 1880, he wrote that he no longer believed in the Bible as a divine revelation of God or in the Son of God. You ask how can this happen? The truth is that once a person begins to doubt God’s word can and often leads to a life of doubt and even denial as did Darwin.

    I challenge the BioLogos foundation to the same question God asked Job found in Job [38: 2] “Who is this who darkens counsel! By words without knowledge?” In the following questions God proceeds to ask Job about creation that only the one who created was their could answer.

    My challenge to the BioLogos foundation is to answer God’s questions to Job [38: – 41:] using your evolution facts if you can. The Bible has stood true for centuries while your theories are just that. You have your work cut out for you now is your opportunity.

    I believe in the end your answer will be like Job’s “Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which i did not know.” Job [41: 3b]

  6. NazNet does not know how to distinguish between Biblical Christianity and those individuals that ostensibly use the Bible as some sort of a guide but do not believe that it is all inspired and who accept evolution as the way God created man and animals.

    Paul hits it straight when he talks about man’s pride and man’s unwillingness to acknowledge God for who He truly is and what He has done.

    For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resemebling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Romans 1: 21-23

  7. I just learned yesterday that it was during the rise of Hitler that his “religious appointees” wanted to “do away with the Old Testament altogether” because of its Jewish heritage… and that the idea of Creation and other OT writings were just nonsense and outdated with science.

    Why is it that what we are going through in the world today both politically and spiritually seems so indicative of what happened in the 1920’s and 1930’s. It’s uncanny!

    By the way, the book I’m reading is a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which is ironic on its own because the emergent crowd seems to claim him for their social justice ideology. Clearly, they haven’t read ALL of what he believed and ALL of what he wrote. Because if they had, they would see that he spoke out against some of the IDENTICAL heresies we are speaking out against in present-day. He spoke with conviction and desperately wanted to preach the message of the gospel of sin, repentance, salvation and a life changed through Christ!

  8. They pick and choose what suits their fancy and their ideology. I see much of that at Naznet. I point out the information they have overlooked or ignored, and they dismiss it with ridiculous reasons.

  9. I must say with conviction and petition to all of you (us) that nothing will change without fervent prayer. Prayer is the Trump/Wild card that supersedes everything. We need a moving of the Holy Spirit to convict and change hearts. We are powerless without prayer and the enemy knows this. If he can keep us focused on anything BUT prayer and God’s Holy Scriptures, then he will always be victorious over Christians. After all, he does not have our hearts, but he will do anything to distract our faith.

  10. Manny

    Pam is right evolution has brought about some of the darkest stains of sin when hailed as enlightenment above Scripture. A good example of this is what is being taught in our schools today.

    Today Darwin’s theory of “Natural Evolution” which denies the existence of a Creator God is no longer taught in our schools as a theory but as a scientific fact for now over a quarter of a century.

    According to a recent Gallup pole (2009) the influence of evolution and its impact upon students has no doubt affected their belief about God. Those who believe in evolution are:
    74 percent of post graduate students
    53 percent of college graduate students
    41 percent of students with some college, and
    21 percent of high school students
    Those students who had no opinion:
    16 percent post grads
    26 percent college grads
    30 percent some college
    52 percent high school

    What is interesting in the poll, is the correlation of percentages. 52 percent of those in high school had no opinion while 21 percent believed in evolution. Yet at the post graduate level 74 percent believed in evolution and only 16 percent had no opinion. It appears that the more education or exposure to evolution the easier it becomes to believe in it.

    How does America rate overall, in 2005 according to a Gallup pole 29 percent of Americans believed in evolution compared to 39 percent in 2009. This is a significiant gain in four years. What is more shocking it is reported that 24 percent of those who attend church weekly also believe in evolution.

    What we are seeing today is an open attack on creation as taught in the Bible. It is therefore my belief if we doubt creation as taught in the Bible we will begin to question other vital truths relating for the need of salvation, heaven or hell, or for holy living.

    As Manny’s article pointed out the evolutionist demand that evangelicals must accept their position and failure to so so will discredit our witness is pure rubbish. Their claim that evolution is a means of furthering the gospel is false unless we wish to deny Christ, especially when they deny that Adam is a historical person and reject the Biblical account of the fall.

    One last note on Darwin: The unsolved mystery that we may never know, did Darwin become a Christian between 1880 when he no longer believed in God and his death in 1882?

    The only story of his conversion was told by a “Lady Hope” who claimed she visited Darwin who was ill at his Down House in 1881 and found him reading the book of Hebrews. He is quoted as asking her to speak about Jesus. This story was denied by his family as ever occuring.

    How we can allow evolution on our campuses is beyond my understanding especially with souls at risk.

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