In the following guest article by John Henderson, he discusses a recent Nazarene pastoral training conference conducted by Dr. Al Truesdale, and material Truesdale used including a document by theologian Robert Branson. In a previous post, I refuted Dr. Truesdale’s continuing attempts, along with others, to re-write history and say that Nazarenes were never fundamentalists. Truesdale was my former Greek New Testament professor at ENC and was an excellent instructor, but he has it all wrong in the matter of scriptural inerrancy and John Wesley’s position on it. The material from Dr. Branson is also very suspect and does not make any biblical sense, as John points out. It is no surprise that both men are members of Nazarenes Exploring Evolution, which is trying very hard to make the heretical belief in evolution the de facto, unofficial position of the Church of the Nazarene. We clearly need more theologians who are true to the Bible, and not their own imaginations. Rev. Henderson has asked us the proper question here: How absolutely foolish can it become?
Square Peg Nonsense in False Theology
Oct. 7, 2013, By John Henderson
How absolutely foolish can it become? If the emergent movement ever beats folks such as I, it will be that they wear us down with foolishness, but never by reason or evidence of truth. I came across what seemed to be a handout of sorts and assume it was at the recent pastoral training conference for the Nazarene’s Tennessee District conducted by Dr. Al Truesdale.
I actually came across two documents from that event. One was Truesdale’s outline of his presentation wherein he appears to have attempted to trace the idea of “fundamentalism” historically by tying it into the John Darby movement of a pre-tribulation rapture and Calvinism. I had received a notice of the event from the district office and responded politely that I could demonstrate historically that Nazarenes were traditionally fundamentalists right along with the Calvinists. Also, the Church of the Nazarene does not take an official stand on the theories of millennialism but allows all three and their variations.
It seemed, from the outline, that Truesdale was attempting to teach that Nazarenes and John Wesley were never “fundamentalists.” I do not wish to actually address that issue here because the idea is well-refuted in other places and I think I have dealt with it enough for the moment. It is the second document that concerns me and I am puzzled that it would have been included in the presentation for any reason without rebuttal by the presenter, unless he supports its assertions.
It is a short document by Robert Branson, Emeritus Professor of Bible Studies, Olivet Nazarene University, August, 2013. It is titled: “A Day In the Wilderness (An Illustration of ‘accommodation’ in the Bible).”
It is presented in an imaginary setting of Moses entering the tent of meeting where he uttered a casual “Good morning, God.” And there was a table with parchments and pens. God told Moses to write how He had created the universe. I quote:
“’Before time and space began, before anything existed, thirteen billion years ago, I formed a singularity of tightly compacted energy and matter. In three-thousands of a second it exploded sending energy and matter in all directions. Time and space began.
“’I commanded gravity to collect the matter into billions of galaxies of stars. The angels watched as giant red stars such as VY Canis Majoris and white dwarfs such as Sirius B burst forth in light. They were astonished as subatomic particles such as quarks formed hydrons such as protons and neutrons.
“’I shaped planets out of the remnants of stars and gave particular attention to the one I called Earth. Four and half billion years ago it was a ball of molten lava which soon cooled. Out of its toxic methane environment I caused the first living cells to form. Then a little over two billion years ago blue-green algae formed and began to free oxygen into the air. A billion years later invertebrate animals evolved and then vertebrate animals. The Earth was alive with plant and animal life. The oceans were filled with fish of every kind and description. Soon humans would appear.’
“’Moses, are you getting all this down. The parchment looks empty.’
“’Forgive me, God. I have a question.’
“’What’s a billion?”
“After a few seconds of silence, God said, ‘Hmmm. Get a clean sheet of parchment and write down these words.’
“’In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and…’”
It is extremely difficult to respond to utter foolishness, but I will try.
First, the imaginary setting is plagued with both scientific and theological errors. The casual meeting between God and Moses is irreverent towards God. That may have set the tone for the outlandish dialog that followed. Compared to God, man is certainly not bright but the punch line seems to say that we are too dense to understand what an “educated” scientist easily grasps so God had to resort to a simplistic summary of sorts, knowing that we would manage to misinterpret it with fictional concoctions.
Not only does Dr. Branson need to revisit the Scriptures, but he should consider either getting his scientific data straight or leaving it to those who really understand research and discovery—the only thing “science” can actually do.
This is an anemic and silly attempt to promote the demonic doctrine of creation by evolution—a concept that the atheistic evolutionists reject. In other words, phony theologians have bought into the atheistic ideas of evolution but vainly try to rationalize beyond reason to force-fit it into a wild idea that God was somehow behind it all. Dr. Truesdale’s Square Peg book was part of his presentation. Talk about a square peg in a round hole, however, Dr. Branson’s attack on revelational truth takes the prize cake. I wonder why it was part of the presentation. I have one question. How far is one willing to go to reject the plainness of the Scriptures?