A few weeks ago, Joel Watts responded to one of my posts concerning the British Humanist Association’s efforts to mandate by law the exclusive and uncritical teaching of orthodox evolution in UK schools. He basically sided with the humanists that evolution needs legal protection. This is the usual reaction of extraBiblical creationists [those who give lipservice to the Biblical doctrine of Creaton but actually hold extraBiblical sources as their ultimate authority where it concerns Genesis and related passages dealing with Creation, the Fall and the Flood]. As the shameful number of ministers who signed atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s pro-evolution Clergy Letter Project testifies, liberal churchmen chuck reason out the window every time they get the opportunity to show how “progressive” or “intellectual” they are by supporting evolution. They forget that by endorsing the Clergy Letter or the BHA’s “Teach Evolution, Not Creationism” campaign that they are cutting their noses off to spite their faces; you see, by supporting these efforts, liberal clergy are endorsing the teaching of a purely secular [atheistic] version of evolution to children [children we’re commissioned by God to train up in the knowledge of Him], not the theistic evolution they actually affirm.
So they go about, puffed up with their intellectual pride at having endorsed evolution as compatible with religion, while their signatures and endorsements are used to promote and legally enforce an evolutionary indoctrination which denies any role in the universe to the Creator. Useful idiots, aren’t they?
In the post I mentioned, Joel also called me a “radical liberal.” In fact, he actually said:
“Our good friend, the radical liberal Tony Breeden, has a post up quoting the radical liberal mantra that Evolution is the “Only Scientific theory which needs to be protected by laws.” These radical liberals will stop at nothing until God is replaced with Ken Ham, the bible is no longer a source of authority, and our children no less than their Neanderthal cousins.”
Of course, that’s not what any Biblical Creationist really wants. We have no intention of replacing God with any man’s authority [including Mr. Ham’s] precisely because we affirm the Bible as our ultimate authority, while extraBiblical creationists affirm liberal theologians and evolutionary scientists as their ultimate authority.
Likewise in a more recent post, he referred to “Ken Ham and other liberals” and termed the Biblical doctrine of Creation “the radical liberal agenda.”
The first question I asked myself is why someone would call me or anyone else who defends the traditional, orthodox view of Genesis a “liberal”?
“I’ve often explained why [Ken Ham] is a liberal; however, for those who need it spelled out to them more than I have in this post, allow me.
Ken Ham and other YEC’ers are reading into Scripture something which is not there. They are using the Text to support their preconceived view of Scripture instead of letting Scripture shape their views. Thus, a liberal. They do not hold to the authority of Scripture any more than those who deny Christ’s Lordship. Thus, a liberal. They take Scripture and twist it to fit their purposes. Thus a liberal. I thought that this was pretty spelled out for them, but seeing as they cannot read past a few spelling errors – so, I’m not perfect – then I will do my best to help them along. I think that I’ve used small words, but I’m not sure.
But, I did not that Ham attacked rather than engages – point proved. Lovely day.”
While he charges that Biblical Creationists are “using the Text to support their preconceived view of Scripture instead of letting Scripture shape their views,” he and his fellow extraBiblical creationists are actually taking the word of liberal historical critics and imposing their interpretations upon the Bible.
For example, when commenting upon Jesus’ words on marriage in Mark 10:6 (which reads, speaking of Adam and Eve, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.”), Brother Joel warns that:
“We may ignore the fact that Christ had placed his own words within the context of marriage, but we cannot ignore the fact that if this verse points to a Young Earth Creationism, then Jesus was wrong.”
This is not allowing the Text speak for itself, by any stretch of the imagination. He goes on to use an argument [“In Genesis 1, humanity wasn’t created first, but last.”] which ignores the context of Jesus’ statement entirely, which isn’t Genesis 1 specifically [after all, He quotes both Genesis 1 and 2 in the verses immediately following Mark 10:9!], but in regards to history in general. Our Lord was simply stating that from the beginning of creation, man has existed [not merely appearing at the tail-end of history!]. And Jesus wasn’t wrong in saying so; It is those who dare to impugn His veracity because the Text does not conform to their extraBiblical old earth presuppositions who are decidely wrong!
Knowing how this particular critic feels about Biblical [Young Earth] Creation, we shudder when we read these words on the Trinity and Justification:
“To me, having the Trinity as an ‘essential Christian doctrine’ is the same as having Justification of the Calvinist variety as the ‘essential Christian doctrine’ or having Young Earth Creationism as the’ essential Christian doctrine.’”
“BTW, this is one of the issues I have with fundamentalism (on both sides) – what is wrong if we come to a new, well supported, understanding of what Scripture is saying.
For example, the Virgin Birth. There is major, major, and I repeat major evidence that the ‘virgin birth’ motiff was used by many ancients to describe the spectacular birth of a spectacular individual. What if we determined that this is what Matthew and Luke meant (I note that Mark, the earliest Gospel doesn’t mention it – and should, by all rights, and neither does John. Further, Paul’s voice on this is absent. Also, there are ‘heresies’ from the earliest times which amounted to adoptionism.) and not a Virgin Mary giving birth without the aid of a man, to the child Jesus?
The fact is, is that tradition and interpretation, and the need to preserve this singular tradition, would be upheld against provable fact…
If we do not allow evidence to guide us, we’ll never to get to that ‘all truth’ bit as promised by Christ in John.”
It’s the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth, not evidence [which requires interpretation, btw]. Do you see here where his ultimate authority is? The word of men who make no difference between the holy and the profane when it comes to the Bible. He takes the word of Bible doubters and claims we should be prepared to change our interpretation of the Bible based on the word of these scoffers. This is typical of those who hold to extraBiblical Creation positions. When they abandon the historical veracity it has affects their beliefs concerning other doctrines, because they have abandoned the Bible as their ultimate authority.
One commenter on his site made the excellent observation regarding Joel’s accusation that the young earth position “wasn’t there when it was written, and only mandated in the last generation.”:
“This is misleading and completely false. This assertion suggests you know little, if anything at all, regarding the interpretation of Genesis 1-3 throughout Jewish and Christian history. A thourough investigation of early Jewish writings, as well those of the early church fathers, reveals that nearly ALL believed in a young earth (less than 4000 to 6000 years old). Most believed in a literal, historical interpretation. In fact, the young earth viewpoint was the dominant one until the 1800s. Even those who didn’t take the Genesis 1-3 account as literal history (i.e. Origen, Augustine and Philo) still believed the Bible taught a young earth. The old earth viewpoint is the new kid on the block and didn’t start to gain traction until the late 1800s after Darwin published his Origin’s of Species. Heck, even one of the oldest forms of OEC, the Gap Theory, still took most of Gen 1 as literal and historic (i.e. a second creation after the supposed gap). So, to say that the the YE interpretation wasn’t there when Gen 1-3 was written, or that it was only mandated in the last generation, is completely false.
[The reader should note that one part of this comment, that the “old earth viewpoint… didn’t start to gain traction until the late 1800s after Darwin published his Origin’s of Species”, is in error. The Old Earth viewpoint doesn’t show up in the writings of theologians until the late 17th century, when mechanistic views of the universe were becoming popular. Still, the point remains that it is a Johnny-come-lately. No early church father wrote of an earth more than 10,000 years old, and with fiew exceptions they either professed a traditional Creation Week of six 24-hour days or the instantaneous creation view popularized by Augustine. (which ironically gives a slighty younger earth than traditional and modern creationists alike affirm)]
So there you have it. Far from being radical liberals, Biblical young earth creationists are merely carrying on the historic position of Christendom as handed down from the Apostles. So when Brother Joel says things like this:
“We know that [Ken Ham] takes things out of context, attacks fellow believers, and of course, has a radical liberal agenda to replace the authority of Scripture with his own science…”
…we should remind ourselves that he and extraBiblical creationists like him are only projecting. Put bluntly, this is a case calling good “evil” and evil “good” [Isaiah 5:20]. Or pigs “sheep” and swine “sheep” [Matt. 7:15], for that matter; however calling pigs “sheep” will not result in mutton, no matter how dearly he wishes otherwise. It is Orwellian newspeak.
Yet I must warn my readers that Joel is merely part of a new trend. It seems that many extraBiblical Creationists are otherwise mostly conservative in their theological views [or at least consider themselves to be]. Since they do not personally consider themselves liberal or modernist, they suppose they must be conservative and/or evangelical, but they are something else entirely! In any case, their standard claim is that either Biblical [young earth] Creation and extraBiblical creation are both equally orthodox [as Dr. Jay Wile claims] or that we Biblical Creationists have abandoned orthodoxy altogether by not re-interpreting our theology to suit modern notions [as Jonathan Dudley claims]. In other words, they either invoke a sort of “big tent orthodoxy” or they call evil “good” and good “evil,” or more specifically they call liberals “conservative” and conservatives “liberal.” How long before they applaud compromise as orthodoxy and condemn apostolic orthodoxy as dangerous heresy? Not long at all, if Brother Joel’s posts are any indication. They’ve already gone from saying they’re simply an alternative but orthodox view to demonizing the apostolic traditional of Biblical Creationism as “dangerous.” Anyone who stands up for the truth and tries to warn against these compromisers is ostracized and demonized as “intolerant.”
Yet the bottom line remains. No matter how dangerous they suppose Biblical Creation to be, it is such compromise with and capitulation to extraBiblical authorities that has actually been the cause of rank apostasy. As I wrote in another post:
“Do you honestly think those who compromise Christianity with millions of years and evolution are doing the Church a favor? Then look to Europe. Look to England. You are following in their footsteps. They long ago compromised the ultimate authority of God’s revealed Word for the authority of fallible men, to make the Gospel and Christendom more palatable to a scientific age. There’s barely any of them left. Their legacy is rank apostasy and a mass exodus from a church who told them it was OK to doubt their Bibles where it was disputed, but they ought to really believe that same Bible’s message concerning salvation. [Who told them that] even though a good part of the Gospel story, from Genesis to Revelation, is myth and superstition and pre-scientific misconception [that] God was still “omnipotent” enough to leave some of the message ungarbled by the fallible nature of His greatest creation.”
So if these compromisers call Ken Ham and myself “radical liberals,” I shall recognize their theological newspeak for what it is and press on in the tradition handed down to us by the apostles. I refuse to be intimidated by these false characterizations of my position, for it is the traditional position of Christendom and it is the unadulterated truth. If I lay down my Sword on this wise, the apostasy of Europe declares that it is our children who are at stake, so I make no apologies for a stance that says, “Let God be true and every man a liar!” And as I fight this revolution against forces within and outside the Church, who attempt to successively undermine the authority of God’s revealed Word and stifle the influence of Christian truth, I shall keep in mind the words of George Orwell:
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”