As I mentioned in a recent post, I decided to call all of the congregations from right here in West Virginia who were slated to participate in atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s infamous Evolution Weekend to confirm whether they were in fact participating. The results were a bit surprising, to say the least.
One of the churches we commented on was Cross Lanes United Methodist Church. As noted in my earlier post, when I contacted the pastor of this church, he was surprised to say the least. Rev. Gregory Hayes said his church had never participated in Evolution Weekend and that the contact person on the Clergy Letter Project website was merely a deacon. Regarding evolution, he stated, “That’s an argument we’re simply not interested in.”
I contacted Dr. Zimmerman regarding the error on his website and also provided him with a number to reach the church’s pastor. He responded with the following:
“I’m shocked and troubled by the information you’ve provided. In the interest of being as conservative as possible, I’ve removed Cross Lanes UMC from our list of participants for 2012 and I’ve copied Reverend Lacaria so he can respond. I’ll make a decision about how to proceed once I hear from him. Again, though, in the meantime, I’ve removed Cross Lanes from our list.”
I did confirm that Cross lanes UMC has been removed from the Evolution Weekend 2012 list, but I find it odd that Zimmerman would not contact the church’s actual pastor for confirmation; instead, he says we’ll have to wait on word from the fellow who misrepresented the church he attends as a participant! Again, Cross Lanes United Methodist has been listed on the Clergy Letter Project’s website every year since Evolution Weekend 2009 as:
Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, WV
The Rev. J.F. Lacaria
Well, I spoke to the Rev. Dr. J. F. Lacaria and I asked him if Cross Lanes UMC was participating in this year’s Evolution Weekend. He replied that he wasn’t doing anything specific this year, but that he had participated in the past. When I noted that this claim oddly contradicted the pastor’s denial that Cross Lanes UMC had ever participated in Evolution Weekend, Rev. Lacaria, admitted that he did so through his adult Sunday School class and that he doubted his pastor knew about it!
How can this be acceptable to him? How can he suppose it is OK to list the church he attends as participating in Evolution Weekend and then teach evolution from his Sunday School class and not feel the need to discuss it with the pastor of the church?? What sort of subversiveness is this? The pastor expressly told me that evolution wasn’t an argument his church was interested in, yet Rev. Lacaria apparently has set up his own private flock within the church! There he is teaching evolution from the Sunday School lectern and knows better than to let his pastor in on it, all the while misrepresenting the entire Cross Lanes UMC as an active yearly participant.
During my conversation with the Rev. Dr. Lacaria, I asked him if he affirmed the Bible as the inerrant special revelation of God. After a moment’s pause, he said that he could affirm that, but that he and I probably understood the terms very differently. For clarification’s sake, I asked him if he thought that any portion of Scripture ever came by the will of man. Sadly, he said he believed that much of it came by the will of man.
We must be on our guard for these fellows within the church, much respected wolves in sheep’s clothing, who seem to speak our language but really mean very different things when they say them. This new evangelical newspeak, which Ken Ham warned about in Already Compromised, is rampant in the church. We must examine our ministers by asking them what they mean by the things they say. If they say the Bible is inerrant, we must ask them if they believe that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, whether Adam and Eve were literal, historical people and whether the Flood of Noah’s day covered the entire globe. We need to ask them what they believe concerning creation, the resuurection, the deity of Christ, the authority of the Word of God, eternal rewards and punishments… and so much more. We have become a credulous generation, who trusts experts and those in authority; thus, if someone has a title or a degree, we trust them to lead the flock without ever examining their convictions personally.
We also need to continue to pray for those within the Methodist Church who are opposed to millions of years of microbes-to-man evolution, who’ve come to realize how it undermines both the ultimate authority of God’s Word and the foundational basis of the Gospel itself. We need to pray that they remain steadfast as they speak the truth boldly for the sake of future generations.
-Rev Tony Breeden
31 Comments Add yours
Thank you for a great article! I share these with my family so they can inform their friends about being strong and knowledgeable in the word of God so as not to be deceived. I have noted also that many churches these days are pastored or taught by those who wear the false cloak of sheep over their true wolvish intentions. They need to be exposed to the Light with much prayer and Truth!
You say, “We must be on our guard for these fellows within the church, much respected wolves in sheep’s clothing, who seem to speak our language but really mean very different things when they say them.” Unfortunately, virtually every person such as yourself I’ve ever heard of or met who claims to be a Christian, but obsesses on issues such as evolution and other issues which a person doesn’t have to do much about other than shout from the rooftops about their expertise on, ignores the over 2000 verses in the Bible about the poor. They usually ignore any Christian issues such as this that require getting their hands dirty and actually putting feet to their faith in favor of issues such as the one you take on because it’s easy. All you have to do is be a Rush Limbaugh who does nothing but talk, standing by while people suffer. I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. I also believe that science makes it appear that evolution is a possibility. That has no effect on my full belief in God and the Bible. There are many things that Christians on Earth have questions for God about. Suffering, the death of a child and maybe evolution. We can still admit that we have these questions and still love and believe in God and His Word. Your seeming unwillingness to recognize this and your lack of humility in the way you present yourself and ideas certainly doesn’t allow people to see God when the see or hear you. Why don’t you move on to other Christian issues that you can truly have an effect on and trust God to provide the answers to evolution questions and other questions that people have about things that they have encountered in their lives when they and we get to heaven.
You here set up a false dilemma between orthopraxy [right behavior] and orthodoxy [right doctrine]. If you knew me (notwithstanding whatever experience you may or may not have had with other Biblical Creationists), you’d realize what a straw man you’ve thatched together in accusing me of preaching truth at the expense of engaging in practical service. I forgive you, though I urge you not to make arguments from assumptions on this site, as I am very quick to point them out… and this would be to your shame.
Before I answer your further comments, would you mind telling us what you mean by evolution?
As the word teaches, there are teachers and preachers and others, each a part of the same body, doing the work that God sends them to do. Jesus said the poor will be with us always. I do not believe in ignoring them, but nor do I believe in wallowing in what cannot be healed by any other than Christ Himself when He returns. According to scripture, Jesus PREACHED to the poor. His primary concern was their soul, not just their physical situation.
Right doctrine taught with the love of God brings right behavior, so right doctrine is paramount to holding out your hand in any meaningful way to help others. After all, what good is gaining the whole world if they are losing their souls and on their way to hell? Just a thought…
Why can’t you do both? Christ did not say that the poor will always be with us as an excuse to ignore them–to give you and out. If someone you loved deeply were in a negative situation, I’ll bet your passion and compassion for them would cause you to act. Situations the poor find themselves in CAN be healed. And, Christ can heal them through you before He returns. If you care. I am absolutely convinced that Jesus’ heart breaks when people suffer…spiritually, mentally or physically. And, if yours doesn’t, if you are so cold that it doesn’t bother you and you don’t want to “wallow” in it, I don’t see how the Holy Spirit could dwell in you. As always, those of you without compassion for the poor try to make it seem that those of us who advocate for them ONLY are talking about their physical suffering and of course, nowhere in my post do you see that as my message. I agree with you that Christ’s primary concern is their soul. Nowhere did I say that He only cares for their physical situation. Your last paragraph really confirms what I am saying about Christian compassion for the poor. If you have the love of God in you, how can your heart not break for the poor and therefore cause you to help them, both spiritually and physically. And, of course, like I said in my first post, you and the reverend did what I expected–you ignored the 2000 verses in the Bible regarding the poor.
And thanks, pastor for threatening me with the wrath of your shame.
If you’d been paying attention to my post, what I actually stated was that
I do not divorce the concepts of right doctrine and right action… which makes your attempt to poison the well (by accusing everyone with my views of promoting doctrine at the expense of good works, when this is anything but true in my case) rather pointless. To put it another way, since I do not ignore the verses in the Bible concerning the poor (and concerning serving others in general), is there some point relevant to this post that you were trying to make?
I did not leave out helping the poor with their problems..I said that the priority was spiritual, not physical.
Ummmm I’m one of those poor (I’m sure not rich!), so don’t judge me like that, you are not reading what I said. And what I meant is that the world’s poor will ALWAYS be among us, so said Jesus, not me, we OURSELVES will never get rid of all the world’s poor. I am not cold and heartless any more than you say you are. While you are at it, the word also says that if you must judge, to judge righteously. not emotionally. Take care with how you toss that stuff out there.
“we ourselves will never get rid of all the world’s poor”
Of course we won’t. Who said we would? We’re not called to get rid of ALL poverty–just work toward it.
We are called to preach the Gospel. An outworking of the Gospel in our lives is good works, which includes helping and feeding the poor. In you zeal, you appear to have gotten the cart before the horse.
You mention that the Word says to judge righteously. Proverbs 31:9 says, “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” By your comments on here, you seem to be taking every opportunity to minimize the responsibility that God gives you to defend the poor.
I appreciate your zeal for the needs of the poor, but this is not the only thing – or even the main thing – the Church has been comissioned to.
On the contrary, I don’t minimize the needs of the poor ever. I help when I can, where I can. But taking care of the poor is not the be all and end all of the Gospel of Christ – there is more that is meant to be done and talked about than that. Teaching, preaching and leading are just some things, but always in the context of contending for the faith once delivered to the saints. We are still one body, with people doing many different works. That does not minimize what any one person does in their ministries.
Jesus preached to the poor, and we must do the same, without leaving out the practical helps when needed.
What has this to do with creation/evolution teachings?
You and Cathy do what almost every person who claims to be a Christian does who doesn’t have a heart for the poor–you accuse those of us who do because of our Christianity of making this the ONLY thing in our Christian lives. If you look back at my posts, you won’t find anywhere where I implied or said that. In fact, I agreed with Cathy that Christ’s primary concern is our soul. I suppose because you minimize those 2000 verses regarding the poor, you feel the need to accuse those of us who pay attention to those verses, in other words, pay attention to the entire Bible, of minimizing other parts of the Bible. Although some who have compassion for the poor may do this, I don’t and the majority of the Christians I have encountered who have great compassion for the poor don’t either. You warn me of the shame you’ll bring on me from making assumptions on this site, yet you and Cathy have done the same thing in this assumption about my supposed thinking that this is the ONLY thing Christ cares about.
You also say I have “gotten the cart before the horse” with my zeal for the poor. Yet, you have done the same thing a hundred-fold with your obsession with evolution. BTW, if my zeal were only for the poor, I wouldn’t be compeilled to serve them through Jesus. I could serve them secularly.
Tony, a Christian has to pay attention to the entire Bible. Not just things they have a natural inclination for–like evolution on your part or serving the poor on my part. The common weapon that is used against those of us who follow Jesus’ teachings regarding the poor–that we ONLY care about that one thing, just doesn’t apply to me or to most Christians I know who have compassion for the poor.
I’m afraid this is where we say goodbye.
My “obsession with evolution” is actually an obsession with defending the authority of the Bible and the foundational basis of the Gospel, which is found in Genesis 3.
I should point out that I pay attention to the entire Bible, not just the parts dealing with the creation/evolution debate, as evidenced by my new page [and the articles linked to on said page] on The Everlasting Gospel [check out this link on our menu at the top of any page on this site.] I also have a site dedicated to exploring why people fall away from the faith, why they come back [if at all] and what we can do to reverse this trend of folks leaving the church at http://howtofalldown.wordpress.com . I also recommend that you check out Ex-Christians: The Evolution Factor – A brief survey of the statistical and anecdotal reality that children who are taught evolution as scientific truth largely go on to reject religious truth wholesale https://siriusknotts.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/evofactor.pdf
In any case, it is you who came on this site with a false dilemma, stating that by showing how evolution undermines both Biblical authority and the foundational basis of the Gospel, I was somehow automatically guilty of neglecting to defend the poor. Having been poor most of my life, I welcome opportunities to help those in need – and how DARE you suggest otherwise without ever having met me, sir!
If you’d like to answer something to do with this post, I welcome it. If you’d like to continue to falsely accuse me of neglecting the poor, you’re welcome to shove off.
“You and Cathy do what almost every person who claims to be a Christian does who doesn’t have a heart for the poor–you accuse those of us who do because of our Christianity of making this the ONLY thing in our Christian lives.”
I haven’t accused you of anything. And I know of NO Christian who does NOT have heart for ANYONE, including the poor. It is true we must pay attention to all the bible, but we can’t spread ourselves out so thin we are useless either, that is the reason the disciples did not do both. The disciples divvied out the work, giving others in the church the responsibility for helping out with the poor, while they continued to preach unabated. They did not want to stop sharing the good news doing other things. (that is in scripture, I did not say that!) Are you calling them hardhearted??
If helping out the poor is your calling, that is wonderful! But don’t throw fiery darts at those whose calling is different. We are ALL the Body of Christ, working within the same framework (the bible), just different works. Infighting that has no value but to argue is to the Church’s (I’m talking about the Church as a whole) SHAME.
And you still avoided the questions concerning evolution and creationism… -.-
You say the same thing with every post–that helping the poor isn’t the ONLY thing in Christianity. I’ve agreed with you in just about every post I’ve made and yet, that is all you come back with.
I will shove off. Thanks for responding to my posts.
LOL you say the same thing too..thanks for reading my replies and God bless! 😀
OK, Cathy. What is the question that you say I have avoided about evolution and creation? I said in my first post I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. And I also said that science makes it look like evolution is possible. It’s a scientific theory. Not a proven fact. And, even if it was, I would still believe what the Bible says, but respect the scientific finding. Just like I believe in Jesus’ resurrection, but science says that doesn’t happen. Why do you choose one thing like scientific evolution to focus your time, energy, web sites, etc. on? There are hundreds or thousands of things in the Bible that people disagree on. How did you choose to focus on evolution and not the Resurrection, eternal salvation, etc., etc.?
OK, Mike, you’re not listening.
The reason that I focus on the origins debate is because millions of years of microbes-to-man evolution actually undermines the foundational basis of the Gospel. The Bible says that death, thorns and suffering came by Adam’s sin; the all-natural just-so story of evolution says that death has always been a natural part of the world, not a judgment. Not only does the fossil record [if attributable to millions of years rather than a world-wide Noachian Flood] show death before sin, but suffering before sin [fossil tumors have been discovered] and thorns before sin. If the historical veracity is undermined on what Paul identified as the foundational reason for salvation by Christ [the last Adam] in 1 Cor 15, there is no need for a Savior to die for Adam’s sin to save us. That’s why I choose to focus on the origins debate, precisely because I wish to remove stumbling blocks to folks’ acceptance of the Gospel. It has been and always will be about the Gospel and nothing but the Gospel. If you supposed that I, as an ordained Gospel preacher, would waste the majority of my time on a side issue of peculiar interest to me, you are sadly mistaken; I came to the origins debate because – and only because – our defense of the Gospel is commanded.
Now I caution you: you arbitarily accept the all-natural conclusions of science when it comes to the age of the earth and how life developed, but you then reject it when it comes to the resurrection, which as you admit all-natural science forbids. This arbitrariness will bite you when you witness to the poor; when you say, Trust in Jesus, will they not have a right to ask you why they should believe in Jesus when he comes from that same Bible which you doubt the begiining of?
Think about it,
What has this to do with creation/evolution teachings?
Is the question I put to you earlier and you never answered it yet. Another question is why would you respect a scientific ‘theoretical’ finding over the inerrant word of God?
MY focus is not evolution/creationist, although it fascinates me as a Christian, especially as I was teaching my daughters as we walked through the bible in their studies growing up. The creation story (as is the whole of the word) is unique and interesting, and I enjoy reading and commenting on it with others as well. Within the framework of creation, the resurrection, eternal salvation, and the life of Jesus makes perfect sense, and I use it as a witness to others. Evolution comes in because it is a part of the outside influences coming into the church that I DO focus on in my witness and ministering.
I am no scientist or preacher, just a layman (or woman rather) who enjoys listening, reading, and living the word to others.
“why would you respect a scientific ‘theoretical’ finding over the inerrant word of God?”
I just have to keep repeating the same things with you. You keep accusing me of things I didn’t say. Before I answer this question (again), please go back in my posts and quote where I said I believe evolution OVER creation.
“Before I answer your further comments, would you mind telling us what you mean by evolution?” is a question that was put to you before, but you never answered what you meant by using the term evolution.
You also did not answer mine, which was “WHAT has THIS to do with creation/evolution teachings?”
Those are the questions..
As to the rest, I bespoke myself and apologize for that. That was not WHAT you said, but it seemed to be what you MEANT.
Also, I keep telling you that I am NOT accusing you of anything on this post. I’m going by what is being written on here.
I guess what I mean by evolution is what is taught as the theory of evolution. The microbes to man thing that Tony mentioned. What do you mean by evolution? There are many things that science says are true that the Bible indicates are not. I can accept those things as science will believing in the Bible and God. As I said, God can handle those things. Even if those things science prove are contrary to what the Bible says, it has no effect on my belief in God because my belief in Him doesn’t rely on scientific, worldly or secular proof. It relies on faith. So when science says something isn’t the way the Bible says, I respectfully accept it as something that science says and know that God can do anything such as allowing science to exist and make something here on earth look like it is one way when in God’s reality, it isn’t that way. I believe God allows scientific discoveries to be made because many of them have been beneficial to His creation. Medical advances that have alleviated a lot of suffering, have extended man’s life. This computer and the internet allow us to find out more about Him and his Son and to discuss things with others. Science has allowed the development of travel and communications so Christians can tell the story of Christ to so many more people all over the world. So I respect science. But, Jesus is my foundation, so evolution doesn’t worry me a bit.
The only thing I was trying to point out about my discussion regarding the poor is that almost every person I have ever encountered who claimed to be a Christian, but gets stuck on issues such as evolution or other issues which they don’t have to do much about other than talk about, has not been a person who has compassion for the poor. It’s pretty easy just to talk about something like evolution, but it is much more difficult and takes more effort and harder work to go out and serve the poor–and it takes compassion. And despite what has been said in our posts, serving the poor is not just something SOME Christians are called to do. All of us are called to do it. All of us are called to have Christian loving compassion for “the least of these,” Christ says in Matthew 25 that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Him. Try googling “what the Bible says about the poor” sometime.
By your posts, you seem to be sincere in your views. I, of course, can’t know for sure, but your statements indicate to me a sincere desire to know the right things and a desire to please and serve God. I just don’t see that with Tony. He seems to just want to argue with people, be superior to them, show his vast intellect and bring lots of attention to himself.
And, a further message to Tony: Pastor Hayes, of the Cross Lanes United Methodist Church, iwho he criticized above, lost his father to a sudden stroke on Friday. Pastor Hayes is a wonderfully compassioniate man who has a deep devotion to Jesus and to the Bible.
My condolences to Pastor Greg Hayes on the loss of his father; however, I never criticized Pr. Hayes [a man I have spoken to and who I found rather like-able]. I criticized Lacaria for teaching evolution behind his back in his Sunday school classes, when Pr. Hayes himself would prefer not to engage the issue.
I did not approve your other comment because it was basically one long insult. If you take the time to read through the articles on this site, you will see that this site is most assuredly not about me. Of course, if you’ve only visited the main page and the About Me section, you’d probably get a different impression…
I really can’t apologize for my style of writing and my vocabulary. I’ve talked [and written] like this all my life. It’s simply who I am. If you knew me, you’d never make these accusations, but I suppose that’s one of the probles with only knowing someone in terms of what they’ve written. Even Paul was accused of being forceful and heavy-handed in his letters, though he was anything but this in person [2 Cor. 10:10].
On the other hand, I do strive to be as concise as possible, so what exactly did you find unclear?
In any case, your error was in making an unfair generalization: the insulting accusation that anyone who writes on evolution must needs be neglecting the poor. Again, if you knew me, you’d never make such a ridiculous accusation. I also know quite a few creation speakers who likewise advocate for and aid the poor. This is simply not an either/or situation, so you have offered us a fallacy known as a false dilemma: in this case, a man either disputes evolultion or helps the poor; it has never entered your head that he might and does do both. Or how many young earth creationists do you know personally who neglect the poor? Next time, try judging correctly rather than by appearances or by what you think is true. You seem not the slightest bit concerned that you’ve falsely accused me and other creationists of neglecting the poor. Why do you bear false witness against me and my fellows? Do you wish to poison the well, whether these accusations against us are true or not?
On another note, you’re conflating operational science which uses the scientific method [the sort that gives us better medicine and technology] with origins science which deals with things that are not directly observable, testable, repeatale or falsifiable [and hence NOT subject to the scientific method]… and which is based on the flaw of pure naturalism, an assumption which forbids science from considering God from the outset. Has it never occurred to you to question the findings of science when they speak of the unobservable past? especially since we have a historical record [the Bible] from the only True and Faithful Witness [the Creator Himself]?
Think about it,
Yes, Tony, I do question science. Especially evolution since it is only a theory. Even if I wasn’t a Christian, I personally would find it hard to believe–that we evolved from apes. I just respect science–even theories because they are established by scientists–people much smarter than I am. But, I believe as you do, that man was created by God.
What you said regarding Pastor Hayes implied that he referred to JF Lacaria as “merely” a deacon. As you might imagine, that’s a pretty insulting way to refer to anyone, let alone a collegue and I doubt that he referred to JF that way.
Finally, I did what I should have done before I began posting here–I prayed about it. And, I feel God told me that I should have said what I said to you in a way more like He would–in a more Christ-like, loving way. I’m sorry I didn’t do that. I know we’ll be more effective in witnessing to others, especially non-Christians, and it will be much more pleasing to God if we do.
By saying Lacaria was merely a deacon in the church, I was not attempting to be insulting; I was simply emphasizing the fact that he is not the pastor and he is teaching things that Pastor Hayes would not approve. Furthemore, this was not phrased as a quotation, so it was evident that I was summarizing what he said.
I would recommend that you not accuse anyone of being un-Christ-like until you do a bit more Bible reading. See Are Christians Too Nice? for more on how Christians judge folks by a stained glass Sunday school version of Jesus rather than the One revealed in Scripture.
Ok, but when you compared JF Lacaria to a wolf in sheep’s clothing, weren’t you accusing him of being un-Christ-like?
Yes, I was. I stand by that statement. In doing so, I was not comparing him to some unBiblical concept of Christ, but rather judging the tree by its fruit. If Lacaria has no problem teaching things in church that his pastor would not approve of, what else are we to call him but a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Lacaria’s actions are wholly contemptuous of his pastor.
“In doing so, I was not comparing him to some unBiblical concept of Christ, but rather judging the tree by its fruit.”
I’m suggesting that the standard by which you judge a person Christ-like or un-Christ-like is not based on the Christ of the Bible, but rather a santitized Sunday school version of who Jesus is and how He would be permitted to act in church today. See Are Christians Too Nice? for mor eon what I mean by that [link in my previous comment]