Monday, May 24, 2010

Trying to make nice with the world is not our mission

This morning we have, courtesy of the USA Today opinion pages, another sad example of someone who professes to be a believer trying to make Christianity compatible with the religion of the world. The essay by Karl Giberson (who is a professor at Eastern Nazarene College), Atheists, it's time to play well with others is ostensibly supposed to be a chastisement of atheists for not being nice to Christians who have capitulated to evolution but ends up being a personal attack on Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis.

This is incredibly encouraging. A conservative evangelical seminary has just hired someone who has warned that Christians who deny scientific facts are in danger of becoming a "cult." This might suggest that Ken Ham and his Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., are becoming less relevant, as they speak for — and to — an increasingly smaller band of hyperconservative biblical literalists. Ham's followers, ironically, are exactly what Waltke warned us about — a cult, with their own separate science.

Actually, Answers in Genesis is pretty widely accepted among a wide swath of evangelicalism. Far from a secretive cult, they are quite out in the open about what they believe and their beliefs run to the mainstream of evangelical thought. They are something of a one-trick pony but the organization is hardly cultic and the suggestion that they are is venomous and juvenile. The danger in the church is not people denying “scientific facts”, it is teachers in the church who claim that “science” trumps Scripture and then cry foul when haters of God are not willing to play nicely in the sandbox. Christianity is not just one worldview among myriad other competing worldviews in the sandbox of ideas. Christianity is the truth of God revealed to man. There is no sandbox. You either have that truth or you don’t and where you come down has eternal consequences.

This essay by Karl Giberson just demonstrates the foolhardiness of trying to find acceptance among the world. The world is not interested in compromise and consensus because it hates the One who has declared Himself through creation, through His Word and in the person of the Son. This is not an issue of evolution vs. creation, this is an issue of those who hate God and those who love Him. I can sort of understand why some believers are so desperate to be liked and approved by the world. It can be hard to be ridiculed and an outcast but the truth of the matter is that it comes with the territory of being a follower of Christ. God did not give us an expectation that the world would like what we have to say nor that it would embrace us as messengers. Just the opposite, the world is going to hate us and revile us because it hates the One we declare. Why would someone who is a professor at Eastern Nazarene College want to make the message of the Bible more palatable to appease unbelievers? I for one would rather face the ridicule of the world and persecution even to the point of death than to surrender to the world.

Mammals that evolved from single-cell organisms don’t need a Savior because they would not be substantively any different from a cow or a monkey. Human beings, created in the image of God as humans, need a Savior. If man was not created as man, then there was no garden. There wasn’t a Fall and there is no need for salvation. If you want to chuck the Garden and the Fall, you might as well toss the cross and the empty tomb.

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