Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Fun in the Bible Belt


We celebrated Evolution Sunday, February 14th, the Sunday closest to Darwin's birthday. It was a lot of fun and we received some great publicity for it as well including this article in the Elizabethton Star.

In today's Elizabethton Star another point of view is being presented. Harvest Baptist is celebrating Creation Sunday on March 7th. Here is the story:

Harvest Baptist Church will celebrate "Creation Sunday" on Sunday, March 7, at 11 a.m.

Sunday school teachers, as well as the song service, will focus on the topic of the day.

The special service is being held as a response to First Christian Church's observance of "Evolution Sunday" in February.

(I think this is an error. First Christian Church is mentioned as celebrating Evolution Sunday. Maybe that church did as well but I doubt it. I think the article should read First Presbyterian).

"We wanted to stand against that," said the Rev. Dale Greenwell, pastor. "We've got nothing against the church itself, but we just want to try to stand against what they're trying to bring across, because we believe evolution is a lie. It goes against what true Christianity is."

Greenwell continued, "We believe in creation in six literal days, as given in Genesis I and II, and that God created everything you see and everything that is in those six days, and evolution has no part in it. I don't understand why any pastor or church would want to bring that in to cause people to disbelieve the Bible, because that's what it does -- it causes doubt on the Word of God. There is no hint, whatsoever, of evolution mentioned in the Bible, none whatsoever. If God didn't talk about it, then there's a good chance it's not a part of what's happened."

Greenwell cited Genesis 1:27: "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

"He created us the way we are," Greenwell said. "He didn't have to have billions of years to make us what we are."

Greenwell also shared Isaiah 43:7, "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."

"God made us," Greenwell said. "He didn't fix it so the earth would make us to evolve. He made us what we are, so we stand against evolution and every theory of it. It's only a theory. There's no proof to it, so we believe in the Scriptural Creation."

Greenwell says he agrees with the statement that more faith is required to believe in evolution than in creation. "There's more evidence that there is a designer of everything instead of some 'Big Bang' taking place," he said.

The Scripture is literal and should be accepted literally, "unless it makes no literal sense," Greenwell observed. "Then you understand it as an allegory or an analogy. But the Scripture itself is written as a literal book and we believe it just for what it says."

A belief in any form of evolution, Greenwell says, "destroys faith in God, because it either says God can't do it all or He's left it halfway done and it's got to take care of itself. God completed the world in its complete form."

Harvest Baptist Church has gained members as a result of "Creation Sunday," according to Greenwell. "We've had a huge family to join because of that," he said. "And when our people see evolution pushed by another church, they are proud that we stand against it, because we all believe the same here and believe that God created the earth and the heavens."

Greenwell says choosing to believe the concept of evolution instead of creation is the same as taking faith away from God and placing that faith in His creation. "It turns into Pantheism then," he remarked.

"It takes away personal responsibility, too," Greenwell said. "If the Bible is not true, or if just parts of the Bible are true, I'll pick out what I want it to be, and I won't have to worry about my own sin and if I want to do something wrong I can do it. The world would rather believe evolution because it takes away their personal responsibility for their sin."

Greenwell is the administrator of Harvest Baptist Christian School, a Christian school operated by Harvest Baptist Church, and he says creation is taught at the school. The students "are also taught some of the evolution as 'This is what the world believes....it's not what we believe, it's not what we're encouraging you to believe.' But they are taught parts of it and why it's not true."

For more information, call 543-3303.

There you have it. A little drama here in Scopes Country.

Maybe someday we'll all kiss and make up.

28 comments:

  1. Well, at least you can say that people have a crystal clear choice.

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  2. Oh you silly Christians, stop fighting amongst yourselves and get back to doing what you really love, hatin' on me and other atheists.

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  3. What would the Harvest folks do without FPCe?

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  4. Bible belt seems to be buckled a little too tightly.

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  5. "If the Bible is not true, or if just parts of the Bible are true, I'll pick out what I want it to be, and I won't have to worry about my own sin and if I want to do something wrong I can do it. The world would rather believe evolution because it takes away their personal responsibility for their sin."

    Hmm... sounds like they have selectively not read Romans.

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  6. This is episode 1 of an excellent series on evolution by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins cites his understanding of evolution as the basis of his atheism. However, the same appreciation of evolution leads me to a more precise appreciation of the reality of God.

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  7. I always feel sorry for people like this because I used to be one of them. It is almost like a case study in linguistics; if you are surrounded by nobody but those who believe the same that you do, it is easy to believe some very irrational things. I was schooled in all the problems of evolution and I can still give you the run-down; somewhere along the line I just decided I didn't care. I don't think faith should fear science (and neither should science - i.e. Dawkins and his ilk - mock all faith). The evolution Sunday is kind of cute, but it wouldn't work in a congregation - like mine - where everyone is Baptist and doesn't know it. Good opportunity to talk about what it means for God to be creator, though.

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  8. Oh gag me with a spoon! Just give me a lobotomy and get it over with.

    I suppose there is no proof of music either. After all, music theory is just a theory too.

    I grew up a missionary kid and well versed in the bible, but I had to learn in honors biology that the theory of evolution was controversial among Christians.

    I was going to college in Kansas.

    There is an AP article out of Louisville, Ky in the news today that says that since most home school students are "evangelicals", some high school home school biology books are going so far as saying that if you don't believe in six day creationism you are going to hell. Seriously! The editor's say it has to do with "knowing your demographics".

    Tell 'em what they want to hear and take their money.

    There was a time when the Muslim nations were the most scientifically advanced people on the planet too...

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  9. I strongly suspect that I once didn't get a job teaching HS science because the interviewing committee was suspicious of my having graduated from Calvin College.

    When they asked me, "Would you have a problem teaching the curriculum on evolution since you graduated from Calvin?" I pretty much knew the interview was over. (Given that my first biology textbook at Calvin was titled, "Biology, an Evolutionary Approach" I was initially baffled by their question until I thought about what they were really asking.)

    So while we may laugh at their silliness, they do give a bad name to the rest of us Christians who aren't wed to stone-age notions of cosmology. That's why I'm glad that churches like John's are doing what they can to counter such notions among those who may think that all Christians are equally stupid and unable to open our eyes and notice that the Earth is not the center of the cosmos.

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  10. Also important to note that in my church (as in many) are biologists, chemists, and so forth who may be more "orthodox" (there's that word again) than I am and who understand the limits of both scientific and theological language.

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  11. It would help if these folks would actually study the Bible carefully and discover that Genesis 1 is a POEM! I bet they would be more than willing to say that the Psalmist was using metaphor when s/he said that the trees clap their hands.

    Alan - isn't it interesting to be discriminated against for what you're not? I hear from some in the CRC that Calvin College and Seminary are now of the devil (too liberal). Of course it was from some folks who went to or taught at Calvin that I learned the really good stuff from the Netherlands about Abraham Kuyper and his followers.

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  12. In today's paper (March 7--the $1.50 Sunday edition) there is a pretty noticeable correction that says they got the wrong church.

    First Presbyterian not First Christian are the bedeviled evolutionists in case anyone is still wondering.

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  13. "Alan - isn't it interesting to be discriminated against for what you're not? "

    Happens to me all the time. I'm not straight.

    Anyway, in the late 1980's, a guy by the name of Leo Peters (whose claim to fame is inventing the Butterball Turkey) would take out full page advertisements in the Grand Rapids Press against professors at Calvin, calling them the "4 horsemen of the apocalypse" because they dared to say that asking science questions of the Bible is silly, and asking faith questions of science is equally silly.

    The problem with such people is that they confuse liberalism with the intellectual freedom offered in academic institutions. Even though they graduated from Calvin, they still confused it for a Bible school.

    Ah, Kuyper. Love his quote that "there is not one thumbprint on this Earth that Jesus doesn't look down upon and declare, 'That is mine.'"

    It's better in the original Dutch.

    (BTW, I was interested to see that our Heidelberg Catechism committee is working with the CRC on the re-translation. I can't wait to see the Presbyterian fundies' objections to what they come up with. Nothing will make their homophobia more evident than when they start whining about a translation that has been approved by the *CRC*!)

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  14. I'm surprised the PCUSA is working with the CRC. I don't think we are in communication with them. Still, I think a correct translation is more important than politics. And I was surprised to read that there were a variety of errors. I thought the committee was only looking at the addition to the quote from 1 Cor.

    If this comes with proper documentation and the folks in our presbytery who speak German say the translation is better I plan to vote for it.

    I assume you are too young to have studied under H. Evan Runner. Did you get to read his "The Relation of the Bible to learning? Did you take any classes in the philosophical work of Herman Doyeweerd? Or in the writing of the people at the ICS? One of my favorites is "Aid for the Overdeveloped West."

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  15. "Did you take any classes in the philosophical work of Herman Doyeweerd?"

    We talked quite a bit about Doyeweerd in my religion classes, but it's been a long time since I thought about that.

    The PCUSA is not in communion with the CRC, they refused communion with us, the ELCA, the RCA and the UCC several years back because the UCC was involved. But if there's any denomination to trust regarding a good translation of the Heidelberg Catechism, it's the CRC. When I was in Grand Rapids, many CRC pastors still preached from the HC each Sunday (usually in their evening services.)

    Their translation has never included the "homosexuality" mistranslation that we have in ours, BTW.

    But of course the BFTSs will malign any new translation precisely because of their homophobia. It will be fun to watch them try to go up against CRC scholarship on the matter, which I assume will be unimpeachable and truly Reformed. But I hope they do so, it'll be just more evidence that this isn't about accuracy of the confessions at all, but their particular political agenda.

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  16. But if there's any denomination to trust regarding a good translation of the Heidelberg Catechism, it's the CRC.

    Amen to that!

    I hear speculation as to why the original writers left out arsenokoitai and malakoi. Looking at it as a historian I have to say that there is no historical material that tells us why the authors left any reference to those words out of the Catechism.

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  17. But there does seem to be a historical reason why they inserted it in our version.

    According to Jack Rogers:

    "In a phone conversation with Osterhaven, when I asked why they chose to insert the phrase, 'homosexual perversion,' even though there is no corresponding word or phrase in the original text he replied, 'We just thought it would be a good idea.'"

    http://www.drjackrogers.com/2008/06/the-importance-of-restoring-the-heidelberg-catechism-to-its-original-text.html

    So much for scholarship. I don't even have to be a historian to shoot enormous gaping holes through that.

    If people want to write a new confession that includes prohibitions against homosexuality, they're always welcome to do so. However, I do not think it is appropriate to modify the historical confessions according to the whims of some group within the church any time they feel like it. These are meant to be particular teachings from a particular time and place, not simply a laundry list of whatever sins we want to insert in there anytime some busybodies, fusspots, tattletales and scolds get their knickers in a twist about one sin or another.

    So, we may never understand why the original left it out. Too bad. That's not a good enough reason to insert it into the historic text just because some people want a Confessional reason to be homophobes.

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  18. Well confessions are to have present as well as historical meaning. Still if you're going to change something because you feel like it (or even because you think the verse quoted says something extra) then you ought to tell people that you have done it and why.

    Still, in a Book of Confessions, in which the denomination doesn't change individual confessions then you ought to stick to a reputable translation of the original text.

    Like I said, if it comes down as an amendment to change the Catechism so it reads the way it was originally intended to read I will vote for the amendment.

    And yes, I know, this may get me in trouble with some of my friends. In fact I think it is more likely to get me in trouble with friends because it's here on John's site and I suspect they read John and not me! John is controversial. I am supposed to be predictable. :)

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  19. So here's a question Bob. I'm not asking you to read minds, just speculate.

    I know why I think that the BFTSs might have a problem with a more authentic translation of the Heidelberg Catechism. (And I think the reason is obvious.)

    Can you speculate as to why they might object, from your perspective? Just curious.

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  20. Those I have talked with say that the Catechism quotes from 1 Cor. 6 and it is appropriate to leave that answer the way it is because that is what the verse says.

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  21. Uh huh.

    That's pretty much what I thought. In other words, it's all about the naughty bits.

    Actually if they read the Catechism, they'll see that the references are actually 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:1-20; 1 John 3:14 But then I wouldn't expect them to actually know the Catechism or anything. Nor would I ever expect so-called "conservatives" to actually want to ... um .. conserve anything.

    I assume all their other objections to all the other changes are the same? Or are they so focused on the naughty bits sections they don't even realize there are other proposed changes? I think I can guess the answer to that one too.

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  22. I haven't heard any objections to the other revisions. Frankly I didn't know that the committee had permission to make other revisions but if I had thought it through once you appoint a committee to revise a confession it can pretty much do whatever it wants to do. Look at the beginning of the Book of Confessions (and don't get me wrong I like having several confessions). The committee was instructed to update the Westminster Confession and Shorter and Larger Catechisms. Instead we got a Book of Confessions. Not a bad decision, you understand but much larger than the committee was told to do.

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  23. "I haven't heard any objections to the other revisions. "

    In the immortal words of Gomer Pyle, "Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!"

    If I were a betting man, I'd lay money that you won't hear any objections to other revisions.

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  24. Hmm as a political tactic criticizing the other revisions would be a good one. Then people can just say, "see this isn't all about homosexuality. It's about a bad revision. And since the revisions will come down to the presbyteries as a group . . .

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  25. Or an obvious attempt, as you point out, to simply cover their asses. Seems like an uphill battle if the scholarship is even remotely decent.

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