Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tone of Voice - ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

The current issue of Acts & Facts published by the Institute for Creation Research mentions Reasons To Believe.

The Deceptive Dance of Compromise
by Henry Morris III

Look, I'm not here to defend RTB. The scholars there are more than capable of doing that. I just want to make a general comment as an old-earth creationist and a trained theologian.

Dr. Morris continues to lump all old-earth Christians together under one large "umbrella" - most notably theistic evolutionists and day-age creationists - without differentiation. This is unfortunate.

More importantly, I think the tone of this article is deeply disturbing. Respected Christian scholars are accused of some rather serious "crimes" against Scripture. Granted, trying to integrate the record of nature and the words of the Bible can be challenging at times. But it doesn't automatically mean all Christians who don't believe in young-earth creationism are compromising the integrity of Scripture. I know many scholars who are working very diligently to make sense of data, both biblical and scientific.

Even though I have sharp disagreements with some of them, I respect them as brothers and sisters in Christ and I try to treat them and their views with as much respect as possible. Am I perfect? No, I'm a sinner. But it is something that I work really hard at. Like my mom used to say, it's not always about what you say as much as how you say it. (My friend and colleague, Kenneth Samples, has written on this issue: "The Golden Rule of Apologetics.")

Is it really too much to ask that young-earth creationists return the favor?

UPDATE (8/15/10): Along these lines, the "Grace To You" blog (John MacArthur's ministry) has been running a series on creation since March. In my opinion, these entries suffer from the similar ad hominem statements, straw man arguments, and disparaging tone as the Acts & Facts piece. Here is the series' climax: "The Final Word."

What's particularly frustrating here is that the debate is couched as an issue rooted in the authority of Scripture. As frequent reader, Virginia P., observed: "The 'biblical authority' argument (over science) seems prevalent in YEC circles these days - but also one that's hard to argue against in the right way without looking liberal. It would appeal very much to the ordinary Christian who just wants to uphold the Bible - it's always easier to take a firm stand and ignore the rest of the world than to try integration. It hasn't become an issue in my church yet, but that's the argument I see would have the most effect. That's why it's important to know 'what the Bible actually says,' to copy the YEC phrase."

1 comment:

Luke said...

Yes, the tone can get nasty very quickly. I think that is driven by factors like: Wanting to know the truth and being uncomfortable with ambiguity, not understanding the other position, lack of information presented well, flat-out misrepresentation of positions, fear, and likely a myriad of other bits and pieces.

With all that, I think the fact that young earthers don't "return the favor" makes perfect sense. For example: If they feel the need to defend the Word of God against the evils of "the wisdom of man," it's no wonder their tone isn't more gracious.

I don't have a solution because I'm one who is floating vaguely in the middle. I don't know enough to "pick a side" and I'm content in my ignorance. The subject interests me, but not enough to do anything about it. I've got other battles to fight.

All that to say: I think that the disconnect makes perfect sense because these two opposing ideas are not on the same page. One is arguing for one thing, the other about something else entirely.

...okay, enough rambling for one morning. [smile]

~Luke