Balancing new perspectives with relationships in your church community

(Colin Davies) #1

I am brand new to the Biologos forum and by no means an expert in all things TE, all i can say for now is i am very passionately learning all I can, and it seems to connect much of the world around me in a way i’ve yet experienced.

My question is, are there other people that have experienced struggles connecting to their local church community because of these very marginalizing beliefs? I am in the midst of some big changes for our family trying to find a church that we can connect with. I believe we shouldn’t seek out a church for our our selfish preferences…yet the church I was at for 10 years, and the churches i’ve visited since then all have had issues that I don’t feel fit the journey I’m on.

I really want to find a church that accepts doubt, debate, and new ideas (discussion on TE), but the few interactions i’ve had with members of various churches have not been good.

Any experiences or thoughts would be great!

(Phil) #2

Excellent topic, and one we regular people without Ph.Ds can discuss. We have touched on the subject before, but never hurts to revisit it, as it seems everything evolves, including churches. ;{)
My personal church is southern baptist, but is quite diverse. Some of the more vocal people are YEC, but I notice they have calmed down a bit, and really are good not to make it an issue, as we as a church are really trying to stretch the tent to cover a more varied group than is traditional for a baptist church. The pastor is fairly moderate overall, and while he avoids controversy, seems to be open to different views on non-essential doctrine.
If I were looking for a new church, I think I would visit with the pastor to see what the attitudes are, and even if more of a literalist, so long as it was not seen as a critical issue, could live with it if the church community otherwise felt right.
I have mellowed somewhat in that I love and respect those with differing views, though to some extent expect the same courtesy.

In contrast, I know of people who had to leave otherwise loving churches because of YEC views taught from the pulpit and in the children’s curriculum that conflicted with their view of truth, and thus forced a change.

(Christy Hemphill) #3

Welcome to the forum, Colin!

I’m a member of a Converge (BGC) church. We just don’t talk about origins at all. :grin: Or politics. I am pretty sure that on the pastoral staff and leadership there are a range of views. I would think you could find many churches that have decided not to make your Genesis interpretation a litmus test for anything, and that is what I would look for, not a church that teaches evolutionary creationism from the pulpit. I think if you can find a church where the leadership is humble, the average member of the congregation knows how to give and receive grace, and a diversity of views on second order issues is accepted, then that’s a winner of a church.

I think there are some topics, origins being one of them, that you only bring up in really safe spaces where you know people will accept you and trust your character no matter what. I have a couple friends from my church and mission organization like this and some family like this, and that has been enough. Maybe it is different if you are a scientist and your TE views are more front and center to your identity. But for me, the topic only comes up in the context of homeschool materials, not church.

(George Brooks) #4


If you look at the Evolution-end of the graph … aren’t there any denominations listed that you could “live with” ?

United Church of Christ,
Progressive Baptist,
Lutheran (not ELCA),
Presbyterian (not PCUSA),
Disciples of Christ?

(Jim Lock) #5


Hey Colin, My wife and I live in a very rural and conservative part of the Midwest. We basically didn’t factor in those concerns when were looking around. We’ve had some rough moments, I got into a loud argument with an elder’s wife after she (a science teacher) called Climate Change ‘junk science.’ We also got to sit through 2 months of AIG’s YEC video series in Sunday School and got to hear an elder describe us as non-Christian. (He didn’t know our position at the time.) However, at the end of the day we like those people. They’re kind and generous and they are our family. We don’t shy away from our position, but we don’t look for fights either. All of that to say, we’ve opted to just ‘live with it.’


(Colin Davies) #6

Thanks for all of your reply’s. I definitely do not expect to find a church that teaches TE from the pulpit, and I agree that leaving origins out of the conversation is a way to accomodate all people’s perspectives.

At one point I was so frustrated with the isolation of being outside of the norm that I just ignored these beliefs and focused on the more crucial life and teaching of Jesus…yet after reading John Walton’s book “The Lost World of Genesis One”, it strikes me that our perspective on origins is more than just a perspective on how the world was created, its an interpretation of the Bible that changes our focus from the material world and how to escape it, to the functions we and our world were meant to have, a theme very important in Jesus’ message to his world that I think our world misses quite often…

One thing though, being the minority in a church definitely builds the character traits of being humble, accomodating, and gracious to those around you…maybe that’s just where we’re at in our ever-changing Christian timeline…(it would be great to find a book that discusses how the church handled the Copernican Revolution)