If the Christian community (we'll say evangelical) is so profoundly wrong on origins, how can I trust any other output from that community?

@Josh
It’s great that by honestly sharing this, you have opened up a number of people in this forum in a deeper way, even though some of the posts are longer than normal.

This is how I have begun to see things in regard to the issues of what to believe when it’s clear some things we were taught are off base:

  1. Christians don’t have their act together, generally speaking, any more than non-Christians do. Everyone is deeply flawed. Everyone has handicaps. What ‘advantage’ Christians have is that they admit (or they should) that they are broken sinners. It’s like AA, we are coming to say we admit that we are broken sinners, and that we need to look to God and the community of fellow believers to encourage us to live good, godly lives.
  2. Christianity has become what I would call “Churchianity” for many Christians. They have added rules, traditions, and ways of thinking that are not true Christianity. One of the biggest themes of Jesus’ ministry was rejection of the Pharisaic way of focusing on the superficial and pushing those beliefs on others. We tend to look back on the portrayal of Pharisees as “those people” who were so bad, yet we have a lot of that going on and if we admit it we may have some of that going on inside ourselves.
  3. It’s possible to have too “high” of a view of scripture. If you look at the history of scripture, it was pretty messy. None of the original documents are available and even YEC sites like Answers in Genesis admit that the translations could have flaws. Obviously God could have waited until later in history when communication was more reliable or he could have used more dramatic, miraculously ways to convey clear and flawless scripture. But, it seems that he did not intend to do that and did not want us to make scripture TOO high. After all, he also gave us a personal relationship with him, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
  4. A lot of people, including Christians, gravitate towards ‘rules.’ I’m not saying that there aren’t any important rules that God promotes through scripture. But for some Christians, there is a tendency to carry them far beyond what scripture says. That’s because rules are easier for some than a dynamic personal relationship with God. Plus, we often don’t have a clue of what God is telling us. We have to work hard to get close enough to hear God. We tend to allow a lot of voices into our life that interfere with being sensitive enough to hear from God. That may be through TV, the Internet, and the values within them, that seep into our way of thinking. Or it could be some of the people we associate with.
  5. I believe that we need to work at letting God’s voice seep into our thinking. That includes scripture and pastors/teachers and others who say things that resonate in our soul. We need to “test everything, hold on to what is good.” and “think on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure…” In my experience, God can work through many different methods to teach me. And I don’t often learn when things are going good, but it’s through the difficult things and their aftermath that I learn the most. For example, one of the things I learned through a terribly difficult breakup of an engagement was God doesn’t always ‘rescue’ us from pain and grief. He is like any good parent: once the child gets old enough, God gives us ‘tough love’ and pushes us to stand on the two feet he gave us. For me, I also realized that my soul is in a struggle against ‘the dark side.’ We have to use everything within our power to stop feeding the ‘dark side’ (which makes it grow) and feed more God’s side in our life. That includes, eating right, exercising, avoiding bad influences, practicing good psychological health, studying & thinking on good things, helping others, getting/maintaining a healthy ‘support’ group, etc. (To be sure, it requires not over-spiritualizing things that are just plain unhealthy). I have learned a lot through others in my ‘support group’ (which includes a small group, but also my sphere of family and friends). Interestingly, some of those friends are YECers who nevertheless, have so many positive things they have taught me and are among the most loving people I know. I have come to realize that ‘dark side’ that I picked up from years of the world seeping in, have told me that it’s natural to feel superior, hold resentment or anger, to blame others or even to be too hard on myself. But when I go to bed at night, I take ‘an inner look’ and sometimes see that something that doesn’t feel quite right. I talk to God about helping me to see and overcome the dark side influence. For me (and I suspect for others here) it might include a sense of condemnation or superiority that I feel over other Christians because they are not as ‘enlightened’ as I am. But God is slowly helping me to realize that that is wrong and in my own ways, I am just as bad as others. I need to grow in humility, godly character, and loving others (although true love sometimes means ‘tough love’).
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@DougK great insights, thanks for sharing that.

have you ever met someone who is perfect and only speaks the truth. How about Peter?

The argument to discredit Christianity based on those who call themselves Christians is well known but those capable of critical thinking would make a difference here. When Jesus accused the pharisees did that make you question God?

Please do not let worries about some people who do not understand that Theistic Progressive Evolution does not go against the Church of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If Benjamin Warfield, former professor of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary were here, he will tell you the same thing. One can be a Conservative Christian and accept BioLogos. It is simple as that. Also, science can change its models of creation should scientific evidence require that. As the Rev. Billy Graham has said: God could have used any means to make the universe. Just have faith.

Charles E. Miller, Jr. BA in German; MA in Religion and Biblical Studies

Post Scriptum: Keep the faith. A new heaven and new earth along with a resurrection body will be worth it!

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I have had (and somewhat still have) this same issue. I moved from a very big town with lots of diverse thinking (Columbus, OH) to a small town with lots of like-minded thinking (Titusville, FL). The problem for me is that I was easily able to find a church in Columbus where my ideas on evolution and other non-gospel issues like politics were accepted but in Titusville, I am now the black sheep. It can be a daily struggle for me to hear conversations at work or church and have to hold my tongue so as not to alienate those who are easily alienated (it seems that those who disagree with me also have a tendency to be offended that I would even dare think differently). :smile:

God has provided a church for me that, thankfully, stays pretty neutral on these kinds of issues from the pulpit. It was a big worry for me that I might have to sit in church every morning and hear the kinds of sermons about “the world” that I heard in my Pentecostal upbringing. God has blessed me (and our community) with pastors who avoid the details of these divisive issues and stick to the overall implications of scripture. Our church is a powerful force in the community and our pastors are some of the most serving people I have ever met. They truly love Jesus and they truly love people. In fact, I started working there as a part time graphic designer and I see it in every interaction I have with them!

What I have learned in the last three years is that God is teaching me restraint and humility. He’s teaching me to look for the best in people even when they are way off base on issues I really hold dear and important. I could definitely drive 30-45 minutes to Orlando and find a church more like my old church (in fact, there is one there that I think is sympathetic to Biologos, but I just can’t seem to find it right now), but I would be missing out on the community and why God has me here serving. Plus, I would have never met those that I’m serving alongside and while we may argue on whether or not this country has too many guns or if Genesis is literal, we both love Jesus and our city and that’s why God has brought us together.

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