Responding to pastor's hesitations

Personally, I wouldn’t try to pressurise him into accepting evolution. The thing about evolution is that it’s not an easy subject to understand, there are a lot of misconceptions about it, and some people get pretty grossed out at the thought of humans and animals being related to each other, especially if they’re the kind of people who hated biology lab work at school what with all the dissections and experiments with worms and maggots and all the rest of it.

Instead, focus on the need to make sure that you know what you’re talking about and that your facts are straight. The line I tend to adopt is that even if evolution is false, there are some really bad arguments against it — bad, as in, blatantly untrue, and that ultimately causes more harm to the Gospel than good.

My personal advice to pastors anywhere is to make sure that anyone teaching in their churches on the subject should have a degree in science at the very least. I could even handle being taught YEC by a trained scientist, since then I could at least have a rational and informed discussion with them. What gets up my nose are the people who gave up science at sixteen and haven’t set foot in a lab ever since, yet think that they know more about science than “secular scientists” because they haven’t been “brainwashed” by a science degree. These are the exact same people who believe that evolution teaches that cats can turn into dogs overnight, who aren’t even aware that radiometric dating involves measuring things, and who will happily tell you that that Sir Arthur Keith said something about evolution being unproven and unprovable four years after he died.


While he isn’t a scientist, he did try to sort all of this out in his own mind as a young adult. It is unfortunate that most of what he found then was early ID and YEC materials. He thought he was being radical to go for the micro/not macro approach. And at that point in time in the UK, some scientists seemed to be going with that. Also, the recent chat we had about this was at his invitation. So I think he wants to address the issue of evolution. He genuinely wants to know where I am coming from and why. (He knows I’m “sound” and a person who thinks things through.) Because he is a pastor with influence, and because we are in the UK (where the status quo position is less rigid and there is less at stake politically), I think it would be good to see how much I can explain! I think he is actually enjoying having his mind stretched a bit on an issue that isn’t threatening to split the church! He can relax and enjoy the process!

Having said all of that, I agree with your advice about people having at least a degree in science - though if they don’t, he tends to send them to me for a chat first! So far, that has worked well! My main concern in the church is not people teaching YEC so much as people assuming evolution is very bad and saying so to young people or non-Christian scientists!


Yes I am! Added to that, his legal training urges him to sort it all out in his mind.

I have certainly started with theology and hermeneutics. I have training in that so we discussed that at length and I ran out of time for discussing evolution. But he wants to go there. He already knows and recommends McGrath’s “The Dawkins Delusion”. I think Collins book might be a bit too scientific though. I will definitely look into Peter Enn’s book. Thanks for the suggestion.

We are already holding the thought of Adam and Eve et al! Even he saw the need to leave that till later!

Christians in Science is a good call! I prefer BioLogos for materials! But CiS has some good leaflets for churches and the fact that it is a general organisation for scientific Christians, yet it agrees with BioLogos, is an important indication that most Christian scientists go this way.

1 Like

BioLogos and CiS are different organisations in different countries with different remits.

BioLogos in based in the USA; CiS is in the UK.

The influence of YEC is, I understand, significantly stronger in the USA than here in the UK, and a major strand of BioLogos over there is focussed on that debate, including reaching out to lay people,

By contrast CiS (UK) is primarily aimed at fellowship of Christians employed within universities and scientific research organisations. Its work on the YEC front is significantly less prominent and quieter, simply because almost no scientist-Christians at all in such UK organisations seem to be YEC… or if they are, they are very quiet about it. I think I have heard of (but don’t personally know) one current YEC (but in engineering) at a university on the south-west, and one OE (but in Maths) at a university in the south-east.

1 Like

Yes, I get there is quite a difference, but that actually helps - because my pastor could assume that BioLogos is a group that have a thing about evolution whereas CiS is a general group of Christian scientists. If they agree with BioLogos, that is significant!

And that is the best reason for the “final step” of Breathing the Breath of Life!

@Mazza_P Having come down this road myself, with Seminary and an M-Div and all, I think the previous suggestions on reading Walton is the place to start. Discussion on the hermeneutics is almost required before you get to the scientific evidence.
Many of the discussions here show that many of the BioLogos members tend to argue through Genesis 1-2 as if it is a technical document rather than an Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) one. If we charge into the science without getting grips with that, the struggle to release the Scriptures as we have been trained to see it, takes time and effort away from building confidence in believing the premise is actually true. (No offense to the Forum Members!):wink:

This was my case as I dove into the science without a firm grasp.

I sincerely hope this helps.

Ray :sunglasses:

Thanks for this. I’m shortly leading a devotional on Genesis 1 which will include the message of Genesis 1 without the controversial bits, so I think that will help.

But I think my pastor is chewing things over for himself. Today, he recommended BioLogos to someone else! :slight_smile: