Obviously, I’m talking about taking strong positions on controversial scientific topics, such as on evolution and the age of the earth. (My question is an honest one and I’m not undertaking advocacy under the guise of a question.)
I just heard a well-known Bible expositor take a series of jabs at the Theory of Evolution in his radio sermon. It startled me a bit because I’d never heard him address such topics previously and I had no idea that he would repeat some of the most mind-numbing, scientifically naive misunderstandings of evolutionary processes that one regularly sees promoted by AIG, ICR, and CMI.
Frankly, my respect for him plummeted, not because he doesn’t understand basic science terms and the evidence which supports evolutionary theory. My concern is that he would unnecessarily (and recklessly?) distract from the truths of the Gospel and the trust of his listeners when there’s nothing to be gained from it and much to be lost.
And now it may always be in the back of my mind: Does he carefully check the facts of what he proclaims so dogmatically? Does he understand verification and qualification of sources? Is he often gullible about matters for which he is poorly trained and qualified to evaluate? Does he understand the Kruger-Dunning Effect?
I feel sad that I now am going to be much more skeptical of a man whose preaching I appreciated and a man I have greatly respected. Yes, perhaps it is good that I am now more cautious. (And it’s not like he’s some sort of spiritual hero of mine.) But I never expected him to presume to teach me science. I feel like a great sermon was spoiled by an anti-evolution rant—and I worry about non-believers who might be regular listeners of his radio program and who are now saying to themselves, “I guess the guy’s not as sharp as I thought he was. He’s probably just like that raving young earth youth minister I remember from Vacation Bible School long ago.”
I’ve often been tempted to praise God from the pulpit for the amazing evolutionary processes which built the marvelous biological world I observe each day outside my window. Yet, I rarely do so in my sermons because it would only serve to polarize and agitate my listeners at the very ;time when I most want them to focus on the greatness of God.
What do you think? Was the Apostle Paul warning us about the downside of preaching anything but “the cross of Jesus Christ”? Should distractions be avoided at all costs?