The Fool and the Heretic - Todd Wood and Darrel Falk


(Randy) #21

yes, that’s a good point–or even for those who find themselves divided by political differences.

has anyone seen the address by Wayne Grudem at Biola? He referred to Francis Collins as an evangelical. He emphasized that he did not agree with him theologically, but acknowledged that he had the opportunity to do much good for Christianity. I listened to this this past summer, but I think it’s at the beginning of this video–I’m in the middle of work today so can’t listen to it again but I THINK this is the one:


(Jay Johnson) #22

Beyond that, those same folks have so confused their politics and their religion that they can no longer tell the difference. That’s all I should say on this topic, though.

I’m afraid you’re right.


(Joel Duff) #23

Beyond that, those same folks have so confused their politics and their religion that they can no longer tell the difference. That’s all I should say on this topic, though.

Quite agree. As I read the book, I found myself thinking more about what the lessons meant within the context of politics than how I might apply them to dispute over science.


(Jay Johnson) #24

I bet. My short answer is that the Culture War sucked everything into its vortex, and the politico-religious partisans quickly learned that the constant drumbeat of “liberal bias” that worked against the media in the '70-'80s could be applied against science. Hence, we get “Darwin on Trial” and a whole host of science-deniers and conspiracy theorists.

As far as communication goes, language involves two kinds of sharing in a community: 1) word meanings and usage conventions, and 2) the truthful communication of information. Human languages are thus “socially shared symbolic systems” that rely upon cooperation for their use. When two people (or two groups of people) cannot even agree on a common set of “true” facts, it is impossible even to begin a discussion, let alone reach agreement or resolution. That is where we are.


(Paul Allen) #25

Interesting read regarding the book.

Both are scientist both are followers of Jesus both are not theologians.
So the purpose of the book appears to be to encourage polite conversations, not arguments. Fair enough.

The difference between theistic evolution, creation and evolution go beyond the 7 poetic non-literal Vs literal days and how vs why. God makes extraordinary claims regarding his creative abilities.


(Matthew Pevarnik) #26

I have not seen that. It’s definitely not a surprise that he would disagree with Francis Collins being one of the main editors of the ID movement’s big Theistic Evolution critique book.


(Randy) #27

Right, but I recall him being actually quite complimentary to a degree. That was what stuck out in my mind. JP Moreland, in the same series, however, said that evolution was the key to moral degradation; I wasn’t sure where he got all that.


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #28

Yes, it is my understanding that in his undergrad days, Grudem participated in the same InterVarsity chapter that I was part of back in the day (though decades after him), Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship.

I doubt that you can study the Bible alongside a group like that for four formative years of your life and come away hating on evolutionary creationists as some sort of suspicious Other. You may well disagree with them, but you will see them as your brothers and sisters.

Heck, in my day, I knew of only one Christian there of all my friends who held an openly YEC stance, and she was well aware of how shocking her beliefs could be even amongst the faithful!

Anyway, I disagree with Grudem on lots of things, but I would be surprised if he acted with a Ken-Ham level of non-charity toward the EC movement.


(Laura) #29

This is definitely true in my experience. For me, embracing EC came right on the heels of realizing that just because something seems to support my Christian right-wing agenda doesn’t automatically make it true or mean it’s being used in an honest way. I think it was just part of the culture that if something has a “conservative Christian” label on it, it must be true, and anyone who says otherwise must be saying it because they hate “us.”


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #30

The big puzzle for me and I would think all other Christians is how this group of Christians who claim to place a high regard for truth managed to lose their way. My view is that they believe a huge lie that the Bible is the Absolute Word of God, which confuses the OT and the NT and makes Christianity into a false legalism.

If you have a better explanation, please let me know.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #31

And the big puzzle for them, Roger, is how we (you!) lost your way. Nobody says to themselves, “hey, I think I’m going to believe something false today!” That doesn’t mean that it’s all relative - there really is truth, and we really can lose our way from that truth. But just keep in mind that as a matter of perspective - we always imagine ourselves as being on the “trunk” of the tree of truth, and everybody else is branching off erroneously from that trunk. But they see themselves as the trunk - and you as the branch off.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #32

@Mervin_Bitikofer
Thank you for reminding me that everyone thinks they believe the truth, but we know that unless relativism is true, that cannot be.

I always thought that Jesus was the Way, the Truth, and the Light., and if we took that seriously He would show us how we and others had gone astray. That is why I was enquiring. Maybe someone else had a better answer than I, or I might be wrong.

The question is: How can we determine what is true, based on the Christian faith? and how can we apply it to Creationism?

Is it your position or the position of BioLogos, that there is no way to determine what is true and false?


(Phil) #33

That reminds me of how William Jennings Bryan who was lauded for his anti-evolution stance, was a social liberal and very much for social justice. People are complicated and we must try to see them for who they are as individuals.


(Jay Johnson) #34

I sort of agree, but I would phrase it as the “Inerrant, Literal Word of God,” and I cast a wider net of blame, because it all comes back to culture war. Actually, two culture wars.

The first culture war of fundamentalism vs. modernism took place between 1890-1930, give or take a few years. Abraham Kuyper put this into words in his Princeton lectures on Calvinism in 1898. Following Darwin’s theory, the discovery of the “Chaldean Genesis” (Gilgamesh, pub. 1876), and the rise of “liberal theology” in Germany, the “Christian heritage” of Europe and America seemed under attack. The Europeans blamed the French Revolution, evolution, and German pantheism (i.e., liberal theology), but in America, according to George Marsden, the first culture war took the form of a two-pronged attack.

First, the “fundamentals” of Christianity’s supernatural origins (Jesus’ virgin birth, miracles, resurrection) had to be defended, of course, but the battle primarily revolved around the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, especially in regard to natural history and science. Second, there was the battle against secularism, in which most Christians "instinctively looked back to the recent evangelical heyday and proclaimed that the best way to fight secularism was to bring back the Bible-based civilization that they pictured in their grandparent’s time,” as Marsden put it. W.J. Bryan’s campaigns against evolution and strong drink are conspicuous examples, as well as super-patriotism, anti-communism, and anti-Catholicism, which actually was anti-immigrant sentiment, since the major immigrant groups of 1900s-20s were Irish, Italian, and Central European Catholics.

What were the results of this first culture war? It was a disaster. Within one generation, the “extraordinary influence of evangelicalism in the public sphere of American culture collapsed,” as Marsden characterized it.

Now, we are in another culture war. What are the battlegrounds? The same as before – inerrancy of the Bible, evolution, and liberal theology on the religious side, and on the nationalistic front, super-patriotism, anti-foreigner, and anti-immigrant sentiments. And what are the results of Culture War II? Church attendance has been sliding since the ’70s, and the Millennial generation is abandoning the faith twice as fast as their parents, the Baby-boomers. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

As an aside, you would be interested in this article on the segregationist roots of the “moral majority” and the culture war: The Real Origins of the Religious Right


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #35

Adding a +1 recommendation to this article, fwiw. I just forwarded this link to a friend of mine last night.


(Jay Johnson) #36

@AMWolfe
Yes, Falwell’s revisionist history says it was all about Roe v Wade, but the original issue was that the federal government was attacking “religious freedom” (i.e., the right to discriminate). Sound familiar? That drum is still being beaten, as in recent court cases. The abortion angle didn’t come into play until Francis Schaeffer joined forces with popular Surgeon General C. Everett Koop on an anti-abortion documentary in 1979. That’s when the movement found its footing and took off.

Added note: The other “trigger” was The Battle for the Bible in 1977. The author was the editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, Harold Lindsell. The next year, evangelicals convened in Chicago to draft their famous statement on inerrancy. The war was on.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #37

Methinks you missed the entire point of my short post!

Nobody among the believers here is going to argue with that, Roger. [except that it’s “life” and not “light” - but hey! We’re not being picky here, right?] It is in the “…so what?..” that life gets interesting.

I don’t speak for Biologos. But speaking for myself, I think we’re given terrific tools to discern (as well as we can or as much as the Spirit sees fit) what is true. Healthy and informed Christian community is one of those great tools. Wider community, and science itself are among others of that great tool collection.


(Randy) #38

Thanks. This sort of echoes what I heard Skye Jethani also say on the Phil Vischer podcast (that source of all things corny and deep).

This is pretty troubling to me, though. Couldn’t it also illustrate that not all those who join a movement are the remotest bit aware of the evil involved in starting it?

Do you remember the song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire”? :slight_smile: It’s not as simple as that–I guess we all need to introspect, accept criticism, and make sure we’re acting for the greater good, rather than just our own points of view. I am looking forward to listening to @Mervin_Bitikofer 's podcast from Ms Tippet about analyzing motives.


(Laura) #39

I think most movements are a reaction to something. It’s something or someone else that’s seen as evil, and yeah, when that is the focus it’s much harder to see the evil in one’s own movement.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #40

The evil they are most acutely aware of is the single issue that makes them (us?) feel absolutely justified in ignoring any and all other incidental evils that may happen along the way. It’s “the end justifies the means”. When your “end” is a dire enough problem (in your own eyes), nearly anything else can be overlooked. And who might this apply to? The other guy. It’s always the other guy! :wink:

[And that was quite an eye-opener to me, @Jay313, that the true origin of the religious right was to protect segregation rather than to protect unborn life. I had not known that!]