Thank you for your responses to my last post regarding the YEC class at a megachurch in Dallas. I think I responded to everyone looking for a reply.
This morning I attended a YEC class taught by a ICR staff guy named Bill West. His title was “Star Wars: The Battle for the Heavens.”
This man did not lack knowledge about astronomy.
The audience was somewhat informed, in a kind of PBS way. The laymen’s standard engagement with science after college. There was about 17 of them, but the church holds about 500.
The class schedule was only four weeks long, and all about astronomy. He said the last class would be about aliens. He has been substantially influenced by Jason Lisle, I believe of ICR.
He made an immediate link between what he was doing and “apologetics”. I have noticed these days it is extremely hard to find any apologetics books in even a Christian megastory like Mardel here. What happened to this line of publishing? As a historian I have to ask this question.
He had copies of Acts and Facts magazine at the ready.
I heard him for an hour, and then wondered what I should do. I teach at a secular community college two miles away, in which the science departments would react to his ideas with ridicule or horror, or both.
But then I thought about the audience who was listening to him.
He was invited by Leslie, a Cru staff director I knew 20 years ago at WVU. I found out Leslie was here at this church through Facebook. I had come to admire this church’s singles ministry before I researched their approach to science. Turns out at another campus of this same church, there is a guy teaching ID who also has an apologetics ministry at the University of Texas at Dallas, called “Reasonable Faith”.
- He said Stephen Meyer told ICR that debating them about the age of the earth etc. was not an important priority. I don’t know if this means Discovery is ignoring ICR or wanting simply not to fight.
I decided to tell him first about my historical research which brought me to supporters of YEC, ID, and evolution. Then I asked him,
“What do you see as the social impacts of evolutionary teaching?”
Response: “Young people are leaving the church. The Bible is being cast aside by the younger generations. I love apologetics for this reason. It is calling young people back to God.”
This is a paraphrase. But I think I captured his spirit. This is almost exactly what I heard coming from Stephen Meyer at another church here.
Lakepointe church cannot seem to make up its mind between YEC and ID. But the verdict is out. Evolution is atheism. Too bad for ECs. But that is Dallas evangelicalism for you. What Marsden calls “fundamentalistic evangelicalism.”
But sometimes I wonder about that Bible chapter that basically says, “One man considers every day the same, one considers one day special. If each does what he does to the Lord, who are you to judge someone else’s servant?”
But at the same time, I wonder about theological battles Paul chose to fight, as he faced Peter directly. I don’t know which category Enlightenment science’s contact with Protestantism is. Still too foggy after 15 years of conversations. So I have learned to ease up and not stress out with YECs and ID people.
I will be engaging Bill again in the weeks to come. I shook his hand and thanked him. I did not try to present a clean reconciliation of mainstream science and Protestant theology. This man is a paid warrior for the leading YEC organization of all time. I took in his full aspect. And the needs of his audience. Some college age people in there. Seeing the young affects a professor before he chooses to wage war against fellow Christians.
If you have any feedback to give, I will try to reply within about a week. Thanks.