Did You Miss Evolution Sunday? Good!

"On 12 February 2006 hundreds of Christian churches from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. Now, on the 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, many of these leaders will bring this message to their congregations through sermons and/or discussion groups. Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries. And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic."

So reads the Clergy Letter Project, that demonstrates the inroads made by "science falsely so called" (I Timothy 6:20) into the fabric of churches which also profess to be Christian as well as Darwinian in their outlook. The mental gymnastics that allow such dualism spring from their limitations upon the authority of Scripture, more specifically, that the Bible is really just a nice religious allegory that teaches spiritual platitudes but does not speak to matters of science with the same veracity of modern science or scientists.

If the battle for Intelligent Design in Dover, Pennsylvania, was projected as a Fundamentalist conspiracy to bootstrap Creationism back into the public school classroom (so charged according to the court documents), then this is no less a conspiracy to replace Biblical Christianity with Secular Humanism in organizations still claiming to be Christian churches. Thus, on February 12, 2006, it was not Jesus Christ but Charles Darwin who was exalted upon his 197th birthday in 464 churches across America; and we as a nation are the poorer for it.

In recent times in Philadelphia, like other major cities across our nation, we are battling a wave of crime and murder that has reached major proportions. The politicians wring their hands and propose more laws, while the law enforcement people blame the lack of public cooperation for their failure to solve violent crimes. In a recent meeting with clergy from across the city with the police commissioner, we heard a recitation of all the terrible things happening and how so many efforts to curb crime had failed. Near the conclusion of the meeting, a pastor rose to speak:

"All we hear is we need more laws, but the truth is the laws we already have are not enforced. I'm tired of hearing politicians talk about the need for more laws because they don't know what to do. The truth is, you can't legislate morality, and what we are facing here is the absence of a moral sense of right and wrong..."

Another pastor echoed the same sentiment: "..Should any of us be surprised after God and the Bible have been taken away from our children?" The police commissioner stood speechless, as well he might, because we have sown to the wind and now reap the whirlwind.

Those who have systematically excised the Bible and Biblical Christianity from the public classroom, the courtroom and the public square need to be held accountable for the results we see of every man doing that which is right in his own eyes.

The great irony, however, is that the city officials and law enforcement administrations are now calling for pastors and churches to get involved and help them wage the battle against crime. The prayer vigils and marches down the city streets will do little more than provide a show of sincerity and well-meaning intentions to be bundled into a five-second sound bite for the TV news; but for churches that have cast aside the power of the Gospel of Christ and the authority of the Word of God, there is little else to be offered. The exalting of Darwin from their pulpits has helped create the monstrosity we now all face on city streets.

The simple truth is that you can't do the Lord's work in the world's way. Theology cannot be isolated from either science, history or anthropology; and the Word of God is the final authority on every subject it addresses. Those like the 464 churches that conceded to Evolution are doomed to failure and cannot make any real difference in this world. Quite the contrary, our society needs to hear the whole counsel of God's Word; and it needs to hear it from those who still preach it.

The Secularists have effectively painted themselves into a corner; either they can persist in excluding Biblical Christianity and watch their problems multiply and society self-destruct, or they can unfetter the ministries that still preach God's Word and present Christ as the answer, giving opportunity to evangelize and testify to the power of God that still transforms lives today. The alternatives could not be clearer, either in cause or effect. The only question is who has the courage to tell the emperor he isn't wearing any clothes?

Hollywood Update

It was back around 1960 that I occasionally worked in an old barn that had been converted to an artist's studio in Huntingdon Valley, outside northeast Philadelphia. Lawrence Saint, the creator of the Washington Cathedral's North Rose Window (The Last Judgment) was developing sketches for a painting of the Prodigal Son. It was a few years since his son Nate and his companions had landed their airplane on a sand bar after repeated visits of dropping gifts from the airplane to the ground by a technique they developed that would later be adopted by the U.S. military. On January 8, 1956, Nate and his companions were speared to death; and the reports of their deaths sent a shockwave much like the summary executions of John and Betty Stamm by the Communist Chinese decades before. Those who have given their lives in the Lord's service should never be forgotten, and their sacrifices moved the hearts of others to enter into missionary service that still bears fruit today. Truly the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.

The story does not end there, however. Rachel Saint, Elizabeth Elliott and others would persist in bringing the Gospel of Christ to these very same Waodani people there in the jungles of Ecuador and even lead those who murdered the missionaries to Christ. It is a compelling story that young people of this generation need to hear that stands in sharp contrast to the easy- believism, easy Christian lifestyle being portrayed today.

Enter Every Tribe Entertainment and the Hollywood movie version of these events entitled "End of the Spear;" and you will see a different message of sacrifice, one without the motivation of the Gospel. In fact, the very Gospel these men died to bring to the Waodani people is virtually absent from the movie. Certainly sacrifice and then forgiveness are there; but they have been lifted out of the context of God's love and, as a result, have made it a story more about people than Jesus Christ whose Name you will not hear in the movie.

Compounding that weakness is the fact that the leading role of Nate Saint was played by Chad Allen, a homosexual activist. Although some, like some Southern Baptists, have raised objections, there are others like Evangelist James Robison who still think the movie is worth seeing.

For those who still fail to see the agenda of a Hollywood bent on the redefinition (if not the destruction) of Biblical Christianity, consider another message between the scenes and dialog of the movie. If the message of the movie is making a sacrifice for a cause - albeit any compelling cause worthy of our very lives- and to love and forgive those who have most egregiously offended us (like murdering your father), then isn't it also saying that Bible- believing Christians should likewise embrace Chad Allen and his cause for "normalizing" Homosexuality? Does that sound outrageous? It should, but sometimes our naivete towards the unbelieving world puts us in more jeopardy than we may first realize. Sure, we can presume that this was all an accident; they just happened to pick this actor, they just happened to leave Jesus and the Gospel out of the script; and they just promoted the movie to the Churches as an olive branch of respect and friendship. Yea, and friendship with the world is no longer enmity with God (James 4:4)

Dr. Charles L. Dear