Friday, March 19, 2010

The Insanity of Unbelieving Pastors: Darwinism Does Its Work

In a recent blog article, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. highlighted the serious issue of unbelieving ministers of the Word in American churches. Yes, there are men and women occupying pulpits and other Church positions throughout the land who do not believe the very word of God that they are adjured to present to their congregations. To some of you, this is a shocking and confusing statement. For others, not only does it seem possible, but it seems inevitable. Both reactions are correct.

Mohler's article focuses on a study performed by Tufts University's Daniel C. Dennett, a widely known atheist, macro-evolution curate, and attacker of all things related to God and his revealed Word. This study honestly exposes some unbelieving clergy, in order to portray how reasonable it is that they should not believe. After all, the thinking goes, if these are ministers and they don't believe, why should anyone else. Sadly, most people think this way and will, indeed, be swayed by these charlatans. Dennett suggests that because humanity has evolved past the point of needing the crutch of theism (because of advances in science and medicine), "We have no more need of such primitive beliefs."

So we find ourselves in a brave new world, in which (some of) our ministers are closet or even open atheists. This is not a situation that is going to be mended quickly, and it will certainly grow worse before it gets better, if it ever does. This may seem pessimistic, but the reality is (and history bears out) that people follow after the thinking of the surrounding culture. Our culture is predominantly Darwinistic. How did we get here? What led to such an awful condition?

First, let it be said that there has always been disbelief. There have always been those in our midst who could not come to accept God's Word as true. The difference is, those people did not have a convincing alternative explanation for creation, evil, etc., and they did not have public opinion on their side. During the "Enlightenment," there began to be philosophers who did much damage to Christian theology and the Christian Faith (David Hume, John Locke, Voltaire, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and Friedrich Nietzsche to name a few), but they merely paved the way for the philosophies of one man, Charles Darwin.

Darwin's 1859 treatise, On the Origin of Species, presented a seemingly viable alternative to theistic creation with force. Couched in the best science of the day, the theory of natural selection, and the possibility of a reality without any god whatsoever, swept like a flood throughout the world. And there is a reason that this theory is so popular.

As stated earlier, there has always been disbelief in God. From the first couple in history, Adam and Eve who disbelieved the promises of God in favor of the lies of the Serpent, to the Israelites who, shortly after seeing God's deliverance at the Red Sea, disbelieved his promises and made themselves an idol.

Maybe a more appropriate correlation to our own day is the history of Israel presented in the books of Kings and Chronicles (split in the English Bible into 1,2 Kings and 1,2 Chronicles). As the nation of Israel was split in two under Solomon's son, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, one of Solomon's servants, is given the northern ten tribes. Immediately he sets up calf-idols at Bethel in order to prevent the northern Israelites from supporting southern Judah by going to the Temple to worship Yahweh.

Relatively quickly, thereafter, Israel and Judah were enslaved by idol-worship. Idol worship is not merely substituting one god for another. It is really an attempt at worshiping the self. By disbelieving the promises of God, the people trusted in themselves and in natural forces to give them what they desired (fertile land and wombs, prosperity, enjoyment). Ironically, these were specifically the things promised by God, to be enjoyed on his terms. But the people found God's terms unacceptable.

It is interesting to see how ubiquitous the problem really became within these nations. In 1 Kings 19:18, God tells Elijah the prophet who believed himself to be the only faithful one left, that he has reserved for himself seven thousand throughout Israel (Israel and Judah?) who have not bowed in idol-worship. Seven thousand! Packed together, that is the size of a small village. One village out of two nations. Idolatry was everywhere. And it was not only the people in general but also their leaders, the very ones who were pledged to protect and direct them. The kings, the judges, the priests, and even prophets (1 Kings 22:24) were all drawn away.

In the narrative of Josiah's "conversion," we are told that not only were there pagan priests, but that they mixed freely with the priests of Yahweh. "Although the priests of the high places (mixed, pagan and illicit Yahweh worship) did not serve at the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests." (2 Kings 23:9) There were unbelieving priests among them, too.

Aside: Doesn't 2 Kings 23:9 seem appropriate not only when considering unbelieving ministers in our midst, but also the recent hardships of so many denominations when deciding what fellowship can be had with associations that promote evil and call it good.

Israel and Judah were utterly consumed with idolatry, and were finally judged for the evil they committed. They were taken away by foreign kings to live as ostracized and enslaved people. They were given a physical taste of what they already were spiritually.

In our own day, we are told that idolatry (thought of as merely bowing down to images of gods thought to control natural events) is silliness, yet our own culture bows its collective knee to the natural forces themselves! Whether people assign a personality to the earth (Gaia) or merely talk about "blind natural forces," makes no difference. The result is the same; rejection of God and his self-revelation in favor of empty philosophies and slavery to our own desires. Again, that is what idolatry has always been about. We want to be like the Most High. We worship ourselves and seek after our own desires, rejecting God's Law and grace over our lives.

Paul David Tripp says it well in his book, Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, "The problem is not that God is not here or that he is inactive; the problem is that we don't see him."*1 We don't see him physically and we are so deceived by sin and our own desires that we don't see him spiritually. Even if we can conceive that God exists, without the direction of his self-revelation we can't see him as we ought. In Christ, we see God reveal himself in the flesh so that we would see him and see him rightly. Tripp continues, "The revelation of God in his awesome glory is the only thing that exposes the utter emptiness of all the other glories we crave."*2

Evolution is crack-cocaine for the idolatrous brain; the true opiate of the masses. People like Daniel Dennett make it sound so reasonable, but God has shown us the effects of idolatry, and has assured us that Jesus is coming back. Jesus will return, but not as a meek and gentle lamb. Revelation paints the picture of the Lion of Judah who will destroy all opposed to his reign. He is the victorious King and will accept no rival. The idolatry of evolution is really not reasonable at all when seen in this light, but actually as irrational as any other idolatry ever could be.

I agree whole-heartedly with Dr. Mohler - these ministers are sworn to be ministers of the Gospel. If they will not serve Yahweh with true and loving hearts, they are not only deceiving their flocks and doing them a disservice, they are mis-leading them. Like the Pharisees Jesus depicted, these ministers are blind guides who will lead others to hell. To leave them in place is as insane as leaving wolves to watch the sheep! They must be removed from their pulpits because they have given up the truth of God for their own philosophical creation. How many thousands of "Christians" who have not bowed their knee to the idols of wealth, evolution, and their own desires do you think are left in our nation?
*1 Tripp, Paul David, Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2002. 98.
*2 Ibid., 99.


Travis Sheehan said...

I wish I could say this surprises me, but, sadly, it doesn't. The same people who have no problem (ethically) with saying that Moses created the ten commandments and said God did it (Accommodation Theory) will probably have no issue with putting that into practice themselves. Was it not out of the fold of the Jesuit priesthood (at lease according to Chad Brand and I think he was right) that "the ends justify the means?" I wish we could convince Christians of the need for discernment easier. Good post.

Steven Douglas said...

Thanks for sharing your insights, Travis. Welcome to the Rabbit.