Where to start...

Rasmussen, Ryan J. (rasmussen@mcnamee.com)
Tue, 23 Feb 1999 09:45:34 -0500

Your story speaks volumes of the true problem we face as Christian
scientists. Not only are our views rejected by scientists because they
are based in part on Christian beliefs but they are rejected by
Christians because they are based in part on science that conflicts with
what they have been taught to believe. Public schools will not teach
the children about intelligent design or theistic evolution and the
church will not teach them these things because they conflict with the
standard YEC 144-hour creation.

In my youth my family attended an Assemblies of God where I was taught
the standard ICR model of the origin of the universe and mankind. I had
to go through a crisis of faith in my college years when my common sense
and scientific understanding conflicted with my teachings from the
church. The only thing that remained was my faith that there was a God
and that He had the ability to deliver me from that crisis. Through
prayer and my studies I came through that whole ordeal with a stronger
faith and a better understanding of His science, His word, and my
relationship with Him. Finding the ASA website was truly a Godsend. It
opened my eyes and more than anything else it made me feel that it was
OK to not believe in a 144-hour creation. It removed the guilt I
felt... that the church was judging me and branding me a sinner for not
believing their "official position".

So what I would like to ask is where do we start in teaching the
children about our viewpoints. Where do we give them this valuable
information and understanding of the universe. I know that my crisis of
faith would not have been such a difficult period in my life if I just
had the knowledge that there were other viewpoints that harmonized
science and Christianity. The church needs to understand that there are
other viewpoints besides Darwinian evolution and the 144-hour creation
scenarios. It is obvious to me that it is going to have to come from
the pastor in order for the church to resist the "knee-jerk" reaction of
covering their ears and running around in circles screaming "Sinner,
sinner, sinner! I can't hear you. Na na na..." {over exaggeration
intended 8)}

So... what are the seminaries teaching? Do they discuss Theistic
Evolution / Intelligent Design? Are these views being presented to our
churches? They aren't at my church... but I am trying to work up the
nerve and resources needed to present it to my Pastor. What do other
ASA members find at their churches?

-----Original Message-----
From: Blaine D. McArthur [mailto:bjmcarth@pacbell.net]
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 1:47 AM
To: pnelson2@ix.netcom.com; asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: YEC in the "Three Views" book

pnelson2@ix.netcom.com wrote:

> (_NCSE Reports_, 18 [1998]: pp. 24-25) So I don't think Reynolds and
> I were that far off the mark. No, we didn't write the chapter that
> Kent Hovind or Ken Ham would have written, but then Rudy Raff or
> Scott Gilbert would not have written the same essay about the state of
> evolutionary theory that Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett would have
> written. YECs are hardly uniform in their opinions.
> Paul Nelson

I think maybe the point Allan may have had in mind is what the average
layman in the average evangelical church thinks of when he thinks
creation. I have not read the book in question yet, and do not know the
arguments put forth in favor of a young earth. I do know what most
people in my church believe - the basic ICR line, and all the usual
arguments against radiometric dating, the evolution of bombardier
beetles etc. Most of them are not aware of the miscellaneous
varieties of Young Earth Creationism.

I have hesitated to bring the following issue to the list, but the
conflict between the YEC position and the Old earth position has
affected me in a very personal way. I would like to share something
that happened to me and my wife VERY recently regarding this same issue.

I mentioned in a previous post (christian scientists vs Christian
Science) that we have been part of a ministry to international
students. We were actually one of the founding couples of the
ministry. This ministry is not a part of our local church, it is a
ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in our area. The ministry
is alive and very dynamic. It has seen a number of international
students come a saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Some of these people have been baptized in my church.

The leaders of this ministry know my position on scientific issues -
probably closer to Howard's views than the Intelligent Design model.
The ministry has not made an issue of the particulars of "How and When"
when discussing Genesis one and two: "God is the creator." Some of the
other volunteers, members of my church, hold to strict YEC position and
have let me know that they disagree with my position, but the IVCF
leadership has had no problem with my involvement in the ministry.

My wife and I have withdrawn from the IVCF ministry for the time being,
and have been desirous of becoming involved as a couple in some
ministry at our local church. One of the things our church has done
recently is start a Sunday School class for these same international
students. The class was overseen by the "College/Career Ministries"
pastor. We participated in the first meeting of this class, my wife
working with the team teaching the women, and myself as part of the
men's team. We found it a great joy to be doing this ministry in our
own church. We decided we would like to be permanent members of this
Sunday School Class. This is when the problem began.

I spoke to the pastor in charge of "College/Career Ministries.". I
mentioned that my wife and I wanted to be a part of this ministry. He
is aware of my position on science. He told me that they were beginning
a series on Genesis and that they were going to be presenting the
"literal six twenty-four hour days" interpretation of Genesis one, and
that my presence would be divisive, and that they would prefer that we
not be involved. I told him I can understand his concern about
"confusing the students", but that I am not the only person who does not
accept the YEC position. I told him many christians accept that the
earth and universe are billions of years old. His response was "well
that may be true, but the 'official position' of our church was the YEC
position." I told him that was not true. I have spoken to the senior
pastor about this, and he advised me that the church had NO official
position on this issue. (He himself is an old time "Gap Theory"
advocate.) The College/Career pastor sputtered a bit and said, well
its true that it is not written down anywhere, but ........

At any rate, my wife and I are not a part of the ministry in our church
to the international students we so dearly love. The pastor in charge
of the ministry has lost a considerable amount of credibility in my
eyes. My wife and I are seriously disappointed, maybe even discouraged
by the way this turned out. We are convinced that God has us at this
church for a reason - we ae not going to leave over this. But we are
not sure of our position in the church.

I know my story is not a unique one. I am sure it has happened to other
christians in other churches.

I am just wondering if the creationsists who follow this list would
agree with the the YEC contingent treated my wife and I.

Blaine D. McArthur