Thanks for your reply Vernon. I think your defense of your position
is a reasonable one.
Nevertheless, I maintain my original claim. In the verse cited,
the Lord did not warn us to test the fruits of doctrines as you
originally claimed. Instead he told us that we will know false
prophets (I agree, teachers also) by their fruits. Your position
can only be maintained as an interpretation of what Jesus said.
I personally believe that the best commentary on the Bible is
the Bible itself. When fruit is mentioned my first thought goes
always to Galatians 5:22-23.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;
against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23 (RSV)
Some other examples are Romans 7:4-5, John 15:1-16. In none
of these cases does fruit refer to fruit of a doctrine or
of a teaching.
Is it possible that we might err by judging the fruit of a
doctrine? A good example might be Paul's doctrine of salvation
by grace through faith:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is
not your own doing, it is the gift of God-- not because of works,
lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8,9 (RSV)
As a matter of fact, Paul's opponents did judge this doctrine
by its fruits which they claimed were a license to sin. That
this doctrine has in fact been used by some as a license to
sin is, I believe, beyond doubt.
What I'm trying to get at here is that a teaching may have
fruit not intended by the teacher. To judge the teacher by
this fruit is thus unfair. There are other, better ways to
Now, can we say that a teachers teachings are the fruit of
a teacher? Yes, of course. These teachings should be judged,
but not necessarily by their fruit. To insist that this is
what Jesus meant would be to say that we should judge false
teachers by the fruit of their fruit, when Jesus said we
shall know them by their fruit.
How is this distinction significant in the present discussion?
It tells us that we first need to identify who the candidate
false teacher is. The candidate false teacher is a theistic
evolutionist. If they are indeed false teachers then we
should know them by their fruit. In most cases, most of the
fruit of any particular theistic evolutionist on this list
is not known. About the only thing we could look at, given
that we all don't really know one another, would be the
written teachings of TE's. But herein lies the problem with
your argument. As far as I know, none of the things that you
listed are actually taught by any TE that I know. Therefore,
they are irrelevant with respect to the Lord's command which
Another problem here is that we are warned in many cases about
judging. We should not be anxious about passing judgement, nor
should we be judging in every case. The above would not apply
at all, for example, to a TE who is not a teacher. Actually,
I accept the judgement myself, since I am a teacher. But, I
have never taught anything in the Church having anything remotely
to do with TE. TE is a belief that I have, it is not however a
doctrine that I teach. Therefore, I do not see how the Lord's
command applies at all to TE, at least in my case.
The Ohio State University
"All kinds of private metaphysics and theology have
grown like weeds in the garden of thermodynamics"
-- E. H. Hiebert