Re: [asa] TE Evangelists

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Mon Apr 14 2008 - 08:20:10 EDT

Of course pastors can't be well educated in everything - no one can be today. But we live in a world heavily influenced by science & technology & one that will become increasingly so, & that is the world in which the church is called to carry out its mission. If pastors are going to function faithfully & intelligently in the real world, they need to have some degree of knowledge about it. I realize all too well that pastors have many other demands on their time & other areas that they feel they need to know about but that's not an excuse for ignoring this crucial area.

This is especially important when dealing with scientifically literate people & young people who are showing some interest in science. It is simply not acceptable when interacting with such people for clergy to say manifestly stupid things about science, show a complete lack of interest in them, or act as if such things shouldn't be talked about in church. There's nothing wrong with saying "That's a good question. I don't know the answer but I'll look into it" or something of the sort. That very different from implying that the church isn't the place for such questions.

None of which is to say that scientifically competent lay persons shouldn't play a major role here or that the pastor should forget her/his role as the primary theologian of the congregation. But there needs to be an overlap between those areas: The scientists need to know something of theology & the clergy something of science.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Bethany Sollereder
  To: Dehler, Bernie
  Cc: ASA
  Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 11:01 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] TE Evangelists


  There's no reason that pastors "shouldn't be amongst those most educated", but the reality is that most of them aren't. There is no way that any one person could possibly be educated enough in all areas (science, politics, economics, etc.) to be able to deal with them all sufficiently. That's why we have a "body of believers". I agree that the laity need to step it up more in church education, because too many pastors are one-man shows, talking about things that they have only a superficial knowledge of. How about we allow pastors to be spiritual advisers and to speak about the thing that they have studied: the Scriptures.

  I also have some pretty serious reservations about what you are calling "milk". Love? Forgiveness? Prayer? You've got to be kidding... the problem with e-mail is that you can't always tell what is being delivered in a facetious tone. I sincerely hope that was...


  On Sun, Apr 13, 2008 at 7:44 PM, Dehler, Bernie <> wrote:

    "I agree that evolution discussions is best in an educational environment. Do you mean in the school system, or is there some education of this matter being conducted within the Church?"

    That's really funny, as if a sermon is not for the purpose of education. I think the best preachers, like John Calvin (reading his Instititutes of the Christian Faith), tied in all kinds of related events and knowledge when preaching the gospel. So many churches are so dead today- brain-dead- talking about milk over and over (love, forgiveness, prayer, all the milk-based products of the dietóno meat at all). If they don't have the meat to deliver, they should get it. What is really unhealthy is not even having the expectation of getting education from the pulpit. Why shouldn't the preachers be amongst those most educated and teaching others the truth?

    I say, shake them up. Teach them. Never back-off from education and the truth. Otherwise, they are left-open for others to exploit, or else they will remain naÔve.


    From: [] On Behalf Of George Cooper
    Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 12:40 PM
    To: ASA

    Subject: RE: [asa] TE Evangelists

    Evolution is a topic best avoided in sermons. How many pastors that have the gift of preaching also are gifted in understanding fully the pros and cons to evolution? I suspect the preachers are more gulible to YECers who are more bold and argue for a simple reading of Genesis. Last Sunday, our wonderful and gifter pastor stated in the sermon that evolution only works in micorevolutionary ways -- changes in variety, but new speies. Further, the customary derogatory tone was used regarding the unlikelihood of man evolvling from ooze and apes. He also stated that "scientific evidence must be recreated to be considered valid", implying that evolution is therefore invalid until science can observe one species become another.

    Though he is a great pastor, I know how great is his lack of knowledge and understanding of science; it's comenserate with his lack of interest in it. So much so, that I have no hope he would care to visit with me, or others, to gain a better understanding of the real weight science carries or the confluence that exists that supports it. His sermon was likely meant to passify many within the Church; like a shepherd calming the flock.

    Unfortunately, I fear this approach will cause faith to become more of a blind faith. As this happens, it becomes far more open to ridicule, where doubt becomes much more nourished.

    I agree that evolution discussions is best in an educational environment. Do you mean in the school system, or is there some education of this matter being conducted within the Church?


    John Walley <> wrote:

      I agree that there is a downside risk to incorporating TE too centrally to the gospel. One reason why is that I have found that people just aren't ready for that and you can end up shaking their faith too much and potentially doing them great spiritual harm.

      I agree with you Bernie that we shouldn't hold on to beliefs just because we want something to believe in but I also think that believing in something even though it may be imperfect or even misguided can be better than not believing in anything at all. This is a journey and TE is an advanced topic and not one for every young and fragile believer to have to grapple with especially if they are facing many more real problems in life.

      That said however, I am reminded of Ken Miller's presentation which if you recall I summarized on this list last year under the thread "Evo-langelist" which I think did a good job of making the case for a Designer even in the context of Darwinian evolution, i.e., TE, but that was in an educational setting not church, and as George mentioned that might be more appropriate. I don't think it is imperative that every believer know that the scientific evidence shows us that God created us gradually from lower life forms and equate that with the gospel, but there is definite value in understanding that the wedge between science and faith isn't as bad as some in the church make it out to be. To the extent that pastors can help heal that division in the church, I think that would be a good thing.



        -----Original Message-----
        From: [] On Behalf Of George Murphy
        Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 6:59 AM
        To: Dehler, Bernie
        Subject: Re: [asa] TE Evangelists

        We need to be a bit careful about "preaching TE theology." What is to be preached is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the evangel - that's what qualifies one as an evangelist. Certainly it's appropriate to refer to evolution & related matters at times in the course of preaching but a sermon shouldn't just be a lecture on a theological view of evolution. That's best dealt with in educational settings.

        The distinction between proclaiming & teaching, kerygma & didache, isn't absolute but ought to be borne in mind, especially by would-be preachers.

        I think more examples of pastors who preach the gospel & teach about how to understand evolution theologically would be found if views were broadened beyond the evangelical community. In fact, I'm going to be doing the latter later this morning at St. Paul's, though I'm not preaching on this particular Sunday. (& if I were preaching on today's Gospel, John 10:1-10, probably nothing would be said about evolution.)


          ----- Original Message -----

          From: Dehler, Bernie


          Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 7:42 PM

          Subject: [asa] TE Evangelists

          I think it was Denis L. who said he was a little conflicted with those YEC, and OEC, because they preach the gospel, unlike those in the TE camp. I was thinking about it. People like Billy Graham and another major evangelist that I know may be TE or lean towards TE. However, they don't make their views on TE known. They preach the gospel without a central role for Adam and Eve, or may explain Adam in theological terms and skirting the "real person" question. So on one hand, there are YEC's preaching the gospel along with YEC theology, but TE (or TE friendly evangelists) simply just preaching the gospel, avoiding the controversy altogether. Yes, there are no loud TE's preaching the gospel and TE theology. I may be trying that in the future.


          From: [] On Behalf Of Dehler, Bernie
          Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 4:10 PM
          Subject: RE: [asa] Was Adam a real person? (ancient science)

          For those who claim there is no ancient science, I have two questions:

            1.. When, exactly, did science begin? Please be specific and concise- 5 sentences or less.
            2.. Is saying "there was no ancient science" like saying "there was no ancient business?" Business today didn't exist in the ANE. Today it is thousands (or millions) times more complicated. Today we have world markets, derivatives, high-speed computer stock trading, board of directors, stock, bonds, futures, commodities, mortgages, various forms of debt (home equity, credit card, reverse mortgage, etc).

          My point, there was ancient science just like there was ancient business, but the "memes" for each have considerably evolved.

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Received on Mon Apr 14 08:23:59 2008

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