Re: [asa] Youth leaving churches because of old earth

From: Dave Wallace <>
Date: Thu Aug 06 2009 - 09:03:33 EDT

Schwarzwald wrote:
> And take a look at the survey Ted linked to here. Notice that the
> concern isn't just that accepting an old earth (and I would assume
> evolution by extension) leads to young Christians leaving the church,
> but just what their social lives and outlooks on the world become as
> well. So I think it's a big mistake to think YECs and people like Ham
> are totally motivated by a simple theological difference of opinion.
> The perceived spiritual repercussions and effects of accepting
> evolution - even if the link is a contingent rather than a necessary
> one - is also a motivating factor, and not so simple to write off.

It seems to me that part of the motivation is typical YECs belief that
if any part of the Bible is not literally true then the whole
reliability of scripture unravels. I read Francis Schaeffers "Genisus
in Space and Time" quite a few years ago. Although Schaeffer took the
view of scripture above he still found room for an old earth and a
number of other options, as best I recall.

Another issue for many YECs is that they have a horror of being
descended from what they see as a banana eating jungle monkeys.

In the survey it referenced conservative evangelical churches. I wonder
how many of them were actually fundamentalists who years ago often
rejected the label of evangelical. My experience was that such churches
often absolutized what imo was clearly relative, frequently limited the
application of Christianity to church meetings and Sunday and pretended
to a perfection they did not live up to and were highly anti
intellectual. After university my wife and I came close to packing it
in with Christianity as what I describe above was frequently what we had
been exposed to. I found Schaeffer's critique of fundies very much too
the point and reading his (and his associates) books and visiting L'abri
was the start of turning things around. IVCF and their books was also a
huge help both in high school and university. In 1966 a year or so
after finishing my masters in applied math we moved to New Jersey where
I was employed by RCA. We bought a distressed house in a new
subdivision next to a negro family. We ended up attending a liberal
church as most of the more conservative churches enthusiastically
supported missionaries to the African benighted, but had NO negros in
the congregation and I could not stomach such organizations. Many
similar churches exist today and I expect their young people have left
at a very young age, even though they are forced to attend church till
they leave home.

Although my father was not YEC, the church's we attended were.
Thankfully as part of a survival strategy, I had learned to keep some of
my thoughts and beliefs to my self when I attended "Christian" boarding
schools (kindergarten thro grade 11) so I just ignored the YEC part of
their propaganda. At boarding school we were frequently forced to
attend what in essence was a Sunday school held in the afternoon. I
found that experience highly destructive as we were patronized, talked
down to, fed pabulum and on and on. It does not surprise me that those
who attended many Sunday schools are the first to leave as I expect they
have already mentally and emotionally left by the end of elementary
school. Fortunately, at least in Africa we were taken to a service Not
run by people from the boarding school where the preaching was much
better as the minister as it happened to be was a seminary trained
Presbyterian. We also attended Sunday school there which was not

Thus overall I think that an old earth view while it may be the
proximate cause of someone leaving is often only the straw that breaks
the camel's back.

> Being picayune over that is what is turning people from Christianity -
> not any one particular idea about origins. This is what Chuck
> Swindoll calls "peanut butter Christians" in his book The Grace
> Awakening.
As I don't read Swindoll I have no idea what he means by "peanut butter
Christians". I admit my lack of enthusiasm for Swindoll could well be a
cultural reaction and others might find him helpful. I much prefer
writers like Martin Lloyd Jones, CS Lewis, Carl Henry, Packer, Stott or
Francis Schaeffer.

Dave W

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Received on Thu Aug 6 09:04:31 2009

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