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

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Thu Aug 06 2009 - 13:13:30 EDT

> 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


Good point.
 I had gotten to thinking it might be that many asa members might not know
what I was talking about.

I cant do it justice here, but it has to do with legalism and/or a
legalistic attitude. Some of Swindoll's friends were missionaries who went
to work in the Amazon basin. One day a relative sent them a jar of peanut
butter - something not available in the Amazon. They very much enjoyed
this. The other missionaries (called the peabut butter missionaries later
on) made a big deal out of this and harrassed them about it - telling them
how unspiritual it is to enjoy such luxuries, and how if they wanted to be
dedicated missionaries they would have to become more ascetic. This
conflict - this lack of grace towards others (or lack of a concept of grace
in general) - spoiled Swindoll's friends work over time, and they left
that particular mission field.

The essence of Christianity is that Christ loved us when we were totally
unloveable. There is no amount of rule-following or works or
self-sacrifice that could ever make us acceptable to God. It is God's action
in first loving us - that is what makes us acceptable to Him. I don't
know if "the peanut butter Christians" (a reference to the ascetic
missionaries) really thought that sacrifice was necessary for salvation -
the real problem was they insisted everyone must be like them and make
exactly the same choices - or not be acceptable. This lack of grace
harmed their missionary work. The apostle's writing about some Christians
being able to eat meat offered to idols and others not - and its a matter of
personal conscience - and Christians should get off each others backs - this
is an important principle the peanut butter Christians completely missed.

How it affects me locally:

My experience with this is: if I say to my (ex) friend Mike Steiner that
I accept evolution the (historical aspect of, not the causation part of)
then he inevitably starts peppering me with questions about

"what do I believe about Christ and the virgin birth and the resurrection
and salvation, etc."

  He immediately leaps to anybody who isn't anti-evolution must not be a
real Christian - and he is searching for litmus test questions. And there
is no amount of answering that will satisfy him.

After about the tenth time he did this I finally challenged him with, "you
know Mike, ugotta stop challenging people's salvation just because they
don't agree with you that the earth is 4000 years old. It isn't a requisite
for core Christian doctrine, and its downright offensive that you cannot
accept the Christianity of anyone who thinks the earth is older than 10,000
years. In fact, it might actually be a heresy to insist that salvation is
only for those who believe the earth is 10,000 years old. Why? Because thats
NOT what salvation is really based upon." So, we are basically no longer on
speaking terms after that conversation. I told him not to call me until he
can stop that inquisition on my salvation.

This is what Ted's article in First Things was about. The downward
escalator, and how far is too far.
I'd suggest it is the YEC's who have actually pushed salvation down that
escalator because they have pushed salvation itself out of the reach of
almost everybody. Put another way, they put a firewall around the top
step, and declare everyone not on the top step to not be a Christian. But
does Jesus do this?
I donnnnt thinnnnkkkk sooooooo.

Nevertheless, I defend their civil right to be this way, no matter how
nauseated I am by them. That is because government is potentially far more
corrosive to Jesus Christ and to liberty than the YECs will ever be. The
YECs may be wrong about some things, but they wont ever become
anti-Christian. Government, on the other hand, having banned the YECs, will
eventually ban everything Christian, including all forms of TE.

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Received on Thu Aug 6 13:14:04 2009

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