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

From: Bill Powers <>
Date: Fri Aug 07 2009 - 09:12:46 EDT

I disagree with the general tone of all these comments.

Anyone who leaves the "church" because of a supposed tension between what
has been taught and what the world says or what reason appears to confirm
is no Christian, and anyone who stays because of some harmony between the
world, reason, and faith is likewise not a Christian.

Such tensions or harmonies can support the Christian life and faith,
but are not the foundation nor the source of faith and the Christian life.
Such tensions and harmonies are common to all, and are not confined to
views of biological origins or the age of the earth. Even without such
challenges, there is no shortage of temptations and opportunities for

Most of the churches that I have been involved with lean toward a YEC
view, and yet there is hardly ever a mention of evolution, or the age of
the earth. The Fall, Adam and Eve, a Flood, and the like are used as
Scripture uses them, and this is because church is founded on God's Word,
not on some apologetic for any of these events, or a as a forum for
scientific debate. Individuals may be more concerned with such issues,
but not the church. The Church has bigger fish to fry, like sin,
perdition, redemption, and salvation. I would flee any church, pro or
con, that spends a noticeable amount of time on the issue.

I simply don't believe in any formula or simple equation that will explain
or turn around the departure of people from the church. No change in
worship style, no change of language, no change of venues, and no change
in doctrinal nuances will produce the desired effect. To believe
otherwise is to believe that faith is volitional and a matter of choice or
style, something more like a commodity to be sold and made appealing. The
Word of God works despite our sinful and inadequate handling of it, and
faith withstands the onslaught of reason, men, science, trials, and times
because it is not maintained or created by our will and effort, but that
of God. In it, we ultimately cling, unknowing, unreasoning, unbelieving,
to the Cross of Christ, as to the mast of a ship, it alone not dragged
below the storm of water and waves. To this, what can your YEC, OEC, ID,
TE, or the like matter? People leave the church, or more significantly,
leave Christ, because they have no such faith, and perhaps never did, nor
ever will. That is tragic, but no more easily explained than why some are
saved and some not, why one is the Son of Perdition, and another whose
confession is the Rock upon which the Church is built.


On Wed, 5 Aug 2009, Schwarzwald wrote:

> I'd agree/suspect that a large part of the problem with children leaving the
> church because of "old earth" is due to it being drummed into them
> repeatedly that Christianity absolutely demands a "young earth" view. When
> they end up believing the earth is old (due to evidence, abundance of
> scientific opinion, etc) - combined with quite a lot of social pressure to
> leave the Church for just about any reason whatsoever anyway - it helps to
> push them out the door.
> On the other hand, I think those who believe in an "old earth" need to do
> more than they are as well. In particular, I think there's a need to get
> past mere compatibility (Christianity is compatible with the findings of
> science) and stressing, even on a purely philosophical level, why nature
> itself indicates the work of a creator. I'm hesitant to endorse them, but I
> think Biologos may actually be moving in this direction - I've liked some of
> what I've seen on their site as far as discussing faith and evolution is
> concerned. But far more needs to be done.
> Of course, there are also considerations that have nothing to do with
> natural science topics either - it's a big issue, after all.
> On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 5:43 PM, Jon Tandy <> wrote:
>> If people are leaving the church because of "old earth" according to the
>> subject line, then think about it -- they are not leaving church because of
>> being taught old earth creationism by thoughtful Christians, but it's
>> because they have been confronted with the scientific evidence of old earth
>> and can't reconcile their faith to scientific discovery. If there is truth
>> to Ken Ham's statement, it's more likely because their faith has been built
>> a false gospel of scientific creationism. I believe the fact of an old
>> earth didn't take God by surprise, and the truth of the gospel of Jesus
>> Christ is not threatened by truths from the physical world.
>> However, as you imply, I think this proposition needs to be seriously
>> questioned, because youth are surely leaving YEC churches just the same as
>> others, for reasons not having to do with old earth or even evolution, but
>> for a variety of reasons. It may be spiritual rebellion (manifest in
>> drugs,
>> illicit relationships, worldliness, etc.), and it may also be because the
>> church is seen as disengaged from the reality of the world around us
>> (science denial might play a part in that?). Maybe their spiritual needs
>> just aren't being met.
>> Jon Tandy
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: [] On
>> Behalf Of Ted Davis
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 05, 2009 2:44 PM
>> To:
>> Subject: [asa] Youth leaving churches because of old earth
>> You read that subject line correctly. According to Ken Ham (surprise?),
>> this is the bottom line reason why young people are leaving churches in
>> droves. Amazing. But true -- that is, it's true that Ham thinks this is
>> the reason.
>> hurch/<>
>> I saw a copy of this book today, browsed it a bit, and that's the bottom
>> line for him.
>> I guess the youth just don't leave those churches where they're taught the
>> YEC view. That's certainly what Ham wants you to think. He's not about to
>> admit that his rigidity on this issue is one of the reasons why people
>> won't
>> give Christianity a second look -- not those on the inside, but those on
>> the
>> outside looking in, who might otherwise go further with their spiritual
>> curiosity.
>> Ted
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Received on Fri Aug 7 09:13:25 2009

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