C’mon, why don’t you get with the times? It’s a response we are used to, when explaining our church’s position on a number of different subjects. If people don’t actually say it (or something similar), we know this is what they are thinking. Of course, we want it known that the positions we take are not just “because our church says” but “because Scripture teaches.”
A lead article appears in our local paper’s opinion page. It is entitled: “Our View: Evolution – A Vital Piece of Science Education.” Basically, the summary of the piece is that two “mistaken notions” float around among some who challenge the evolutionary science instruction in public schools. One notion, says the author, is that evolution is “unproven;” the other, that “the theory contradicts Christian belief” (Mankato Free Press, Sept. 16, 2019, A4).
Then comes the clincher. An appealing case is made that, among religious groups once questioning Darwin’s evolution theory, such have now come to see that “Christianity and evolution are not mutually exclusive.” Included in denominations embracing Darwin’s theory are Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A short sentence then appears, seemingly to note our own synod’s 6-day creation position, based on Genesis 1: “(Some Lutheran synods and the Southern Baptists disagree.)” I guess a sop had to be granted to a segment of the paying readership – even if only parenthetically!
This demonstrates a tactic often used by opponents of the biblical worldview. It’s not just on the subject of evolution but on a wide range of topics. Abortion, sex outside of marriage, same-sex marital unions, homosexuality, transgenderism, euthanasia – all come under the same approach. The approach is predictable: assert how the “truth” of a particular moral point is understood and embraced by the majority, allegedly to make it factual; then, show how mainline Christian churches have – in their estimation – favorably acquiesced. . . So, the pressure is to get on board!
How do we respond? We want to reflect clearly what God’s Word says, not with a haughty spirit but with gentleness and respect. A bold confession of the biblical truth is not destroyed by a humble spirit that cares for people’s souls and bows to the Word. Confessing the truth also means denouncing error as it becomes identified. For, at the root of it all, stands the main observation that all teachings in God’s Word relate to the Gospel of the incarnate Lord Jesus (Gen. 3:15), our only sure hope for eternity.
“The Word makes me strong for Christ so that I have no doubts,” says Luther, “and we should let that count for something that someone can give thanks to God. Anyone can let the spit fly in public and be considered a learned teacher. But to teach with this confidence is indeed a rarity” (LW 28:240).
O God, grant us a humble but firm confidence in your Word!
Rev. John A. Moldstad,