It’s not exactly a joy to point out the misleading statements, the irrational claims and false accusations thundered off the platform at Rathmines recently. Why do it? Because sunlight in moderation has health benefits. Rather than build up, the speaker found new ways to further pull down and appeal for division in the community. Thankfully in all the condemnation he provides scriptural tests against which we can test his claims and thereby judge the validity of his strident calls. Its pretty horrendous…some of the most ridiculous and offensive nonsense we have heard.Carrying on from his accusations about evolutionary creationists chucking out bits of their bible, he goes on to wonder…
[21.18] whether there will be a division, or we will just tolerate in our community walking over the bible with hobnail boots, people trashing the message of hope in the scriptures
If you look past the hobnail boots and trashing the gospel – delightful and temperate though the words are – see where he is clearly going. Division. Does the speaker imagine Jesus forgot to command this action to the 7 ecclesia’s in Revelation – to separate among themselves and from each other? Jesus way is different. However division is the way of those who are convinced they are right and that their mission is to root out any imagined tares.
The speaker clearly demonstrates a total inability to distinguish between his interpretation of the Bible and the Bible. Mixed in with his calls for division are plainly communicated this important misunderstanding:
[21.53] people who speak against the bible and lift up human philosophy above it should find no part in our community and we are being kind to our community and to them by saying so
[22.19] it’s the bible that’s being attacked, not you and me, the Bible
[26:50] if we play around with the word of God and disregard its author and His integrity, He will pass us over to a way of life that has no restraints whatever from him [this in the context of Romans 1]
Of course at no point does the speaker ever even address the scriptural issues around creation. No he just accuses anyone of disagreeing with him of speaking against the Bible. Incorrect. We might speak against a literalist interpretation, or even your outrageous inaccurate claims, but that is not attacking the Bible.
However in that last comment the speaker has unwittingly given another way to test the validity of his interpretation (apart from his inaccuracies logic and false accusations). The context of his quotations enable a Biblical test.
At around the 22-minute mark he goes to Psa 81:11-12
But my people would not hearken to my voice; And Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: And they walked in their own counsels
Yes he is saying God has given over Evolutionary Creationists to wickedness. This was just a start. He then proceeded to read through Romans 1:22ff [25:05]. Pretty clearly he is claiming his brethren and sisters who disagree with his interpretation have rejected God and God has given them up to vile affections.
This is no accident nor misinterpretation of his thrust, for his continues on around the [26:25] mark to 2 Thes 2 where he expresses the view that God has given evolutionary creationists over to believe a lie. You might wonder about the context with it describing a religious power attempting to replace God and whether this sounds exactly like a group of curious worshippers? But this is the point. If he is right ECs should feature as the most depraved immoral people. This is the message of the verses he throws at us.
It’s hard to read some of the quotes and wonder what was going through the speaker’s mind. Next he serves up the following appalling rhetoric:
[30:11] does the writer of Genesis know anything about the DNA helix? Does He? Who wrote Genesis? God…
Well excellent! as if EC’s would disagree that God was the inspirer of Genesis! Fair dinkum, what nonsense! But he is not done it gets worse as he continues to put words in other peoples’ mouths:
[30.20] …and we stand on our arrogance and say, what do you know about the DNA helix, we are so clever now that’s what we’re doing brethren and sisters when we tolerate ideas on theistic evolution…
It keeps going on – back to Bible ripping again:
[30.36]..they don’t stop there, they start tearing pages out of the Bible because man’s wisdom is elevated over the wisdom of God
To say this is total utter rubbish is really straining the politeness filter.
After reading sections of 1 Pet on inspiration, the speaker again tees off against those he disagrees with. Around [32:35] he brings us to 2 Tim 3 and states, reasonably, that the passage talking about terrible behaviour is describing activity within the faith community. He draws attention to v4-5 and applies the passage to ECs:
“lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:
He prunes out mention of traitors and later verses about those who seduce women (all part of the context) and makes his view plain:
[34:00] they know what the scriptures say but they don’t believe it and their life is evidence of that and disbelief, they pursue all sorts of things except a search of the scriptures!
So there’s a simple test. If the speaker is right then the whole kit and caboodle is there for everyone to see. Does EC lead to people pursuing the lifestyles Paul described in Rom 1? to set up the apostacy per 2 Thes 2? to be traitors, seducers etc as per 2 Tim 3? If that is what you see, he might be right. If not, then by his own selection of passages his accusations fail.
But he still isn’t finished….
He complains that ECs won’t pack up and leave the community. He knows why though and informs his audience that:
[34.45] their pride hangs them in…they don’t go away and do something different because they’re nobody out there…[35.10] can you image a professor who believes in evolution being really proud of you because you believe in theistic evolution?
Um a professor being proud of you? If this was a quiz I would say yes, I can imagine that. Eg Francis Collins – leader of the Human Genome Project. A 1997 Gallup survey identified 40% of American scientists accepted evolution but believed God played some part in it. But of course it’s just mockery, not a genuine question. The judgemental rhetoric continues:
[35.35] it’s all built on pride and stupidity and it’s the result a direct result of knowing God’s word and twisting it, its so illogical, no-one wants you except your own band of proud elevated people
While continuing the abuse, the speaker accidentally confirms he has not spoken to many believers who are EC at all:
[35:59] I might be sounding a bit harsh this morning brethren and sisters, but we need to take some direction, every person I talked to about this, every single one, without exception, declares his secular education as an authority on the subject – it’s not a biblical debate, it’s a human debate. And their full of pride, their full of their own selves…
Very few EC’s have secular credentials, so clearly he has spoken to very few. His words give the impression he has spoken to many. It makes his next claim ring a little hollow:
[36:50] We try to reach out to all of them
No, no you don’t brother. He proves it immediately by repeating the 2 Tim 3 accusations, this time saying EC brethren and sisters are:
“heady…no self control, no natural affection – they are thoughtless in their approach to communities, they don’t care”
With unconscious irony he then proceeds at [37:10] to call for the faithful to endure all the persecution that they will suffer. Apparently you have to be prepared to be laughed at if you reject evolution. My laughter at this point was perhaps for a different reason.
The final 10 minutes or so are spent exhorting the assembly to accept the Bible as the source of advice for everything. Perhaps without the performance of the proceeding 37 minutes this might have carried more weight. Not quite done with the abuse, though, he wraps up in [51:41] with encouragement to maintain the faith because (he reads from Jude 1:4):
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ
Yep that describes ECs to a tee. Turning God’s grace into lasciviousness for our sexual deviancies (as he has previously demonstrated). Wow. And one final confusion of his understand with God’s meaning:
[52:10] if we have a passion for the word of God we will see it and defend any attack on it
Well no-one will be getting that hour back and they certainly didn’t leave the talk better informed. About anything. “A word fitly spoken,” says the proverb, “is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” To what would we liken this performance, and framed in what?
We wish such awful material wasn’t out there – but then it’s exactly this level of irrational, inconsistent, ill informed and noisy judgement which has led to a number of literalists becoming ECs. Thankfully today there is more exposition around demonstrating how such an understanding of God’s works align with His word. The false dichotomies and misdirected passion of this speaker and his ilk don’t determine God’s truth. The sooner the true Judge of the earth comes to reveal the full extent of his Father’s wisdom, the better.
Note – We have decided not to name of the speaker. The audio is available on request. [x.xx] refers to the approximate time in the audio file of the comment quoted