A little over a year ago we discussed the Lampstand Magazine & Australian Christadelphian Bible Mission intervention in Taiwan. We compared the calamitous situation of the ecclesia pre and post the actions of Australian based brethren. Bro Jonathan Burke was disfellowshipped and his wife cut off (without a word) from the community as well. Today? An ecclesia of two (sometimes three?) remains affiliated with ACBM. Another group of sheep have no contact and the Burkes remain cut off. As the Australian community considers how to treat varying approaches to creation, it is worth remembering the fruit borne by literalist hardline actions. Continue reading
Debate about creation is not unique to our community. This link leads to a resolution described by an evangelical church who suddenly wrestled with evolutionary creation. They came up with 10 points on which they agreed. To quote the article:
“The upshot was the development of a series of ten theses on creation and evolution that we believe (most) evangelicals can (mostly) affirm. We weren’t looking for perfect unanimity. Our ultimate goal was to maintain the “unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3) and to prioritize the gospel as of “first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3). It was important for us to arrive at a position on creation and evolution that was in keeping with that faithful Christian saying, “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.””
As requested by the Australian Conference, the AACE – a consultative Australian body – has commenced a process of considering the Bible’s teaching on creation. There are people of balance and goodwill on the committee. However the majority of the committee are decidedly literalist. A sub-committee will examine the issues. A sub-committee including zero Evolutionary Creationists. It does contain high profile anti EC individuals and some decent individuals, but ones whose opinions are literalist approved only. Anyone can have input but only anti-ECs can have a voice.
The project scope excludes any science. Ie no accountability to God’s reality for any conclusions. If we read the Bible to say the earth is flat, then it is flat. Simple, accessible and obvious evidence for ongoing ancient life (human and animal) is conveniently off limits. We can use archaeology as evidence in Bible lectures, but not to check what we think the Bible is teaching. Illogical. However this is a core demand of literalists on such “investigations”. Ignore inconvenient truths which might serve as a check on our exposition.
Optimism is somewhat hard to maintain. The AACE tried to establish a fair process, but the literalists succeeded in squashing the inclusion of any evolutionary creationists. Without a voice on the sub-committee, there is no pressure to address issues in an even handed way. The sub-committee proceedings are a closed book. The results of the handpicked review group will be delivered to the literalist controlled AACE. This body will then deliver a report. Barring a miracle, the result is a foregone conclusion and an opportunity to engage and learn has been effectively neutered.
A few times various ECs have been asked and encouraged to leave the community. That in the main ECs chose not to leave exasperates some zealous literalists. So why stay? The sentiment of Schurz’s famous line is appropriate ““My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” Further we could explain further while quoting from Fred Barling. He had a somewhat different relationship with the community post the Ralph Lovelock controversy, but still had this to say “I found Christ through the Christadelphian community“. Well said Fred.
Why continue to run this blog? It has connected us with new friends but it has also garnered plenty of rebuke and opprobrium from platforms and magazines around the community. Our purpose in starting this blog was twofold. Firstly to provide a place to engage politely on the questions of creation and secondly to demonstrate an acceptance of basic science doesn’t mean an end of faith. Aggression and a dogmatic refusal of reality doesn’t honour God’s word, it damages his children – especially the young. Continue reading
This sermon with its assertive title was given in 1922 – three years before the Scopes trial – as relevant now as ever. It speaks to the dangers of intolerance and closing the mind to reality. The sermon was republished by John D. Rockefeller at his own expense and distributed in the thousands, under the more cautious title, “The New Knowledge and the Christian Faith.” The preacher’s points about intolerance and fundamentalism (as opposed to conservatism) are worth considering, even though we disagree with many parts of his position. The whole sermon is reproduced in the interests of transparency rather than his work to fit our preferences. Continue reading
Bro Ken Drage was a member at Watford when the evolution controversy broke in the 1960s. He has written an open letter addressing evolution and some of the history from the debate which centred around Bro Lovelock. The impact of emotion and pressure from others is noteworthy – as is his observation that the 1960’s discussion were civilised though highly charged (such civility is lacking today!). Bro Ken’s letter is reproduced in full below – it should be mandatory reading, so over to Ken… Continue reading