Evangelicalism: A House Divided

By Julie Roys
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            As a conservative evangelical, I’m used to secularists demeaning my intelligence for doubting evolution; believing God can change sexual orientation; and holding that a return to biblical values would save America.  But increasingly, these attacks aren’t just coming from without – but within!

            Last week, two professors from Eastern Nazarene College – a Christian school – wrote a scathing New York Times editorial entitled, “The Evangelical Rejection of Reason.”  For refusing to embrace the Groupthink purported today as science, professors Karl Giberson and Randall Stephens called evangelicals simplistic, anti-intellectual and ignorant.  Perhaps the article’s graphic best depicts the authors’ point:  it shows a preacher with a Bible and an air-filled balloon for a head.  Wow!  With friends like this, who needs enemies? 
          Of course, the article fails to mention that the true enemy of science today is the scientific establishment, which squelches all dissent with despicable tactics.  Just ask Iowa State University Professor Guillermo Gonzalez, fired in 2008 for working on theories suggesting Intelligent Design.  Or, talk to Psychologists Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse.  Their rigorous study showing that changing one’s sexuality is possible has been completely ignored by the mainstream.
            But, Giberson and Stephens ignore these facts.  They’re part of a growing number of evangelicals who seem to almost relish undermining the very movement to which they belong.  But, do they belong? 
           Historically, evangelicals have affirmed the authority of Scripture.  Yet, in their book, “Annointed,” Giberson and Stephens write, the Bible “is thousands of years old, written in obscure languages, from a mysterious and incomprehensible time and place.” 
           Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand.  If Christian schools keep employing professors like Giberson and Stephens, who sabatoge the faith by attacking core evangelical beliefs and values, evangelicalism will fall.  
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8 thoughts on “Evangelicalism: A House Divided”

  1. Julie, please answer me this time, as my last few (attempted) comments have not been printed. “As iron sharpens iron….” as you say. How would a Julie Roys circa 1600AD have dealt with Galileo? Chronicles 16:30 states that “the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.” Psalm 104:5 says, “the Lord set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.” Ecclesiastes 1:5 states that “And the sun rises and sets and returns to its place”. Your views toward science circa 2011AD are SCARILY (on this Halloween) similar to how Galileo was regarded in his lifetime. Do you believe the Earth revolves around the Sun? And if so, why, as the Bible clearly states otherwise?

  2. To a far greater extent than the Galileo debate, Scripture states on multiple occasions that the Earth is flat. What separates the Christians of the past who – against Biblical teachings at the time – believed that the Earth is a sphere from those today who believe in evolution? Do you believe in a flat Earth, Julie? Shouldn’t you as an Evangelical?

  3. Sorry Anon & Anh… I have a full-time job and full-time family and sometimes just don’t get around to responding as promptly as I’d like. Anon… There’s no way to anticipate how I, as a person with a 1600s worldview would answer your question. But, the passages you mention are not problematic: they’re poetic literature. They’re not meant to be taken literally. The point they’re making is that God established the heavens and the earth. And, by the order He created, each day and season passes with regularity.

    Psalm 19:1 says “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of His hands.” I take this as license to study creation and to use science to discern God’s order. Science and Scripture should agree. But, sometimes they seem to conflict. That’s when either our interpretation is wrong (i.e. Catholic Church and Galileo) or our science is wrong (i.e. current theories of macro-evolution.) I’ve discussed the problems with macro-evolution in detail other posts, so I won’t do that here.

  4. No need to apologize for the delay – I appreciate the discussion. But your answer truly surprises me. You have just written that certain passages of Scripture are “poetic literature” and are “not meant to be taken literally.” Who gets to make this distinction? You? Me? I assume that you think Genesis and Noah’s Ark are to be taken literally, or the idea of evolution would be acceptable to you. And you have also made Scripture-based arguments against homosexuality. But what if the parts of the Bible that contradict evolution and denounce homosexuality are “poetic literature”? Once you open the floodgates to a non-literal interpretation of Scripture, people will be allowed to think for themselves and come to their own conclusions about “the big questions”. And debates – such as those going on now within the Evangelical community – will be the norm. And to this type of free thought, I say “Amen”!

  5. You probably are surprised because people generally construct evangelical caricatures and then attack the straw men they’ve constructed. Clearly, God speaks both figuratively and literally in Scripture. However, the honest Bible reader tries to discover the author’s intent and doesn’t make Scripture say whatever he wants it to say.

    The Psalms are one of five Old Testament books considered to be poetical. (The others are Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon). These books express profound truths, but employ poetic language to do so.

    However, Leviticus, which contains prohibitions against homosexuality, is not poetical. It’s included in the first 17 books of the Bible, which contain law and history. Any honest reader of Leviticus can tell God is not speaking poetically when He says: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” — Lev.20:13

  6. Thank you for continuing this discussion. It has been truly educational for me. I may not agree with you on many issues, but I now have a far better understanding of your thought process. And I respect it

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