“The evolutionary lie is so pointedly antithetical to Christian truth that it would seem unthinkable for evangelical Christians to compromise with evolutionary science in any degree. But during the past century and a half of evolutionary propaganda, evolutionists have had remarkable success in getting evangelicals to meet them halfway. Remarkably, many modern evangelicals . . . have already been convinced that the Genesis account of creation is not a true historical record. Thus they have not only capitulated to evolutionary doctrine at its starting point, but they have also embraced a view that undermines the authority of Scripture at its starting point.”Wow! If MacArthur represents a broad swath of evangelicalism, it is no wonder my views on evolution have garnered for me rejection from so many of my friends. On the other hand, I am encouraged that MacArthur has apparently discovered “many” evangelicals who are convinced of evolution. I wish he would introduce us to each other. I find such evangelicals to be quite rare!
Well, Dr. John, count me among those evangelicals who have “been convinced that the Genesis account of creation is not a true historical record” (more on that later ...). But I absolutely repudiate your misguided contention that I have “compromised with evolutionary science” any more than the Christians of an earlier age “compromised” with Copernican cosmology. (But of course, they were also accused of heresy and compromise by the Fundamentalists of their day, and even excommunicated.) When one is confronted with irrefutable evidence for some bit of reality, his acceptance of that reality is hardly a “compromise”. My acceptance of evolutionary science is based firmly upon hard evidence, the likes of which, I’m confident, Christian’s like you have never encountered. Do you wish to win me back to the fold, Dr. John? Then try presenting a bit of evidence that I am mistaken, rather than clobbering me over the head with insinuations that I have “capitulated” to “propaganda”. If you are looking for a perfect example of propaganda (which is unsubstantiated, highly biased misinformation), try reading your own book. The writings of evangelical scientists like Francis Collins, Kenneth Miller, Owen Gingerich, et. al. hardly fall under your “propaganda” category. Have you even read them?
The likely answer is that MacArthur, along with the countless evangelicals who stand with him, have not read such authors. Are they so filled with fear that evolutionary science may prove to be factual, and thus trap them in a new set of baffling dilemmas? Or do they genuinely mistrust science in the first place, and avoid it like the plague?
That would be sad! MacArthur, and some of the commenters to the Parchment and Pen post who defend him, believe that 1) Biblical revelation trumps all other sources of information, and 2) Biblical revelation must be understood literally (unless there is, as they would say, strong internal reasons to understand it allegorically). Thus, their theology is impoverished by their ideology. They reject volumes of natural revelation which science has uncovered in the last few centuries. How valuable is this natural revelation? Paul, in Romans 1:20, makes the case that we can know and understand much about God, including his “invisible qualities” (NIV) without ever cracking open a holy book, but merely by examining the work of his creative hand. Science, good science, is nothing more nor less than the close examination of the handiwork of the Creator! Christians, of all people, should embrace science with heart and mind! and when then do, they will discover that evolution is the most likely framework for the history of life. And they will find, as I have, that our vistas upon the mysteries of theology are expanded, and that Biblical theology is not “undermined”, but greatly enhanced.
And what of MacArthur’s lament that "many modern evangelicals . . . have already been convinced that the Genesis account of creation is not a true historical record." I wish MacArthur were more specific about which "true historical record" in Genesis is important to believe: the one in chapter 1, or the one in chapter 2. Both, of course, cannot be "true historical record[s]" since they give irreconcilably contradictory accounts. But if we read them as allegorical literature (as they were surely intended), the result is that both accounts are “true” in the sense that they convey truths. Far from “undermining the authority of Scripture”, a proper view of the Bible sets us free to understand its profound truths unencumbered by some felt need to defend the indefensible notion that it is literally “true” scientifically and historically. A proper view of the Bible, coupled with a healthy view of scientific discovery, will set us free to explore our Creator in ways earlier believers could never do. What an adventure! It is sad that so many intelligent minds, such as that which John MacArthur possesses, refuse to set out upon this adventure.
So what is your view? Is MacArthur correct? Am I a compromised Christian?