Thursday, 26 January 2017

Naturalis Historia: Who Is Our Authority? The Reformed Church Looks Outward for Answers from Genesis

Naturalis Historia: Who Is Our Authority? The Reformed Church Looks Outward for Answers from Genesis

"In my experience, the creation science movement is strongly anti-intellectual at its heart. At conferences and books and videos, Christians are told they can’t trust a large segment of the scientific community despite many of those scientists being Christians who have devoted themselves to understanding the evidence with respect to the age of the Earth and life’s history on it. Likewise, young earth speakers frequently claim that seminary professors are serving their own and their institution’s own self-interests. They also imply or directly state that congregants should be wary of pastors that have received training from any seminary – other than a small set of “approved” seminaries – because they will have been exposed to diverse interpretations of Genesis. Furthermore, the YEC community comprises a large number of untrained scientists and theologians that at times flaunt their lack of theological or scientific degrees as evidence they haven’t been tainted and therefore can make unbiased evaluations of the evidence. At the same time they hold up their own employees with PhDs as proof they do serious science. All of these are common tactics used by groups that hold to conspiracy theories.

The content creators of the creation science community are few in number but their influence far greater than their numbers would suggest. An examination of the massive quantity of YEC literature reveals that the number of active authors is quite small, yet their influence goes far beyond their numbers. The YEC movement is partially “inbred” with many of its leaders closely related to one another or having been at least trained by others in the same community. Their peer-reviewed journals consist of a small number of individuals reviewing each other’s work with a high degree of conflict of interest and mainly “reviewing” works to ensure that they agree with YECism, not whether their methodology or data are scientifically valid.

In addition, I think it is quite clear that the YEC movement is not a reformed Christian movement at heart. Although they espouse an orthodox understanding of the nature of Scriptures, the movement is promoted and populated primarily by a variety of independent fundamentalist Baptists, Assemblies of God, Seventh Day Adventist, Missouri-Synod Lutheran, and many independent protestant churches. They have made use of some elements – most notably the language of presuppositional apologetics – of the reformed heritage but for the most part they do not share the traditional reformed understanding the nature of nature and their hermeneutical and epistemological arguments are frequently quite different."

Basically, those who call themselves Reformed need to read less John F MacArthur and more Vern Poythress.

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