“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them” (Romans:16:17).
Paul tells us that those who divide the church are not the ones who confront false teaching. Rather, they are those who teach things that are contrary to the Word of God. Paul commands Christians to identify and avoid such people (not just ignore false teaching). Paul declares that anyone who preaches a different Gospel is accursed (Galatians:1:6–10). In the book of Revelation, Jesus threatened the churches that tolerated false teachers (Revelation:2:14–16, 20–24) with destruction; and in 2 Peter chapter 2, Peter reserved the harshest criticisms for the false teachers of his day. This is pretty strong stuff, but the Bible emphasizes doctrinal unity as being extremely important. It is defined as unity in the truth.
Genesis alone is not the Gospel, but it is central to the Gospel because it is the foundation for the Good News.1 Almost every major doctrine directly or indirectly stems from the first 11 chapters of Genesis. The infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture, the necessity of physical death and resurrection of Jesus, the blessed hope (Titus:2:13–14) and the restoration of all things, depend on the foundational chapters of Genesis. It is worth noting that many other essential doctrines depend on the first few chapters of Genesis 1–11 as well.
The heroes of faith were found in Genesis
One of the most important doctrines is the doctrine of justification by grace through faith (Ephesians:2:8; Galatians 3). As an evangelical ministry, CMI regards this teaching to be an essential doctrine of the faith. Paul taught this doctrine in Hebrews 11. In what has come to be known as the ‘Hall of faith’, Paul goes through the Old Testament to show that the heroes of the faith were all justified through faith. But he doesn’t stop at Abraham. He goes all the way back to Abel (Hebrews:11:4), Enoch (v.5), and Noah (v.7)—the very individuals that liberal theologians claim did not exist. Other doctrines that depend on Genesis include the doctrine of original sin, the reason why we die, why we cannot save ourselves, and why we need a kinsman redeemer to die in our place. In short, belief in a literal Genesis history is not negotiable because it is foundational to the Good News and the authority of God’s Word. If Genesis cannot be trusted, then where does the truth begin? We are reminded of how the serpent deceived Eve in the garden: “Did God actually say … ” (Genesis:3:2).
The atheist, Richard Bozarth correctly pointed out in a debate,
“[T]he whole justification of Jesus’ life and death is predicated on the existence of Adam and the fruit he and Eve ate. Without the original sin, who needs to be redeemed? … Without Adam’s fall into a life of constant sin terminated by death, what purpose is there to Christianity? … If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.”
Unfortunately, some supposedly ‘Christian’ organizations exist to undermine biblical creation. Darrel Falk, the former president of BioLogos wrote:
“Option #1 [that Adam and Eve are actual historical people] is the standard argument put forward by those who believe in a young earth created by God in six twenty-four hour days less than 10,000 years ago. BioLogos exists in no small part to marginalize this view from the Church. A fundamental part of our mission is to show that Option #1 is not tenable.”3
Treason in the church?
Some of these organizations are well-funded and provide huge grants to promote the teaching of evolution in churches and seminaries.4 Their influence in mainstream churches is growing and I’m sure they probably genuinely believe they are helping to ‘save’ the church. However, it has long been known that belief in evolution makes atheists out of people. Karl Giberson, a former seminary teacher and former physics professor at Eastern Nazarene College was also the former vice-president of BioLogos. He naively believes that Christians will be strengthened in their faith if they are taught to believe in evolution. Not surprisingly, he lamented that he found the opposite to be true. Giberson wrote:
“[I]nstead scientifically informed young evangelicals became so alienated from their home churches that they walked away, taking their enlightenment with them. … Many of my most talented former students no longer attend any church, and some have completely abandoned their faith traditions.”5
Such an admission should set off alarm bells. Why should we expect people to believe in the Gospel if we tell them that there are mistakes in the Bible? Giberson rejects the notion of a real hell, calling it a “secondary doctrine”. So again, what does he think we are being saved from?