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Letters to the Editor: September 2013

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Tomorrow’s Theology
Rev. Walhout claims that the “new” fact of evolution may require revision of our understanding of creation, Adam and Eve, the fall into sin, and even salvation and God’s purpose in history (“Tomorrow’s Theology,” June 2013). Apparently he believes that the teachings of our confessions on these subjects are merely theories that will have to be revised. This is not new, and it is heretical! To claim we must preserve “everything essential to the biblical story” seems to imply there is much that is not essential. This is nothing but old liberalism in a new dress.

—LeRoy Christoffels
Worthington, Minn.

As a scientist with a long career doing research, I have studied the claimed evidences for evolution for over 50 years (“Tomorrow’s Theology”). I have found no creditable evidence that any natural process can convert inorganic matter into living cells. As scientists learn more about nature, particularly about living cells, it is becoming increasingly obvious that it is impossible for a living cell to have formed from non-living matter. And there is no fossil evidence that any kind of life ever evolved into a different kind of more complex life. My conclusion is that evolution is not a validated scientific theory but is a belief developed by those who want to believe nature is the creator rather than God.

—William Vanderkooi
Midland, Mich.

Let’s not reduce God’s handiwork to man-made theory but rather embrace the biblical view of creation and acknowledge that God’s acts are bigger than any theory could ever explain. We acknowledge that science is valuable in explaining and appreciating God’s handiwork and attention to detail. However, we also acknowledge that science gives us but a glimpse of God’s character and attributes. Through the eyes of faith, God has given us the ability to believe Scripture and its place in our lives, now and 500 years from now. We believe that God’s Word transcends any theory. “Tomorrow’s Theology” appears to suggest the contrary.

Please do not squander further opportunities to promote the rich biblical teachings of the CRC by publishing articles that could just as well be found on the shelves of a local library.

—Consistory of Bethany Christian Reformed Church
Fenwick, Ontario

Amongst my Christian Reformed friends, most are already asking the questions that Walhout articulated so well (“Tomorrow’s Theology”). If Christian teaching does not mesh with known facts, the church will inevitably become less and less relevant. Young people especially will not be drawn to a church whose theology is not reconcilable with established science.

—Steve TenElshof
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Thank you for publishing Edwin Walhout’s timely article "Tomorrow's Theology.” For me evolutionary science explains the material unfolding of the universe and biological life as we know it. Genesis 1 sings a hymn of praise to our Lord who makes the universe his temple and creates us to walk and talk with him in the cool of the day. So let cool heads prevail as we take up the extraordinary calling to think tomorrow’s theology today in relation to an evolutionary understanding of life.

—Henry Venema
Brandon, Manitoba

The essay that describes what theology will look like 500 years from now is useful and should not be ignored (“Tomorrow’s Theology”). It is also pernicious because its extrapolations do not take into account that sacred Scripture is sui generis: It alone has been written by the Holy Spirit of God. The true church will never subordinate this holy book to any other authority, however persuasive. The fact that naturalistic evolution rejects divine revelation is the greatest of many reasons to reject the erroneous presumption that its authority trumps the Bible’s. Actually, it’s the other way around.

—Joel Nederhood
Lansing, Ill.

I do hope and pray that Christ returns before we face the suggested change in theology (“Tomorrow’s Theology”). It is the simple gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit that ignites the many souls won for Christ all these hundreds of years, not a change in theology.

—Helen Baker
North Haledon, N.J.

The Reformation was a return to the truth of Scripture. If Christ hasn’t returned 500 years from now, may people see that we too have rejected falsehood (“Tomorrow’s Theology”). Whether one believes the earth is old or young, there are truths expressed in Scripture that I believe are not debatable. We don’t need to revise our understanding of Jesus in light of “established facts” that are in dispute.

—Judith Eizenga
Lansing, Ill.

Edwin Walhout (“Tomorrow’s Theology”) is so concerned that we need to be in agreement with science concerning origins. Hasn’t he heard the rest of our story? Does today’s science support a maiden girl giving birth without a man? Does a decomposing body walk again? Does a brutally murdered man come back from the dead and then ascend into the clouds and from there govern the world?

—Tom Bracewell
Yakima, Wash.

Thank you to Rev. Walhout for his thought-provoking article “Tomorrow’s Theology.” It is scary and unsettling to deal with the changes in our world. The church must value God’s general revelation (science and the world around us) as much as God’s special revelation (the Bible). Five hundred years ago the church tried to deny Galileo’s discovery of heliocentricism only to apologize to him in the year 2000. Three hundred fifty years from now I hope our church does not have to apologize to Charles Darwin for our treatment of his discoveries in 1850. Galileo said that the Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go. We can add to his statement, nor how plants and animals grow.

—John D. Bouws
Holland, Mich.

Evolution is a theory not a scientific fact (“Tomorrow’s Theology”). Both evolution and creation scientists share the same evidence, each interpreting the facts within their belief systems. It requires just as much faith to believe that one evolved from nothing as it does to believe that one was created by God.
If you discredit the first five words of the Bible, “In the beginning God created,” how are you to believe any of the near 775,000 that follow?

—Mark Zylstra
Sarnia, Ontario

I wonder if it was wise to accept an article by Edwin Walhout (“Tomorrow’s Theology”) that basically denies that Genesis is an accurate account of how God created the heavens and the earth.

If indeed evolution would be true, sin and death were all part of the creation, thus making Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross of no effect, and we are still lost in our sins, or it was futile of him to do so.

We have to decide which master we serve—Jesus or so-called science, which is not really science since what has already passed cannot be verified or tested.

—Bob Wierdsma
Peterborough, Ontario

I commend pastor Walhout’s article “Tomorrow’s Theology” for his integrity and courage, but most of all for loving God with his mind. The single biggest reason why young people are leaving the church today is because the church is demanding that they love God with all their hearts, souls, and strength, but then demanding that they refuse to believe what their minds tell them is true about God and his creation.

When God’s creation and God’s Word both teach that God’s day is as a thousand years, who are we to insist that he created the universe in 24-hour days?

—Ellie M. VandenBerg
Volga, S.D.

I grieve that The Banner would advocate reinterpreting Scripture and changing our theology to accommodate evolution (“Tomorrow’s Theology”). Evolution fails Darwin’s own test of validity. The predicted many intermediate fossils are still missing. Natural selection doesn’t work; each generation passes on to the next 100-plus new mutations. The human genome is deteriorating so rapidly that in a few hundred more generations human life would die out, were Christ to tarry. We are degenerating, not evolving.

Evolution’s “virtue” is that it enables one to be an intellectually filled atheist, says Richard Dawkins. This is not the foundation for sound theology. Contemporary scientific cosmogony is equally speculative. Let us endure the scorn of our godless culture and cling to the historic Reformed teaching of God’s trustworthy Word.

—Thomas F. Greene
Clyde Hill, Wash.

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