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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

An Olive Branch

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You may have noticed that our provocative post from last week is no longer available. After some fraternal discussions, and in the interest of resolving differences peacefully, we have removed our blog post responding to The God Whisperers last week: they pulled their podcast, and we have pulled our piece.

Permit us to clear some of the air, if we can, since the manner of speech sometimes gets in the way of the substance of the debate. We all wish to be churchmen in our dialog. Therefore, we offer this public olive branch.

Sometimes in the podcast milieu and in the blogosphere, people speak out of turn, off the cuff, or without too much thought, as opposed to published papers. We don’t want any of that getting in the way of the substance of our concerns.

The matter of Creation and the historicity of Genesis is not personal, nor is anyone’s personal faith in the Son of God being questioned. We are simply discussing the matter of what the Bible says and means, and of course our own Synod’s confession of that. We have clear disagreements about this, but we are brothers in Christ. So we have reached out to them and sent a version of this post to them before publication out of respect for their offices and our fraternity as members of the Synod. We note that Rev. Cwirla has also issued this statement.

But we do want to press the matter at hand for we do not believe that the matters of God’s creative activity as revealed in the Holy Bible are too complex for public discussion. The doctrine of creation can be boldly confessed in any forum for the edification of God’s holy people and for confession of truth to the world.

We do not believe that the matter of God’s creative activity in literally six ordinary days should be debated in our midst any more than we believe we should debate within our Synod the Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Altar. Any discussion of our public doctrine should be towards catechization of the faithful regarding what God has clearly revealed and a vigorous apologetic of the truth to those who either are curious, doubting or unbelieving.

We do not allow the possibility that the earth is millions of years old. We affirm that there is simply no way for this understanding to be reconciled with God’s clear Word. We remain convinced that the promotion of theistic evolution, old earth creationism or evolutionary creationism is the enthronement of Dame Reason.

We reject the premise that the age of the world has been indisputably proven to be millions of years old. We believe there is plenty of scientific evidence to support a young earth, but that’s not really the issue. We do not wish to get into an argument about whose science is better. But we do believe that how one understands science must begin with the Christian faith, and not the other way around (a fine piece was just posted on this by Dr. Paul Edmon ). And so, we insist that the Bible’s plain words leave no room for millions of years. They just don’t.

We will content ourselves with believing what the Bible says, as little children coming unto Jesus, however odd that makes us appear either to the world or within Christendom.

So oddly, we also believe that our Lord Christ was speaking of and affirmed the real and literal first man and woman (named Adam and Eve) when He responded to the Pharisees regarding the proper teaching of marriage in St. Matthew 19:4-6 and St. Mark 10:6-9.

And speaking of Adam, if the first Adam was not real, what are we to believe about the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45-48)? And if the first Eden was not real, what of the paradeiso He promised the penitent malefactor on the cross (St. Luke 23:43)? We believe these things are intricately, historically bound together.

And for that matter, we also believe that all the miraculous events of the Scriptures happened exactly as they have been written for our learning; in particular, we find no difficulties in stating that all the events of Genesis 1-11, inspired by the Holy Ghost to be written by His servant Moses, happened just as they are recorded, and we do not believe that the simple teaching and confession of them is too difficult to be addressed in blogs, on Facebook or any place for that matter. Neither do we believe that such discussion or confession is divisive of the Church, rather the Church is unified when the Gospel is rightly taught, and the Gospel is revealed through the infallible, inerrant Sacred Scriptures: infallible to their historical content as well as their message.

If Dame Reason were to be our guide to the Scriptures how could we believe that the bread and wine of the Sacrament are truly the Body and Blood of Christ? It is plain and evident to reason that it is bread and wine, nothing more. Science can easily prove that. O see, dear Christians, where the enthronement of reason leads!

We believe what we’ve been taught. And we worship the Incarnate Lord Jesus, by whom all things were made. Made in six days, because it says so. See. Right here…

Perhaps we can all agree? Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity . . .