You’ll recall that the online apologetics and discernment work Apprising Ministries has been among those who’ve been reporting on Piper Warrengate that began when Dr. John Piper made a quite dubious decision to bring in, as the keynote speaker, Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren for the Desiring God Conference 2010.

Unfortunately this is having the effect of making some otherwise fragile associations even a bit more fragile. With this in mind I point you to a short post called John Piper–Young Humanity, Old Earth OK by Ken Schenck, who is “Dean of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University and Professor of New Testament and Christian Ministry.”

Schenck informs us he’s found:

an interesting interview with John Piper in which he basically says that the important things about Christian belief in creation are: 1) that God created it, 2) that humanity is relatively young on the planet, but 3) he allows for a variety of views on how old the earth might be prior to humanity’s arrival, presumably including the evolution of lower forms of life. He only insists that the purpose of whatever happened prior to that point was to prepare the earth for humanity.

He has been convinced by a book called Genesis Unbound [by John Sailhamer]… It seems to me this is a major truth credibility issue for fundamentalist Christianity (it is not clearly an evangelical issue) that it makes this issue not a matter of individual conscience but one of core dogma.

Piper’s position here demands all the key Christian beliefs (God created Adam directly as the first true human) while considering one’s position on time prior to that as tangential. In effect it says, perhaps God created the world in six literal 24 hour periods. Perhaps He directed an evolutionary process to prepare the world for humanity and then directly created Adam 10,000 years ago. It says the question of “how” before Adam is really tangential and let those competent in science debate it…

This approach would probably require us to take the death that entered the world through Adam as human death or spiritual death rather than the death of any living thing…
(Online source)

You can read the rest of Dr. Ken Schenck’s post right here. In the aforementioned interview What Should We Teach About Creation? Dr. Piper says:

I think we should preach that he created Adam and Eve directly, that he made them of the dust of the ground, and he took out of man a woman. I think we should teach that. I know there are people who don’t, who think it’s all imagery for evolution or whatever.

And we should teach that man had his beginning not millions of years ago but within the scope of the biblical genealogies. Those genealogies are tight at about 6,000 years and loose at maybe 10 or 15,000. So I think we should honor those genealogies and not say that you can play fast and loose with the origin of man.

That’s not the age of the earth issue there. That’s the origin of what is a human being, when did that human being come into existence. I think we should say he came into existence by God’s direct action and that it wasn’t millions of years ago. That was within the scope of these genealogies.

Now, when it comes to the more controversial issues of how to construe Genesis 1-2 about how God did it and how long it took him to do it, there I’m totally sympathetic with a pastor who is going to lay his view down, having studied it, and is going to say to his people, “Here is my understanding of those chapters. These six days can’t be anything other than six literal days, and so that’s how long God took to do it. And this universe is about 10 or 15,000 years old. Though it looks old, that’s the way God made it. He made it to look old,” or something like that.

Or he might take another view that these days are ages.

Or he might take Sailhamer’s view, which is where I feel at home. His view is that what’s going on here is that all of creation happened to prepare the land for man. (Online source)

Well, my friend Dr. John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research and author of The Young Earth, happens to be a geologist quite “competent in science [to] debate it” so I refer you to his piece Is Belief In The Young Earth Necessary To Be A Christian?

And in his message The Theology of Creation, concerning the origin of our universe, Dr. John MacArthur correctly points out:

Now, because the Bible is so clear about this in Genesis 1, and then giving us an even further and more detailed look at this creation, rehearsing its elements in a broader way in chapter 2, you face a test at the very outset of the Bible. You’re not going to get past the first verses of the Bible, you’re not going to get past the first verse in the Bible, the first chapter in the Bible, the first two chapters in the Bible without facing a test. And the test is this, do you believe the Scripture? Do you believe the Scripture? That is the test. No one gets past the opening verses of the Bible without having to face the test of whether or not that person believes the Bible to be the authoritative Word of God. Do you submit to Scripture? Genesis 1 is your first test…

Well there are a lot of people who believe that and there are a mass of people who call themselves Christians who believe that Genesis is an inadequate presentation of what happened and we have to marry it with scientific discovery in order to get to the truth. Let me help you, folks, let me help you. Get past that notion and you will free yourself from needless doubts and endless confusion. Get past the idea that science, listen, makes any contribution to an understanding of creation. It makes none.

Now this may shock you. There is no such thing as the science of creation. There is no such thing. It does not exist. Why? Because there is no scientific way to explain creation… I would like to suggest a sort of basic test for any Christian ministry that you might be drawn toward, either to participate with them, to support them in some way. I would suggest that you ask any ministry, any so-called Christian ministry, especially a Christian college, Christian seminary that you’re thinking about going to, or sending your friends or your children to, or church that you might attend, one question.

And here is the first question you should ask them. Write it in a letter and send it to them next time some ministry solicits money from you. “Do you believe completely in the literal interpretation of Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2?” Ask them that. There are 106 Christian colleges in what is called “The Christian College Coalition.” Five would say yes to that. A hundred and one would say no. Just exactly does Genesis 1 and 2 mean then if it doesn’t mean what it says which even a child can understand, then how are we to know what it means? And at what point can we trust anything that the Bible says?

The answer to the question, “What is your view of Genesis 1 and 2?” will reveal the attitude of any organization, any ministry toward Scripture. And if they believe that Scripture is inerrant and authoritative and complete, you’ll get the right answer. If you get the wrong answer, then they have a weak view of Scripture. And if they reject Genesis 1 and 2, then you can ask them the other question that I posed a little while ago, “Just exactly where do you start believing the Bible?” (Online source)

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