One of the refrains we hear from those who support or accept that TE/EC can be accepted in Central Fellowship is “I am happy if you wish to continue to believe in God creating the world in six literal days – just allow me my belief that we got here by God using evolution.”
But can this position be maintained Biblically? Do the Scriptures of Truth, that should be the arbiter in these discussions, allow for such a proposition that two opposing views of our God be promulgated from the same platform?
What does Scripture say?
Firstly let the Apostle Paul issue a note of caution – “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” – 1 Corinthians 14:33. The context of the whole section in which this verse is located is the counsel of the Apostle that there should not be differing voices in the Ecclesia. We should all be speaking the same thing – to the edification of the body as a whole and not to the ‘glory’ of the individual. The Apostle’s inspired comment in verse 33 is also to be seen in the context of verses 7 to 9 which in turn are based on Numbers 10:1 – 9. “And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air.” Can we imagine what would have happened in the camp of Israel if there had been uncertainty as to the meaning of the trumpet sounds issued at God’s command when the children of Israel where to move camp? Imagine the disorder in a camp that accommodated many thousands tents if there had been dispute among the leaders or even just confusion among the people as to what the trumpet blasts meant.
In 1 Corinthians 1:13 the Apostle brings this principle ‘up to date’ in an ecclesial context by asking “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” The breadth of issues covered by this need for unity of message is seen in Ephesians 4:3 – 6: “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
The need for consistency of teaching and living the Truth can be gauged from the strength of the words of our Lord in Revelation 3:15 – 16: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” The Lord is just as blunt in Luke 11:23: “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.”
The lack of a middle ground in the preaching of the Gospel (i.e. the concept of teaching differing ideas from the same platform) can be seen in parable after parable that come from our Lord. The Parable of the ‘Two Ways’ in Matthew 7:13 – 14 and Luke 13:23 – 24 shows that it is not possible to walk two paths at the same time. Matthew 7:24 – 27 shows the folly of trying to build on contradictory foundations. There are only wise and unwise virgins in the Lord’s estimation. There is no middle ground in the preaching of the Gospel message by our Lord.
The Apostle James brings to bear the same principles in his third chapter: “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” (verse 8 to 12)
Thus the incompatibility of Creation and Evolution means that we cannot teach both from a Christadelphian platform. We cannot have an ecclesia that claims to uphold the Word of God as its foundation teaching contradictory messages. It is foolishness indeed to think that the ecclesia can accommodate such a divergence of views whereby some brothers and sisters believe that Adam and Eve are the progenitors of the entire human race whilst others believe that our predecessors have been here for countless generations longer than portrayed in the Biblical genealogies and that consequently many of our fellow inhabitants of this planet have no relationship to Adam and Eve at all. In this context we do well to take note of the sound warning of the Apostle Paul (on a different topic) in 1 Corinthians 14:23 – “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?”
Let us be wise and realise that we should all be preaching the same message. Yes, as demonstrated by God Himself in Scripture, the method of the delivery of the message can change to suit the circumstances but the principles of the message do not change – EVER. Consider James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
If we all speak the same thing we will be able to “with joy … draw water out of the wells of salvation.” – Isaiah 12:3 to the praise and glory of our Creator.