Today’s program deals with the sticky issue of Origins. As a leader in the Christian Home Education movement who has spent many a luncheon discussing this issue with those who disagree, I think this one may be the most controversial issue within the present-day movement.
First we should say that Christians receive the epistemological authority of the Word – as opposed to the ultimate epistemological authority of the minds of empiricists “interpreting data.” Sincere Christians still take the Bible as the authority for truth, the inspired Word of God
It should go without saying that sincere Christians would be a little compromise-phobic especially during the largest apostasy (numbers-wise) in the history of Christian church, just now kicking into full force in this country. The moves from orthodoxy to neo-orthodoxy, to the post-modern, relativist (who care about whatever?) emergism, to deism/atheism takes up but a generation or two these days. So the phobia, in my estimation, is well-justified.
Still, Christians should think through their “non-negotiables” carefully, and perhaps even prioritize the items on the list – in order that appropriate humility and love be afforded in these discussions. It should go without saying that some propositions are more essential to our worldview than others. Some compromises would surrender more ground to the naturalist-materialist, antithetical worldview than others might. And most importantly, some of our propositional commitments carry more exegetical weight than others. It is a mark of immaturity and pride, when men will defend every one of their opinions touching biblical issues with equal force and passion, as if they could never be wrong on a single point.
All that said, here is my list:
Kevin Swanson's Non-Negotiables in Order of Priority:
#1 – God is the sovereign Source of all creation, and God created all space and matter, by the Word of His power, ex nihilo.
#2 – God made man in His image from dust without intermediate forms.
#3 – There could be no death for man before the fall.
#4 – In six 24-hour days God created light, oceans, trees, sun, moon, stars, animals, man, etc.
#5 – A worldwide flood destroyed all man and land-based animals on the earth.
#6 – The biblical chronology allows for Adam’s creation no longer than 10,000 years ago.
#7 – There could be no death before the fall for heart-lung animals.
Now, at what point would a pastor or theologian fatally compromise the Christians faith by denying one of the above propositions?
At what point is the epistemological authority of the Word of God die the death of ten or fifteen or a thousand qualifications?
Are we interpreting rock layers by the Word of God, or are we interpreting the Word of God by “scientific” historical guesswork relating to rock layers?
Perhaps more to the issue at hand - where did our confidence concerning this “scientific” guesswork come from? We knew with 99% confidence that the gravitational force existed after dropping the rock 100 times. With what confidence can we say that a rock is four billion years old?
Where did all of this confidence in the evolutionary processes come from? Was human pride the beginning of knowledge and wisdom? Or was the fear of God the beginning of knowledge and wisdom in the geology classrooms? Important questions for those who wish to salvage something of the faith from the naturalist-materialists in the 21st century. . .