Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It was our very first Lifegroup. Naomi and I had just taken the plunge into church planting. Yippee!!! I had quit my “real” (decent paying compared to this!) job and after three and a half years as a bi-vocational pastor of a traditional Southern Baptist church we finally felt free to push the boundaries of what a local “church” is supposed to be. We read in our Bibles that the primitive Church would meet in the temple courts and from house to house…frequently. We read that they submitted themselves to the Apostles teaching, they would fellowship and eat together. It seems rather simple when compared to the program driven standards in the West. And for whatever reason…that simple formula “worked” in the primitive Church and miraculous signs and wonders were accomplished, by the Apostles, in their midst’s. You can read about it here.

So instead of attempting to recreate the wheel…we decided to try and contextualize the simplicity of the primitive Church as we began to gain our bearings in this whole missions adventure. We decided that we would meet in homes for prayer and study and fellowship. We called them “Lifegroups”…sounded more chic than “Sunday School” or “Mid Week Adult Prayer and Bible Study” I guess.

Anyway…sheesh…this was our first Lifegroup. We had been meeting at my brothers condo for about a month, once a week…there was a total of six of us. We had a young engaged couple faithfully joining us every Tuesday night (I think). He had been a believer for several years and during those intial meetings...she was not. And now that I think about it perhaps they were not engaged initially either...hmmm…either way I know he would not have married an unbeliever. So after we shared the faith with her the Lord opened her eyes and she believed. Then about a day or two later I think he purposed, lol! I’m exaggerating…partly because now that I’m starting this story I can’t remember all the details! None the less…the Lord opened her eyes and she believed and shortly thereafter they were engaged to be married. And they, along with Steve and Loire plus Naomi and I made up our first Lifegroup.

Although he believe before she believed they were both fairly green in the deeper doctrines of our faith. And they were both hungry to learn and grow! Week after week after week they would come with questions. This might bother some of my traditional or fundamentalist friends…but we had no agenda…the agenda was whatever questions they had dawn on them during their devotions. Man...we hit all kinds of topics…it was great!

I’m rambling…nothing you've read so far has ANYTHING to do with the purpose of this post. Oh well.

One of those nights they came in with a question…not one they had just stumbled upon…but one they had always allowed to lurk in the back of their minds for years. She (he was and is not shy…but more quiet) told us that she had a question and that she didn’t want us to think she was dumb. We instantly encouraged her to share it…that this was a safe place to ask questions or share “issues”. I’m expecting some heavy, deep or even very personal inner struggle to be shared. They both looked concerned about the question…so I braced myself and said “go ahead, it’s alright…what’s troubling you?”

She the asked us, “were dinosaurs real?”

SWING and a miss! I was expecting a fast ball and she threw me a curve! These were educated people…these are smart people. Never in my life had the thought EVER crossed my mind that there was even a possibility that dinosaurs were not real. I’d doubt the moon walk before I’d doubt dinosaurs. It’s like asking “is blue real” or something. I’ve been asked some heavy things…I’ve been told some heavy things…I have never been asked about the reality of dinosaurs.

I said, “were they real? I believe so…why would you ask that?”

“My whole life I was told that believing in dinosaurs means you believe in evolution…and I don’t believe in evolution but I just don’t know how to square that with the fossils we have of dinosaurs”. She said. Now keep in mind…I read a lot and I read all kinds of stuff I agree with and all kinds of stuff I don’t agree with. I read stuff from people who deny the Resurrection of Christ, who deny miracles, who deny the Trinity…I try to expose myself to a wide range of viewpoints and I try to remain open minded. I had never, ever, heard of such a teaching. I thought that I had “heard it all”…man has planting a church that intentionally reaches out to the unchurched and unsaved proven that old assumption of mine DEAD WRONG! So I explained to her that the existence of dinosaurs does not conflict with the Biblical narrative and in no way proves evolution. That led us into various theories about what happened to them and how they died out.

No wonder people think that science and faith are distinct! Nonsense like that is actually TAUGHT by Christians!

I say all of this just to simply say…science is a wonderful gift from God and should be used to help us better understand the God who created the heavens and the earth. Science is a very real source of truth…we would never have a clue as to how precise and detailed our God is if we were not able to examine His handiwork closely. The heavens truly declare His majesty and we as Christians should embrace science and encourage our children to explore God by exploring His creation! Science can be and should be one of the highest expressions of worship known to man! It is indeed a tragedy when man engages in the arena of science and gives the glory to the creature and not the creator. But do not throw the baby out with the bathwater…just because one draws wrong conclusions from the data they acquire does not mean that either the data nor the means of acquiring the data is invalid or not spiritual!

Not one law of science contradicts our faith…remember…it is not illogical for a super natural God who created natural order to have the ability to interact with and even manipulate the laws He instituted. Natural law binds us…but it does not bind Him...nor should we reasonably expect it to bind Him! That is not illogical or irrational…despite what the atheist might cry.

Science is a very real source of truth that God can does use to help us learn about Him, His ways and His character. Pay attention to it…and encourage your children to learn about the creation God made for His people to enjoy and explore!

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11

UPDATE

The obvious question then is "how reliable is science as a source of truth"? That is not an easy question to answer...because it depends on how one approaches the topic. What we know for sure is that the way scientific data is interpreted is very suspect...and we all know that what was at one time considered scientific "fact" is now discovered to be untrue. The problem with science (unlike tradition and Holy Scripture) is that we do not have all the data to start with. We do the best we can with what we have. Therefore, while truth is infallible and inerrant...our understanding of science is not...nor can it be. It is a source of truth...but not an inerrant one...simply because we do not have all the data to start with...only God has that.

6 comments:

Tony Myles said...

My spin:

"Science should be accepted as a source of truth."

not

"Science should be accepted as the source of truth."

irreverend fox said...

so...then...you agree with me?

Tim said...

Good thoughts, good thoughts. One other problem encountered is the way people "do" science. The problem is, that people are supposed to examine the facts and develop a theory based on those facts and then test the theory to see if it holds up and accomplishes the result it was supposed to. Too many people look at something, come up with a theory to explain it and then look for facts to support the theory. There's a phrase for that approach...bad science. That is what is happening in the approach taken to evolution, explaining homosexuality, etc. today. Bad science gives good science a bad name.

irreverend fox said...

Tim,

right on...right on. you are exactly right.

Zac said...

Just thought I'd throw my hat into the ring and say that I agree.

Science is a Christian thing-- it assumes an ordered universe that operates according to predictable, intelligible laws. And this of course is what we would expect if the Creator put mankind at the pinnacle of his visible, albeit now fallen, creation.

One problem is that secular humanists have won the battle of vocabulary; they have successfully placed an equal sign between science and philosophical materialism, something entirely non-, even anti-, scientific.

Also, regarding evolution... I think it was Huxley who put it best, "I believe it-- not because I have proof but because the alternative is unacceptable."

The millions of transitional fossils required for the darwinist gradualism have not been found, contrary to Darwin's predictions (of course, now there are convenient explanations of this).

Furthermore, genetics and microbiology have shown us the immense complexity of even the simplest of bacteria (something not understood in Darwin's time)-- such that the "jump to life" from proto-biotic chemical soup to a living, metabolizing, reproducing, single-celled organism requires as much of a religious faith as creation ex nihilo. The statistics are overwhelming, and certain scientists are now speculating that the first bacteria might have come here on a meteor from another planet that theoretically was more hospitable to the production of life.

Theory piled upon theory piled upon conjecture and speculation, all to give support, weight, and authority to the secularist, materialist worldview. Despite all of the clerical-sounding "objectivity" behind it, darwinists are simply providing for themselves and others a justification for wickedness, both personal and corporate.

What saddens me most in all of this are those Christians (of all stripes) who attempt to reconcile it with God, mostly because they are afraid of losing credibility or respect in the secular world. But no "orthodox" darwinist could ever accept God's intervention in evolution (the whole point is to rule out a Creator other than random mutation and natural selection over time).

I think that my main theological objection with it is not the billions of years (as you have said, God gave Adam the appearance of being a man in the prime of life from the beginning of his existence and could have given the Universe this appearance despite making it in six 24 hour periods) nor even the bringing of one life form from another. It's death, corruption, disease. These are the creative mechanism for darwinism-- but for the Christian these should be seen as unnatural and foreign. St. Paul says that "creation was subjected to futility" as a result of the ancestral fall and God's curse upon the Earth. I find that this key thing is what most Christian evolutionists have not considered.

Ok, sorry for rambling. Good post.

irreverend fox said...

great thoughts zac...well put! and I agree with you completely...great points!