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FAITH COLUMN: Nice Church Folk Can Destroy a Person’s Faith

FAITH COLUMN: “We need to be careful that we do not allow ‘nice’ people to influence us not to believe God’s Word.”

The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia. It has been provided as part of a partnership with AllOnGeorgia and Creation Ministries International

By: Dr Don Batten


I recently heard a conservative (biblical creationist) theologian sadly relating his experiences of various theologians who are leading the charge to get church leaders to accept a non-historical Genesis that is compatible with evolution/long ages.

He repeatedly said how pleasant and nice these men are, even while at the same time he exposed the anti-biblical nature of their teaching (mainly that Genesis is some ‘other genre of literature’ that can be ‘interpreted’ however they like—usually to accede to secular evolutionary, long-age beliefs).

The words of the Apostle Paul came to mind; about angels of light bringing error into the church at Corinth. These men presented themselves as Gospel workers like the Apostle Paul:

“for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14–15).

This indicates that people who appear to be genuine workers in the Christian community can, in reality, be dupes of Satan (although they are almost certainly not aware of this). They must obviously be doing winsome things, otherwise they would not be able to lead people astray. But deception is often like that. It appears to be nice and reasonable on the surface, otherwise it would not be convincing (just ask Adam and Eve!).

How do we tell the genuine workers from the agents of Satan? Clearly it is not by how ‘nice’ they are, or even what good works they are doing. Angels of light by nature are beautiful beings (they are not called ‘angels of darkness’). Lucifer indeed means ‘bearer of light’; Scripture says that “he masquerades as an angel of light” and that his servants “disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:1415), so they look like they are faithful workers in the church.

Since these angels of light are doing Satan’s bidding, we need only to look to Satan’s activities to see what his unwitting servants might get up to. Some major ones are:

  1. As the “father of lies” (John 8:44) Satan hates the truth, so he opposes God’s Word, encouraging people to doubt the Bible. Note that at Satan’s first appearance in the Bible he questions God’s word, saying to Eve, “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3). He uses deception to undermine the faith of God’s people.
  2. He questions the goodness of God. When Satan tempted Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:1–5), he not only questioned the honesty of God, but also His benevolence regarding Adam and Eve. The number one refrain from the unbeliever today is, ‘How can you believe in a loving God when there is so much suffering in the world?’ The theologians who advocate melding the Bible with secularism’s long ages, also must say that God created a world of death and suffering from the beginning (that’s what the fossil record entails if you accept that the fossils were formed over hundreds of millions of years before the first people appeared). Thus, the creation was not “very good” and so God is not good; He is robbed of his goodness.
  3. He robs Christ of the worship that is His due because of his creating (Romans 1). He does this by getting people to accept evolution, ascribing to Nature (capital N) the credit for the creation of everything. Cosmic evolution entails nothing exploding and becoming everything, with no cause whatsoever! Many evolutionists will talk of incredible ‘design’ in living things, but do not give God the glory that He deserves as the Designer. Through Jesus all things were made, but attributing the making to a purely natural process robs Jesus of the worship that is His due. Science was once about ‘revealing the thoughts of God’ to bring Him glory. Now it is ‘denying any thought of God’, no matter what the evidence. As SUNY professor Richard Lewontin said, they “cannot allow a divine foot in the door”.1
  4. Satan hinders the effective preaching of the Gospel (Acts 13:8–9). If people cease to believe in a real, ‘hands on’ Creator, then there is no one in charge and they can do whatever they please with no eternal consequences. There is no moral law to break and no Judge, no judgment and no need for a Saviour.

Furthermore, because evolutionary dogma totally undermines the Bible’s history, then it undermines the whole message. As Jesus said to Nicodemus, if people won’t believe the earthly things, how are they going to believe the heavenly (theological) things? (John 3:12). A Bible that is thought unbelievable in matters that can be tested will hardly be heeded in things that are not testable.

Also, the evolutionary story means that Adam was not a real person who actually rebelled against his Creator and brought death and suffering into the world because of his sin. Why then did Jesus, who is called the “Last Adam” in the New Testament, suffer and die? How could the actions of the ‘son of Adam’ (Luke 3), Jesus, be efficacious for us, the rebellious lost sons and daughters of Adam?

  1. These apparent ‘servants of righteousness’ might even appear to be faithfully preaching the Gospel, but in opposing the basis of the Gospel in Genesis, they render the preaching largely ineffective. Think about it. Why would anyone convert to Christ by believing that evolution is God’s method? It’s like saying “You mean I don’t have to trust what the Bible clearly says? Sure, I’ll become a Christian then.” He blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4). There is no doubt that evolution is a lie that has deluded many into thinking that they can safely ignore what Christians say. As the atheist biology professor, William Provine said, “evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented.”2 Evangelist Mark Cahill says that the most common ‘intellectual’ reason given for not believing in God is evolution,3 so when church leaders say that evolution is OK, this just reinforces the unbelief of the unbeliever.
  2. He is proud (1 Tim. 3:6). Pandering to the evolutionary mindset (secular academia) appeals to the pride of mankind, whereas submission to the Word of God requires humility. Universities are steeped in elitism and academic pride. There are huge rewards for being part of the prideful system and huge disincentives for not conforming. Thus, sadly, many Christians succumb to the temptations and blend into the scenery, never standing against the God-less indoctrination. They find ways of melding their ‘faith’ with the prevailing secular way of thinking. I was once in that situation; thankfully I was confronted about my unbelief and repented of it (although it was a process that took some time).
  3. He foments division in the church (Romans 16:17–20). The only basis of unity in the church is the Bible. Anything else is a recipe for division. The Bible links disbelief regarding Genesis chapters 1-9 with disunity in the church.4 Most larger churches have some members who belong to the academic set described above. Because of their academic credentials they are often respected and looked up to as leaders in the church. These same people will quickly let a pastor know if he steps out of line by encouraging people to humbly submit to what the Bible teaches about the real history of the world beginning in Genesis. The academic will say that ‘such teaching is divisive’. However, such teaching honours God’s Word and it is only ‘divisive’ because the academic member is offended because it challenges his/her prideful unbelief. Sadly, there are even pastors who themselves have never submitted fully to God’s Word and come under its authority in all that it teaches. Rather, they wield their elitist training in theology at the academic theological college/university/seminary to twist it to say what they wish it to say.

Church leaders who compromise the Word of God can be far more effective at destroying faith than an atheist professor railing against God. This is because one can easily recognize the wiles of the enemy when it comes from self-professed opposition. It is not as obvious when the deception comes from within. Veterinarian Dr Jean Lightner shared how destructive this was to her:

“When I was having doubts, one of the most damaging things for my faith was when I read a respected Christian teacher who basically said that the Bible does not really mean what it says, particularly the creation account. That was probably more detrimental to me than the evolutionary teachers insisting that they were right. It was devastating to hear a Christian leader basically say, ‘God doesn’t mean that; you don’t have to believe that’.”

We need to be careful that we do not allow ‘nice’ people to influence us not to believe God’s Word. Anyone who does that is doing Satan’s work, no matter how nice they might appear to be.

1 Peter 5:8 warns: Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Yes, Satan can be like a roaring lion, but he can also be like a subtle serpent with his ‘angels of light’. One day Satan will no longer be able to destroy, but for now we also need to be alert to the subtle ways that he tries to undermine the Gospel.


References and notes

  1. Amazing admissionCreation 20(3):24, June 1998; creation.com/lewontin. Return to text.
  2. Source: Slide from W.B. Provine’s 1998 “Darwin Day” address, “Darwin Day” website, University of Tennessee Knoxville TN, 1998. Return to text.
  3. Bates, G., and Gillis, S., A watchman for the LordCreation 35(3):41–43, July 2013; creation.com/cahill. Return to text.
  4. Batten, D., ‘But it’s divisive!’, CMI Prayer News–Australia October–December 2004; creation.com/but-its-divisive. Return to text.
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Victoria Grant

    December 27, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    I must respectfully disagree with the author’s overall sentiment that “of course” evolution is a lie. It is not; it is proveable, unlike a lot of what is in the Bible. Until science finds further ways of uncovering ancient text and locations that align with what the Bible describes, we Christians have only faith in the Good Book’s guidance, wisdom, history, and parables.

    I’m writing because of the palpable attitude of intolerance by the author, evident by his effort to present his thesis in only shades of black or white. This is the rigid mindset that is causing attendance to fall in churches across America, not scientists urging people to disbelieve in God. Scientists can’t even convince people to wear a simple mask to save their lives! Where did they suddenly get the persuasive power to lure souls to their doom?!

    This author’s effort, to me, shows a distinct lack of ability in church leaders to engage in self reflection. Perhaps it is the behavior of the religious leaders that is culpable. Perhaps their sermons – taken from the Bible – ring hollow when compared to their actions.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked for, or lived next to, or met the damaged child of a malignant, borderline evil, self-proclaimed Christian. The one thing they all shared in common is the ability to rationalize their abusive behavior, cast it off like nothing, while leaving real hurt in their wake. No doubt they show up early on Sunday, eager to be in that first pew where everyone can see them.

    The only way it’s possible to coexist with these smug, “I’m going to heaven and you’re not!” ‘Christians’ is to be patient, forgiving, and treat them as I would have them treat me, were I as sick in the heart as they seem to be.

    In closing, I will note that I work in healthcare with many gentle, intelligent scientists who not only believe in God, but believe in Mankind, too. Science and religion are not mutually exclusive of each other; that is a preposterous idea.
    Why do you think there are chapels and clergy on duty at every big hospital?

    And it’s an insult to science as well as God. He put a multitude of mysteries in the universe for us to find and puzzle over, much the way a wise parent gives his children educational toys to build their intellect.

    Someday Mankind will advance to the point where God will no longer hear prayers for shelter, food, kindness, because we love each other enough to provide that without God’s intervention.

    Until science (communication, farming, infrastructure, politics, etc) makes that a physical possibilty, religious leaders may wish to – pardon the slang – “stay in their lane”.

    Please preach the Gospel and don’t put a political spin on it. Don’t be arrogant, don’t be exclusive. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Encourage kindness in your flock; today’s outside forces electrify nerve endings and challenge true Christians.

    And for the love of God – who gave us these incredible brains and encourages us to use them – don’t dismiss science as a danger to your religious leadership! Science is a vast field that improves and enriches our lives. If you’re afraid of it, you are either an anachronism, or you’re hiding something.

    If anything, you are endangering the future of Christianity by displaying your hypocrisy and fear toward the evolution of society. You want simple shepherds and milkmaids gathering at your mount every Sunday, which may be comforting to you, but of no help to those with real-world problems, such as living in the current, crazy world.

    That’s where religious leaders can offer the most help, but this author’s opinion seems to seek to deny hard reality in lieu of uncomplicated fantasy. Do you really think we can’t see through falsehood of someone standing by a burning building saying: “Nothing to see here!”

    Exactly how do religious leaders intend to guide us from the rear of the column?

  2. Avatar

    James Kenyon

    January 13, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    All a person has to do to stop believing in the Christian god is to read the bible. That is how most atheists are made.

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