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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Al Mohler vs. Mark Sprinkle: Is all this about being right or being nice?

Recently, Southern Seminary prez Al Mohler responded to claims from Mark Sprinkle at BioLogos (Christian Darwinists’ site) that he had unfairly characterized them as not Christian
... in any but a nominal or diminished way, not authentic followers of Jesus no matter what we say and despite the evidence of the Holy Spirit both in us and working through us ...
Sprinkle’s prescriptive advice follows,
I invite Dr. Mohler to refrain from condemning (even by faint praise) those whom the Spirit has sanctified and is sanctifying, and through whom He is calling more of the lost to Himself. More, I invite him to join me at the table as a brother and to put off the too-common practice of acting as if we know everything we need to know about those on the other sides of these issues from what we read on-line.
and then an invitation,
As Cornelius asked Peter “to stay with them for a few days” to see what the Lord would be teaching them together, I invite Dr. Mohler to come and see what I see in the hearts and lives of people in the BioLogos community.

Mohler denies he has ever said or implied that the BioLogists are not sincere Christians. Why would he? Lots of folk who follow a church-emptying theology lead exemplary private lives. And we are all thankful that judgment belongs to God alone. But that’s immaterial to the issues at hand.

Two problems I experience with “you will know we are Christians by our love, by our love” as an argument are that

1) I didn’t know this was an exam on virtue. I thought we were discussing the evidence re Darwinism (survival of the fittest) as the great engine of nature.

2) Anyway, protests of virtue sound like a bid for praise, as well as for the repentance of those who think evil of the folk at BioLogos.

When people imply that their lives are the witness to their theology – and no one has volunteered to be their Judge, as it happens – one must assume that one is overhearing a soliloquy, and speak no more.

Mohler points out, re the “Holy Spirit ... working through us”:
That is an interesting statement, but it is nonsensical unless there is some means of evaluating what is and is not authentic evidence of the Spirit at work. And that, of course, would mean some kind of biblical and theological test. The effort to escape theology gets us nowhere.”

Here, in my view, is the BioLogists’ problem:

As Bill and I will show in Christian Darwinism (Broadman and Holman, 2011), there can be no reconciliation between Christianity and Darwinism (survival of the fittest). Nor did Darwin and his circle ever intend one. And Darwinism - the Creation story of atheism - is in fact the only theory of evolution that is vigorously opposed or promoted.

The key characteristic of Darwinism is the belief in the awesome powers of natural selection acting on random mutation to produce all forms of life – and, for most Darwinists, the power to produce mind, consciousness, and moral choice too. And for some, even universes. Darwinism undergirds and embraces everything, like God used to.

Biologos invites us to embrace Darwinism. But any Christianity that survived by embracing Darwinism would be a monstrous perversion, so we have little to lose by rejecting it, come what may.

And now, a question, Dr. Mohler: Won’t we soon be hearing how the Bible can be attributed to the selfish gene at work? And soon after, a Christian Darwinist will proclaim that the Bible can nonetheless be accepted as the authentic Word of God. Wait, better news still: Despite the universal rule of the selfish gene, the Christian Darwinist himself is a nice person and a member of a praiseworthy community.

Fine. Now if they would all just collect their brownie points and depart, we could have a real discussion of the accumulating failings of Darwinism, and what should replace it. That is what we want and need.

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