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I make no apologies for the fact that I have certain litmus tests for those who would earn my respectful attention. For example, if an astronomer writes a book favoring geocentricity, I will automatically write him off as a nut. He will not be credible as an astronomer. Heliocentricity is (unlikechuckleglobal warming) an undeniable matter of fact.

Of far greater importance, and more interest to me, are theological litmus tests. I understand that there are disputable matters, but most of Scripture is quite clear, and there are some things that are beyond question. They are settled matters. If you cant get them right, you will not earn my esteem as a teacher.

Consider Exhibit One: N. T. Wright. I picked up a copy of What Saint Paul Really Said because a friend was going on about how misunderstood he was, so I decided to give him a fair chance. I made it as far as page 22, in which Wright belittles ignorant boobs who still use Paul to legitimate an old-style preaching of the gospel in which the basic problem is human sin and pride and the basic answer is the cross of Christ. Strike one (if youll forgive the sports metaphor) and two! That sin is the basic problem of mankind is a settled matter. That the cross of Christ is the answerthe only answeris the gospel! Now Im supposed to hear him out on justification? Love to, but sorry, Ive got more pressing obligations at the moment. Now, where did I put that Sudoku book?

While Wrights condescending attitude towards old-style preaching of the gospel is bad enough, more fundamentally erroneous is his über-intellectual approach to Genesis.

Watch this video from the theologically bankrupt BioLogos Forum ([pseudo]Science and Faith[lessness] in Dialogue).

According to Wright, the historicity of Adam and Eve and the days of creation is not important. These mythical stories are only true in that they represent whatever it is that really happened. This is where I would say strike three, except that the poor man is standing at the plate with a hoola-hoop instead of a bat. And this brings me to Litmus Test Number One: Can you get Genesis right? Can you manage to read the very first story in the Bible, in which God says, I did this, and believe that God did indeed do that? Or have you become so smart that you have no time for the obvious?

Unless some need for specific knowledge of N. T. Wrights work arises, I wont be reading any more. His credibility is irretrievably gone; not primarily because he blows it on justification, but because he couldnt start at the beginning and get it right.

Now, heres someone who can get it right, explaining why getting the opening chapters of Genesis right is so vitally important:

imageThe Battle for the Beginning
Genesis 1:131
Everyone knows that evolutionists and creationists dispute how the universe began. And regardless of which side of the battle line youre on, most people harbor strong feelings about the issue of origins.
Yet there are a host of important questions at the core of the battle that relatively few in either camp have bothered to askmuch less answer:
  • Why is the issue of origins so universally controversial?
  • How can creationists support biblical claims that so obviously seem to contradict modern science?
  • Whose side of the argument does scientific evidence support?
  • What roles should science and the Bible play in a persons beliefs about the physical universe?
With the curiosity of a student and the precision of a veteran Bible teacher, John MacArthur takes you to the heart of the battle in his study The Battle for the Beginning. Based on an in-depth examination of Genesis chapter 1, The Battle for the Beginning takes you on an instructive, fascinating journey into the Bibles own claims about creation, evolution, and the vital issues at stake.

Download (free) the 13-message series here, or buy the book.

Posted 2010·07·30 by David Kjos
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#1 || 10·07·30··12:31 || Daniel

I am cut from the same cloth on this issue also.

The moment I gave up trying to make scripture fit with my intellectual preconceptions, and erudite, commonly informed opinions, that is, the moment I stopped doubting what scripture actually said, and took the whole of it at face value - on that day every last contradiction, and difficulty in interpretation, melted away. Suddenly the whole of scripture was one glorious and harmonious chord - struck by the hand of God, on the instrument of creation, and ringing throughout all time to all those with ears to hear.

Now whenever I find something new under the sun, I have found someone who simply refuses to believe what the scriptures plainly say.

#2 || 10·07·30··14:59 || pastorway

Amen and amen.

#3 || 10·08·02··15:48 || threegirldad

Modern masters of science are much impressed with the need of beginning all inquiry with a fact. The ancient masters of religion were quite equally impressed with that necessity. They began with the fact of sin--a fact as practical as potatoes. Whether or no man could be washed in miraculous waters, there was no doubt at any rate that he wanted washing. But certain religious leaders in London, not mere materialists, have begun in our day not to deny the highly disputable water, but to deny the indisputable dirt. Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved. Some followers of the Reverend R.J.Campbell, in their almost too fastidious spirituality, admit divine sinlessness, which they cannot see even in their dreams. But they essentially deny human sin, which they can see in the street.

--Chesterton, "The Maniac," Orthodoxy

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