Monday, February 13, 2006

LCMS Evolution Supporters

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) teaches unabashedly and overwhelmingly the Doctrine of Creation. See here, and here. That's good, cause so does the Bible.

Yesterday, hundreds of churches celebrated a sort of “Evolution Sunday”. Noted Australian Creationist (and a Lutheran too, I think) wrote this piece about it.

Here is the related "Clergy Letter Project" letter itself (signed by over 10,000 clergy of various denominations):

Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.

All this made me wonder, “Do you think any LCMS pastors signed this document?”

Here's what I found. The following LCMS signatories of the “Clergy Letter Project”:

The Rev. Robert L. Barker
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
Clare, MI

The Rev. Eugene V. Brueggemann, Retired
Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
St. John's Lutheran Church
Fort Collins, CO
(Also a Jesus First Supporter)

The Rev. Robert Stuenkel
Emeritus Lutheran Campus Pastor
University of Colorado at Boulder
Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
Boulder, CO
(Son of former CUW president Walter Stuenkel)

Pastor Thomas G. Van der Bloemen, Retired
Redeemer Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
Fort Collins, CO
(Also a Jesus First Supporter)

The Rev. Karl H. Wyneken
, Retired
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
Fresno, CA
(Also a Jesus First Supporter)

(Along with NUMEROUS ELCA pastors)


sam said...

It is a sad thing to see pastor's of the LCMS sign a document such as this. It does also highlight the problems that many have with Jesus First and their so called "Lutheran" doctrine.

As I read this I think of what one of my old high school teachers said.... "it just makes you want to take them out back and beat them with a hose..."

Of course I'm now speaking metaphorically... probably...

David Eaton said...

Notice that the ones listed as Jesus First supporters are all "retired"? Looks like maybe they need a little more to fill up their days that follow "doctrine" such as the Clergy Letter Project. Get a hobby guys.

David Eaton said...

Sorry, should have been "than follow doctrine".

Jim Roemke said...

I'm glad that these retired guys believe in evolution, it will make it easier to accept that they are not long for this world and that only the fittest survive! I strongly believe that the younger generation of Lutheran Pastors and theologians are not victims of flower power and will reject these unbiblical and harmful ideas.
Hurray for survival of the fittest!!

Lynn of St. John's said...

Now that you have their names and addresses are you ging to gently correct you bretheran like the Bible says you should ?
Remembering 2 Timothy 2:25

Preachrboy said...

I think that passage applies to pastors who are being opposed by members of their own congregations, not pointing out public false teaching.

Scott said...

You certainly put interesting items on your board, Sir! Hope you don't mind my humble comments, though I hadn't intended to clutter your board following our last exchange - your position, or teaching, about prayer gatherings caused a change in perspective for me, or at least the beginnings of one.

I'm genuinely surprised by the number of clergy (?) that signed Dr. Zimmerman's letter - and that are offering some kind of religion/science integration sermon to their congregations. Certainly, at a number of levels, pure research science has it right - the earth isn't flat and the sun doesn't orbit it - E=MC2 - atoms, electrons, protons, etc all exist because when we smash 'em together we get nuclear fission - light moves at a constant velocity - stuff like that. And all of these things fall within God's creation - so, no problem so far. It seems the argument is about God's Creative Act, specifically man and the universe - opposed to the random evolution of man and theories like the big bang. More specifically - it seems like the intensity of the debate centers on what we teach our kids in school.

Well, some concepts are just mutually exclusive - that's just all there is to it. Either God created man, or he didn't. While he is certainly an unlikely reference to turn to, Thomas Paine wrote in "Age of Reason," "Infidelity does not consist in believing or in disblieving: it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe."

So, in fact, we must choose between Creation or evolution. But that is not the same proposition as choosing between religion and science, not by a long shot. To deny science is to deny this electronic exchange we're involved in here, on the internet - certainly a scientific accomplishment not specifically commented on in Scripture.

Dr. Zimmerman states, "For too long, the misperception that science and religion are inevitably in conflict has created unnecessary division and confusion, especially concerning the teaching of evolution." He has it wrong - no member of the clergy has attempted to convince me that the quadratic formula is false teaching.

So, in a general sense, there is no misperception about religion and science, they can peacefully coexist without compromise - until we get to evolution - then there is no coexistence - there can be no compromise, otherwise one or the other is committing infidelity.

We should be careful to state the argument correctly - it isn't about science - (if it is, then don't get on an airplane ever again - can't be too certain about those laws of aerodynamics!!)The argument is about one claim, in one branch, of science - not the whole concept of discovery.

What to teach our children? Well, kids are brighter than we might suspect. Teach them the tenants of science, because there is much truth about God's universe contained in that discipline - and teach them that they are God's creation, in the doctrine of their family, and that not all ideas are compatible - but teach them mostly that they are loved.

Armed with that information, they will truly draw their own conclusions throughout the rest of their lives, just as we all have. I know for me, as a 45 year old guy, my beliefs - and the depth and meaning of those beliefs, are significantly different than those I held when I was a kid. I never stood in awe when I was 15, I knew the answers. Today, I spend a great deal of time in awe, and in praise, of the incomprehensibility of God - a Scripturally inspired awe, to be sure - but one of fewer answers today than 30 years ago.

There is no reconciling Creation with evolution - to attempt to do so is an infidelity, and a disservice. We should speak our truth passionately and with conviction.

I did not learn the Kreb cycle of the cell from Scripture, nor do I accept my genesis from evolution. I am not conflicted by these truths - neither are my chilren - the remainder is just pure politics.

Scott Scofield

Preachrboy said...

Thanks for joining the discussion again, Scott. That's what this is all about.

Of course you are right to point out: Evolution does not equal Science.

And I also agree that Creation and Evolution cannot co-exist. In some ways, I actually have less respect for the attempted mediating of Theistic Evolution than for a pure Darwinist. Of course both are still wrong, though.

David T. Wilson said...

I think it's about time we come to terms with evolution and the other so-called controversial scientific theories. There's nothing about them that denies the existence of God or a non-literalist interpretation of the Bible. I remember researching the Big Bang theory and not being too surprised to find out that a Catholic priest was one of its earliest proponents. There's a beautiful universe out there; let's stop ignoring the parts and processes of God's creation that make some Christians feel a little uneasy.

Preachrboy said...

Sadly, the Roman Catholic church as a whole seems to have swallowed Darwinian evolution. But there is quite a bit about it, and its modern version, that doesn't match up with the eyewitness account of the only One who was there to see creation happen.

Christians are fully aware there is a beautiful universe full of great wonder. We're quite comfortable with most of science - physics, chemistry, medicine, etc...

But evolution doesn't make us simply uneasy - it's just not true. That's the real problem.

Blood Purchased said...

John 1.1-5. Jesus, the Creator IS the Word. The Bible is the Written Word. Every word in the Bible IS the Word of Jesus, the Creator. Jesus Christ wrote the whole Bible and is the Word of Jesus.

Those who sign this document are calling Jesus a liar.

Evolution is not science. It is faith in the word of man. I do not put my faith there since man is always changing his word and leaves you hanging.

'To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.' -Charles Darwin

Don't hide your eyes from the truth!

Fascinating that Jesus predicted this would happen!

2 Peter 3:5

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.