Most Bible students, it would seem, are far more comfortable instructing friends who accept the authority of the Bible, rather than those for whom this remains to be demonstrated. But it is likely that the latter group of questioners and students will make up an increasingly large number of contacts.
One of the main factors in the general decline in belief of Biblical inspiration is the widespread acceptance of evolution as the 'scientific' explanation for the origin and development of life.1 As one writer observed:
- "The tale could be told a thousand times, of a Christian2 church or school or mission society or some other organization, founded by men of strong Biblical faith (belief in the verbal, plenary, and infallible inspiration of Scripture) . . . slowly but steadily drifting off its foundations and gradually sinking in the sands of modernism and secularism. This tragedy repeated times without number, almost always begins with a questioning of Biblical creationism. The Scriptural account of origins must somehow be accommodated to the latest scientific theories of origins (which are always evolutionary). This accommodation inevitably and necessarily leads to a softening of the doctrine of Biblical inspiration and infallibility. Other creative acts of God (that is, the recorded miracles) begin to be questioned, and a view of Biblical inspiration which allows for cultural limitations and even for outright contradictions becomes adopted . . . The proper activity for modern Christians eventually becomes more 'social action', striving to help in the future evolution of the social order into a more advanced and enlightened humanistic society."3
Many Christians feel an uneasiness about tackling an evolutionist on his own ground. There is usually good reason for this, since one may lack familiarity with the specialized language and data of a particular area of science. The Bible student is far more competent to expound the great Truths of the written Word. Amateur though he may be, there is no monopoly on logic. Every believer should equip himself with sufficient knowledge to clearly formulate the kind of evidence which would be required to reasonably support evolution. Any evidence which may be raised (even if previously unknown) may then be considered in discussion on evolution to avoid the wrangling which can occur over insignificant or even irrelevant considerations. The ground can then be cleared for constructive Biblical teaching to follow.
- Theoretical framework, evolutionary in nature, has been widely employed in the behavioural sciences such as psychology, anthropology, and sociology as well as in biology. Sir Julian Huxley, the famous British biologist, has emphasized the all-inclusive character of evolutionary philosophy: "the concept of evolution was soon extended to other than biological fields. Inorganic subjects such as the life-histories of stars and the formation of the chemical elements on the one hand, and on the other hand subjects like linguistics, social anthropology, and comparative law and religion, began to be studied from an evolutionary angle, until today we are enabled to see evolution as a universal all pervading process." Julian Huxley, "Evolution and Genetics", in What is Science. ed. by J. R. Newman, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1955), p. 272. Return
- The term 'Christian' is used by the author in the popular sense of a person "following Jesus Christ." It is preferable to use the term 'Christian' only for believers in the one gospel, (the basic elements of which are outlined in the Christadelphian Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith.) Return
- Henry Morris, The Twilight of Evolution, (Michigan: Baker Book House Co., 1963) preface. Return