Monday, August 23, 2010

Birds of a Feather

I noticed over the weekend that Biologos is attacking Al Mohler (once again). This is no surprise since Dr. Mohler is taking them to task for their efforts to rid the church of the doctrine of the Scripture's inerrancy. What interested me about this latest attack against Mohler, authored by Karl Giberson, was two-fold. First Dr. Giberson is almost apoplectic in his anger against Mohler. Secondly, the complaint was published in the left-wing and aggressively secular Huffington Post. But as I reflected further I concluded that it makes perfect sense for the Biologos folks to publish at the Huffington Post. What is more, it makes perfect sense for the folks at the Huffinton Post to eagerly publish the thoughts of Biologos contributors. It seems that the Huffington Post has a better understanding of the implications of Biologos' program for the historic Christian faith than does Biologos.

Over at Pyromaniacs, Phil Johnson has written a fuller reflection on this issue.
To paraphrase one of my Facebook friends: Even if they really do believe the abusive ad hominem argument they are making against Al Mohler, that's an interesting strategy. Let's air our differences at this bastion of secular humanism, and we'll invite some of the giants of discernment over at Huffpo to sort it out for us in their combox.

Dr. Karl Giberson, vice president of BioLogos, wrote the Huffington piece. The case he makes against Dr. Mohler has basically one point. Here it is: In his Ligonier lecture, Dr. Mohler claimed that Charles Darwin had a pretty good idea about what kind of "evidence" he was looking for before he ever boarded the Beagle; he was already sympathetic to evolutionary theory, and he was already hostile to biblical authority.

Not so, Dr. Giberson says. Darwin was a devout Christian and a creationist when he first set off on the Beagle. Giberson claims Darwin's very first doubts about the reliability of Scripture-as-history came as he collected his samples and observed and analyzed the biological evidence. Dr. Giberson evidently would have us believe Darwin was a typical evangelical until an honest inquiry into the scientific evidence forced him to take a more enlightened position.

I'm admittedly no Darwin scholar, but I do know for a fact that the only version of "Christianity" he ever adhered to was by no means evangelical. He was a product of that Unitarian intellectualism that dominated the established church in Georgian times. According to an 1887 article by Robert Schindler (published in Charles Spurgeon's magazine, The Sword and the Trowel):

If anyone wishes to know where the tadpole of Darwinism was hatched, we could point him to the pew of the old chapel in High Street, Shrewsbury, where Mr. Darwin, his father, and we believe his father's father, received their religious training. The chapel was built for Mr. Talents, an ejected minister [i.e., a Puritan who dissented from the established church order]; but for very many years full-blown Socinianism has been taught there. (Emphasis added.)

Furthermore, Darwin was enthralled with natural theology and (like BioLogos) held the truth-claims of Scripture to be less reliable and less authoritative than "scientific proofs." That was what prompted his interest in science to begun with. And—as Dr. Giberson himself notes in an earlier open letter to Dr. Mohler—"[Darwin] was a devotee of William Paley."

Perhaps the most succinct summary of William Paley's religious convictions comes to us from Sir Leslie Stephen, a younger contemporary of Paley's. Stephen was a respected English author and an Anglican clergyman. He described William Paley as "Socinian in all but name."

Given BioLogos's own theological trajectory (I'm thinking particularly their dismissive attitude toward key doctrines like biblical authority and original sin), they may not recognize Socinianism—or its close cousins, Unitarianism, Deism, and theological liberalism—as anti-Christian worldviews. But Dr. Mohler certainly understands that those ideas are hostile to Scripture and antithetical to every major stream of historic Christian faith.

In other words, Dr. Mohler undoubtedly disagrees with Dr. Giberson's assessment of Darwin. As difficult as this may be for Dr. Giberson to receive and as hurtful as it may be to his academic ego, Dr. Mohler no doubt found Dr. Giberson's book Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution unpersuasive.
Read the entire post HERE.

13 comments:

Somebody said...
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Somebody said...
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Todd Pruitt said...

"Somebody"

If you are going to take a shot at me then I will not allow you to post anonymously.

Somebody said...
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Todd Pruitt said...

There is no indication of who you are.

Somebody said...
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Harley A. said...

It’s a problem of definitions. You have to remember - a Unitarian IS a devout Christian over at Biologos.

Somebody said...
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Harley A. said...

Harley Alderson
Wichita, KS

Harley A. said...

Somebody -

I'd be satisfied if you'd post your age. Are you over 18 ? If not, it'd explain a lot.

Todd Pruitt said...

Somebody,

I will no longer allow you to post if you insist on being sarcastic or taking shots at people while hiding behind a pseudonym.

Somebody said...
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Somebody said...
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