The Gospel and Evolution–Buddies?
Awhile back I blogged about an article by Carl Trueman where he questioned the rationale behind the Gospel Coalition’s stand on complementarianism. You can read about it here, but the gist of it was how complementarianism became a core, gospel issue. In other words, the folks at GC decided that this issue was not open for alternative views within their coalition.
A couple of days ago Trueman posted a new article that addresses the same issue but with a new twist. Now he compares two of the leaders in this coalition regarding their views on creation, Genesis 1, and evolution. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is a staunch defender of the traditional view of creation. Tim Keller is Pastor of Redeemer Fellowship in New York and argues for a form of theistic evolution.
The question raised is important. Why is complementarianism central to fidelity with the gospel, but theistic evolution is not? What is the big deal you ask? Well, simply put, GC argues that complementarianism flows out of creation theology. The fact that Adam was created first helps define, biblically, certain roles and relationships between man and woman. It also comes to bear on the nature of subordination within the Trinity. These tend to be big deals if you work them out carefully. With regard to creation, your view of Genesis 1 and 2 invariably affects your understanding of humanity, salvation, and sin. These are not little things and they, too, are central to the gospel.
The bible portrays Adam as a historical person, not some idealized idea. Humanity is seen as a special creation by God, one that involves the imputation of God’s image and establishing man and woman as caretakers and overseers of all creation. It also makes it clear that sin entered the world through this one man, Adam and that all of creation is under the curse of sin as a result. Then, we see the Jesus Christ is the second Adam, and through this one Man, sin and its curse is resolved.
So, how does this all work out if there is the gradual, billions of years kind of gradual, evolution of man from other animals? When did the image of God come about? When did “man” actually become “man” and not “almost man-but-not-quite-there-yet-so-he-doesn’t-bear-God’s-image?” And that sin, when did it occur and if the story of Genesis 1-2 is not as it is portrayed, then is Genesis 3 treated in the same manner?
So the question is a valid one. Why does GC forbid/reject one issue but not the other? There are plenty of egalitarians who believe the gospel. Tons of them! Tim Keller loves the gospel, that is clear. But why does he get a pass on creation? What is the essential difference.
I am sure I would be told that it is a nuanced point that is hard to see. And perhaps that is correct. But this again is a key reason why the coalitions and gatherings are so problematic to me. The Gospel Coalition is filled with great guys but they are not truly representative of the genuine Christian community who believes and loves the gospel. They are a narrow group of teachers and pastors that represents a narrow group of Christians. But being narrow doesn’t keep them from being squiggly in that narrowness.
So I go back to my conviction that doctrine matters (not that they would disagree) and that all doctrine is necessarily connected to one another making it very hard to separate. If you want a coalition of gospel lovers, then you necessarily have to define exactly what the parameters of the gospel are. And that is where the nasties begin to arise. Apparently for GC an egalitarian position (which I am against) is contrary to the gospel, but a theistic view of evolution is up to snuff. I remain unconvinced and unimpressed–like anyone really cares what impresses me.
Posted on January 16, 2013, in Bible Observations, Church, gospel, Prayers and tagged Al Mohler, Carl Trueman, Creationism, Evolution, Gospel Coalition, Theistic Evolution, Tim Keller. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.