Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today we’ve got a preacher. It’s Steve Ellison, pastor of Ouachita Baptist Assembly in Western Arkansas. We’ll give you a few excerpts from rev’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Okay, here we go:
The first great principle of Bible study is a reliance on the Holy Spirit to guide you. There are other important principles. One is to let Scripture interpret Scripture rather than letting tradition interpret. Another important principle is to accept the plain reading of Scripture. Sometimes that is literal; sometimes it is not. Genesis 1 and 2 is a case where the plain reading is literal. Some (perhaps well-meaning) Christians have attempted to find millions or even billions of years between the first and second verses of Genesis. It is my contention that there is no Biblical evidence for that nor is there any other kind of evidence either.
The rev is a young-Earth creationist who takes Genesis literally. Okay, we know what we’re dealing with. He says:
The problem arises when Christians try to help God out by trying to contrive a way to make the Bible match current “scientific” understanding. I placed quotes around science because it appears to me that this so-called science is not very scientific. It seems apparent to me that this science has been tainted by the need to retain tenure in teaching positions and also in keeping government grant money flowing.
The rev has a low opinion of scientists. Most creationists do. Let’s read on:
As Christians, we are always on solid footing when we hold fast to the idea that it is science which must conform to Scripture not vice versa.
Yes, it’s important to keep your priorities straight. The rev continues:
The plain reading of Genesis 1 gives absolutely no indication that there was a long period of time between the first two verses. … This idea of inserting long ages is a pure invention to attempt to make the Bible more palatable to the world. The Bible does very well on its own.
Right. Who needs science when we have the bible? Here’s more:
Many Christians who have not thought this through are simply of the opinion that this is not a significant issue. It is very, very significant. … In Genesis 1:31 God declared the newly completed creation to be “very good”. Inserting long ages would mean that God declared death, disease, etc. to be very good.
Egad — that couldn’t have happened! Moving along:
Most importantly, the insertion of long ages between the first two verses of Genesis renders the sacrificial death of Christ unnecessary. … Death before sin renders much of the rest of the Bible unintelligible. If death preceded Adam and Eve’s rebellion then what happens to the clear doctrine of Christianity concerning the Fall of Man?
If death has always been part of the biosphere, then the rev’s life has no meaning. Another excerpt:
If death came before sin, then mercy is really not mercy at all. If death came before sin, why would we need countless animal sacrifices on Old Testament altars?
That question never occurred to us before. And now we come to the end:
If death came before sin, why would we need a once-for-all sacrifice on Calvary’s Cross? Enemies of the Cross have drawn this out to its logical conclusion. It is long past time that Christians do the same. Death before sin is dangerous beyond comprehension.
So there you are. We’re not sure we understand what the rev is saying, but whatever it is, he thinks it’s very important.
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