The United Methodist Church: Creation and Evolution

 

The Methodist Church:

Creation and Evolution

Part 13

evolution

The United Methodists Church Rejects Biblical Creation in Favor of Evolution

  1. The United Methodist Church rejects Biblical creation in favor of evolution.

One of the most devastating factors that helped to propel the Methodist churches into Biblical and theological unbelief in the nineteenth century was an acceptance of the unscriptural, irrational, and God-denying theory of evolution as formulated by Charles Darwin through his work, The Origin of the Species, in 1859. Through the evolution speculation during the past hundred and fifty years, over half of the American public has come to accept this false and evil theory that negates what Scripture says about the creation of the world.

Moses plainly stated that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1), then he went on to state how God formed all things on the earth on six literal days (Genesis 1:1-31). As the fourth commandment states, “In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11a). We further read of Christ’s pre-incarnate participation in the creation of the universe: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:1-3; cf. 1:10; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-3).

Does Biblical creation mean anything to us? Indeed, it does. All of God’s revelation depends on His reliability in creation.  The gospel of Christ itself rests on the fact that God created all things, including man (Adam and Eve), and that the first man sinned which brought the need and promise of a Savior whom we know as Jesus Christ (Romans 5:12)! Paul realized this and proclaimed that God “made the world and all things in it” and “He is Lord of heaven and earth,” thus pagan idolatry is false and must be renounced to accept the true and living God and His Son, Jesus Christ (see Acts 17:23-31). Creation is utterly important and non-optional![i]

Sadly, the Methodist Church rejects this fundamental truth of Scripture.  The United Methodist website states its stand on this issue: The official statement on evolution says:

“We find that science’s descriptions of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution are not in conflict with theology.”  The Church also opposes introducing theories such as Creationism or Intelligent Design into public school curriculum.[ii]

This failure to acknowledge the Biblical creation account and accept the godless theory of evolution must be a chief negative in the United Methodist Church of our day!  Another official UMC statement is the following:

We recognize science as a legitimate interpretation of God’s natural world. We affirm the validity of the claims of science in describing the natural world and in determining what is scientific. We preclude science from making authoritative claims about theological issues and theology from making authoritative claims about scientific issues. We find that science’s descriptions of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution are not in conflict with theology.[iii]

It is correct that true science does not conflict with Scripture; however, when many scientists reject the Biblical account of creation, they allow their unbelieving prejudices to make theological statements that are unwarranted and beyond the scope of true, unbiased science. The UMC is willing to reject the plain truths of God’s Word regarding the origin of the universe and mankind in favor of unbelieving scientists who are misusing true science. One further statement will suffice:

WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church has for many years supported the separation of church and State (¶ 164C, Book of Discipline, 2004, p. 119); Therefore, be it resolved, that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church go on record as opposing the introduction of any faith-based theories such as Creationism or Intelligent Design into the science curriculum of our public schools. ADOPTED 2008, Resolution # 5052, 2008 Book of Resolutions.[iv]

It is true that “Intelligent Design” is limited for it merely states that natural processes could not have brought the world into being. It generally believes in long ages for the universe (some 13 or 14 billion years), the big bang theory, the rejection of Adam and Eve, the repudiation of a world-wide flood, and the rejection of the inspiration of Scripture. However, ID does show that evolution as it is presented today is wrong. Supporting the new resolution in the UMC, Albert C. Kuelling writes in an article entitled, “Methodism Supports Teaching Evolution,” the following telling comments:

The United Methodist Church’s General Conference 2008 quietly moved Methodism into the 21st century by passing three “evolution-friendly” petitions, putting us alongside many other denominations in recognizing that science and theology are compatible rather than contradictory.

Historically Methodism has sidestepped honest dialogue about the interface between religion and science, especially about evolution. This appears to have been done out of fear that accepting the findings of science—for instance, that evolution is an established scientific cornerstone, especially in biological fields—might incur the wrath of creationists within Methodism. The resulting effect had been an implication that The National Academies of Science and hundreds of scientists worldwide over the last century and a half are wrong.

The large voting percentage in passing the three evolution petitions is evidence that the leadership of the United Methodist Church recognizes the need to change this situation. So Methodism is joining many other denominations around the world that find no conflict between religion and science.

Many young folk have left the church because they have not been thoroughly grounded in the understanding that God uses metaphors, beautiful stories and other means to enhance understanding of religious principles. Thus, when there appears to be a conflict—albeit a needless one—between religion and science, they quietly leave. Young people typically don’t say how important this issue is to them because they don’t want to insult those they leave behind by saying their religion is out-of-touch with reality.[v]

The UMC rejects both ID and Creation as explanations for the present heaven and earth. Capitulating to unbelieving scientists, they are unwilling to consider the arguments for creation from believing professionals.  The UMC wholeheartedly welcomed the special Charles Darwin day, named after the radical anti-creation and anti-God scientist whose infamy continues to this day:

The Methodist Church has welcomed a day of celebration dedicated to the achievements of scientist Charles Darwin during the year marking his 200th birthday and 150-year-old book on the theory of evolution. Methodists today praised Darwin’s ground-breaking work on common descent and evolution by natural selection, On the Origin of Species, which sparked a revolution in the biological sciences that has continued to this day.[vi]

One final point here would be a response to the United Methodist resolution that accepted evolution was given by Dale R. Shunk, a United Methodist pastor from Pennsylvania who has a degree in physics as well as theology. Shunk reacts strongly to the present United Methodist statement on evolution:

I want it to be known that I am very displeased that my United Methodist denomination adopted Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s “The Clergy Letter,” which endorses evolution as compatible with the teachings of Scripture, at our General Conference in Ft. Worth, Texas, last May. The content of the Clergy Letter was added to a petition entitled “God’s Creation and the Church.” While I am in favor of celebrating God’s wonderful creation, protecting it, and seeking out alternate resources of energy, I cannot endorse Dr. Zimmerman’s letter.

In many ways my denomination has embraced the secular culture of North America, and this endorsement of evolution is one example of it. I was also very disappointed and taken aback by the arrogance of what is called “The Clergy Letter Project.” As a Bible-believing Christian, I can’t agree with the premise of his letter which states, “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” and that “Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth.” I am shocked that Dr. Zimmerman calls me ignorant because I hold to a different worldview (I believe in rigorous scientific research, which just so happens to uphold the biblical creation model of origins as stated in Genesis 1 and 2 for he states that biblical creationists “deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children.” )

If Dr. Zimmerman and others really want to pursue full scientific research and the truth about origins, then they should not be alienating people by calling them such things but encouraging them to pursue every path of discovery and thought. Instead he is creating a situation where people like me who have moved from a theistic evolutionist worldview to a young-earth creationist worldview over the last 30 years will become marginalized. Does not Dr. Zimmerman have his mind open to the major scientific discoveries in biology related to the complexity of the human cell, as well as to the mapping of the DNA that shows intelligent design? Plus there are other scientific fields that support a biblical model rather than an evolutionary one.

Dr. Zimmerman may have received some notoriety after his ideas were endorsed by the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in May, but I do not believe that his Clergy Letter truly represents most United Methodists who are Bible-believers. There is a growing movement of thoughtful evangelicals within the United Methodist Church who are fed up with the theological liberalism of our leaders and are speaking up. These clergy and laity are loyal to our Wesleyan doctrines and church polity and hold to our historic orthodox doctrine and scriptural holiness.

We all would do well to hold on to the changeless eternal Word of God and not put our faith in scientific principles that change constantly when a better theory arises. At the end of the day, the reality is a difference of faith and worldview.

I believe that God created the universe in six solar days as stated in Genesis 1 and supported by Exodus 20:8-11. To say that the stories of creation, Noah’s Flood, etc. are poetic (non-historic)—and therefore the only way to convey biblical truths to ancient peoples so that they would understand these accounts—is not acceptable. This would indicate that God was giving the prophets a spirit of falsehood to convey truth. The ancient biblical patriarchs would not tolerate telling stories under the pretext of being true, only to learn later that they were false. God is not a God of falsehood. He gave the prophets His anointing to tell the truth in order to convey to us His invisible attributes of power and divinity.

I say to Dr. Michael Zimmerman: you are conveying false teachings by trying to insert human and fallible extra-biblical material into the Christian faith when it is not needed. To say that the model of Darwinian evolution is an established fact is wrong. A growing number of scientists are abandoning evolution for the biblical creation model instead because it better explains the evidence in the world around us. More and more scientific discoveries are revealing how inadequate the model of evolution really is. Ultimately, the naturalism of evolution does not belong—nor is it compatible—with the plain teaching of Scripture related to creation and the origin of life on earth.[vii]

This utter unbelief in the Methodist Church would surely mean that this denomination is overthrowing the entire Biblical revelation in favor of the disastrous theory of evolution! For the conscientious and Biblically-oriented member of the UMC, this one point alone should serve to “close the door” to continued membership![viii]

You may also want to check further about the United Methodist Church:

[i] Notice Henry M. Morris III, Exploring the Evidence for Creation (Dallas: Institution for Creation Research, 2009). See also Ken Ham, The Lie, Revised Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2012); Ken Ham and Greg Hall, Already Compromised (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2011); Don DeYoung, Thousands . . . Not Billions (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2005);  Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Evolution (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1999) and Refuting Compromise (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004).

[ii] umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content.aspx?c= lwL4KnN1LtH&b=5881413&ct= 3169121&notoc=1. See also: pewforum.org/Science- and-Bioethics/Religious-Groups- Views-on-Evolution.aspx

[iii] umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content.aspx?c= lwL4KnN1LtH&b=5066247&ct =6715227&notoc=1. This is from The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church – 2012.

[iv] umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx ?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=4951419&ct= 6481051&notoc=1; wiki.answers.com/Q/What_ Christian_denominations_ acknowledge_evolution.

 

[v] umportal.org/article.asp?id=3869, found in The United Methodist Reporter, July 31, 2008.

[vi]ekklesia.co.uk/node/8623. See the review of this at: answersin genesis.org/articles/ 2007/02/08/churches-praise- darwin

[vii] answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/09/15/ clergy-letter-fails-methodists. The Answers in Genesis organization (AnswersinGenesis.com) is a leading one that shows the fallacy of evolution and the truth of Biblical creation. Notice also the Institute for Creation Research (icr.org/) and Apologetics Press (apologeticspress.org/). Dozens of other Biblical creation sources may be found at Truediscipleship.com, under “Links.”

[viii] Most denominations, even conservative ones, have compromised in regard to the Biblical teaching on creation and evolution.  The mainline churches, such as the United Methodist Church, have long ago dismissed what the Bible teaches from any serious consideration in scientific matters. See particularly Ken Ham and Greg Hall, Already Compromised (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2012).

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