Waterless Clouds, Wandering Stars

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This article for Question Evolution Day is addressed to professing Christians. Part of the purpose of this site and The Question Evolution Project is to equip believers to give a strong apologetic for our faith (1 Peter 3:15-16), and to avoid being deceived by false teachers.

Christians have to contend with people who are hostile to biblical truth because it goes against their natural condition, and are offended by the gospel message (1 Corinthians 2:14, John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 4:4, 1 John 5:19). Add to this that biblical creationists not only show that minerals-to-microbiologist evolution is unscientific, but also show how science supports Scripture, then anti-creationists really get on the prod. Sadly, the problem is compounded by professing but compromising Christians who have a low view of the Bible, and those who are actually apostate (1 John 2:19). We are given many serious warnings about these people who claim to be with us but are actually against us.

Special for Question Evolution Day, this article is to edify and encourage Christians to be wary of false teachers who are waterless clouds and wandering stars,  and to stand on the authority of the Word of God.
Image credit: Pixabay / byrev

Who Are the False Teachers?

A careful distinction must be made. There are doctrinal distinctives among believers and denominations, and there will be differences in interpretations of certain texts. We must be careful to extend grace to brothers and sisters in Christ who happen to disagree on matters that are not essential to salvation and do not affect the authority of Scripture; we can disagree and still have fellowship with one another.

Some Christians elevate their personal beliefs on side issues to supreme importance, and act like if you do not agree with them, you may be uneducated, unsaved, or even a heretic. While biblical creation science is a side issue in a way, that does not negate its importance in a consistent understanding of Scripture (see "Hell, Creation, and Side Issues" and its follow-up, "Information and Discernment" for more about this). Also note that you'll be hard-pressed to find a major creation science ministry that teaches belief in evolution or an old Earth are essential for salvation.

We are warned in many parts of the Bible about false teachers, false prophets, and apostates. The book of Jude spends time discussing them (the titles of this article and its continuation are taken from Jude 1:12-13), and Paul's epistles to Timothy have extensive strong warnings. This is not a matter of "agreeing to disagree" because apostates and false teachers are not only giving bad teachings, but undermine the authority of Scripture and the gospel message itself.

One warning is that apostates will join in with us and claim to be brothers and sisters in Christ, but give divisive and false teachings. There are riders on the owlhoot trail who claim to believe that the Bible is without error, and then contradict themselves by saying that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are not to be understood according to historical-grammatical exegesis, but must instead be interpreted according to ever-changing man-made science philosophies. Essentially, they are echoing Satan's question in Genesis 3:1, "Did God really say...?"

Both epistles of Peter, Paul’s epistles to Titus and Timothy, and the epistle of Jude all have very strong warnings against false teachers. Matthew 7 and 1 John warned of antichrists, also see Acts 20:29-30. Revelation tells us about false teachers and their effects. 1 Timothy 4:1 refers to “doctrines of demons/devils”.

How Do They Act?

Apostates often walk among us and pretend to be part of the body of Christ, but many simply fall away. Seeking to be a Bible teacher is not to be taken lightly, as we have stricter judgment (James 3:1). Teachers risk becoming conceited (especially new converts, 1 Timothy 3:6), and must know how to handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) without being deceitful (2 Corinthians 4:2). False teachers often seek preeminence and admiration like the Pharisees (Matthew 23:5-7, 3 John 1:9), cause divisions (Jude 1:19), spend time on idle speculations and useless argumentation (1 Timothy 1:4), and make confident assertions about matters they do not understand (1 Timothy 1:7). They are proud (1 Timothy 6:3-4).

Should We Publicly Refute Them?

I was extremely reluctant to "name names" in the past because I thought (and others have expressed this concern) that we should obey what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:24 and Matthew 18:15 by going to them one-on-one. This teaching is for personal interactions, not public teachings. If someone in the church spoke harshly to me, I have no business making a public issue of that. When it comes to false teachers, they are making their teachings public. Indeed, many will personally attack biblical creationist individuals and ministries. Paul named people who did harm to the gospel in 2 Tim. 2:16-18 and 2 Tim. 4:14-15, among others. Reluctantly, I called out William Lane Craig, who does not defend the God of the Bible and actively ridicules biblical creationists.

Scripture tells us to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 1:3), and 2 Timothy 2:14-19 says that false teachers are to be avoided and refuted, which is supported in Romans 16:17. I believe that Ephesians 5:11 applies here as well. 

What About Theistic Evolutionists?

The concept of theistic evolution, where God used evolutionary processes in the process of creation (hereafter referred to as TE) may seem valid on the surface, but does violence to the gospel message. In another article, I wrote about this:
People accept theistic evolution (the view that God used evolution in his creative processes) for various reasons. In fact, I held that position myself for a short time, before I realized that not only is evolution terrible science, but is completely incompatible to what the Word clearly teaches. Some people casually take the "scientific consensus" of evolution and then slap God's name on it as if that blesses their lack of understanding and furthering of heresy.

There are four main reasons I believe that people hold to TE (theistic evolution):
  • They assume it is true, so we must be understanding the Bible incorrectly (as discussed in the section about Adam Huschka)
  • Fear of what other people will think, and being "labeled" (as mentioned above), and also bullying by militant theistic evolutionists
  • They have not studied how evolution is actually harmful to the gospel message [13] [14] [15], and may even be considered biblically lazy
  • Open rebellion to the authority of the Word of God and the plain teachings of the Bible 
This last point is the most important, as there are many who teach TE and put down the Word of God. What they call "science" (evolutionary interpretations of observations) is given a magisterial position above the Word, and it is man telling God what he said and means.
Theistic evolutionists use naturalistic views from evolutionism and reinterpret Genesis and other Scriptures to fit their views, but they cannot account for morality in their compromise. They often claim to be God-fearing and care about winning the lost to salvation in Christ, but do not act like Christians. (I agree with some others who believe that, because of their actions and low view of the Bible, most TEs are actually apostate, and even Deists.) Some claim that biblical creationists are creating barriers to the gospel, but this is a lie. Evolution makes atheists out of people, and helps them justify their rebellion against God; C. Richard Dawkins has claimed that evolution helps him to be "intellectually fulfilled" as an atheist. What valid reason do professing Christians have promoting evolution, a naturalistic religion, to compete with the Word of God? To get evolution, and millions of years, out of the Bible cannot be done without first putting them into it! This is called eisegesis. 

This article is concluded in "Rocky Reefs, Autumn Leaves Without Fruit".