Dr. Robert Schuller, well-known minister of the Crystal Cathedral in California and speaker on “Hour of Power” program on television, recently took issue with a critic who wrote in the Christian News. This critic pointed out the serious errors of Schuller’s new book,Self-Esteem: the New Reformation. Of interest in Schuller’s answer is not so much his objection to his critic, but what he says concerning his own confessions. In the issue of February 21, 1983, he writes:
“I want you to know that in my denomination, The Reformed Church in America, I subscribe wholeheartedly and without reservation to the Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed.” Schuller explained, however, that he did not subscribe to the Canons of Dordt (a doctrinal standard in the RCA) out of which evolved a “federal theology” which Schuller considers “poisonous.”
“I do not believe I have rejected hell as a theological concept whatsoever,” Schuller continued. “I’m giving an interpretation of it….”
So Schuller rejects the Canons of Dordt. He did not even say whether he did the same with the Heidelberg Catechism and the Netherlands Confession. Publicly Schuller states his position. It points out the sad state of affairs that within a denomination one of the official creeds can be openly renounced. Yet Schuller remains an honored man within the Reformed Churches. It is one more clear indication of open apostasy in these last days.
Church union, not so very long ago, was the desire of denominations relatively “close” in doctrinal views. Then, many advocated union between all Christian churches—and such is the goal still of many today. But more recently, church union is considered necessary between all such who worship “one God.” Of this, Dr. Marten H. Woudstra wrote in the Outlook, April 10, 1983:
Christian unity, as those who live by the gospels and the Reformed confessions know, is also church unity. Christians are duty bound to “join themselves to the true church” as the Belgic Confession states. John Calvin, though fighting the church of Rome with its claim to being the “mother church,” nevertheless kept speaking of the church as our “mother.” Calvin also stated in a letter to archbishop Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury that he would gladly cross “ten seas” if such could further the cause of unity between Reformed believers which Cranmer desired. Though, therefore, I am speaking of church union matters. . ., I nevertheless retain the words “Christian unity” in my title. This serves at least a twofold purpose. It helps us to remember that no church union is of any significance if Christian unity is not thereby furthered. There are, I would like to suggest, church unions which do not further this cause. These are unions arising from doctrinal indifference, or from the worldly desire to be numerically strong.
A second reason why I prefer to speak of Christian Unity rather than church union only is the fact that theological trends today, geared as they are to the tenants of comparative religion, are beginning to view the ecumenical question increasingly in terms of a union that should rightly also include the Jews, and possibly other “monotheists.” A Jewish rabbi in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in an article recently published, quoted the Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung to the effect that no ecumenical gathering today would be complete without the Jews also being present. This is not an isolated voice. There is a kind of ecumenicity that knows no bounds. It will not rest until all people of good will sing in the mighty chorus of the brotherhood of love, never mind the unique claims of Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life.
In Christian News, March 28, 1983, there is a similar shocking proposition set forth by a professor at the Free University:
Professor Dirk Mulder of the Free University of Amsterdam made this statement at a national meeting here of Interreligion which seeks to promote mutual understanding among all religions and sects. “Islam, Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, every religion has its own unique answers. But the point is that people learn, however convinced they are of their own faith, not to feel superior. We must not think that others who believe differently will be eternally lost.”
“It is our task,” said Prof. Mulder, “to realize God’s purpose with humanity. In all the differences and problems that occur in dialogue between Islam and Christianity, we need to understand and tolerate each other in the one God Who binds us together.”
To paraphrase a well-known slogan, “You’ve come a long way, ecumenism!” Obviously, within even Reformed circles, some consider Christ to be irrelevant to salvation. May God give His church the steadfastness to repudiate emphatically all such apostasy
The Creation Days
It is not often, these days, that we read of those who really believe in the literal Genesis account of creation. Either one believes in evolution, or a “theistic” evolution—but only a fool, it seems, still believes in a literal creation within the framework of six literal days. Still, there are those, and it seems increasingly so, who do teach a literal creation week. An interesting article on the subject is presented in the Outlook, April, 1983. It was written by Dr. Gary Parker, formerly a teacher at Dordt College, and presently at San Diego’s Institute for Creation Research and head of the Biology Department at Christian Heritage College. Here are some of the things he has to say:
Sadly, . . .Exodus 20:11 has become, for too many “twentieth century” Christians, the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. At our own Calvin College, for example, we have Professors Davis Young and George Marsden zealously writing and even testifying in court to discredit Christians who believe—and who put into practice their belief—that God simply said what He meant and meant what He said in both
Nearly all who oppose accepting the Sabbath commandment with child-like (not childish) faith have some reason outside of the Bible for wanting to stretch out the length of the creation days. Many members of the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), for example, believe that God used evolutionary processes to bring into being a succession of life forms, including man’s body (“theistic evolution”). But evolution as a process is based on accidental changes in heredity called mutations and on the continual death of the less fit in the constant struggle for survival. These processes don’t create; they corrupt, becoming a part of our world only after the Fall.
Allowing more time for accident and death (the evolutionary processes of mutation and the struggle for survival) would only increase our genetic burden of birth defects and disease. The Nobel prize-winning biochemist, Jaques Monod, himself an outspoken atheist, once expressed his surprise that any Christian would believe that God would use such a “cruel, wasteful, and inefficient process” as evolution as His means of creation—and more time would only make the problem worse.
Dr. Parker continues by pointing out some of the fallacies of the evolutionary theory:
But what about the fossils and the sedimentary strata that blanket the earth? These are the result of process, but not creative process. Would there be time since the Fall for these monumental fossil-bearing deposits to form?
Thanks to decades of indoctrination in evolution only, most people just assume it takes millions of years to form fossils and rock layers. Just the opposite is true. It is not even possible to form fossils slowly and gradually. Even evolutionary textbooks point out that most fossils are the remains of plants and animals buried rapidly under a heavy load of water-borne sediment (i.e., flood conditions). If Grand Canyon had formed slowly and gradually, it would look nothing like it does today, and the same is true of coal seams and oil deposits…. Great age makes it difficult, not easy, to understand many geological features of our earth. . . .
. . .It is sadly ironic that just as some Christians are beginning a loud and public attack on fellow Christians who take the Biblical account of the Flood as well as the creation days historically, non-Christian geologists are beginning to recognize the overwhelming evidence of continental and global catastrophism. . .
. . .In a college textbook written by an evolutionist for evolutionists, (The Science of Evolution, Macmillan, 1977, pp. 80-84), William Stansfield reviews about a dozen major indicators of the earths age. Concerning the amounts of water and lava released from volcanoes, helium in the atmosphere, uranium salts in the ocean, meteoritic dust in the crust, and meteorites in the sedimentary strata, etc., Stansfield says that creationists submit evidence of a young earth—and he responds neither by ridicule nor by refutation but by admitting creationists have made several scientifically valid points that pose real problems for the old earth view!
Radioactivity used in age dating? Stansfield—in that college textbook by an evolutionist for evolutionists—first describes the host of assumptions that must be made before isotope ratios can be used to estimate age, and then he points out gross errors that have resulted in the practice of those methods…
Parker concludes with this remarkable statement: “I’ve written five science textbooks published by the secular press. But, like every other science textbook, they have all had to be revised; the Scriptures have never had to be revised even once. Why would we want to base our interpretations of Scripture on the changing milieu of science when we could base our understanding of science on the changeless Word of God? Surely God’s Word is the surest guide to understanding God’s world.” Our prayer would also be that Parker and many like him will continue to write and speak of God’s wonderful creation as God Himself had presented it in His infallible Word!