I beg to differ with my friend Tony Breeden. Now, I’ve met Tony several times, and he is a wonderfully spirited man who cares deeply for his family and for Scripture. While I believe that he may be overshooting the text with his Young Earth Creationism (YEC), I think he is spreading a blatantly false rumor, or inferential at the very least, when he insists that only YEC believers take the Scripture seriously or that somehow, if you take the bible seriously, you will be a YEC.
I am not a YEC believer – but I believe that Scripture is to be taken serious (which is why I continue to call myself a theological conservative). However, I believe that by taking it seriously, we must take the humanity in Scripture – the human authors under the Divine Inspiration in their human limitations – seriously as well. We must take in context, culture, and the history of canonization. Canonization concerns not only the books, but the order of books, the manuscripts and the shape of the text. (Think Esther and Daniel for this one). And before you throw me under the bus for saying that God has to work within human limitations – read the Scripture and examine it as a progressive revelation of God to His creation. There is a veil still yet causing us to see through a glass darkly. If you think that everything is Scripture is easily revealed, then you are in effect denying what Scripture says.
For Creation Sunday, YEC believers are asking that the first 11 chapters of Genesis be nailed to the door of your local church. Why? Why not the Gospel preached, always? Why is it that an extreme woodenly literal view – when in fact the original authors may not have meant it that way – be nailed to the door instead of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ who was the fulfillment of all the Scriptures and is the holy hope of humanity, regardless if you believe in YEC or OEC or EEC or ASAP, XYZ and MNOP? And to do so to symbolize Luther’s protest against the abuses of the Church is silly. Of course, Luther also believed in a stationary earth around which the Sun rotated, so maybe they are on to something.
I note the conversation which Anthony Lauterbach, who dined with the Luthers, quotes pertaining to Dr. Martin’s view of Copernicus:
There was mention of a certain astrologer who wanted to prove that the earth moves and not the sky, the sun, and the moon. This would be as if somebody were riding on a cart or in a ship and imagined that he was standing still while the earth and the trees were moving. “So it goes now. Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem. He must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth .” (]], ]] (Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1960), p. 33.)
What we actually have are people getting the Protestant Reformation wrong when they declare the Scripture as the absolute authority. For example, when you use the Protestant canon, you are using Tradition. When you (mis)use sola/solo scriptura, you are using Tradition. When you insist on literalism as the only way to take the Scripture seriously, you are denying traditions of the Christian Church. And when you add that Genesis 1-11 is more important than the Gospel, even if it is passively added, then you are adding to Scripture.
I ain’t going to lie – it chaps my ever-widening hide to see Christians deny to others Christians the ability to take Scripture seriously (whatever that may mean to the subjective sense) because one sect believes it differently. I take Scripture seriously. I believe it to be divinely inspired and is itself a means of communicating Grace. I do not believe in the overly Alexandrian allegorical interpreting method, but that we should endeavor to mind the true meaning of the text by looking first at the context. I believe in literalism in context. For me, I believe that I take the Scripture serious because I believe it must first be understood objectively before we can apply it subjectively. And what is more, I believe that we can understand it objectively – in context, in culture, in time and space, etc… And when we do that, we will turn from recent insistences on Scripture to actually take the Holy Writ seriously. Of course, by that same token of trying to understand and apply Scripture, my dear friend would say that I am not taking Scripture seriously.