The Scandal of the (Fundamentalist) Christadelphian Mind

Christadelphian Fundamentalists
cause the Ken-Cat to spit up furballs
Editor's Note: I'm only going to quote the conclusion of this Ken-Cat article, because it is about who Cain married; which I find to be as boring as watching sport on the TV. But the conclusion says it all. The Ken-Cat has had it up to here with the Christadelphians.

By Ken Gilmore  Source


I take no great delight in negative posts such as this, but the intellectual disease of fundamentalism has taken a heavy toll on our community. This can be seen in magazines such as The Testimony, where members of their steering committee openly revel in fundamentalist, and wear their ignorance as a badge of pride:
I believe that as a community we have now  moved on from their “re-creation” view as being a totally unnecessary compromise with “science falsely so called”.  I am a member of “The Testimony” committee – (which is by no means geriatric – we have several committee members who are in their 20s & 30s) all of whom take the Bible literally and therefore believe in a 6 day Creation.  We will continue to publish articles opposing the “wisdom of men” which is “foolishness with God”.  It is good to see that “The Christadelphian” is now doing the same thing! [8]
That anyone can seriously believe that the universe is 6000 years old and created in six days is incomprehensible, given the overwhelming weight of evidence in favour of an ancient Earth [9]. Furthermore, the tired bleating of "science falsely so called" not only takes 1 Tim 6:20 hopelessly out of context [10], but reflects an obscurantism which would have horrified early Christadelphians:
‘Go on, therefore, ye scientists, but be very careful that you stick close to what mother earth tells you, and do not seek to draw from your imaginations, and then attempt to hold the good old dame responsible therefor. And, ye “pious clergy,” let the scientists alone, and go search the Bible and learn, in simplicity of heart, what it really does teach. [11] 
‘Every thing in art and science are but copies of the workings of God’s spirit in nature. And it is by the study of nature and by meditation, on the discoveries which have been made as communicated to him through books, that man acquires his knowledge in the science of life, and so inhales this inspiration of God’s spirit.’ [12] 
‘They say that the true mode of interpreting the scriptures is by “literal interpretation:”2 just reading it as it stands; that it needs no explanation—it can explain itself. We say “No.” For Paul lays down another rule in his letter to the Corinthians, where he says that “he spoke not the words which man’s wisdom taught, but which the holy spirit taught, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”’ [13] 
The last quote in particular stands as an indictment of the fundamentalist, hyper-literal reading of the Bible exhibited by Tracey's appalling comment, and apparently championed by Burt and other members of The Testimony, who have the temerity to claim that Thomas, Roberts, Walker and other early Christadelphians, were 'compromising' the word of God [14] by accepting the facts of an ancient earth and a local flood. Far from compromisers, men such as CC Walker were careful students of the Bible who recognised that:
‘Moses’ testimony is not so “plain” that it cannot be misinterpreted or misunderstood….‘Moses’ testimony was given to Israel in what might be called the infancy of the world, when men did not know the extent of the earth, let alone that of the sun, moon, and stars. And, as we believe, it was given (by God through Moses), not so much to instruct Israel in cosmogony in detail, as to impress upon them the idea that The Most High God is the Possessor of Heaven and Earth (Gen. 14:22). And this against the claims of the gods of the nations, as was abundantly proved in Israel’s history.’ [15]
Ultimately, the problem underlying the fundamentalist eisegesis masquerading as informed scholarship as seen in Tracey's post, and (regrettably) magazines such as The Testimony is unvarnished anti-intellectualism. When a Christadelphian layperson with zero demonstrable competence in ANE studies, Second Temple Judaism or any other subject critical to a proper understanding of the vexed problem of how to understand Genesis and Paul in the light of the fact of evolution blithely dismisses professionals as idiots, we have a major problem, one that will ultimately result in the intellectual enfeebling of our community. Osborne and Woodward in their Handbook for Bible Study put it well:
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.” 

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.” [16]


9. See for example Dalrymple GB "The Age of the Earth" (1991: Stanford University Press). Allan Hayward's "Creation and Evolution: The Facts and Fallacies" (1985: Triangle Books), while hopelessly wrong in its attacks on evolution is still on target with its demolition of YEC arguments)
10.  Burt and other Christadelphian fundamentalists are making an exegetical blunder by reading the modern meaning of science into the word used in the AV. The context of 1 Timothy 6:20 has nothing to do with modern science, but opposing theological views. As George Knight notes:
What Timothy is to avoid is also called ἀντιθέσεις** (a biblical hapax), “opposing arguments or ideas,” a term that crystallizes what Paul says elsewhere concerning the false teaching and those who are involved in it (cf. 6:3–5; Tit. 1:9–14, especially v. 9; 2 Tim. 2:25; 3:8; cf. Schlarb, “Miszelle zu 1 Tim 6 20”). It is possible, as Bernard observes, that βεβήλους is to be taken with ἀντιθέσεις as well as κενοφωνίας, since the article appears only before κενοφωνίας. Paul acknowledges that these opposing arguments or ideas are called “knowledge” (γνῶσις), but asserts that in fact they are “falsely called” such (ψευδώνυμος,** a biblical hapax; cf. 1:7; 6:4). - George W. Knight, The Pastoral Epistles: a Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1992), 277.
11 Welch 'Knowledge.- No., 12 Geology’, The Christadelphian (1819) 27:344
12. Jardine WD, ‘The Bible as a Law of Life and Immortality’, The Ambassador of the Coming Age, (1864) 1:93-94  
13. Paterson, ‘False Literalism’, The Ambassador of the Coming Age (1867) 4:328
14. This is a frankly insulting claim which implies that Roberts, Thomas, and Walker were stupid enough to be taken in by false scientific claims. In actual fact, it is the modern YECs who have glibly swallowed YEC and flood geology, views which owe everything to the apocalyptic visions of Seventh Day Adventist founder Ellen G White. Seventh Day Adventism. As physicist Karl Giberson notes:
By mid-19th century, when White’s visions began, geologists, almost all of them bible-believing Christians, had concluded that Noah’s flood was confined to the mid-east. Its effects had been largely erased over time. This interpretation of the story, which Hebrew scholars have determined is a faithful interpretation of Genesis, was uncontroversial and accepted by most educated Christians. 
White rejected what she thought were geologically motivated “compromises” as inconsistent with the plain account given in the Bible, though she read this in English without consideration of the context in which it was written. She insisted Noah’s flood was global and that it had produced all of the geological layers, a claim that even the most conservative Christian geologists had rejected as impossible, based on the evidence. The flood, argued White, reshaped the surface of the earth and the fossils testified to the cataclysmic nature of the flood, even though the fossils are stacked in such an orderly way that it is impossible to imagine how a chaotic flood could have deposited them like that.
Earth history prior to the flood was obliterated, but the flood itself left the clearest evidence imaginable. Here is White’s vision:
The entire surface of the earth was changed at the Flood…As the waters began to subside, the hills and mountains were surrounded by a vast turbid sea. Everywhere were strewn the dead bodies of men and beasts. The Lord would not permit these to remain to decompose and pollute the air, therefore He made of the earth a vast burial ground. A violent wind which was caused to blow for the purpose of drying up the waters, moved them with great force, in some instances even carrying away the tops of the mountains and heaping up trees, rocks, and earth above the bodies of the dead… 
At this time immense forests were buried. These have since been changed to coal, forming the extensive coal beds that now exist and yielding large quantities of oil.”
White’s interpretation of the biblical narratives attracted little interest outside Adventist circles, but within the Adventist tradition her writings acquired a stature comparable to scripture. Her interpretation of the Flood became widely known outside Adventist circles through the writings of George McCready Price (1870-1963). A self-taught geologist with limited education beyond high school, Price was a gifted writer, amateur scientist, and tireless crusader in the cause of anti-evolution. His 723-page The New Geology, published in 1923, was catapulted into relevance by William Jennings Bryan, who prosecuted John Scopes at the famous trial in Dayton, Tennessee, in 1925. But even Bryan, the most important anti-evolutionist of the first half of the 20th century was not a young-earth creationist, seeing no reason to interpret the Genesis creation account as taking place over a literal seven-day week. 
Because these creationist ideas were basically limited to Seventh-day Adventist biblical interpretation, most Christians outside that group paid no attention to them, and were fine with the idea that evolution was simply God’s method of creation. A few decades later, however, all this would change when respected fundamentalist scholars John Whitcomb and Henry Morris joined forces to move Price’s ideas from Adventism to mainstream evangelicalism. They co-authored The Genesis Flood, the book that launched the modern creationist movement and convinced millions of Christians to accept White’s vision of earth history. But what is not widely known, because the authors of The Genesis Flood left it out of their book, is that the arguments in the book are really just Price’s arguments, updated to provide a more scientific presentation.
The truth is that Burt and his fellow committee members have uncritically swallowed second-hand Seventh Day Adventist dogma with an Evangelical veneer.

14. Walker, ‘Is it wrong to believe that the earth is a sphere?’, The Christadelphian (1913) 50:348 

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