The Pastor's Buzz

Pastor Buzz Trexler's blog for God's people in The Meadow.

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Name: Buzz Trexler
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Journalist for 29 years; married to Donna for 28 years; parent of David, 27, and Elizabeth, 24; pastor of Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa since 2002.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Who's afraid of big, bad Darwin?

Ever since the "Scopes Monkey Trial" in the summer of 1925, the debate over the theory of evolution has been a favorite of national media, Christian apologists and Darwin’s own faithful — and this past week was no exception.

On Tuesday, the Kansas Board of Education voted 6-4 to adopt new school standards that maintain high school students must understand major evolutionary concepts, but the standards also note there have been challenges to basic Darwinian theory in recent years.

Meanwhile, another battle continued to rage in Dover, Pa., where The Associated Press reported Wednesday that voters had ousted school board members who backed the reading of a statement on intelligent design in biology class. The theory of intelligent design maintains our universe is so complex that it must have been created, and not the result of a process of natural selection.

On Thursday, televangelist and one-time presidential candidate Pat Robertson reportedly told the citizens of Dover, "if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city." He went on to warn that if trouble comes to the town, "don’t ask for His help because he might not be there."

So much for Psalm 139 and the doctrine of an omnipresent God.

It’s understandable why modernists — Christian and non-Christian — get so fired up over the theory of evolution. The non-Christian modernists go ape, if you will, over the prospect of elevating what they see as ancient religion to the level of science — even while ignoring that some aspects of the theory of evolution take on the color of faith. Meanwhile, Christian modernists feel pressed to use scientific tools to validate faith in the marketplace of ideas. Even as Christian apologists say God is too big to put in any box, those same people often attempt to do just that when it comes to the discussion about evolution. The result of these stances is that both sides come out the losers as the conversation eventually loses value.

Some people suggest that the church lost out by engaging in an adversarial relationship with evolutionists. Instead of constantly browbeating them, perhaps we could have been more conversational concerning the possibility that an all-powerful, creative God is the missing link to the missing link. After all, the divine process is a mystery from the get-go — from creating new life, to resurrecting old life that is now dead.

Which brings me to Pastor Buzz’s Exposition on songwriter Geoff Moore’s "Evolution ... redefined."

Every time the same old battle resumes, Moore’s words from 1993 emerge through the cobwebs of my mind:
"I believe in evolution; changing of the heart, renewing of the mind."

You see, macroevolution — the word evolution theorists use for changes above the species level — doesn’t really impress me from a scientific point of view, but it does have a Judeo-Christian counterpart. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Apostle Paul writes, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old one has gone, the new has come!" When I considered that, I decided to give Darwin a chance ... well, in a manner of speaking. At the very least, it took me to the concept of microevolution, the word theorists use for those small-scale heriditary changes in organisms. Again, I found a Christian counterpart: This time in the doctrine of sanctifying grace in that once this Christian macroevolution takes place, the new "spiritual species" undergoes changes as it moves its way along the evolutionary course to Christian perfection.

Who can escape it? When you consider it in the light of spiritual transformation, the theory of evolution serves as great evidence that we serve a mysterious, creative, God of grace.

Yes, Geoff, I believe in evolution: The changing of the heart and the renewing of the mind; in fact, here sits 225 pounds of evidence.

Grace and peace ...