What is Gary North writing about without Y2K?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
I haven't been following the discussions on the boards since mid-January but have popped in from time to time. I haven't heard much mention though on what Mr. Gary North has been writing about since the non-event.
What has become the next sure fire world ending problem that needs Gary attention?
-- Patrick (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 26, 2000
Really miss him? Well, he is dipping his toe into the AWL price /OPEC business. Gently of course. AND advocating loyalty oathes for would be Pastors on SIX DAY CREATIONISM (front for "the Bible is True word for word).
Gary North's REALITY CHECK Issue 53 September 7, 2000 E-Mail: email@example.com
On September 27-29, the heads of state of the OPEC countries will meet for the first time in a quarter of a century. For the first time, they will meet in the Western hemisphere. Specifically, they will meet in Venezuela.
This is bad news for the West. The President of Venezuela, Col. Hugo Chavez, is a disciple of Castro, a self-declared social revolutionary, and a man so far to the left that the United States government revoked his visa in 1994 after he was released from prison for having participated in a failed coup attempt in 1992. The visa was restored in 1998, after he was elected, but he has not used it.
-- Henry Pat (HenryPat@ConspiraciesRus.edu), September 26, 2000.
HOW TO RETURN CALVINISTIC PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES TO THE
WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY'S POSITION ON THE SIX-DAY CREATION
&nbs p; &n bsp; Gary North
&nbs p; member, Covenant Church
&nbs p; Presbyterian Church in America
&nbs p; Fayetteville, Arkansas
&nbs p; PART 1: THE PROBLEM
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six
days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But
the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy
God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor
thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy
maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that
is within thy gates: For in an unspecified number
of years, but surely in the hundreds of millions,
the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all
that in them is, and rested the seventh day:
wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and
For almost two centuries, from at least 1800 until the
mid-1980's, virtually all faculty members employed by
Presbyterian institutions of higher education believed that,
for the sake of historical accuracy, the fourth commandment
should be interpreted in the above manner.
In recent years, some have become more specific: "For
in 4.6 billion years, the LORD made heaven and earth, the
sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day."
Presbyterian laymen did not all follow their lead.
Instead, some have remained committed to the Westminster
Confession of Faith and the larger and shorter catechisms
(1646). In Chapter IV, "Of Creation," the Westminster
Confession of Faith says this:
I. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his
eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the
beginning, to create or make of nothing the world,
and all things therein, whether visible or
invisible, in the space of six days, and all very
The Larger Catechism reads:
Question 15: What is the work of creation?
Answer: The work of creation is that wherein God
did in the beginning, by the word of his power,
make of nothing the world, and all things therein,
for himself, within the space of six days, and all
What about the Shorter Catechism, which is used by
Presbyterian parents to teach their children?
Q. 9. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is God's making all things
of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space
of six days, and all very good.
Despite the plain words of these three documents, known
as the Westminster standards, this is not what Charles
Hodge, A. A. Hodge, and Benjamin Warfield wrote and taught
in the late nineteenth century. All three were old-earth
&nbs p; http://capo.org/cpc/sixdays.htm#ch6
Warfield was a theistic evolutionist, or at least willing to
entertain theistic evolution as an explanatory device,
despite the plain language of the Westminster standards.
The College of New Jersey (re-named Princeton
University in 1896) was the most prominent Presbyterian
college in the United States in the nineteenth century.
From 1868 to 1888, James McCosh served as its president. He
was a theistic evolutionist. Francis L. Patton, who
replaced McCosh as president (1888-1902), and who later
became president of Princeton Seminary (1902-13), agreed
with McCosh on this point.
I am unaware of any professor at any Presbyterian
seminary before 1985 who went into print to defend a six-
day, 144-hour creation.
Since that time, Greenville Presbyterian Theological
Seminary and Knox Theological Seminary were founded. They
hold to the Confession. This offers hope to Calvinistic
Presbyterians. It also offers places to send donations.
&nbs p; "DON'T ASK. DON'T TELL."
If a Presbyterian seminary offered only one course on
the doctrine of God, and the professor included a book on
Jewish monotheism and another on polytheism, along with a
book on Trinitarianism, and then told the students to make
up their own minds, I would say that the seminary is not
teaching Trinitarianism. If this went on for a century in
every Presbyterian seminary, I would say that the seminary
system is undermining Trinitarianism, with the connivance of
If a Presbyterian seminary offered no course on the
doctrine of God, and no professor ever assigned a book on
the doctrine of God, but one did mention in passing Judaism,
polytheism, and Trinitarianism as valid theological options,
I would say that the seminary is not teaching
Trinitarianism. If this went on for a century in every
Presbyterian seminary, I would say that the seminary system
is undermining Trinitarianism, with the connivance of the
The latter approach to teaching creation -- i.e., NOT
teaching creation -- is what the largest and most
influential Calvinistic Presbyterian seminaries adopted in
the twentieth century.
Here is what I mean by "teaching a position." A
professor assigns one or more books on a topic. These books
promote the orthodox view. In a Presbyterian seminary, this
means the Westminster Confession's view. He may assign
books challenging the Confession's view, as a means of
preparing the student for future objections. Then he shows
them why these rival views are wrong. Think "Trinity."
Think "predestination." Am I correct in my definition so
far? Now think "creation."
Am I saying that Reformed Theological Seminary,
Westminster Theological Seminary, and Covenant Theological
Seminary do not now and have never taught the Westminster
standards' view of creation? I am. Furthermore, the main
Calvinistic Presbyterian denominations have gone along with
this, despite the plain words of the Westminster standards
and John Calvin in favor of the six-day creation.
The graduates are then sent to the presbyteries to be
ordained. Most of these men have never had a seminary class
on Calvin's INSTITUTES. (All of them, I suspect.) I wonder
sometime if they all know the full title of THE INSTITUTES.
Most of them have never had a class on the Westminster
Confession and the two catechisms. Presbyterian seminaries
rarely devote much class time to Presbyterianism.
These young men are sent back their presbyteries, never
having had a class in the doctrine of creation. They have
not been taught in detail the rival views that are openly
opposed to the Westminster standards. They are not familiar
with Calvin's arguments for the six-day creation, or the
arguments of the Westminster divines.
They are knowingly sent to the presbyteries for
ordination, yet few of them know why they are about to
participate in a corrupt bargain: a denial of the original
agreement of American Presbyterianism: the Adopting Act of
1729. I shall get to that Act later. It is enough to say
here that this Act mandated that any candidate for a church
office has to reveal his objections to any provision of the
Westminster standards. The presbytery will then decide
whether this exception is sufficiently serious to bar the
man's ordination. This is universally ignored in practice.
Members of the presbytery have had a legal right to
know if a man has objections to the Confession. Yet for
almost two centuries, the presbyteries have not enforced
this rule consistently. Members of presbyteries are not
told about the Adopting Act. Seminary professors have self-
consciously sent to the presbyteries men who do not believe
the Confession on a fundamental doctrine of the faith -- one
important enough to be in all three of the documents. This
is no peripheral issue.
The seminaries have not taught these young men to
defend their positions on creation exegetically. The
professors themselves have never agreed with the Confession
on this point, and have never "fessed up" openly to their
presbyteries. They have played "crossed fingers."
This has undermined Presbyterian law. The fact that
this practice has gone on for two centuries does not justify
it. Theological liberals captured both the Northern and
Southern Churches because they took advantage of this
tradition of "don't ask, don't tell."
The educational practice of "choose for yourself a
theory of creation" -- a kind of smorgasbord creationism --
began at Princeton Seminary, founded in 1811, which opened
in 1812. The old-earth theory of geologists James Hutton
(1726-1797) and Charles Lyell (1797-1875) was accepted by
Princeton Seminary's theologians as somehow consistent with
Genesis 1 and the Confession/Catechism. They sacrificed the
Confession of Faith on the altar of humanistic geology.
There is no suggestion of a 144-hour week of creation in the
writings of the Princetonians. They did not even try to
present a balanced view. They defended an old earth.
HUMANISM'S ACADEMIC TOOL OF CONVERSION
For over a century, beginning early in Warfield's
career, the old-earth theory has been an effective offensive
weapon in the arsenal of university humanists to undermine
Christian students' faith in the book of Genesis. Once
their faith in Genesis 1-11 is gone, they are easy targets
for the humanist worldview. If Genesis 1-11 is merely
mythical, the Christians' trust in the rest of the Bible is
weakened. Any part of it might be equally mythological.
The day that the clear words of Genesis 1 become
untrustworthy and eligible for speculation, so do New
Testament passages that discuss the resurrection. The
bodily resurrection does not meet the standards of Darwinian
Old-earth geology is the first step in a process of
undermining faith in Christianity. College professors then
present its logical implication, evolution in biology. This
is the familiar "Lyell to Darwin" transformation: from the
theory of an old earth to the theory of the evolution of
species through impersonal natural selection, culminating in
Charles Lyell's book on old-earth geology was used by
Charles Darwin to formulate his theory of biological
evolution. Darwin read Lyell's PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY during
his voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle, 1831-36.
When he returned to England, he was an evolutionist. But he
was a special sort of evolutionist: evolution through
impersonal, unplanned natural selection.
Lyell had believed in God's providence, as he stated
clearly in 1850.
Darwin, nine years later, publicly threw out all traces
of providence. He secularized Lyell's system. The academic
world followed his lead. This is why biologist Michael
Behe's book, DARWIN'S BLACK BOX (1996), is such an
intellectual discontinuity: he returns to the idea of
creative intelligence in the evolutionary process.
Lyell followed earlier old-earth geologists by
presenting the case for uniformitarianism, which says that
today's rates of change in the natural world have been the
same from the beginning. This view of geological change
denies the existence of miracles. Obviously, it denies
creation in six days. It denies the universal Flood. It
denies that death came to mankind because of God's curse for
a sin by the first pair of humans.
Historically, geological uniformitarianism led to
biological uniformitarianism. The case for geological
uniformitarianism rests heavily on the fossil record in the
rocks: paleontology. The next step is to argue that the
fossil record shows a pattern of biological evolution: from
the least complex animals to the most complex, the higher up
in the layers of rocks we examine. The same slow rate of
change that is said to have produced the layering of rock
formations is said to have governed biological evolution.
It takes a self-conscious act of faith to permanently
lock up uniformitarianism inside the realm of geology. If
the theory of geological uniformitarianism, which relies
heavily on the fossil record, is not rejected at the outset
by Christians, the church will find itself invaded by
defenders of biological evolution, which has no place for
the doctrines of original sin and the substitutionary
atonement. It is crucial that this two-step invasion not
take place again in the Presbyterian Church. The history of
mainline Presbyterianism does not offer much hope in this
regard, as we shall see.
The battle between uniformitarianism and God's miracle-
filled providence begins in Genesis 1-11. Genesis 1-11
opposes both forms of uniformitarianism, geological and
biological. It presents a series of miraculous
interventions of God in history: creation in six consecutive
days, earth's appearance prior to the stars, kind
reproducing kind, the universal Flood, linguistic
transformation at the tower of Babel, and the recent origin
of the genetic races of man. To accept uniformitarianism is
necessarily to reject a literal view of Genesis 1-11.
The Westminster Assembly had it right: creation in six
days. This doctrine immunizes its believers against
uniformitarianism. It begins the history of the entire
universe -- not just the earth -- with God's supernatural
intervention. It begins with six days of rapid change:
rates that will not be matched again until judgment day. It
begins, therefore, with a denial of uniformitarianism.
This deeply religious intellectual battle is nowhere
near lost in the United States. Half of Americans believe
that man was created by God no more than 10,000 years ago.
This is according to findings of fifty different public
opinion polls over the past twenty-five years.
The vast majority found about 90% of the public
desired that both creation and evolution or
creation only be taught in the public schools.
About 90% of Americans consider themselves
creationists of some form, and about half believe
that God created humans in their present form
within the past 10,000 years.
Darwinism is one of the oddest religions in the history
of man. You just about have to go to college to believe in
it. I won't bother to offer a refutation of Darwinism here.
It's better to have a few chuckles at Darwinism's expense.
The best thing I've seen on Darwinism recently is Fred
Reed's short essay. I especially liked the section on the
mathematics of monkeys typing a book. It will take you
three minutes to read it. You won't forget it.
When humanists start getting the picture, it's late in
the game for traditional uniformitarian Darwinists.
&nbs p; UNIFORMITARIANISM VS. ORIGINAL SIN
Geological change proceeds by means of nearly
infinitesimal changes, Lyell taught. So does biological
change, Darwin and his followers taught. Uniformitarianism
is an assumption, more of a presupposition than a
conclusion. This assumption is beginning to break down in
modern biology and paleontology. (In biology, read Michael
Behe's book, DARWIN'S BLACK BOX . In paleontology,
read Ken Hsu's book, THE GREAT DYING .)
A uniformitarian estimates prevailing rates of change,
then adds up the number of years necessary to move backward
in time from now until "the beginning," and concludes that
the universe is eons old. According to contemporary
geologists, the earth is 4.6 billion years old. (This
number is obviously a matter of convention. Its precision
is too great. It is almost universally quoted -- not 4.4 or
4.7.) According to contemporary astronomers, the earth is
young compared to the universe, which is 15-20 billion years
old. (This is more like it, scientifically speaking: a wide
range of numbers.)
Consider the plight of a Christian defender of
creationism who accepts these estimates. These estimates
mean that God waited a very long time before getting to the
point covenantally: the creation of man, who is made in
God's image. Man was placed in authority over an earth that
had gotten along quite well without mankind for 4.6 billion
years, an earth that had seen millions of species come and
go before man was created. Man, as God's representative
agent in history (Gen. 1:26), was out of the picture for
just about all of the 4.6 billion years of earth's history.
As for galactic history . . . well, who cares? Some things
are just too difficult to reconcile.
The story of the creation of Adam and Eve is the story
of God's covenantal administration over the earth. God's
rule over the earth is hierarchical and personal. On the
day that animals appeared on land, God ceased to rule
directly over nature. Adam ruled in God's name. This is
explicitly taught in Genesis 1. Any attempt to insert a few
hundred million years in between the creation of the animals
and the creation of man is a frontal assault on the doctrine
of God's covenant. Presbyterianism, more than any other
church tradition, has always taught the centrality of God's
covenants. Yet Presbyterianism, because of its commitment
to higher education, fell to uniformitarian geology and its
layers of dead, covenant-free animals before other large
Protestant groups did.
It is not just Genesis 1 that is at stake in the debate
over old earth vs. new earth. It is also Genesis 3. Adam's
fall brought the whole earth under a curse. It brought the
curse of thorns and thistles (Gen. 3:18). Genesis 3 teaches
that the curse of thorns and thistles was the first
covenantal discontinuity in environmental history. This was
God's one-time negative sanction. Multiple vegetable
species appeared without any warning. God's curse extended
to the entire creation, according to Paul. It was
universal, affecting the entire earth. At some point in the
future, it will be removed. Paul wrote:
For the earnest expectation of the creature
[ktisis: creation] waiteth for the manifestation
of the sons of God. For the creature [creation]
was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by
reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Because the creature [creation] itself also shall
be delivered from the bondage of corruption into
the glorious liberty of the children of God. For
we know that the whole creation groaneth and
travaileth in pain together until now. And not
only they, but ourselves also, which have the
firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan
within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to
wit, the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:19- 23).
So, in the theology of today's old-earth academic
Calvinists, the earth came under a covenantal curse after
approximately 4.6 billion years, from which Paul said the
creation still longs to be delivered. Paul did not talk
about any previous curse -- any previous discontinuity --
from which the creation longs to be delivered. This one was
the big one, according to Paul. Problem: there is no trace
of this event in academic paleontology. For those
Christians who have re-interpreted Genesis 1 in terms of the
conclusions of uniformitarian paleontology, this is a major
What was the significance of this curse after 4.6
billion years without mankind's presence? Presbyterian
elders who refuse to affirm the Confession's view of the
creation week say that the curse came because of the sin of
two fully developed founding members of a new species.
Death had reigned in the animal kingdom up until then.
Millions of species had appeared and then become extinct.
Paleontology is the academic discipline devoted to studying
the fossil record of these deaths. Nevertheless, these men
assure us, Adam and Eve made a huge difference for nature
because their fall into sin brought the whole earth under a
Paul wrote that death came into the world because of
Adam's sin. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the
world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men,
for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). If he meant that sin
came to the animal world as part of the curse, the record of
paleontology has to be a post-Adamic phenomenon: very
recent. If Paul meant that death came to mankind, but not
to the animals, which were already subject to death, then
man is no different from the animals, for he also dies. The
Darwinians have been saying that man is an animal since the
publication of Darwin's DESCENT OF MAN in 1871. In either
case, the covenantal uniqueness of mankind is inconsistent
with academic paleontology.
There is no record in nature that anything different
happened to the plant kingdom when man arrived in history,
some three million years ago. (Up from 50,000 B.C. in the
1950's.) Thorns and thistles, compared to the extinction of
millions of species over billions of years, is hardly worth
considering. It's basically a non-event. If you want to
find discontinuous change, look fifty billion or more years
before the arrival of man. (See Hsu's book, THE GREAT
DYING.) Thorns and thistles? "Who are Christians trying to
fool? A God who thinks the curse of thorns and thistles is
a big deal is too small to consider."
Nevertheless, say non-Confessionalist elders, we know
that the Bible's story of thorns and thistles as the great
discontinuity is true because the Bible says so. We must
take Genesis 3 literally, although not Genesis 1. We must
believe the evidence of uniformitarian geology with respect
to Genesis 1, but it does not apply to Genesis 3.
Or maybe it does. Non-confessionalists could argue
that thorns and thistles were a great environmental change,
but only in a spiritual sense, i.e., scientifically
unverifiable. Chapter by chapter, Genesis 1-11 could be
relegated to the status of mythological stories, i.e., God's
deliberate deception of His covenant people.
Thorns and thistles are the great initial discontinuity
in the history of all species. This is what Genesis 3
unquestionably teaches. There is no record of death in
Genesis prior to this curse. Now, do you want to try to
sell this thesis to your local university's department of
paleontology? Do you think that this story will buy
Christians academic respect for being willing to come to
grips, at least a little, with uniformitarianism? I can
here it now. "Well, now that you put it this way, the Bible
makes a lot of sense to me." Can't you hear this? No?
Well, you must have a weak imagination.
Question: If the curse on man and curse on the earth
were not the result of Adam's ethical rebellion in history -
- rebellion covenantally and therefore representatively --
where is the scientifically acceptable evidence of the
Bible's teaching regarding the effects in nature of man's
original sin? None exists. So, uniformitarian science
concludes that no such environment-changing event took ever
place in a garden east of Eden or anywhere else.
This is why belief in Genesis 3 is at odds with belief
in an old earth, i.e., disbelief in Genesis 1. If the
chronology of Genesis 1 is wrong, and the earth and some
species are billions of years old, then the account of the
fall in Genesis 3 is equally non-historical, scientifically
speaking. The evidence from paleontology, as interpreted in
terms of uniformitarianism, testifies against Genesis 3 as
much as it testifies against Genesis 1.
Time frames based on uniformitarian geology and
paleontology are inconsistent with Genesis 1. If any Bible
commentator says that Genesis 1 can accommodate
uniformitarian time frames, he has a major problem.
Uniformitarian time frames are equally inconsistent with
Genesis 3, which teaches that man's fall brought the earth
under a curse. What curse? The curse of death? That
biological phenomenon had afflicted millions of species for
millions of years, according to academic paleontology.
In a world believed to be 4.6 billion years old, the
biblical doctrine of original sin will inevitably be
replaced by a concept of sin that is not covenantal. God's
covenantal curse on nature disappears in paleontology's
record of universal death and the continual extinction of
species. So does any uniquely covenantal curse on man.
Death comes to man today just as it has always come to all
land creatures, beginning eons before man. The
uniformitarian scientist says that death is exclusively
biological, not covenantal. The evidence from the fossil
record, when interpreted in terms of uniformitarian
processes and time frames, supports this view.
The removal of the historical basis of Christianity's
doctrine of original sin has always been the chief selling
point of Darwinism. The denial of original sin is what a
direct-response advertiser would call Darwinism's unique
selling proposition (USP). Furthermore, along with the
annulment of original sin comes the annulment of the
doctrine of representative redemption -- the redemption of
both mankind and the creation, just as Paul wrote.
Uniformitarianism is a poison-tipped dagger pointed at
the heart of the gospel. No idea in man's history has done
more to undermine men's faith in the gospel than the siamese
twin doctrines of geological uniformitarianism and genetic-
biological uniformitarianism. The modern secular worldview
rests on these twin pillars.
A LOSING TRADE
Six-day creationists are today being asked by
academically employed Christians to abandon their belief in
the specific and clear words of Genesis 1. But why should
they? Answer: for the sake of holding a supposedly
scientific position that also denies the historicity of
Genesis 3, which Christians are still supposed to believe
was a literal, historical event.
Again, why should Bible-believing make this trade?
They gain no academic respectability for a halfway-house
uniformitarianism -- Genesis 1, but not Genesis 3 -- yet
they risk surrendering the doctrines of original sin and
Christ's redemption. What is the benefit?
The uniformitarian asks the Christian first to
surrender his faith in the plain words of Genesis 1. "It
doesn't really matter when man was created, does it?" Yes,
it does. Unfortunately, Presbyterian seminary professors
have almost always said, "No, it really doesn't."
Then the Christian is asked to surrender the doctrine
of a unique ethical rebellion by Adam that brought the whole
earth under a curse. At this point, academic Presbyterians
begin to resist the evidence of uniformitarian geology and
paleontology. They begin to see where geological
uniformitarianism is headed. But still they do not reverse
their acceptance of a re-interpreted Genesis 1. Why won't
they resist uniformitarianism earlier in the book of
Genesis? Personal quirks? Who knows?
My point is this: once a Christian accepts conventional
scientific explanations about the great age of the earth --
explanations that are based on the presupposition of
geological uniformitarianism -- and then attempts to
harmonize these explanations with Genesis 1, there is no
hermeneutical principle that clearly says, "Stop!" at
-- Henry Pat (HenryPat@ConspiraciesRus.edu), September 26, 2000.
The camel of geological uniformitarian has its nose
inside the ecclesiastical tent: Genesis 1. We are assured
by men who have opened the tent's flaps so the camel can
sniff inside that the rest of him will be kept outside.
Northern Presbyterians received the same assurance from
Princeton Seminary's faculty. Then, between 1876 and 1936,
the modernists' uniformitarian camel pushed its way in. In
June, 1936, it kicked out the Calvinists. The
uniformitarian camel's entry was repeated in the Southern
Presbyterian Church, 1930-70.
"But not this time!" we are assured. "That will never
happen again. It's different this time. We say to the
camel, 'Thus far, and no farther!' Lyell, yes; Darwin, no!
A uniformitarian Genesis 1, yes; Genesis 3, no! Trust us."
Admittedly, the threat today is probably not the
invasion of theological liberalism. Theological liberalism
is on life-support systems today. It has all the strength
of the Russian economy. But when we surrender a literal
interpretation of Genesis 1, we implicitly surrender the
interpretation of a biblical text to the findings of
academic humanism. This is a practice that cannot easily be
restricted. It spreads beyond Genesis 1.
It also plays games with the Confession.
CONTINUITY: COVENANTALISM VS. UNIFORMITARIANISM
Without fixed intellectual reference points, rational
thought is impossible. To think clearly through time, men
need reference points in order to perceive coherent change.
My favorite example in this regard is the popular post-
Einstein phrase, "Space is curved." The correct answer is:
"Compared to what?"
Christians have a fixed reference point: God. "For I
am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are
not consumed" (Mal. 3:6). This unchanging God has revealed
Himself to men in history by means of His unchanging Word,
the Bible, which remains authoritative through time. "All
scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction
in righteousness" (II Tim. 3:16). God has established a
series of covenants with man: personal, ecclesiastical,
civil, and familial. They provide judicial continuity.
Uniformitarianism is the humanist's version of the
Bible's doctrine of covenantal continuity. Unlike biblical
covenantalism, uniformitarianism is cosmically impersonal.
God does not direct uniformitarian change. There is no
cosmic purpose behind it. This is the heart, mind, and soul
of Darwinism: cosmic impersonalism. Evolution is by natural
selection alone . . . until man arrives. With man, however,
scientifically directed evolution becomes possible. Man
becomes sovereign. Surprise, surprise!
The Bible teaches that man is made in God's image. God
can communicate to man verbally only because man can think
God's thoughts after Him. In this respect, man is a unique
creature. Only the angels share this ability.
God has placed man under covenantal laws, which man can
begin to obey only through God's grace. There is a
continuity of covenantal law through time. This means that
there is continuity of meaning, including the meaning of
language. Jesus said: "Heaven and earth shall pass away,
but my words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35). This is
why the Bible speaks authoritatively to all men across
borders and through time. The work of God's law is written
on every human heart (Rom. 2:14-15). Men rebel knowingly
against this testimony (Rom. 1:18-22). This is why every
unredeemed person is condemned by God's law. This is why we
must preach the gospel: the same gospel that Paul preached
(Gal. 1). The gospel has continuity.
A comprehensive cultural war is being fought today
between two versions of cosmic continuity: impersonal
uniformitarianism vs. biblical covenantalism.
Uniformitarianism teaches that nature's rates of change have
remained constant; therefore, the universe is old. The
Bible teaches that God's Word is constant; therefore, the
universe is young, just as the Bible teaches (Gen. 1).
There is no way to reconcile these rival views. The
uniformitarians have always recognized this fact; most
academically employed Christians have not. One view or the
other must win the cultural-intellectual-confessional war.
The Darwinists know this. Academic Christians rarely do.
The debate over Genesis 1 inside the churches is a
debate between these two irreconcilable views of continuity.
This debate has been going on inside the Presbyterian Church
for two centuries because Presbyterian scholars have adopted
a uniformitarian view of the age of the earth. Beginning in
the early nineteenth century, ordained Presbyterian
ministers refused to enforce Chapter IV, Paragraph I. By
the end of the century, humanistic uniformitarians received
ordination, for they reinterpreted all of the Confession of
Faith -- or simply ignored it -- just as they ignored
Chapter IV, Paragraph I.
Here is the dividing question: "Which is the
authoritative principle of interpretation: the continuity of
impersonal nature or the continuity of God's written Word?"
This raises a second question: "Should we interpret the
facts of geology and the facts of man's genetic development
in terms of the continuity of God's written revelation or
the continuity of uniformitarianism?"
Most academic Presbyterians argue that the Hebrew word
for "day" is temporally indeterminate. So, we are assured,
when God told the Israelites that they had to rest on the
seventh day of the week because God had done so during the
creation week, God did not really mean that He had created
the world in six days that were comparable in duration to
the covenantal day of rest. On the contrary, the meaning of
the six days of creation is temporally indeterminate.
In the Presbyterian academics' view, "day" means
anything you want it to mean on the day you take your
ordination exam. This is a form of linguistic
discontinuity. The more discontinuous theological
terminology becomes, the more this leads to ecclesiastical
inclusivism: the lowest common denominator, confessionally
speaking. The liberals imitated the day-age creationists at
Princeton Seminary by adopting linguistic discontinuity as
their technique for gaining ordination. It allowed them to
affirm what they did not believe.
&nbs p; CROSSED FINGERS ON ORDINATION DAY
We have seen all this before. In June of 1923, in the
midst of the Northern Presbyterian Church's judicial
conflict over modernist Harry Emerson Fosdick's 1922 sermon,
"Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" Fosdick's New York
Presbytery ordained two young men, Henry P. Van Dusen and
Cedric Lehman. Van Dusen later became president of Union
Seminary. He became a prominent modernist. Lehman is long
forgotten. But what Lehman did -- and got away with --
should never be forgotten by Presbyterians. What he did was
recorded by THE PRESBYTERIAN (June 21, 1923), then a
He, on being questioned, asserted that he
could not affirm belief in the bodily resurrection
of Christ. Asked how he could repeat the
Apostles' Creed with his people, Mr. Layman
[Lehman] said: "I would repeat the creed, but with
an interpretation in my own mind."
Here is what I wrote about this representative incident
in Chapter 8 of my book, CROSSED FINGERS: HOW THE LIBERALS
CAPTURED THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (1996).
Without negative sanctions against such hypocrisy
-- hypocrisy elevated to a strategy of subversion
-- the conservatives could not save their Church.
If they could not keep out Cedric Lehman, they
could not keep out anyone willing to play mental
games with the most minimal of Christian creeds.
Lehman and those like him did not believe the
creeds and confessions of the historic Church,
Presbyterian or otherwise (p. 503).
[You can download a free copy of my book at this
Candidates for ordination still use this tactic in
Calvinistic Presbyterian denominations. Men who do not
believe in the six-day creation do what Mr. Lehman did with
the doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Christ. They
mentally substitute opposite meanings for the explicit words
of the Westminster Confession and the two catechisms.
Sometimes they even admit this, just as Lehman did. They
are deliberately evading the original intent of the
Westminster divines. The members of the Westminster
Assembly believed in creation in six days, just as Calvin
did -- no figurative language, no symbolism: six days.
There is no doubt that they believed this. For historical
documentation on this point, go to:
&nbs p; http://www.capo.org/creation.html
These candidates for the eldership are also denying the
continuity of biblical language: Genesis 1 to Revelation.
This is the crucial hermeneutical point. They are denying
(1) the continuity of biblical language, (2) the continuity
of biblical meaning, and (3) the continuity of the
stipulations of the elders' covenant oath of the
Presbyterian Church -- an oath based on the continuity of
language and meaning, as every covenant oath must be.
If they swore in a civil court as falsely as they swear
on their ordination day, and then got caught, they could be
tried for perjury.
Modern covenant-breaking man takes civil government far
more seriously than he takes ecclesiastical government. In
this, he mimics Presbyterian elders. Presbyterian elders
also take civil oaths more seriously than they take their
own ecclesiastical oaths. Civil magistrates can impose
severe negative sanctions for testifying falsely.
Presbyterian denominations are far more liberal in the
amount of false oath-taking they regard as "little white
An oath without the threat of negative sanctions is not
an oath. It is merely one opinion among others.
The doctrine of the six-day creation is crucial in
protecting the church from all forms of uniformitarianism.
So is the interpretative principle of literalism as applied
to Genesis 1. First, Genesis 1, more than any passage in
Scripture, makes clear the Creator-creature distinction.
Man is not God. God is sovereign, not man. Second, it
presents the covenantal hierarchy: God > man > nature (Gen.
Darwinism is the supreme antithesis to both the
absolute Creator-creature distinction and the covenant, with
its oath-bound historical sanctions. Nevertheless, until
the 1980's, salaried Presbyterian theologians did not
believe in the six-day creation. (Most of them still
don't.) Yes, they all had sworn intellectual allegiance to
documents that affirm the six-day creation, but when they
did this, most of them mentally crossed their fingers.
After all, it was only a little white lie. Everybody was
doing it. On this issue, almost everyone still is.
This same little white lie allowed the transfer the
Northern Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) and the Southern
Presbyterian Church (PCUS) to theological liberals. They
could never have gained control if the Westminster
Confession of Faith's statement on creation had been used
systematically to screen all candidates for the eldership.
A presbytery's Confession-affirming oath should be
administered with the same degree of authority that an oath
in a civil courtroom is: "Do you swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you
God?" Is this to much to ask?
Most Presbyterian teaching elders think so. They fully
understand that if this were done, and if this oath were
actually enforced by church courts, it would shake modern
Calvinistic Presbyterianism to its core.
Like Adam in the chronological theories of academic
Presbyterianism, the six-day creationist movement inside
American Presbyterianism came very late. It came as a
result of a decision by some forgotten editor at Moody Press
sometime in 1959 or early 1960. He sent back the manuscript
of THE GENESIS FLOOD to its fundamentalist authors, Morris
and Whitcomb, asking them to say a few good words about
theistic evolution and day-age creationism. The authors
refused. Then R. J. Rushdoony, at the time a pastor in the
Orthodox Presbyterian Church, intervened. He offered to
send the manuscript to Hays Craig, who owned Presbyterian &
Reformed Publishing Company. The authors agreed. Craig
published the book in 1961, and it became P&R's first best-
selling book. Morris tells this story in his book, HISTORY
OF MODERN CREATIONISM (1984), p. 154.
Six-day creationists have the Bible and the Westminster
standards on their side. They do not have the crossed-
fingers ordination tradition and the Presbyterian
educational establishment on their side.
They also do not have their General Assembly on their
side. Not yet. But this can be changed. To understand why
and how it can be changed, you must first understand how the
Presbyterian legal system works. It works pretty much the
way the American legal system works. It cheats.
UNOFFICIAL REVISIONS OF A CONSTITUTION
Ever since the founding of Princeton Seminary in 1811,
theologians in Presbyterian seminaries have played a game of
private reinterpretation of the Westminster Confession of
Faith and the two catechisms. The "good guys" have done
this as surely as their theological opponents did, but not
nearly so often. In order to be ordained as ministers of
the gospel, they have said publicly that they agreed with
these standards, but in fact they have disagreed with the
documents' affirmation of the six-day creation. Then they
have taught their students various ways of interpreting
Genesis 1 other than literally. They replicate themselves.
They send these students into the ministry. To be ordained
in a Presbyterian church, you must run the gauntlet of
seminary. This gauntlet usually includes getting taught
that Genesis 1 need not be interpreted literally.
In short, Presbyterian seminary professors have
cheated. In doing so, they have deliberately undermined the
Presbyterian principle of constitutional law.
The crossed-fingers tactic has been seen as necessary
by seminary-trained men because of their years of
indoctrination by uniformitarian humanists in college. This
is required of every candidate for the Presbyterian
ministry: a bachelor's degree granted by an approved
(meaning humanist-accredited) four-year college.
General Assemblies have granted to all Presbyterian
pastors the same liberty of conscience enjoyed by seminary
professors. What they profess to believe on ordination day
is not what they really believe. This is considered by even
the most conservative Presbyterian denominations to be
liberty of conscience and morally justified.
This kind of liberty of conscience is not what Luther
was talking about. It is not the liberty of a man to openly
challenge the standards of a hierarchical church and face
the consequences. It is rather a liberty of conscience that
allows self-conscious deceivers to join with other deceivers
to set up a judicial system where those under their
covenantal jurisdiction -- laymen -- are ruled by men who do
not in fact believe or enforce the church's constitution,
which the members have been told is judicially
authoritative. Liberty of conscience now means guilt-free
deception of one's employers: laymen.
In his classic book, CHRISTIANITY AND LIBERALISM
(1923), Princeton Seminary's J. Gresham [GRESSum] Machen
[MAYchen] complained about the deception -- the downright
lying -- that went on during ordination. Machen fought this
practice, but he lost. He was de-frocked in 1936.
It is required of all officers in the
Presbyterian Church, including the ministers, that
at their ordination they make answer "plainly" to
a series of questions which begins with the two
following: "Do you believe the Scriptures of the
Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, the
only infallible rule of faith and practice? " "Do
you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of
Faith of this Church, as containing the system of
doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures? "
If these "constitutional principles" do not
fix clearly the creedal basis of the Presbyterian
Church, it is difficult to see how any human
language could possibly do so. Yet immediately
after making such a solemn declaration,
immediately after declaring that the Westminster
Confession contains the system of doctrine taught
in infallible Scriptures, many ministers of the
Presbyterian Church will proceed to decry that
same Confession and the doctrine of the
infallibility of Scripture to which they have just
solemnly subscribed! (p. 163)
This tactic of crossed fingers is still being used.
The chief divisive issue has changed: from higher criticism
of the Bible to the six-day creation. Elders who have sworn
an oath before God and their presbyteries that they believe
that the Confession teaches a system of doctrine that is
consistent with the Bible do not believe all of the
Confession. They do not make a public admission of their
specific objections prior to their ordination, as required
by the Adopting Act of 1729 and all subsequent American
Presbyterian law. The Adopting Act said:
And we do also agree, yt [that] all the
Presbyteries within our Bounds shall always take
Care not to admit any Candidate of the Ministry
into the Exercise of the sacred Function, but what
declares his Agreement in opinion with all the
Essential and Necessary Articles of said
Confession, either by subscribing the said
Confession of Faith and Catechisms, or by a verbal
Declaration of their assent thereto, as such
Minister or Candidate shall think best. And in
Case any Minister of this Synod or any Candidate
for the Ministry shall have any Scruple with
respect to any Article or Articles of sd.
Confession or Catechisms, he shall at the Time of
his making sd. Declaration declare his Sentiments
to the Presbytery or Synod, who shall
notwithstanding admit him to ye Exercise of the
Ministry within our Bounds and to Ministerial
Communion if the Synod or Presbytery shall judge
his scruple or mistake to be only about articles
not Essential and necessary in Doctrine, Worship
This was the agreement that made possible large-
denomination Presbyterianism in America. It should still be
honored. It remains part of the ordination vows. In fact,
the vow goes beyond it. The vow extends throughout a man's
office, not just on ordination day. Section 21-5 of the
PCA's BOOK OF CHURCH ORDER reads:
2. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the
Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this
Church, as containing the system of doctrine
taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further
promise that if at any time you find yourself out
of accord with any of the fundamentals of this
system of doctrine, you will on your own
initiative, make known to your Presbytery the
change which has taken place in your views since
the assumption of this ordination vow?
The sad fact is, the Adopting Act has not been honored,
even in the breach, and the result has been devastating.
Candidates for the ministry have not suffered sanctions for
disobeying it. They crossed their fingers, lied, got
ordained, and were "home free" for the remainder of their
careers. This system of ordination served as a large sign
in the PCUSA and PCUS, from 1876 to 1970: "Come and get us! "
Liberals saw that sign and took advantage of it.
The OPC has not included the language of the Adopting
Act in its ordination requirements. This means,
technically, that the OPC mandates strict subscription: no
exceptions to the Westminster standards. But this, of
course, is not the confessional reality. The denomination
is as probably lenient on subscription as the PCA is. It
surely is on the creation issue. Crossed fingers are
I am not a strict Confessionalist. The Confession is
not the Bible. It cannot be equal to the Bible. It
therefore cannot be immune to revisions. It must not become
the Presbyterians' version of the BOOK OF MORMON or SCIENCE
AND HEALTH. There has to be a way for a man to get into the
denomination as an ordained elder in order for him to debate
possible revisions. The Adopting Act provided a way to
achieve this. So, I call myself an Adoptionist. This means
I am totally opposed to crossed fingers.
Nowhere is the refusal to confess one's non- agreement
clearer than with the issue of the six-day creation. This
has been true in Presbyterianism for so long that until very
recent years, all presbyteries simply assumed that no
candidate believed in the six-day creation, so there was no
need to require that he admit this publicly.
To revise the Confession officially in order to make
theological room for the speculations of uniformitarian
geology has seemed too controversial. It was far easier and
far less controversial to revise the Confession by
unofficial hierarchical decree: a refusal of the church's
courts to prosecute ordained men who do not in fact believe
what the Confession clearly says. That is to say, teaching
elders implicitly agree not to prosecute each other. The
theological issues never get settled through a public debate
over the formal revision of the Confession of Faith.
Consider the terrible moral dilemma that this places on
a candidate who believes most of the Confession. He knows
that the Presbyterian Church will never revise the
Confession officially. He has no hope of joining in an open
movement to purify the Confession through debate and formal
revision. The Presbyterian Church does not revise the
Confession through open debate and voting by presbyteries,
as the BOOK OF CHURCH ORDER requires. Instead, it revises
the Confession by unofficial agreement among ordained
officers. (In southern American politics, they would be
called Good Old Boys. In England, this is called the Old
Presbyterian Church officers have set up a judicial
system in which prospective officers must swear allegiance
to a Constitution/Confession that not one of them fully
believes. To make this system work, there is an unofficial
quid pro quo: "You affirm belief in whatever you don't
really believe, just as we have all affirmed belief in
whatever we really did not believe, and we'll all
reciprocate by unofficially agreeing not to prosecute each
other at General Assembly. Have we got a deal here? "
The conscience of a righteous newcomer is compromised
from the day he accepts ordination under these conditions:
crossed fingers. He becomes part of a traditional
subterfuge that is now well over two centuries old. This is
modern-day liberty of conscience in Presbyterianism. It
means guilt-free lying, generation after generation.
Presbyterian liberals recognized the name of this game
very early. After 1875, a handful of theological liberals
in the PCUSA (Northern) launched a successful long-term
strategy to take over the denomination by gaining control of
its permanent boards, commissions, and courts. After 1894,
no theological liberal was ever convicted for heresy at the
General Assembly level in the PCUSA. If you want the whole
story, click through and download my book, CROSSED FINGERS.
Chapter 6 deals with the liberals' strategy after 1900.
&nbs p; http://www.freebooks.com
&nbs p; ORIGINAL INTENT
For two centuries, Presbyterian elders have self-
consciously abandoned the church's written rules governing
formal commitment to the Constitution of the church. They
have played the same game that the U.S. Supreme Court has
played: honoring the Constitution in name, but interpreting
it any way the Court pleases. In civil government, this
system of Constitutional revision is revision by a Supreme
Court's vote. In Presbyterian government, this is
Constitutional revision by a majority vote in a General
Assembly in its capacity as a supreme court.
The U.S. Supreme Court considers judicially irrelevant
the original intent of the members of the Constitutional
Convention who gathered in Philadelphia in May of 1787 to
revise the Articles of Confederation, as well as the state
conventions that ratified the new Constitution in 1788.
Likewise do Presbyterian elders at General Assembly meetings
regard the original intent of the Westminster divines, 1643-
Our political rulers ask: "Why bother to formally amend
the U.S. Constitution? The Supreme Court will do it for
us." Our ecclesiastical rulers ask: "Why bother to formally
amend the Westminster Confession? The General Assembly,
acting in its capacity as the church's supreme court, will
do it for us." The result in both realms is the same:
constitutional amendment by judicial decree. This is what
the American Revolution was fought to overturn --
Parliamentary sovereignty without a written Constitution --
and what Parliament in 1643 assembled the Westminster
Assembly to overturn ecclesiastically: the rule of sovereign
bishops. We are right back where our forefathers started,
despite what the two constitutions say.
What is the purpose of the U.S. Constitution today? To
serve as a traditional symbol of continuity. Its terms are
enforced at the discretion of the Supreme Court. What is
the purpose of the Westminster Confession today? To serve
as a traditional symbol of continuity. Its terms are
enforced at the discretion of a General Assembly.
This system of constitutional reinterpretation by
judicial decree began in the General Assembly of the
American Presbyterian Church before it did in Supreme Court
of the United States. The American Presbyterian Church is
older than the United States.
Original intent as a doctrine of constitutional
interpretation perished in the various General Assemblies of
the Presbyterian Church long before it perished in the halls
of the U.S. Supreme Court. What the members of the
Westminster Assembly believed their words meant in 1646
became judicially irrelevant for General Assemblies long
before what the members of the Constitutional Convention
believed their words meant in 1787 became judicially
irrelevant for the U.S. Supreme Court.
The results have been similar: freedom for supreme
courts to do whatever they please without serious opposition
by the voters who live under their jurisdiction. Voters in
both realms can change this, but only at a cost higher than
most of them are willing to pay.
I think it's time for a change. Because the problem
arose earlier in the Presbyterian Church, the solution
should begin there, too.
Maybe we can't do anything significant about how the
U.S. Supreme Court interprets the U.S. Constitution, but I
guarantee you, six-day creationists are sufficiently
numerous today to make a tremendous difference in
Calvinistic Presbyterian churches.
I believe that creationists can reverse the tide and
return Presbyterianism to the Westminster Confession on this
crucial theological-historical issue. This will take a
long-term strategy and tactics that are consistent with this
If this interests you, keep reading.
&nbs p; A CONFESSION OF NON-FAITH
As we have seen, the Adopting Act of 1729, the
agreement that unified the New York ("English") and
Philadelphia ("Scottish") presbyteries, required that at the
time of ordination, a candidate for the eldership had to
declare any disagreements he had with the Confession of
Faith or the two catechisms. This allowed the presbyteries
to determine whether they could tolerate the confessor's
degree of non-faith.
On the issue of six-day creationism, there is no
indication that this was done every time, or even normally,
after 1800. Yet not to do it, and not to believe in a six-
day creation, was deliberate subterfuge by teaching elders
to gain lifetime employment. It is not clear to me when
doubts regarding the six-day creation became so universal
among candidates for the Presbyterian ministry that the
presbyteries stopped insisting on a public admission of such
doubt before the vote to ordain. It could not have been
later than the early nineteenth century. On the six-day
creation, crossed fingers has been ecclesiastically
acceptable for two centuries -- maybe longer.
Millions of Presbyterian laymen have believed a literal
view of Genesis 1. But their pastors have all too often
regarded with condescension such a Baptist-like view of the
origin of the universe. They have thought to themselves,
"Poor souls; these people never enjoyed the benefit of four
years of college and three years of seminary. Still, they
are decent people. No need for me to awaken them from their
slumbers . . . and also risk getting fired." These pastors
avoid preaching on Genesis 1. Then they vote to ordain
others who agree with them.
Laymen affirm what the Westminster Assembly believed,
and they are treated by their pastors as uneducated children
for doing so. Such has been the upside-down condition of
Presbyterian confessionalism for two centuries or more. The
sheep are closer to the Westminster Assembly on this
fundamental doctrine than their shepherds are.
Laymen teach their children the Shorter Catechism. If
their sons ever go to a Presbyterian seminary, they will
probably be taught that the Shorter Catechism really does
not mean what their parents taught them and what the Shorter
Catechism clearly says. No, it means something else. What,
then? It means whatever candidates want it to mean during
their ordination examinations.
Laymen -- poor, naive souls that they are -- are
expected by seminary faculties to put up with this,
generation after generation. And, incredibly, they do put
up with it. They even pay for it with their tithes and
The doctrine of Darwinian evolution begins with highly
educated people and moves down the educational hierarchy.
Theological liberals after 1875 were able to indoctrinate
seminary professors first, then the pastors, and finally a
majority of the ruling elders. Laymen were supposed to go
along. Not all of them did. Today, there is a larger
percentage of confessionally conservative laymen in the
PCUSA and the PCUS than there among PCUSA seminary
professors and pastors.
Crossed fingers had led by 1930 to the nearly universal
corruption of the shepherds' confessions of faith in the
PCUSA. Mainline Presbyterian Church laymen, who were not
invited to play the game of crossed fingers, kept their
faith closer to the Bible's far longer than the oath-takers
Over time, laymen in the non-mainline Presbyterian
denominations have also lost faith in the Confession's
specifics. But on the doctrine of creation, a higher
percentage of laymen than pastors still believe in the
Confession's clear position, and a higher percentage of
pastors than seminary professors believe in it. Everyone
knows this, but nobody is supposed to say this publicly.
For the record, I'm saying it publicly.
On the doctrine of creation, it is the shepherds who
have wandered astray. The sheep must now go out and search
for them, to bring them home safely. If they can do this
successfully, then a joint search team of sheep and
shepherds can be assembled to go looking for wandering
seminary professors, who are always regarded as the easiest
pickings by wolves.
How should the sheep begin this lost-and- found process?
I suggest four steps. First, they should send their
contributions only to Presbyterian seminaries that openly
teach the six-day creation, and only the six-day creation,
and by asking their churches' sessions to do the same.
Second, they should vote for deacons and ruling elders who
openly affirm the six-day creation. Third, they should ask
ministerial search committees to invite only candidates who
believe in the six-day creation.
Fourth, and most important, laymen should pray.
-- Henry Pat (HenryPat@ConspiraciesRus.edu), September 26, 2000.
Completely off topic of the thread, but trying to be helpful here..... :-)
Here's one of the best HTML sites I've ever seen -- Sizzling HTML Jalfrezi.
They cover everything -- tables, lists, formatting, etc.
-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), September 26, 2000.
GOT THIS PART??How should the sheep begin this lost-and- found process? I suggest four steps. First, they should send their contributions only to Presbyterian seminaries that openly teach the six-day creation, and only the six-day creation, and by asking their churches' sessions to do the same. Second, they should vote for deacons and ruling elders who openly affirm the six-day creation. Third, they should ask ministerial search committees to invite only candidates who believe in the six-day creation. Fourth, and most important, laymen should pray. They
should pray fervently and continually that Presbyterian
seminaries will return to the Confession on creation. They
should also pray that, in the meantime, seminary students
will be exposed to serious, detailed theological books and
materials that favor the Confession's position on creation.
Pray that these students, by God's grace, will see that
uniformitarianism has been the devil's own tool in
undermining Christians' faith in Genesis 1-11, and from
there, the rest of the Bible.
Prayer, ministerial employment, and seminary salaries:
this is a powerful threesome. If laymen would do this, my
recommendations in Part 2 would be superfluous. Laymen
control the purse strings. If they systematically exercised
this authority to further the cause of six-day creationism,
every other tactic would be secondary. Money talks louder
than anything except prayer, no matter what THE BOOK OF
CHURCH ORDER says.
&nbs p; PRESBYTERIAN LIARS' POKER
Presbyterianism has become a hierarchical system of
comparative lying. I call it Presbyterian liars' poker.
Whoever offers the biggest lie and gets away with it, wins.
What does he win? Church authority.
Laymen have been losing this game for two centuries.
They are lousy liars. They just can't keep a straight face.
They never make it into the playoffs. Seminary professors
have always won the finals.
Liars' poker is the liberals' game of choice. But this
doesn't stop conservative seminary professors from playing,
generation after generation. "Yes, we're down, but we can
win it back." But liberals enforce the rules (academic
accreditation agencies). They always take home the pot.
They never lose if the game keeps going long enough.
Presbyterianism's conservative seminary graduates lost
control over both the Northern and the Southern Presbyterian
churches when they got out-lied by the liberals, who crossed
their fingers far more often. It was a century-long game of
liars' poker: in the Northern Church, 1876-1936; in the
Southern Church, 1930-1970. The liberals cleaned out the
I wrote CROSSED FINGERS to tell the story of how the
conservatives' long-term tactic of crossing their fingers
during their ordination exams led to the liberals' triumph.
Read Chapter 7 on the 1925 Scopes "monkey" trial, where the
Northern Presbyterian ruling elder William Jennings Bryan
got his day-age clock cleaned by the atheist lawyer Clarence
Darrow. Unlike most of the script of INHERIT THE WIND, the
following exchange really did take place. Darrow asked
Bryan if he accepted the date of creation (Bishop Ussher's
estimate) of 4004 B.C. Bryan said he had never made such a
Darrow: "What do you think? "
Bryan: "I do not think about the things I don't
Darrow: "Do you think about the things you do
Bryan: "Well, sometimes."
&nbs p; http://www.freebooks.com
The standard reply of old-earth defenders is this: "The
great theologians of American Presbyterianism did not hold
to a six-day creation, no matter what the Confession said."
Here is an appropriate response: "Those men lost the
Northern and Southern Presbyterian churches to the liberals
because, at the time of their ordination, they crossed their
fingers and lied about their commitment to the Westminster
standards. The liberals were much better liars, and they
stole the denomination, including its real estate. We've
seen this before. When will it stop?"
It matters very much what words say in every
constitution. If some words are no longer believed by those
who swear allegiance to the document, then the words should
be officially amended. Playing mental games in order to
affirm these words, while silently denying their meaning,
will hand any denomination to a new generation of liberals.
This surrender always begins with crossed fingers. Think
"lowest common denominator." This is where the tactic of
crossed fingers always winds up. It takes time, but defeat
is guaranteed. The Confessionalists are morally compelled
to leave the denomination and start over.
Whenever you hear a Presbyterian theologian say, "It
doesn't really matter what the actual words of the biblical
test say; they mean something else," get out a copy of the
Confession. See what it says.
Whenever you hear a Presbyterian theologian say, "It
doesn't really matter what the actual words of the
Westminster Confession say," keep your hand upon your wallet
and your back against the wall.
Those who are opposed to six-day creationism say both.
I say: There comes a time to stop granting positive
sanctions to these people, especially money.
Laymen, it's our money. Once we pay our tithes, what
remains is our money as God's stewards. We do not owe a
brass farthing to someone who teaches seminary students that
words don't really matter. If our sessions keep sending
money to seminaries that keep men on the faculty who teach
as though they believe this, then we have a right and an
obligation to ask our sessions, politely but firmly, to stop
sending money. Send it to Confession-defending seminaries.
Send it to missionaries. Send it to the crisis pregnancy
center. But stop subsidizing deception.
To seminary faculty members, I say this: You owe it to
your students to teach them what the Confession says and why
it says it. When you knowingly teach your students that the
Confession's words are wrong, you owe it to them to make
them masters of the biblical texts that prove how wrong the
Confession is, because no other authority is superior to the
Confession in Presbyterianism. Do not send your students
out to play crossed fingers any longer. Send them out to
stand before their presbyteries and say, "The Confession is
wrong. The catechisms are wrong. Here I stand. I can do
no other. I'm ready to debate my case here and now." This
is what the Adopting Act has always required, and you owe it
to your students to prepare them accordingly.
To sessions, I say: Until this is done, stop sending
money to these seminaries. They are undermining the
authority of the presbyteries by sending out students who
(1) do not know the Confession, (2) cannot defend their
objections exegetically, and/or (3) cross their fingers and
hope no one asks them questions on Genesis 1-11.
You get what you pay for. Stop paying for what you
&nbs p; THE FRAMEWORK HYPOTHESIS
In seminary, students who have adopted geological
uniformitarianism recognize early that they cannot accept
the Westminster Confession's account of the creation week,
for it follows "slavishly" the clear text of Genesis 1. So,
they begin to search for an academically and institutionally
acceptable way to evade questions regarding their belief in
the six-day creation on their ministerial ordination
examination day. There are two major positions that allow
this: the day-age theory and the framework hypothesis. (A
third, the analogical day theory, is barely known.)
The day-age theory of creation is exegetically weak.
It says that one day is as a thousand years -- scratch that:
three billion years -- to the Lord. But there is an
unsolvable problem with this theory. No matter how long the
slow process of creation took, Genesis 1 says that the earth
(day one) was created before the sun, moon, and stars (day
four). Astronomers will ridicule you if you offer the age-
day hypothesis as your solution to the "uniformitarian
science vs. Genesis 1" problem. You may get by your
ordination exam, but intellectually, you look silly to
uniformitarian scientists. You might as well believe in the
six-day creation for all the respect the day-age theory gets
from humanistic astronomers.
The solution that is slowly growing in popularity today
among Presbyterian geological uniformitarians is the
framework hypothesis. This theory teaches that Genesis 1's
chronological account of days 1 through 6 is not actually
chronological. The six days were not sequential. Genesis
1's account of the days of creation is a literary device.
Days 1-6 constitute a three-part literary framework. The
activities of day 1 and day 4 match, as do day 2 and day 5,
and day 3 and day 6. The creation week in Genesis is a week
that is not made up of days in sequence. (I know: this
sounds goofy. But, as Dave Barry says, I am not making this
I have never met anyone who adopted it simply by
reading Genesis 1. I think a man has to attend a
Calvinistic Presbyterian seminary to believe it, unless he
is a Presbyterian elder who has been under the ministry of a
pastor who learned this interpretation at seminary.
To say that this 1-4, 2-5, 3-6 interpretation of the
days of the creation week is going to be a hard sell to
Presbyterian laymen who have taught their children the
Shorter Catechism is putting it mildly.
It is time for Confessionalists to do what they can to
educate laymen to make it an even harder sell.
Genesis 1 says that the earth was created before the
stars, but frameworkers insist that this doesn't mean that
the earth was created before the stars. It means . . .
well, frameworkers never say exactly what it means, except
for this: it means that they don't have to believe that the
words of Chapter IV, Paragraph I of the Westminster
Confession of Faith are binding on them. They get to
substitute other meanings for these words.
The ordination exam tactic adopted by frameworkers to
deal with the Confession's words "six" and "days" is
reminiscent of Humpty Dumpty's words in Chapter 6 of ALICE
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather
a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it
to mean -- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can
make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is
to be master -- that's all."
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so
after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again.
"They've a temper, some of them -- particularly
verbs, they're the proudest -- adjectives you can
do anything with, but not verbs -- however, I can
manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability!
That's what I say!"
Impenetrability -- that can be very useful when you
hold a view opposed to the Confession.
Here is what the framework hypothesis advocates are
really saying: the Westminster divines made a big, big
mistake. They did not see the literary nature of Genesis 1.
Neither did the Hodges. Neither did Warfield and Machen.
These men were old-fashioned. These days, the framework
hypothesis is what's hot. It proclaims a new principle of
interpretation: "symbolism over sequence."
In 1963, Westminster Seminary's Old Testament
professor, Edward J. Young, attacked the framework
hypothesis in the pages of the WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL
JOURNAL. His essays were reprinted in 1964 as a book:
STUDIES IN GENESIS ONE. They were ostensibly aimed at a
Dutch defender of the framework hypothesis, Nic Ridderbos,
but some of us who were attending Westminster Seminary in
those antediluvian days figured out who the target really
was: Young's colleague, Meredith G. Kline.
Young did not define the Hebrew word for "day" -- yom -
- as a 24-hour day. This left open the question of
chronology. But he was adamant: the Bible teaches that the
six days of creation occurred sequentially, one after the
other. There is no literary framework in Genesis 1.
Kline has had almost forth years to respond to Young's
essays. So far, he has remained silent. This has been his
policy throughout his career. He writes a weird essay. A
theologian responds. He never mentions the original article
again. He never responds.
Kline did the same thing in his 1978 attack on
Bahnsen's view of theonomy in the WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL
JOURNAL, "A Comment on an Old-New Error." Bahnsen responded
in detail a year later in the JOURNAL OF CHRISTIAN
RECONSTRUCTION. (The editor of the WESTMINSTER JOURNAL, W.
Robert Godfrey, would not let Bahnsen reply in the WTJ.)
Kline never mentioned theonomy in print again. He never
mentioned Bahnsen in print again. "Bahnsen? Who's
Bahnsen?" Kline apparently has his own personal Memory Hole
that he uses to dispose of inconvenient rebuttals to his
ideas. His followers do not care that this is the way he
It is not my way. (But you knew that.)
Kline's students have adopted his framework position.
They apparently do not perceive their problem: Kline does
not defend his position in open debate. The framework
hypothesis is growing slowly in popularity, but it is doing
so without benefit of footnotes. It is not growing in
popularity nearly so fast in Presbyterian circles as the
six-day creation doctrine is.
WHERE'S THE BEEF?
What is amazing is how little scholarly literature
there is that defends the framework hypothesis. The theory
was published first in 1924 by a Dutch professor, Arie
Noordzij. No one reads his essay today, and almost no one
ever did. Kline has written a total of two brief articles,
separated by 38 years. There is no book-length scholarly
defense of the position. It is not widely discussed in
liberal journals of theology. Yet Calvinistic seminary
students are accepting it in increasing numbers. Why? It
surely is not because they have been exposed in class to a
detailed presentation of the position. Presbyterian
seminary professors do their best to evade the topic of
creationism for the entire curriculum. They pick it up
almost by osmosis. Like a virus, it's going around.
I think it is the failure of the traditional day-age
theory to make new converts that has led to "framework by
default." Men who simply cannot bring themselves to accept
the Confession's position on creation are desperate to find
a Confessional deflector shield, and the framework
hypothesis is the only one that seems to work in ordination
exams. If it ever stops working, they will look for
something else. Almost anything will do.
Today, there is more material attacking the framework
hypothesis than there are published defenses of it. Still,
there is not much material that attacks it. One recent book
is James Jordan's CREATION IN SIX DAYS: A DEFENSE OF THE
TRADITIONAL READING OF GENESIS 1 (Moscow, Idaho: Canon
Press, 1999). Click here:
His 1997 essay on Kline is available on the Web. In
it, he makes a very important observation: despite repeated
unanswered academic refutations, the position continues to
It is interesting to note that the Framework
Hypothesis has been thoroughly refuted over and
over again, and yet it has more adherents today
than ever before. G. C. Aalders of the Free
University of Amsterdam pointed out in 1932 that
(1) in the text of Genesis 1 there is not a single
allusion to suggest that the days are to be
regarded as a merely stylistic device, and that
(2) Exodus 20:11 presents God's activity as a
pattern for man, and this fact presupposes that
there was a reality in the activity of God that
man is to copy. As E. J. Young of Westminster
Theological Seminary pointed out in his book
Studies in Genesis One (Phillipsburg, NJ: Pres. &
Ref. Pub. Co., 1964), no one bothered to answer
Aalders. Young himself went on for fifty pages
refuting the Framework Hypothesis, and to my
knowledge nobody has tried to refute Young.
Jordan has also rebutted Kline's 1996 article, "Space
and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony."
Rev. Kenneth Gentry was one of three authors of a long,
detailed minority report on the debate over the six-day
creation vs. the framework hypothesis. The debate took
place in the Southern California Presbytery of the Orthodox
Presbyterian Church. The debate has gone on for two years:
1998-2000. No official action has been taken to decide the
case, with one exception: the study committee voted 4 to 3
not to allow the minority report to be issued. They said
that the minority report was just too offensive in its tone
for it to be made public. The presbytery then voted to
support the majority's request. I have read the report.
Dr. Gentry is his usual nice-guy self. Now, if I had
written it. . . . Oh, well.
What the majority did was to use presbytery rules in a
way that keeps criticism of the Framework Hypothesis away
from the church at large. They locked up these three
reports until the minority members change their "harsh"
language. Well, those are the rules. If you enter into
public debate through such a system, all fair and square,
you may find yourself facing a gag order.
This tactic reminds me of Mao Tse-tung's announcement
in May, 1956 that he wanted to hear criticisms of the
Communist Party's operations, so that he could reform it.
He told the nation, "Let a hundred flowers bloom." It took
a year for critics to believe him, but by late spring, 1957,
wall posters began appearing criticizing Communist Party.
In June, Mao had the known critics arrested. Some were sent
to prison camps. Result: no more public criticism. That is
surely one way of dealing with critics. I call it "publish
In the Southern California Presbytery of the OPC, they
should call it, "Let a hundred proof-texts bloom."
President Truman uttered a now-famous line, "If you
can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." I pass it
along for what it's worth.
Any intellectual position that is not publicly defended
against its published critics by its main promoter is a
high-risk position to adopt. When his followers use the
threat of judicial sanctions to bottle up a detailed reply
produced by the position's critics, they are obviously in
trouble, exegetically speaking. This is not how long-term
debates are won in open forums.
I asked Rev. Gentry to write a stripped-down version
without any references to the majority report. He sent an
early version. You can receive a copy by clicking here:
&nbs p; mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Gentry and one of the other minority report
authors plan to write a book on the framework hypothesis.
To get on his mailing list to receive further information,
mail him at:
&nbs p; mailto:email@example.com
"UNIFORMITARIAN SCIENCE? ME?"
There have been a few defenders of the framework
hypothesis who have insisted before presbytery that they
came to this opinion based solely on exegesis, not science.
This is highly peculiar.
Any defender of the framework hypothesis who says that
modern uniformitarian time frames did not influence his
decision, and that he committed to it exclusively on the
basis of textual exegesis, is making an astounding claim.
He saying that the handful of theologians who came up with
this strange exegesis were not only wiser exegetically than
the Westminster divines, they were wiser exegetically than
the Hodges and Warfield. Read the writings of Hodge and
Warfield on Genesis 1. They discussed the science of their
day in depth. It is clear that their commitment to
contemporary scientific evidence was the motivational factor
in their abandonment of the Confession's language.
For anyone to ask the Presbyterian Church to abandon
its formal adherence to the Westminster standards on the
basis of an exegetical insight completely independent of
modern science and unheard of prior to 1924, and even then
only in Dutch, is asking a lot. Amazingly, they have
received all that they have asked, including ordination.
The framework hypothesis is an annoyance, but it is not
a serious theological threat to six-day creationism. This
is the good news. The bad news is that it is still
considered one legitimate option among several by the
churches. This reveals an unwillingness to accept the clear
position of the Westminster standards. It is not that the
framework hypothesis is a big threat. It is that the
churches still cannot bring themselves to defend the clear
words of Genesis 1 and the Confession.
&nbs p; THE WILL TO RESIST
Six-day creationism had almost no Presbyterian
defenders in 1958, the year that Kline's first defense of
the framework hypothesis was published in the WESTMINSTER
THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL. This fact has given frameworkers a
head start in the race for hermeneutic supremacy. But ever
since 1961, there has been limited support for a return to
the Confession of Faith's explicit language on creation.
There are teaching elders in presbyteries across the nation
who hold to the six-day creation. The question now is this:
Will they risk losing their reputations as "team players" in
order to defend the Confession?
Is it too late invoke Genesis 1 to stop the influx of
framework hypothesis-affirming candidates into the
Presbyterian ministry? No. It's never too late to
challenge the ordination of someone who denies the plain
words of the Confession. But opponents need more than
Genesis 1. In deal with this in Part 2.
The six-day view is presently limited to laymen, ruling
elders, and a comparative handful of pastors. But its
acceptance is growing among pastors. The day-age view is
dying. Hardly anyone knows what the analogical day position
is. So, this leaves the framework hypothesis as the non-
Confessional wave of the future. Quite frankly, I regard
this as favorable for six-day creationists. Once pastors
read published defenses of the framework hypothesis, its
future will become questionable. The framework hypothesis
reminds me of French movies: the reality does not live up to
the rumors among the cognoscenti.
It reminds me of French movies in another way. Dr.
Kline's articles need subtitles.
&nbs p; DEBATE DEFERS DECISIONS
The creation issue gets debated academically. This
debate has finally moved from academic journals to the
floors of General Assemblies. It's about time. Two
centuries is a bit long to wait -- almost uniformitarian!
Debate is not enough. Academic debate on the days of
creation must not become a replay of the Northern
Presbyterian liberals' tactic in the 1880's to get higher
criticism debated academically. It kept the issue out of
the court system.
The Princetonians got completely suckered by Union
Seminary's Charles A. Briggs: a joint publication venture
with liberal Union, THE PRESBYTERIAN REVIEW, which served as
an official outlet -- in debate form -- for Briggs and other
higher critics. This went on from 1880 to 1889. Then Union
Seminary voted to shut it down. Its work was over. Higher
criticism by 1889 had become a matter of legitimate academic
debate, not church discipline. (See CROSSED FINGERS,
Chapter 3: http://www.freebooks.com) Only Briggs'
needlessly inflammatory rhetoric in 1891 made higher
criticism a matter of church sanctions, and only two men
were de-frocked for holding this view, Briggs (1893) and
Henry Preserved Smith (1894). Their Union Seminary students
continued to flow into the PCUSA. Higher criticism was
taught in all the Northern Presbyterian seminaries except
Princeton by 1925.
Theological debate rarely settles anything in
Presbyterianism. Here is what settles things: comparative
rates of church growth, court decisions, and ordination
Church court decisions are preceded by extensive
jockeying for position. Of course, no one ever wants to
call this jockeying "politics," unless his side has just
suffered a major defeat. After all, we are talking about
God's church. So, I shall not call this jockeying for power
"politics." I shall do what President Carter's chairman of
the Council on Wage and Price Stability, Alfred Kahn, did in
the late 1970's. He never used the word "recession" with
reporters. He told them so up front. Instead, he spoke
only of a banana. He once warned of a double-digit banana.
I shall say it up front. Disagreement over the six-day
creation is going to produce an increase in prunes in the
&nbs p; * * * * * * * * * * *
Part 2 of my report, "Solutions," is aimed at officers
in a Calvinistic Presbyterian Church. It discusses specific
judicial steps that can be taken to restore Calvinistic
Presbyterian denominations to the Confession of Faith on the
issue of creationism. To receive Part 2, you must request
it. Click this link and click "Send." Wait 30 seconds.
Then check your e-mail.
&nbs p; mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
If you liked this report, and you want to share it with
others, a warning: some people may not appreciate getting a
40-page report forwarded to them. It's better to mail a
brief note and let the recipient decide to request it.
Highlight the following note and extract it (Ctrl-C), insert
it in an email (Ctrl-V), and send it to as many people in
your Addresses file as would be interested. This will help!
Gary North has written a 40-page report on
the theological and philosophical issues at stake
in the battle over the six-day creation. You will
receive his report about 30 seconds after you
click on the link and then click "Send":
-- Henry Pat (HenryPat@ConspiraciesRus.edu), September 26, 2000.
Please post a good recipe for white clam sauce using canned clams.
-- (email@example.com), September 29, 2000.
De-hydrated white clam sauce, if possible.
-- King of Spain (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 29, 2000.
White Clam Sauce Recipe Using Canned Clams
1) In one hand, grab one (1) can of clams
2) In the other hand, grab can opener
3) Attach can opener to can of clams
4) Turn handle of can opener in a clockwise motion to open can
5) Carefully remove top of can
6) Pour clams into one (1) small bowl
7) Add white sauce
-- (email@example.com), September 29, 2000.
Recipe for White Sauce:
Brush teeth, get PLENTY of Foam in mouth, swish around to your favorite song, open mouth, push white sauce into the bowl of clams.
-- consumer (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 29, 2000.