By Brannon Howse
The spectacular scope and intensity of Darwinism’s influence on virtually every arena of thought is breathtaking. In a sense, Darwin “started it all.” His books The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life and The Descent of Man, crystallized the worldview he would come to stand for.
The Descent of Man is essentially a call to embrace eugenics, which Darwin euphemistically called “survival of the fittest.” Although Darwin initially described a farm animal breeding program, he eventually made it clear he was talking about human “evolution” as well. The legacy of this one idea has led to the deaths of millions. Here’s how Darwin put it:
With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive exhibit a vigorous state of health….We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. One who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will not doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself; hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
Darwin spins this into his prescription for how to assure the continuing upward progress of mankind:
If…various checks…do not prevent the reckless, the vicious and otherwise inferior members of society from increasing at a quicker rate than the better class of man, the nation will retrograde, as has occurred too often in the history of the world. We must remember that progress is no invariable rule.
While Darwin’s theory of evolution has been readily accepted by all mainstream liberal churches (those belonging to the National and World Council of Churches), it also has made great inroads into evangelical churches and colleges. This issue alone could comprise a book, but the one major surprise is certainly the Nazarene denomination and its pro-evolution colleges.
Nazarene churches are some of the most fundamental, evangelical, evangelistic, orthodox churches in the world, and yet their colleges (Point Loma Nazarene University, Eastern Nazarene College, etc.) reek with Darwinism. Their college bookstores promote Darrel R. Falk’s Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the World Between Faith and Biology (InterVarsity Press, 2004), but you will not find any anti-Darwin works so students can get both sides of the issue. Why not allow students to at least read Stephen C. Meyer’s article in the August 4, 2004 Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington which challenges the theory of Darwinian evolution? It probably won’t hurt the students, but it might hurt their evolutionary professors’ claims to fairness and scholoarship.
Point Loma’s biology professor, Darrel R. Falk, is also the head of BioLogos, a theistic evolution organization which brings its evolution message to hundreds of evangelical churches. It is a scandal in the making. I bet you will not find any information or even a word of warning from this organization on Darwin’s relationship to Adolph Hitler and his Nazism or Joseph Stalin and his communism. Darwinian evolution was the biological basis of both of those death-dealing political movements. BioLogos is also weak on Adam and Even. Most theistic evolutionists deny our first parents, and most theistic evolutionsists avoid like the plague any discussion relating to the Cambrian period’s trilobite fossils (there was no duobite or monobite) and the coelacanth fish!
Pastor Tim Keller, as we shall examine in a later chapter, embraces socialist justice, but he also has supports BioLogos. Christianity Today reported on March 30, 2012 that “evangelical evolutionists meet in New York.” The article explains:
Attending were such luminaries as N.T. Wright, Alister McGrath, John Ortberg, Tim Keller, Scot McKnight, Os Guinness, Joel Hunter, and Andy Crouch…This year’s program centered on concerns for the church—especially for young people who feel torn between science and the Bible.
(Please take note of the name Joel Hunter as he is a neo-evangelical whose beliefs we will examine later.) Tim Keller is quoted in the article as saying, “To develop a BioLogos narrative is the job of pastors.” Really? So the job of pastors is to undermind the authority of Scripture and dillute the purpose and need of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ due to original sin? This is what BioLogos is doing when they deny the biblical and historical persons of Adam and Eve and the original sin that entered into the world through the Fall.
Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, addresses the distorted theology and worldview of Biologos:
Writers for BioLogos have repeatedly made the case that we must relinquish the inerrancy of the Bible and accept that the biblical writers worked from a defective understanding of the world and its origins. They have asserted, for example, that the Apostle Paul was simply wrong in assuming that Adam was an historical person from whom all humans are descended. They have been bold and honest in rejecting the biblical account of the Fall as historical. They have warned that an affirmation of biblical inerrancy has led evangelicalism into an “intellectual cul-de-sac.”
They are embarrassed by the fact that a majority of evangelicals reject evolution, and they honestly believe that some people will not come to know Christ because they are so offended by our unwillingness to accept evolution. They have repeatedly asserted that the credibility and integrity of our Christian witness is at stake.
The writers for BioLogos have been unsparing in their criticism of evangelicals who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible or are proponents of either Intelligent Design or creationism.
John Upchurch with Answers in Genesis wrote an article in 2011 entitled “The Danger of BioLogos” in which he makes the case that BioLogos attacks the gospel:
In their effort to reconcile evolution with the Bible, proponents of theistic evolution also wipe away the cosmic impact of the Curse and of Christ’s full redemptive work. Romans 8:22 makes it clear that the whole creation groans as a result of Adam’s sin. Acts 3:21 and Colossians 1:15–20 teach that when Christ, the Creator of all things, comes again He will restore all things. At that time, the Curse of Genesis 3 will be removed, and a glorious new heavens and earth will exist (Revelation 22:3).
The denial of a “first couple” similarly attacks the gospel. “Jesus and the apostle Paul clearly consider Adam and Eve to be historical,” explains theologian Cal Beisner. “Paul makes our whole understanding of the relationship between the redeemed and Christ contingent on Adam’s being a historical individual just as Christ is (Romans 5:12–19; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 15:46–49). Take away Adam as a historical person, and the whole understanding of the federal (covenantal) relationship between Christ and believers collapses—and with it the gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone because of the federal (covenantal) imputation of His righteousness to believers.”
Then there the disturbing fact that The John Templeton Foundation provided funds to launch BioLogos. The website for the foundation explains its purpose:
These grants support the launch of the BioLogos Foundation with the creation of a website and a series of workshops on the compatibility of theism and evolutionary science. The website will serve as a forum for Francis Collins and other expert consultants to address common questions about the relationship between faith and science. The invitation-only workshops will bring scientists and evangelical leaders together to seek a theology more accepting of science, specifically evolutionary biology.
John Templeton was a promoter of pagan spirituality who wanted to establish a world religion “about God that doesn’t rely on ancient revelations or scripture.”
If a man is known by the company he keeps, this tells us a lot about the discernment of N.T. Wright, Alister McGrath, John Ortberg, Tim Keller, Scot McKnight, Os Guinness, Joel Hunter, and Andy Crouch, does it not?
Darwin and Spiritual Evolution
Darwin helped lay the foundation for natural evolution that has now produced a belief in spiritual evolution. One of the leading proponents of spiritual evolution is Michael Dowd. According to his website, Rev. Dowd is a graduate of the Assemblies of God school, Evangel University. (While this school does not embrace Dowd’s worldview, I mention this only to reveal that many of today’s leaders of the New Spirituality are not coming just out of far left, mainline denominations but from what have historically been evangelical denominations, colleges, and universities.)
Dowd describes himself as an “evolutionary evangelist” and is the author of Thank God for Evolution. On September 24, 2011, The Ventura County Star ran an article on Dowd that, not surprisingly, reveals what appears to be his hostility to the authority of the Word of God. Quoting Dowd:
I hope to help attendees celebrate facts as God’s native tongue and to truly get that scientific, historic, and cross-cultural evidence to reveal God’s word for today far more accurately than the Bible could ever hope to.
Dowd makes it clear that he does not believe in the authority of Scripture or that God’s Word has been delivered once and for all to the saints as declared in Jude 3. Dowd believes that “God’s word for today” is revealed through science and other extra-biblical methods. He also seems to believe that Christians, such as I (and I pray you as well), who believe that the Word of God equips us for every good work (2 Timothy 3: 16-17), are involved in “idolatry of the written word.” Evidently, biblical Christianity has become out of date because as nature, individuals, and society have evolved, the Word of God has remained static:
He believes his upcoming talk is important “because idolatry of the written word has rendered the church deaf, dumb, and blind to what God’s been faithfully revealing through evidence the past 200 years,” Dowd said. “Consequently billions of human beings not only don’t appreciate the evolutionary significance of religion and religious differences, their inner GPS is so wildly out of date that it’s no wonder they suffer and struggle needlessly. Their views of history, death, and human nature are not aligned with reality.”
The article continues:
“On behalf of the United Church of Christ in Simi Valley I was eager to invite Michael because he is a critical voice in the evolution versus creationism/intelligent design conversation,” said June Goudey, a United Church of Christ minister. “That conversation has to do with the compatibility of science and religion, which many conservative people of faith discount.”
Dowd’s teachings “support the insights researchers have made into the importance of human consciousness in the evolving universe,” Goudey said. “By understanding that human beings are the universe becoming conscious of itself, he offers a powerfully transcendent and liberating view of human nature without undermining the role of divine presence and purpose.”
Did you have to read that last paragraph twice to make sure Dowd is saying what it sounds like he’s saying? Dowd believes “human beings are the universe.” This is pantheism and panenthiesm.
You will not be shocked that Dowd’s speaking schedule for 2011 and 2012 included a majority of Unitarian and Universalist churches. (Unitarians are really cosmic humanists or New Agers.) Dowd’s website also reveals that he spoke on January 21, 2012, to “Jesuit Alumni in Arizona.” This is especially interesting because one of the fathers of the New Age Movement was a Catholic Jesuit by the name of Teilhard de Chardin.
In Grave Influence, I explain more about the significance of de Chardin’s thought. I devote a chapter to the worldview of Marilyn Ferguson and her book, The Aquarian Conspiracy. In her book, Ferguson reveals that she surveyed New Agers and asked them who had influenced them the most. The two names that topped the list were Carl Jung and Teilhard de Chardin.
As I studied Dowd, I could hear the influence of de Chardin, who wrote:
Without the process of biological evolution, which produced the human brain, there would be no sanctified souls; and similarly, without the evolution of collective thought, through which alone the plentitude of human consciousness can be attained on earth, how can there be a consummated Christ?
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore wrote in his book, Earth in the Balance, that de Chardin believed “the fate of mankind, as well as of religion, depends upon the emergence of a new faith in the future.” Such a faith is certainly growing in popularity, but it is not new. The lies of Satan from Genesis 3 have simply been repackaged.
On the Internet, I found a video of Michael Dowd preaching at “Renaissance Unity in Detroit, Michigan, one of America’s largest progressive churches.” Dowd proclaims that he believes God did not create everything at one time but that everything evolved and that the energy or creativity that assisted in the evolutionary process is God. We are part of that process, and thus we are also god:
So we see this at all nested levels creativity exists and what we now know, and I say know rather than believe, is that ultimate creativity; God, the Goddess, whatever your name for ultimate creativity, didn’t really make everything at the beginning of time like a potter makes a pot or a carpenter makes a table. The divine creativity, God’s creativity, exists throughout the entire universe in a nested sense and from this vantage point, God is not a supreme landlord residing off the planet and outside the universe; no, a supreme engineer who, you know, who made this clockwork universe. God is nothing less than a sacred proper name for that ultimate creative reality, the largest creative reality that includes it all yet transcends it all.
Dowd goes on to explain that his worldview lines up with what the Greek Stoics believed. But remember: Paul on Mars Hill preached to a group of people that included Stoics, the New Agers of their day. Dowd is openly admitting that he agrees with the Stoics’ description of God:
This is God beyond belief or disbelief; this is a God that is undeniably real in every drop of experience. You may or may not to choose to call ultimate reality God, but that reality is itself undeniable. In fact, the Stoic Greeks, you know what the Stoic Greeks called ultimacy…or largest nesting reality? Cosmos. A proper name. An “I, thou” relationship. Cosmos. Not the cosmos, little ‘c’ like, you know, the pulpit. No, then it would be an object. No, Cosmos, a living being they were a part of. See, we are a subset of the whole. We can’t get outside the whole to examine it. So I have to use some analogies and metaphors to describe the nature of ultimacy. What this means, of course, is there’s no one right way to talk about ultimate reality. Which I realize is probably preaching to the choir here, but this may be news to many of your neighbors.
There is no single, ultimate reality? It is standard New Age spirituality to declare that God is a force or energy field you can use to your advantage through the power of your mind. New Age doctrine declares there is no such thing as absolute truth—which in itself is a truth claim they absolutely believe in. New Age doctrine declares that we are all part of god, and therefore divine, co-creatures with God, but we were not created by the God of the Bible. And the process has been in the works a long time:
Probably the most important thing I am going to say this morning; human beings are literally the universe after some 14 billion years of unbroken evolution now becoming conscious of itself. We are literally creation becoming aware of itself. We are the universe becoming conscious of itself. We didn’t come into the world. We grew out of it in the same way that apples come out of an apple tree. We are organically related to the whole.
I have warned my radio audience numerous times that just because someone says he believes in Jesus does not mean it is the Jesus of the Bible. Just because someone says she believes the gospel does not believe she believes in the biblical Gospel proclaimed by the Jesus of the Bible. The Apostle Paul warns us of men like Rev. Dowd in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4:
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!
Dowd is clearly preaching another Jesus and another gospel when he declares:
As this knowledge is integrated into our religious traditions, which over the course of the next several decades it will be, each religion will see that its own core insights, its own core doctrines, are larger, more meaningful, and have more this world reality than ever before. This is part of the gospel, the good news of evolution. It helps us know:
A) We are not separate from the divine. B) The divine is up to something, and we co-create with the divine when we work for justice, for peace, for sustainability, when we, when we work, when we just listen to someone, we are the divine; we are God in that process doing God’s work in this world. And part of the good news is that the sacred understanding of evolution, which is not the same thing as a meaningless understanding of evolution. I don’t fault people who reject evolution. In fact it’s not a surprise, because for most of us the only version of evolution that we have ever been exposed to is a chance, meaningless, purposeless, cruel, godless, directionless process. So if that’s what you think of as evolution, please continue to reject it. The evolution that I am talking about is nothing like that at all. It’s a sacred, meaningful process that values religion and helps us to live lives of greater integrity, great love, greater compassion, greater generosity, and where we see the science and religion war end.
Notice Dowd claims to reject the “chance, meaningless, purposeless, cruel, godless, directionless” evolution promoted by Charles Darwin. But Dowd has simply taken Darwin’s secular naturalism and given it a spiritual source and context. Dowd echoes the “14 billion years of unbroken evolution.”
What Dowd and his fellow spiritual evolution proponents believe is that everything is biologically and spiritually spiraling up to a place of perfection that will allow man to usher in a New Age—a new world order, God’s kingdom on earth:
How did life create greater complexity, interdependence, and cooperation at larger and wider scale? When we learn that and align our laws, our medicine, our politics, our economics, our education with the way life works, with the way God works, we can move into a healthy future. We can co-create thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Dowd tells his audience that spiritual evolution restores the hope that mankind can save himself as man learns and embraces his own divine nature and the common ground found in all world religions. He says that in the end it will not be the Jesus of the Bible Who saves mankind and the earth; it will be mankind as we embrace spiritual evolution which:
…restores realistic hope. Not other-worldly hope. Not Jesus; the Cosmic janitor is going to come and clean up the mess we’ve made. But real hope, real believable, spiritual, practical, material hope. So that we can work together across our differences. One of the things I love about the diversity here is that we have virtually every kind of worldview represented and yet we can stand shoulder to shoulder and co-create a just, healthy, sustainably life-giving future. And that, for me, is the richest aspect is that we have realistic hope. A sacred understanding of evolution builds bridges, provides guidance, and gives us realistic hope so we can wake up each morning and not just grow spiritually, as important as that is, or grow personally. But in our growing personally, in our growing spiritually, in our growing in integrity as individuals and couples and families and so on, we also become a blessing to our neighborhood, to our community, to our city, to our country, to our world. And as we grow together in integrity, we truly participate in what God has been doing for billions of years and that, that is holy work.
What Dowd is preaching would please Alice Bailey and her demon very much. Bailey declared that biblical Christianity must be destroyed in understanding that “all is one”:
World unity will be a fact when the children of the world are taught that religious differences are largely a matter of birth…He will learn that religious differences are largely the result of manmade quarrels over human interpretations of truth. Thus gradually, our quarrels and differences will be offset and the idea of One Humanity will take their place.
Compare this teaching of Bailey’s with what I’ve shown from Dowd:
There is, as you well know, no angry God, no hell, and no vicarious atonement… and the only hell is the earth itself, where we learn to work out our own salvation….This teaching about hell is a remainder of the sadistic turn which was given to the thinking of the Christian Church in the Middle Ages and to the erroneous teaching to be found in the Old Testament agent Jehovah, the tribal God of the Jews. Jehovah is not God….As these erroneous ideas die out, the concept of hell will fade from man’s recollection and its place will be taken by an understanding of the law which makes each man work out his own salvation… which leads him to right the wrongs which he may have perpetrated in his lives on Earth, and which enable him eventually to “clean his own slate.”
Alice Bailey had a huge influence on the United Nations through such people as Robert Mueller, who served for many years as assistant secretary general of the United Nations. Not surprisingly, Michael Dowd, according to various news reports, has spoken to audiences at the UN.
What makes this so important is that New Age spirituality or spiritual evolution will be one of the worldviews that unites all religions. Dowd’s website reveals that the spiritual evolution he teaches is embraced by many religions—which is no surprise, since the coming one-world religion is going to be based on Satan’s old and tired lie that man is god and man can save himself. And by the way, endorsers noted on Dowd’s website reflect this wide-ranging inclusivity: Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, Mennonites and Quakers, Evangelical/Emergent, Unity/New Thought, Unitarian Universalists, Jewish, Buddhists, Hindus, Evolutionary Enlightenment, Spiritual Dynamics, and Religious Naturalists.
It makes sense that Dowd would be approved by the Emergent Church, since the EC leans heavily on the teachings of German theologian Jurgen Moltmann, whose philosophy was based largely on spiritual evolution. In the 1960s, Moltmann created what he called “a theology of hope,” following the philosophy of Friedrich Hegel. What makes this so critical is that Hegel had a major influence on the German people in a way that helped lay the foundation for Adolf Hitler. Yet, how many Bible-believing Christians are aware that Hegel’s philosophies, as promoted by Moltmann, are now being promoted by some of America’s most well-known “Christian” authors, pastors, and conference speakers? Bob DeWaay reveals that the heretical teachings of the Emergent Church find their source in Moltmann:
The Hegelian synthesis denies absolutes, such as absolute truth or knowledge, and instead claims that everything evolves as incompatible ideas merge into something new and better. Two incompatible opposites, such as good and evil, combine and evolve into an improved third option that surpasses both. Moltmann applied Hegel’s synthesis to theology and eschatology, deciding that because incompatibilities were evolving into new and better things, God could not possibly allow the world to end in judgment. Instead of judgment, Moltmann set aside scripture to declare that the entire world and all of creation was heading toward paradise and progressively leaving evil behind.
Danielle Shroyer, author of The Boundary-Breaking God and pastor (yes, female pastor) of Journey Church in Dallas, Texas, provides an excellent example of Moltmann’s thinking put into practice. Bob DeWaay explains what she teaches her church:
[S]he was the one who was teaching people what the basics of Moltmann’s theology is all about. She is a disciple of Moltmann…on the cover is an endorsement of her book by Jurgen Moltmann. Now, what did she call Jurgen Moltmann’s theology? Neo-Hegelian, panentheistic, universalism; that is what they call themselves.
The Emergent Church, like many liberal, mainstream churches, rejects belief in the return of Jesus Christ and His judgment of the world. Instead, they see it as their responsibility to build God’s kingdom through utopian ideals like the redistribution of wealth, the social gospel, disarmament, and a world community committed to social justice and pluralism:
As we shall see with the Emergent Church’s theology, which is derived from Moltmann and others, a serious problem exists. The problem is that this hope is based on the idea that history is not headed toward cataclysmic judgment in which those who do not believe the Christian gospel are judged and lost for eternity but is headed toward the kingdom of God on earth with universal participation.
Copyright 2012 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.