Monday, 31 March 2014

Preaching in a post-Christian society without reflexively demonising evolution

Given the publication and granting of front-cover status to the embarrassingly bad YEC article by Nigel Bernard and Don Pearce, [1] a decision that did much to erode the credibility of The Christadelphian magazine, it was quite pleasing to read the January 2014 article on how to preach in a post-Christian world [2]. Not only did it recognise that our traditional approach of "trying to convince…Christians of our bible-based beliefs" is less likely to succeed given that "[y]oung Christians today seek sanctuary in broader definitions of Christianity and consequently are uncomfortable with narrow denominational differences", it pointed out the need to present a case for belief in God which did not automatically seek to criticise evolution.

The writer, whose article gives no evidence that he accepts evolution nonetheless made an eminently sensible comment which I have taken the liberty of quoting in full:
Secondly, we need to get better at presenting the case for belief in God in a way that will be well-received. In a society wedded to the theory of evolution, it may not be the best strategy to try and argue against this theory, especially without in-depth biological knowledge. The theory of evolution, in and of itself, does not contradict the existence of God so it need not be addressed in initial preaching (though it should be addressed when discussing concepts of creation and the nature of Adam). Given the sheer number of good reasons for believing in God, we are able to selects (what will be perceived to be) the strongest when designing our preaching. If our collective imagination cannot think beyond the theory of evolution then perhaps we need to make greater effort to acquaint ourselves with the reasons for believing. (Emphasis mine)
His concluding words are excellent advice which if heeded would have avoided public relations disasters such as this. One can but hope that articles such as this represent a growing trend in The Christadelphian towards pertinent, well-researched articles. Definitely recommended.


1. Bernard N, Pearce D "Surtsey: a pattern for creation?" The Christadelphian November 2013
2. Gaston T "Challenges for preaching in the UK" The Christadelphian January 2014