CSL sends letter of rebuke to Wyoming and South Wisconsin District Pastors

This past Friday the faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis sent a letter via email to every pastor in the Wyoming District (81 of them by a quick LCMS locator count).  A similar letter was sent to the pastors of the South Wisconsin District (372 of them by a quick LCMS locator count).  These letters were in response to resolutions passed by pastors conferences of both districts in regards to a recent Concordia Journal Article.  This post is a “just the facts” posting.  Commentary posts will likely be coming in the following days.

Here is the introductory body of the email to the Wyoming District pastors:

Brothers of the Wyoming District,

Greetings in Christ! We, the faculty of Concordia Seminary, have spent many hours the last weeks discussing and deliberating about the resolution you adopted in your most recent pastoral conference. The attached letter, adopted unanimously, reflects our concerns about the substance, approach and potential consequences of your action. We ask that you give it your careful and prayerful attention and consider a course of action that would benefit and strengthen the ministry of all the congregations and pastors of the synod and respect the commitments we have made to each other.

Fraternally yours in the service of our only Savior,

The Faculty of Concordia Seminary

As attested by,

Paul W. Robinson, Dean of the Faculty

Dale A. Meyer, President

 

Now here is the letter they sent:  [PDF] Letter to Wyoming District Pastors 12-1-17 (1)

An Open Letter to Our Brothers in the Wyoming District

December 1, 2017

Dear Brothers,

We are writing to you with regard to our life together as fellow pastors in the ministerium of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

We were greatly saddened to receive word of a resolution adopted by you at the fall district pastors conference Oct. 4, 2017, regarding the article by Dr. John Jurchen entitled, “The Age of the Earth and Confessional Lutheranism,” which appeared in the summer 2017 issue of our Concordia Journal. Two concerns came to mind upon reading your resolution.

Our first concern is with how we relate to one another when we run across statements in writings that seem to be unclear, confusing, questionable or perhaps even wrong. Should we immediately assume the worst and conclude that the author is promoting false doctrine that must be condemned – even when the author or publication has not provided cause for such a reading? And should our first response to error – perceived or actual – not be to seek clarification or correction from the author? A resolution that states, “Wyoming District Pastors Conference condemn this article for its false doctrine and for sowing discord among brethren” and then calls upon a number of others to issue “the same condemnation” at the very least leaps to a judgment that may not be warranted when a conversation may have made any such action unnecessary. This is a sad commentary on our life together as a Synod and our respect for one another as brothers and co-workers in ministry.

Our second concern is with the treatment of the issue itself. Dr. Jurchen clearly states at the beginning of his article that he is attempting to answer in a responsible way questions raised by a parishioner, paying attention to statements the Synod has made on the issue. Did the article receive a fair reading and a thorough discussion at your conference with regard to its purpose, thesis, arguments and conclusion? Were questions raised and discussed about the Synod statements that Dr. Jurchen cites and why they are not more explicit about the issue he was addressing? To us, these seem to be important questions. After all, there is no church like the Lutheran tradition that seeks to be fiercely textual (as a colleague puts it) so as not to say less than Scripture says but also not to say more than Scripture says.

At this juncture, we are primarily concerned with how we may best live together as a church and with one another as brothers in the church’s ministry. This is not to say that false teaching is not a serious matter. Of course it is! And it is not to say that we should not deal with it appropriately – especially when it is persistently promoted and defended. Such a practice is the model set for us by the Preface to the Book of Concord whose authors stated about their own condemnations: “it is our will and intention thereby to condemn only the false and seductive teachings of the stiff-necked teachers and blasphemers of the same…” [italics added] (Par 13, Kolb-Wengert edition), that is, those who refuse to engage in conversation, to reconsider or refuse to reconcile.

In the interest of leaving no doubt as to where we stand and what we teach on the subject of creation, we can unequivocally state that we hold to and teach in accordance with the Brief Statement’s paragraph on creation, both its thesis and antithesis, which reads:

We teach that God has created heaven and earth, and that in the manner and in the space of time recorded in the Holy Scriptures, especially Gen. 1 and 2, namely, by His almighty creative word, and in six days. We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture. In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, that the world came into existence through a process of evolution; that is, that it has, in immense periods of time, developed more or less of itself. Since no man was present when it pleased God to create the world, we must look for a reliable account of creation to God’s own record, found in God’s own book, the Bible. We accept God’s own record with full confidence and confess with Luther’s Catechism: “I believe that God has made me and all creatures.”

This is a wonderfully crafted statement that begins with a confession of God as creator of heaven and earth and then concludes with its significance for us as expressed by Luther’s catechism. In other words, what do we confess with the affirmation that God is creator? We confess, “I am God’s creature!” (LC II 13).

We recognize the article in question has generated concern regarding some of its statements and conclusions, some of which our faculty shares, and we are aware that some of the points could have been stated more clearly. In fact, the article has generated discussion within our faculty, and we are looking forward to continuing that conversation with the entire Synod. As a beginning toward that end, and in the interest of strengthening our life together and clarifying our witness to the world, we are preparing a series of posts that provide an orientation to the debate currently taking place in evangelical circles along with an assessment of our Lutheran take on these issues. These will be posted on concordiatheology.org.

Given these acknowledgements, we respectfully request that you retract your resolution and engage the author and us in conversation. It is difficult to see how such an overture as has been adopted will not cast a cloud of suspicion over the author, Concordia University, Nebraska, and the seminaries (particularly Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in whose Concordia Journal this particular article appeared). Luther calls us to something higher when he teaches us not to slander or defame our neighbor but instead to honor God by “speaking well” of our neighbor and “explaining everything in the kindest way.”

In Christ,

The faculty of Concordia Seminary

 

Now here is the Wyoming District Fall Pastor Conference resolution, which includes pertinent quotes from the Concordia Journal Article (adopted unanimously) [PDF WY District Resolution CSL2017]:

Resolution of the Wyoming District Fall Pastors’ Conference, Casper, WY, 2-4 October 2017
Concerning the recent Concordia Journal article, “The Age of the Earth and Confessional Lutheranism,” by Dr. John Jurchen (Summer 2017, Volume 43, Number 3, pages 64-74).
WHEREAS  the pastors of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod are bound to Scripture in order “to give instruction in sound doctrine, and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:0), as also articulated in Romans 16:17, Ephesians 4:11-16, Titus 2:1, and 1 Timothy 4:6; and
WHEREAS  serious concern has arisen among the pastors of the Wyoming District following the recent publication of the Concordia Journal article, “The Age of the Earth and Confessional Lutheranism,” by Dr. John Jurchen (Summer 2017, Volume 43, Number 3, pages 64-74), as published by Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in conjunction with Concordia University Nebraska, Seward, Nebraska; and
WHEREAS  the Scriptures do not allow for old-earth creationism, including interpreting the word “day” (yom) in Genesis, chapters 1 and 2, as an extended period of days or years or as anything but the twenty-four hour day as is experienced (Genesis 1:5, 14; Exodus 20:8); and
WHEREAS  The Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod (“Of Creation,” 5, 1932) rejects that the world came into being “in immense periods of time”; and
WHEREAS Dr. John Jurchen, associate professor of chemistry at Concordia University, Nebraska, asserts in Concordia Journal, Volume 43, Number 3, pages 70-71, “As long as parishioners are able to accept the historicity of Adam and Eve, the corrupting influence of sin, and the gospel of salvation, they can expand the days of the creation week to encompass unspecified periods,” and page 71, “Adherents [of Old Earth Creationism] can accept the standard, secular interpretation of the geological record while still holding to an exegetically credible six-day (yom) creation, the fall of an historical Adam and Eve, and redemption through Jesus Christ.” and page 73, “[W]e must not present the appearance that the age of the earth is a ‘litmus test’ for orthodoxy”; and
WHEREAS these words of Dr. Jurchen contradict the Holy Scriptures, deny their clarity, and are not to be tolerated in the Church of God, much less excused or defended; and
WHEREAS  Concordia Journal, in which the aforementioned article was published, lists Dr. Dale Meyer, President of Concordia Seminary, as the Publisher, and Dr. Charles Arand as the Executive Editor and Dean of Theological Research and Publication; and
WHEREAS  Dr. Dale Meyer, as president of Concordia Seminary, “shall serve as the spiritual, academic, and administrative head of the seminary” (Bylaw 3.10.5.6); and Dr. Brian Friedrich, as president of Concordia University, Nebraska, serves in a similar role; and
WHEREAS  Dr. Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, according to Article XI.B.1-3, shall supervise, admonish, advise, and reprove in order to “promote and maintain unity of doctrine and practice in all the districts of Synod” (Article XI, B, 3); and, according to Bylaw 3.3.1.1, the President of Synod “shall supervise the doctrine taught and practiced in the Synod, including all synodwide corporate entities,” which includes Concordia Seminary and Concordia University, Nebraska; and
WHEREAS  Dr. R. Lee Hagen, President of the Missouri District, is the ecclesiastical supervisor of Concordia Seminary’s faculty (Bylaw 2.12.1.5); and the Reverend Rich Snow, President of the Nebraska District, is the ecclesiastical supervisor of Concordia University, Nebraska; and
WHEREAS  the Board of Regents of Concordia Seminary, as elected by Synod or variously appointed to the board, “shall consider as one of its primary duties the defining and fulfilling of the mission of the seminary within the broad assignment of the Synod” (Bylaw 3.10.5.1), and is “subject to general policies set by the Synod” (Bylaw 3.10.5), which include Article II, Confession, of the Constitution of Synod; and which also the Board of Regents of Concordia University, Nebraska, are subject to the same general policies of Synod, therefore be it
RESOLVED that the Wyoming District Pastors Conference condemn this article for its false teaching and for sowing discord among brethren, and be it further
RESOLVED that the Wyoming District Pastors Conference implore Dr. Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; Dr. Dale Meyer, President of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, and Publisher of Concordia Journal; Dr. Charles Arand, the Executive Editor of Concordia Journal and Dean of Theological Research and Publication; Dr. Brian Friedrich, President of Concordia University, Nebraska;  Dr. John Jurchen, Concordia University, Nebraska; Dr. R. Lee Hagen, President of the Missouri District; the Reverend Richard Snow, President of the Nebraska District; the Reverend Shawn Kumm, Chairman of the Board of Regents of Concordia Seminary; Mr. Paul Schudel, Chairman of the Board of Regents of Concordia University, Nebraska to issue the same condemnation, and be it further
RESOLVED that the aforementioned administer discipline in accordance with the Word of God (1 Tim. 1:3-4; 6:3-4; Tit. 1:13) and the bylaws of the LC-MS, and be it further
RESOLVED  that the Wyoming District Pastors’ Conference entreat Dr. Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, to convene a meeting with Dr. Dale Meyer, President of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, and Publisher of Concordia Journal; Dr. Charles Arand, the Executive Editor of Concordia Journal and Dean of Theological Research and Publication; Dr. Brian Friedrich, President of Concordia University, Nebraska;  Dr. John Jurchen, Concordia University, Nebraska; Dr. R. Lee Hagen, President of the Missouri District; the Reverend Richard Snow, President of the Nebraska District; the Reverend Shawn Kumm, Chairman of the Board of Regents of Concordia Seminary; Mr. Paul Schudel, Chairman of the Board of Regents of Concordia University, Nebraska; and any other persons necessary for an amicable and informed discussion, and be it further
RESOLVED  that the aforementioned persons embark upon a theological discussion concerning the referenced article by Dr. John Jurchen and published by Concordia Seminary, as to its faithfulness to Scripture, and the article’s theological appropriateness, merit, and affect upon the faith of and witness to the pastors and members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and beyond; and be it further
RESOLVED  that President Matthew Harrison propose and enact a course of action which is Scripturally faithful, and which edifies and strengthens the faith and witness of the members of the Synod concerning the creation of the world in six twenty-four hour days; and be it further
RESOLVED  that President Matthew Harrison issue a final report of resolution, correction, and action to the Wyoming District Convention, to be held May 3-5, 2018, in Casper, Wyoming; and be it finally
RESOLVED  that the pastors and the parishes of the Wyoming District and the aforementioned persons “continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2), especially praying for the LCMS; Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; Concordia University, Nebraska; the above mentioned individuals; and the pastors and parishes of the Wyoming District, with the result that all can exclaim with the psalmist, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
Adopted by the Wyoming District Fall Pastors’ Conference
Casper, Wyoming
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Here is the overture passed by the South Wisconsin District Pastors [PDF South Wisconsin District Overture]

OVERTURE adopted at Fall 2017 SWD Pastor’s Conference

To Confess and Reaffirm Six-Day Creation and the Official Position of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

WHEREAS, the Holy Scriptures teach that God is the Creator of all that exists, (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:6,9, Hebrews 11:3, Colossians 1:16, John 1:1-4) and

WHEREAS, Genesis 1 details the creation of the world by God in six days, each of which consisted of 24 hours, and

WHEREAS, the Holy Scriptures are inspired by God the Holy Spirit, are without error and infallible (John 10:35, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:21) and

WHEREAS, the Scripture teaches that Adam was a real man and it is the consequence of his sin that death has come into the world, (Romans 5:12-19) and

WHEREAS, theistic evolution or old earth creationism which teaches that God used an evolutionary process to create mankind and that death is a natural occurrence, not the result of Adam’s sin, is in direct contradiction to the teaching of the Holy Scripture and

WHEREAS, the official position of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod regarding creation is, “We teach that God has created heaven and earth, and that in the manner and in the space of time recorded in the Holy Scriptures, especially Gen. 1 and 2, namely, by His almighty creative word, and in six days. We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture. In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, that the world came into existence through a process of evolution; that is, that it has, in immense periods of time, developed more or less of itself. Since no man was present when it pleased God to create the world, we must look for a reliable account of creation to God’s own record, found in God’s own book, the Bible. We accept God’s own record with full confidence and confess with Luther’s Catechism: ‘I believe that God has made me and all creatures.’” (A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod, 1932), therefore let it be

RESOLVED, that the South Wisconsin District Pastors Conference confess and reaffirm that God created the world in six days, each of which consisted of 24 hours, and let it also be

RESOLVED, that the South Wisconsin District Pastors Conference confess and reaffirm that Adam was a real man and that it is the consequence of his sin that death has come into the world, and let it also be

RESOLVED, that the South Wisconsin District Pastors Conference confess and reaffirm that theistic evolution or old earth creationism is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Holy Scripture and let it also be

RESOLVED, that the South Wisconsin District Pastors Conference confess and reaffirm the official position of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod regarding creation, “We teach that God has created heaven and earth, and that in the manner and in the space of time recorded in the Holy Scriptures, especially Gen. 1 and 2, namely, by His almighty creative word, and in six days. We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture. In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, that the world came into existence through a process of evolution; that is, that it has, in immense periods of time, developed more or less of itself. Since no man was present when it pleased God to create the world, we must look for a reliable account of creation to God’s own record, found in God’s own book, the Bible. We accept God’s own record with full confidence and confess with Luther’s Catechism: ‘I believe that God has made me and all creatures.’” (A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod, 1932) and let it also be

RESOLVED, that The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod also confess and reaffirm its official position regarding creation, and let it also be

RESOLVED, that the South Wisconsin District Pastors Conference encourage the seminaries to endorse and uphold Synod Bylaw 3.10.5.7.9, which empowers seminary Presidents and Boards Of Regents to investigate any allegations that Biblical teaching is not being upheld in their institutions and gives specific prescription for how such an investigation should be carried out, and let it be finally

RESOLVED, That the South Wisconsin District Pastors Conference send this resolution as an overture to the 2019 Convention of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Respectfully Submitted,

South Wisconsin District Pastors Conference Pastors Conference

Fall 2017

 

Other Resources that are helpful here:
[Offsite link] Genesis 1 (ESV)
[Offsite link] Large Catechism, 8th Commandment, paragraph 284. (The Lutheran Confessions referencing the proper response to public false teaching)
[Offsite link] A view of Seminex from one of the men who walked out (Warning – false teaching abounds in this one and on this site)
[PDF] Luther on evolution by Rev. Paul Bartz
Current Faculty of CSL who unanimously approved the rebuke of these two districts:
David Adams, Charles Arand, Andrew Bartelt, Joel Biermann, Gerhard Bode, Kent Burreson, Timothy Dost, Thomas Egger, Joel Elowsky, Jeff Gibbs, Benjamin Haupt, Erik Hermann, David Lewis, Richard Marrs, David Maxwell, Dale Meyer, Peter Nafzger, Glenn Nielson, Joel Okamoto, Jeffrey Oschwald, David Peter, Paul Raabe, Victor Raj, Paul Robinson, Mark Rockenbach, Timothy Saleska, Leopoldo Sanchez, David Schmitt, Bruce Shuchard, William Schumacher, Mark Seifrid, Laokuoxang Seying, William Thompson, James Voelz

About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO.

Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.


Comments

CSL sends letter of rebuke to Wyoming and South Wisconsin District Pastors — 115 Comments

  1. @James Gibbs #50

    James,
    I can’t answer your arguments because they are based upon your own authority (which is what I am trying to point out). All I can say is that your problem is that somewhere in between your a) and your b) of comment #45 you allow a different authority to catechize you. That’s not good for your soul.

  2. @James Gibbs

    I’m not clear on what you are asking help with. You seem to make three key propositions:

    1. You affirm the confession that Scripture is the Word of God without errors or contradictions and in all parts and words the infallible truth.

    2. You believe that the current scientific consensus as to the age of all creation is also true.

    3. You believe there is an apparent contradiction between the first two propositions, and these must be reconciled.

    From these propositions, your question to the community here is how to interpret Scripture in a different way that will allow Scripture to be read consistent with proposition 2. And this is primarily (or only) focused on whether to interpret “day” as a day, i.e., 24 hours.

    If my understanding is correct, you shouldn’t be surprised that people who do not agree with your second and/or third proposition aren’t particularly eager to concede those points and jump right into helping you solve your conundrum and come up with a different interpretation of “day”.

    Or are you making different propositions and/or questions? Otherwise, perhaps you should lay out your propositions to identify where you depart from those you are engaging and start there, rather than stating your position on those disagreements as axioms.

  3. Let me see if I understand correctly. Adam and Eve hung out with Cro-Magnon; Elizabeth sang the Magnificat; God gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, teachers, and sacramental entrepreneurs.
    Interesting how a simple faith in Jesus somehow absolves from adhering to sound doctrine based on the inspired, inerrant word of God. “Just give me Jesus” is the refrain from those who find it unnecessary and tacky to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints and to make the good confession. They say, “If you take all the Bibles away, I still have Jesus.” They say, “I can live with an imperfect Bible that has a few textual errors, but I can’t live without Jesus.”
    Interesting how CSL is concerned about how all this looks and about how love and fellowship must win the day, after the boorish purists repent of their indiscretions.
    Jesus is the Word become flesh. Jesus is the living Word. Did the Living Word warn us about the written Word? Where is the certainty in all this?

  4. I did not read the article but it looks like there might be some confusion on here about what old earth creationism is.

    Old earth creationism is not the same as theistic evolution, which believes God guided the evolutionary process. Old earth creation generally agrees that God created separate and unique kinds and that He did so in six days (though there are variations on this).

    However, old earth creationism says there are significant gaps in the Biblical chronology. Generations that are skipped over in the genealogies, for instance. I don’t know of any old earth creationist that would say death happened before sin. Generally the gaps are assumed to be between the creation of the formless earth and the creation of life and between the fall and the flood.

    I am a young earth creationist. But if you are going to argue against old earth creationists, at least be aware that they are not denying creation, they do not support macro-evolution, they do not deny a single word of Scripture or event in the Bible. They simply believe there are time periods that the Bible skipped over in history.

    By the way, it was my sister who stood up at the convention and we are very proud of her. What she said she was taught at Concordia (and I believe her) was not old earth creationism but theistic evolution, which is a very different kettle of fish.

  5. OK just read the article and I see where the confusion is coming from. What the article author called “old earth creationism” is actually theistic evolution. I guess you could say that theistic evolution is one subset of old earth creationism. But far from all old earth creationists accept theistic evolution. The article was wrong to imply so.

  6. So OECists believe that God is almighty, just not quite as almighty as to do it as He claims, but it took Him bilyuns and bilyuns of years. And how long exactly is a year?
    And while we’re at it, how do OECs and TheEvos explain the birth of Isaac, the parting of the red sea, the virgin birth, the changing of the water into wine, the resurrection, etc., etc.? They lean on their own understanding.
    On one hand, they have been given sound reason like the rest of us, and they, like all of us need to be encouraged in the faith. On the other hand, as Lutheran teachers, they have no right to discourage the faith of anyone.

  7. @James Gibbs #50

    What Pr. Scheer is trying to point out, you do say yourself:

    “As far as my mind being made up, it pretty much is on the age issue, yes. But–how does that fit with Scripture? I’m not sure. There are a host of issues related to Gen. 1-11 that I am not sure of, either.
    I know the Bible is God’s Word, and that what it says is true. I am just not sure (sometimes) about every detail of what it teaches. I think everyone can identify with that!”

    In the first paragraph you admit that your reason has superseded Scripture. Now you (your reason) needs to figure out how to make it work.

  8. I’m reminded of what Dr. Joel Heck points out in his book “In the Beginning.”

    Not only are the days declared as day one, two, three, etc., but they are also referred to as evening and morning days (even before the sun and moon are in place).

  9. From the Jurchen article “Old-earth creationists differ as to the size and extent of the Noachian flood but
    follow an approach that assumes the standard geological time scale.”
    Translation: Old-earth creationists diminish the scale and intensity of the huge hydrodynamic effects (including hydrologic sorting) of the Noachian flood and then conclude that it must have taken eons more time to produce geologic changes.

  10. @T-rav #60

    Maybe God was exploiting ‘sonoluminescence’ (water+sound=light) before the sun and the moon were created. Scientists are aware of the phenomenon but disagree on the cause.

  11. The Wyoming District resolution says that the statement, “[W]e must not present the appearance that the age of the earth is a ‘litmus test’ for orthodoxy” “contradict[s] the Holy Scriptures, deny[ies] their clarity, and are not to be tolerated in the Church of God, much less excused or defended.”

    The only conclusion I can draw from these statements is that the Wyoming District is stating that “the age of the earth” is indeed “‘litmus test’ for orthodoxy” and that having a different conclusion contradicts the Holy Scriptures, denies the clarity of Scripture, and should not be tolerated in the Church of God. (Please correct me if I’m misreading this, but I don’t see how.)

    So, how old is the earth? What is the ‘litmus test’? 6,000 years? 10,000 years? If I think the earth is 15,000 years old have I contradicted Scripture, etc.? Is a 15,000 year date to be tolerated in the church of God? What about 20,000? 30,000? Please, Pastor Scheer, give me the number of years. I want to know the litmus test for orthodoxy in this issue.

    Second: Where does *Scripture* give us a date of the age of the earth? Please cite chapter and verse. On second thought, I will accept a statement from the Confessions as well.

    But I’m pretty sure that you can cite neither Scripture nor the Confessions to give a definitive answer to the question of the age of the earth. Which brings up the last question: how can you have a ‘litmus test for orthodoxy’ that is not clearly taught in Scripture or the Confessions?

  12. Disclaimer: This is a very genuine question, so I welcome any corrections and direction towards God’s Truth.

    I believe that I currently affirm exactly what the LCMS FAQ document teaches. I currently affirm a 6 day, 24 hour creation. How long ago this happened, I don’t know because the Bible doesn’t explicitly state it. Shouldn’t the LCMS remain silent on the age of the universe/earth, then, as the Bible appears to not explicitly give us a date?

    “A: The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod does not have an official position on the precise “age of the earth,” since the Bible itself does not tell us how old the earth is.

    The Synod has affirmed the belief, therefore, based on Scripture’s account of creation in the book of Genesis and other clear passages of Scripture, that “God by the almighty power of His Word created all things in six days by a series of creative acts,” that “Adam and Eve were real, historical human beings, the first two people in the world,” and that “we must confess what St. Paul says in Romans 5:12” about the origin of sin through Adam as described in Genesis 3 (1967 Synodical Resolution 2-31). The Synod has also, therefore, stated that it rejects “all those world views, philosophical theories, exegetical interpretations and other hypotheses which pervert these biblical teachings and thus obscure the Gospel” (1967 Synodical Resolution 2-31). ” file:///Users/cmbp/Downloads/The_Bible.pdf

    I understand why Luther stood firm on the Word of God as it pertained to the real presence in the Eucharist because it stated clearly and simply that “this is my body”. As Lutherans, we cling to the Word as our final arbiter of Truth. Likewise, in Genesis, we see that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”, so as Lutherans we cling to this simple declaration that God created everything.

    Genesis goes on to describe that God created over 6, 24 hour days – “…it was morning and evening, the 1st day”. Again, we and the LCMS FAQ document referenced above and in the Journal Article being questioned cling to this straightforward assertion that God created in 6, 24 hour days. This is the simple and straightforward reading.

    Why do we think it is necessary to move beyond this current FAQ statement by the LCMS and include a time frame? Unlike “this is my body” and “In the beginning, God created….” the Bible does not clearly and simply state a date for creation. To get one, we need to study genealogies, of which there are differences in the manuscripts, and also many different experts who disagree about how they should be interpreted. The backdating to creation through these genealogies seems like a well-intentioned inference, but it is an inference none the less.

    In my mind, it seems perfectly reasonable to lean in one direction or the other based on the evidence God has given us in nature and scripture. But, rather than dogmatically stating the age of the universe/earth, shouldn’t we follow the advice of the CTCR In Christ all Things Hold and:

    “A wiser course is to admit that in some cases we do not know the best interpretation of a passage. In other cases, the sense of a passage may be clear, but there is no clear way of integrating a claim of Scripture with the claims of modern science. In such situations, we must simply do our best to offer an interpretation of the passage or an explanation of the tension between a scriptural claim and the claims of science, acknowledging that such interpretations and explanations are tentative, yet always showing the extent to which they are grounded in the text itself, which is reliable.” p. 122-123

  13. I still can’t square how Dr. Arand can say in his CSL blog post :

    ” Lest anyone wonder as to where we stand on that issue, I can unequivocally say that not a single person on our faculty (as well as Dr. Jurchen for that matter) advocates for a “day-age” interpretation of Genesis 1. We all believe that the most natural and plain reading of “day” (especially in light of Exodus 20:8) is to regard it as an ordinary day.”

    But yet the same people published this:

    “As long as parishioners are able to accept the historicity of Adam and Eve, the corrupting influence of sin, and the gospel of salvation, they can expand the days of the creation week to encompass unspecified periods.” (Concordia Journal, Summer 2017, Volume 43, Number 3, pp. 70-71)

    1. Are they saying they all unanimously happen to believe God’s word “day” should be taken literally, but it’s okay if you don’t?
    2. Are they saying that all LCMS, Inc. members must confess a literal six day creation, but local congregation parishioners are free to interpret “yom” however they want ?
    3. Are they saying they think a day back in the beginning was the same as a day today, but they don’t know why and can’t be sure?

    I’m looking forward to hearing the clarification.

  14. @LW #68

    I actually spoke with my pastor on this about 20 yamim ago (sorry couldn’t resist) and he indicated that Synod does expect all pastors to subscribe to literal days and also a young earth (defined as 10,000 years or younger) but pastors should not necessarily expect parishioners to have the same beliefs.

  15. Synod pastors, congregations, and teachers are expected to agree with the 1932 Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Synod:

    Of Creation

    We teach that God has created heaven and earth, and that in the manner and in the space of time recorded in the Holy Scriptures, especially Gen. 1 and 2, namely, by His almighty creative word, and in six days. We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture. In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, that the world came into existence through a process of evolution; that is, that it has, in immense periods of time, developed more or less of itself. Since no man was present when it pleased God to create the world, we must look for a reliable account of creation to God’s own record, found in God’s own book, the Bible. We accept God’s own record with full confidence and confess with Luther’s Catechism: “I believe that God has made me and all creatures.”

  16. If the Bible is true, there is no reason to insist the earth is more than approximately 6,000 years old. (No one insists on an “exact age”–6,112 years, 3 days, 2 hours, and 3 minutes, for example). Everything in the text points to a “young” earth. “Gaps” in the genealogies are irrelevant. Each time a name is mentioned, it is related to the previous name so whether it is a father to son or grandfather to grandson relationship the amount of time is still correct; the variation comes from listing of whole years when it might have been an extra portion of a year. The purpose of “creation science” is NOT to prove creation. It is to demonstrate that based on objective scientific evidence long ages are not the only interpretation. If anyone honestly wants to read more deeply about any of the topics involved, there are many freely available online resources addressing all of the questions and topics brought up this far. For example: answersingenesis.org
    Creationresearch.org (which has LCMS Lutherans on the board and has performed some of their own research)
    Societyofcreation.org (started by LCMS CUS faculty)
    Icr.org
    Creation.com

  17. @JL #72

    JL wrote, “Gaps” in the genealogies are irrelevant.”

    Others believe that the gaps are very relevant. Prof. Kurt Marquart said that because of the gaps the age of the earth could be 20,000-25,000 years instead of the 6,000-some years many teach. (I’m sorry that I can’t point to Prof. Marquart’s comment regarding this in one of his writings. It’s something he said in his class on apologetics. In any case, we’re talking about an age of the earth in thousands of years rather than billions of years.)

  18. @James Gibbs #50

    He has ruled it out by the mere fact that the world was created in 6, 24 hour days. Hence, a literal reading of Genesis 1:5 states, “God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the one day.” He uses the cardinal number not the ordinal number here which further demonstrates one day not one thousand days, not one million days or one trillion days, etc.

  19. So isn’t the issue here how much we claim to make a dogma based on the text we are given? By dogma, I mean teaching that must be believed to be in communion with the LCMS church.

    It seems to me that the LCMS currently has the most biblical, yet nuanced position on this issue that one can take. We speak clearly as far as the text allows us. God created the heavens and the earth. He did so in 6, 24 hour days. Beyond this is us making inferences out of the text.

    Now, I don’t personally think it is prudent to try and argue for an age of the earth and universe that is millions and billions of years old as I do agree that there are several lines of Biblical evidence that appear to point to a younger age for the earth. However, I think the technical age of the earth question is adiaphora and therefore shouldn’t be a dogma of the church. The age of the earth is not as clear a declaration in the Bible as saying “this is my body” or “In the beginning, God created..”. Again, if we follow the advice of the CTCR In Christ All Things Hold, then we should ” acknowledging that such interpretations and explanations are tentative, yet always showing the extent to which they are grounded in the text itself, which is reliable.” p. 122-123

    I think everyone on both sides of the creation debate (young vs. old) does each other a disservice by taking dogmatic sides on the issue. It is perfectly fine to study, research and even debate. However, unless you deny one of the things that our Synodical Resolutions have outlined, why should we call for condemnation of people over an issue that is adiaphora?

    “The Synod has affirmed the belief, therefore, based on Scripture’s account of creation in the book of Genesis and other clear passages of Scripture, that “God by the almighty power of His Word created all things in six days by a series of creative acts,” that “Adam and Eve were real, historical human beings, the first two people in the world,” and that “we must confess what St. Paul says in Romans 5:12” about the origin of sin through Adam as described in Genesis 3 (1967 Synodical Resolution 2-31). The Synod has also, therefore, stated that it rejects “all those world views, philosophical theories, exegetical interpretations and other hypotheses which pervert these biblical teachings and thus obscure the Gospel” (1967 Synodical Resolution 2-31). ”

    “In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, that the world came into existence through a process of evolution; that is, that it has, in immense periods of time, developed more or less of itself. (1932 Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Synod: Of Creation).”

    The truth is that we don’t know the answer biblically or scientifically for the age of the universe. Both conclusions are arrived at inductively, which means they are tentative conclusions that are subject to change given new and better evidence. I think it is likely that the scientific explanation is the one that needs updating, however the nature of inductive reasoning cuts both ways. There are so many things that Bible speaks clearly on, but the age of the universe just isn’t one of them. The Lutheran tradition is to speak clearly where the Bible speaks clearly and to allow tensions to exist in areas where we just don’t have complete knowledge. Don’t our current statements in the LCMS on the age of the universe do exactly this?

  20. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    First, we need to keep in mind that this issue, as it affects the LC-MS, has to do with our specific theology and its official doctrine. People who are commenting here on the basis of a different theology, e.g., American Evangelicalism, won’t understand the debate or our concerns. It would help the discussion here if commenters described their denominational affiliation.

    Second, the debate also has to do Lutheran hermeneutics. Luther and the Lutheran orthodox theologians (which includes 19th and 20th examples) held to a strict literalist hermeneutic. The flashpoint in the 16th century was the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, where the Reformed and crypto-Calvinists argued for a metaphorical interpretation of terms. So those of us who follow orthodox Lutheran theology are never surprised to find Reformed theologians, pastors, and laymen arguing for a metaphorical interpretation of the term “day” in Genesis 1, because that is what they ALWAYS do to solve theological problems. But we are surprised, and suspicious, when those who claim to be orthodox Lutherans use that tactic.

    Third, the LC-MS fought over this issue back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and it was settled with the Brief Statement of 1932. “Settle” means we agree on this theological explanation, and we do that so we can work together in unity. There has been no great revolution of science in the areas of concern since 1932, i.e., geology, astronomy, paleontology, etc. Certainly lots of discoveries, but nothing that is REALLY different from 1932. So why do people find a need to “unsettle” the LC-MS now–what is the great scientific discovery that was not present in 1932 that forces us to re-evaluate the 1932 Brief Statement?

    Fourth, what has happened is that the “old guard” in the LC-MS have passed to glory, and although the “new guard” mean well, they just do not have the depth of knowledge or years of experience in these fields as the previous experts–here I think particularly of John Klotz, Paul Zimmerman, Scott Meyer, and the LC-MS members of the Creation Research Society.

    I commend the Concordia Seminary for working with our Concordia Universities in this field, because natural science and natural history is not something that is really part of the theological disciplines–it is an adjunct. I also commend the seminary for its concern that pastors know how to deal with their laymen in an evangelical and pastoral way, when their laymen resolutely affirm that “science is always correct” and therefore our doctrine is wrong. On the other hand, the seminaries need to take a firm hand as editors and firm stand as confessors when there are statements from our university scientists that conflict with the Bible or Lutheran theology.

    Those are my thoughts, for what they are worth.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  21. @Tina S. #42

    “Tina S.,” I posted a reply earlier, but it didn’t appear for some reason. Here’s my answer to your question(s).

    I believe God made animals mortal from the beginning. Death in a beast is not because of sin, but because of the nature God gave them. (I believe Thomas Aquinas said the same thing, for what it’s worth.) Since the beasts cannot sin, not being moral agents, death in them as a punishment for sin would make no sense. As to why God would create death even in animals, see the next paragraph. Also, God said in Isaiah 45:7, “I make well-being and create calamity.” His ways are not ours.

    I agree that “immortal bunny-rabbits” combined with “Be fruitful and multiply” would lead to the world being submerged in bunnies–quite an image! I think death and carnivory in the animal kingdom is God’s plan–think of the Psalms that speak of the lions “seeking their prey from God,” or words to that effect. All part of the “circle of life/ecological balance” idea. The stuff in Isaiah about the lion lying down with the lamb I take to be figurative–an OT image of Heaven. Isaiah also says that people will not die until they are over a hundred–which cannot be literally true, since human death will be completely abolished in the resurrection of the just.

    This is why I have no problem with the fossil record existing prior to Adam and Eve.

    Do the Scriptures speak of death coming to the animal kingdom as a result of Adam’s fall? No. Hence, the silence of the Catechism. But, it does speak of death coming to human beings as a result. The focus of Scripture (and the Catechism) is on the salvation of man–the Bible really doesn’t say much about the beasts or their spiritual status. C.S. Lewis has some interesting thoughts in his essay, “The Pains of Animals,” and in his book, The Problem of Pain, which has a chapter on this same topic.

    I believe God created human beings to live forever–hence, the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve sinned, were expelled from Paradise, and lost access to the Tree. As Paul says in Romans 5:12, “Death came to all people [not animals] because all sinned.” They were henceforth mortal–they and all our race. We also lost immunity to disease, old age, etc.–so I believe animal-to-man transmission of disease would have not happened if mankind had not sinned.

    Hope this helps!

  22. @Rev. Robert Fischer #73

    Here is a longer article on the subject. My quick one sentence statement was not meant to fully address all possible issues on the subject. My point is that there is literally no reason based on the text for the earth to be drastically older, which you stated as well. Most definitions I have personally encountered do not consider someone to be “old earth” rather than “young earth” until they are closer to 100,000y years. I don’t think I need to say that we know exactly how old the earth is; however, I think it’s unreasonable to say that we have no idea when we can make a reasonable estimate based on the data provided in the Bible. For a much more detailed study of the genealogies, I read a previous edition of this book: https://answersingenesis.org/store/product/chronology-old-testament/?sku=10-3-097

    In my opinion, the author did a good job of laying out what we know and what he thinks and explaining why he thinks what he does–although it was very technical.

  23. @James Gibbs #77

    The fossil record contains not just death of animals (like the way plants recycle leaves and then decay and replenish the soil) but violent death and disease such as cancer. Would God call animals being torn apart by other animals as well as terrible suffering caused by cancer “very good”? The Bible’s description of heaven with the lion lying down with the lamb and eats straw would suggest not. Also, the fossil record does not demand this if studied objectively. Our dating methods all contain biases and assumptions. The fossils do not have tags listing dates. The dating methods are based on the assumption that everything was created without God and often give widely varying ages. If a dating method gives ranges of billions, millions, or even hundreds of thousands of years, why should I assume it is even remotely accurate?

  24. @Martin R. Noland #76

    Thank you, Pastor Noland.

    My 2 cents. Just as we are told not to “mix” Justification and Sanctification. So there is no need to “mix” the Scriptural account of Creation with teachings of evolution from science. It is a tactic used to disprove parts of Scripture according to one’s own will and pleasure and cause a chasing of other doctrines down the rabbit hole. Not one famous atheistic scientist has yet disproved God’s Word. They talk a lot about it, but they have all failed. And will continue to do so.

  25. So if we put 15,000 dominoes into a 55 gallon drum and set it on a platform which vibrates occasionally, how many bilyuns and bilyuns of years would it take to assemble itself into an amazing triple spiral? And why would we do this?

  26. I’m just havin’ fun with it at this point. This grew tiresome 45 years ago. Like Gene White said, it’s “déjà vu all over again”. The kid is in a “publish or perish” gig, and now he’s going to be famous.

  27. @Steve #84

    It is tiresome. There is nothing new under the sun until Jesus comes back. In order to stay relevant he will have to publish again or keep speaking. The sad thing is what this does to the faith of some very fragile ones. My dad used to say, “There is no way God could create the world in 6 days.” So he then proceeded to discard faith altogether. The same with a Jehovah’s Witness girl that I know.

  28. @James Gibbs #77

    For the record, I don’t agree with you, but I do believe in civil discourse, thus the furthering of our discussion by my comment made here.

    I don’t understand something with your reasoning, so hear me out. I have had pet birds and I can tell you that although they don’t have a soul, they do have feelings. When one of the flock dies, the rest mourn. Some of my friends have even had bonded pairs that when one dies, the other dies of a broken heart. Death hurts. It is a separation. In the case of the animal kingdom, it’s permanent. In the case of human beings, it can be permanent depending on faith. Why would God create something that is so painful? This would also suggest that death was the natural order of all things and that people were excluded at first, but then put back into the natural order. I don’t understand the theology behind this belief. If death for the animals was considered “good” by God, why would the death of humans be seen as “bad” then? In other words, if death was created by God, what should it matter if a person live or die?

  29. @Tina S. #87

    Tina –

    We know nothing of souls – as little as does James about his whatever subject of the moment.

    We each have one, a soul, that is – true – but of it we have only the promises of Christ. If someone here pretends to describe “soul” to you -ignore them. They are talking through an orifice not designed for speech

    Most of the rest of this thread is speculation.

    Pax . . .

  30. @Tina S. #87

    “Tina S.,” I appreciate your civility.

    Death and suffering, even for animals, is troubling to any thinking person. But there is so much we simply do not know about the inner life (if any) of animals (e.g., do they have souls as we do?), and about their ultimate destiny, that all we can do is offer conjecture. Again, C.S. Lewis in his book, The Problem of Pain, admits how little we can know about these things. Perhaps God has some ultimate plan for other creatures we do not yet know.

    But a few things we do know. The Bible says man was made to live forever in fellowship with God, that what happened in Gen. 3 shattered that, and that Christ’s resurrection will ultimately restore us to life and immortality. Scripture is silent about the fate of the beasts. We also know animals lived and died for billions of years before man appeared on this planet.

    Lewis speculates that the fall of Lucifer may have resulted in a Satanic perversion of God’s creation, bringing unnecessary suffering (e.g., cancer) and other natural evils into the world long before Adam and Eve. William Dembksi postulated that the effects of the Fall, like those of the Cross, work backward as well as forward in time. But, again, there is so much we don’t know.

    Reminds me of my mother’s story of a Sunday-School pupil asking her, “Will my puppy be in Heaven?” She wisely replied, “We know Heaven is a place where we’ll be perfectly happy. If you need your puppy to be happy in Heaven, I’m sure he’ll be there.” She didn’t want to crush the child’s spirit (e.g., “Sorry, kid–he won’t be there”), but she also refrained from going beyond Scripture (e.g., “All Dogs Go to Heaven”).

    Why is death bad for us, but not for the beasts? Here’s my thought: because we have souls that were meant to live with our bodies forever in fellowship with God–death literally sunders us in twain. As far as we know, beasts lack immortal souls. When they die, they “die all over.”

    As for human beings not dying being outside the natural order, yes–exactly. Immortality is, it seems to me, a supernatural gift by definition! What did Paul say–“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”?

    Another thought: in the young-earth-creationist (YEC) scheme of things, God ordained death, suffering, cancer, etc. even in the animal kingdom as part of God’s punishment for the sin of Adam and Eve. I can see how someone could easily question God’s justice (were he so inclined) in doing this. Why do the beasts have to suffer because of what mankind did? They lack the moral responsibility which might make suffering a deserved punishment, and they have no prospect of an afterlife which might compensate them for the sufferings of this world. So, it seems to me, the YEC “solution” to the problem of animal pain doesn’t really solve anything–it just shifts things around without offering a real resolution of our questions. That’s why I lean toward the “it’s a mystery” answer–I really don’t have a neat solution.

    It just seems to me that, regardless of how we feel about the “rightness” of how the world is made, it is what it is, and arguing that “Animal death/pain before the Fall does not comport with God’s character” doesn’t really answer the cold, hard facts of paleontology. Lots of animals died before Adam and Eve. We see their bones in the rocks. We also believe from Scripture that God is good. How those two things fit together is a bit of a puzzle–but, fit together they do, somehow!

    Thanks for the dialogue.

  31. @jb #88

    “jb,” why don’t you use your full name? Afraid of taking unprovoked cheap shots at me in the open? What is your problem, mister?

    To establish my points, I have used logic, referred to the Bible and other resources, and otherwise tried to make what I am trying to say plausible.

    All you do is use profanity (“sh__” and “h___”–both removed by the webmaster), name-call (“pretend genius,” “know-nothing,” “talking through an orifice not designed for speech,” etc.) and assert (without evidence, reasoning, or any analysis whatsover) that I’m a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad man.

    I think the readers of this website can easily judge for themselves which of us is trying to have a civil conversation, and which of us is “debating” at the emotional level of a third-grader.

  32. Mr. Gibbs –

    I am sorry you have such a tender conscience. That is neither my fault nor my concern. You do seem to like to draw attention to yourself – that much is clearly evident. Your type show up here every so often – dominating a number of conversations, and then disappear. I have been more or less a regular here for quite some time. Were you to be so, you would know my name, and my status. But you haven’t been, so you do not know. Your ignorance, for all your professed knowledge, is at fault to that end.

    I really don’t care what you think of me, or my overly-pointed words. We of Irish descent tend to speak rashly, as did the great Reformer himself. Happens. Those that wish to debate the reliability of Holy Writ all have the same thing in common – they take offense easily, and are long-winded. Congratulations. You more than qualify on both counts.

    Pax

  33. Quote from the CSL Open Letter:

    “We recognize the article in question has generated concern regarding some of its statements and conclusions…and we are looking forward to continuing that conversation with the entire Synod. As a beginning toward that end… These will be posted on concordiatheology.org.”

    So I went to https://concordiatheology.org/2017/12/reflections-on-reactions-to-the-summer-issue-of-concordia-journal/ where Dr. Arand wrote an essay. I don’t see a way to respond. Does anyone else? I want to “continu[e] the conversation.”

    If anyone else figured out how to respond to this particular essay, please let me know. I see there are other articles where responses can be made.

    Blessings in Christ Jesus,
    Ginny Valleau

  34. @James Gibbs #77

    When it comes to the disposition of animals prefall:
    Gen 1:29 Man was a vegetarian, then post flood you have Gen 9:2-3 where animals are now for food.
    Gen 1:30 as it concerns “carnivory” in Animals prefall. Scripture explicitly states that all animals were eating plants.
    Does this help to understand prefall life?

  35. Ginny-

    The Lord’s peace to you and yours always. Amen.

    I was there 40 years ago – not a participant, per se, but a student – about to commit to a Synod filled with hellish turmoil. I am a hard man from whom to pry an apology to rank “whatevers” to go along to get along. I cut little slack. I have fought the wars, and I hate the wars, and I have little toleration for those idiots (the word means “self absorbed”) who precipitate them.

    I cannot say Dr. Arand is duplicitous. But I do not suffer fools gladly.

  36. @James Gibbs #89

    James,
    I guess one place where we will significantly differ is that I am not convinced by fossilized remnants. Is there such a thing as fossils? Absolutely! But can they be used to prove that something existed over millions of years? Proof, no. By faith, yes. Because science is constantly learning and adapting to new and better ways of doing things, I won’t put my faith in science. When the x-ray was first invented, it was thought to be relatively harmless. Today, we know better. I have to put a led apron on at least my torso before an x-ray is taken. Science once knew that mold was dirty and needed to be gotten rid of, until someone discovered penicillin. Science is ever changing. However, the Word of the Lord endures forever. It doesn’t change. God promises to be the same yesterday, today, and forever. When science and theology clash, or seem to clash, I have always found it better to side with the Maker of heaven and earth.

    I realize that we cannot know what death is like for animals, but having death be a part of creation doesn’t mesh with the God of Life. Death being a result of sin does mesh with what we know about God. Eternal death is seen as eternal separation from God, that is, His gracious will. Those in eternal death will know His righteous judgement, but they will be permanently separated from His good and gracious will. Temporal death is but a small picture of that. Why give Adam and Eve a picture of temporal death when they were still sinless?

  37. Serious question though- surely there are some things in the Bible you know are not true- such as geocentrism or breeding sheep next to speckled sticks to produce speckled offspring. How do you explain heliocentrism and genetics? Why can’t this same argument be used by old earth creationists?

  38. @Terry A #97

    I’m pretty well-versed regarding the Freemasons (and other Lodges) and, no, they don’t run the public schools and NASA. That doesn’t mean they’re harmless. The Masons have a definite theology and it’s not a Christian one. I don’t want to hijack this thread and go off on a tangent about the Masons. See Lutherans Informed about Lodges for more information.

  39. @James Gibbs #89

    As I briefly stated in comment 80, we do NOT know that animals died for billions of years. If you are genuinely interested in the challenges and weaknesses of all available dating methods, I provided multiple free, online resources at the end of comment 72 so that anyone who is interested can research their own specific objections and concerns.

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