Essay. Eastern Orthodoxy, part 1

According to one estimate, the Eastern Orthodox Church in America has over six million members, making it the fourth largest religious body in the country. Historically, most Orthodox Americans have been immigrants from eastern European countries (Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Russia, Ukraine). While this is still the case, the last twenty five years have witnessed a number of high-profile conversions to Orthodoxy. Surprisingly, many of these converts have come from evangelical roots.

Peter Gillquist and other former Campus Crusade for Christ staff members led a group of people into Orthodoxy during the 70’s and 80’s.1 Charles Bell led most of his Vineyard Christian Fellowship congregation into the Eastern church in 1993.2 Perhaps the most high-profile conversion was that of Franky Schaeffer, son of the late Francis Schaeffer, who converted to Eastern Orthodoxy in 1990.3 The trend East hit home in 1995 when a minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the denomination of Machen, Van Til, Murray and Bahnsen, demitted the ministry and converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. Even the thought of such apostasy would not have occurred twenty-five years ago. Continue reading

Essay. Genesis 2:5 and the Framework Hypothesis

Advocates of the Framework Hypothesis recognize that considerations of the literary structure of Genesis 1 is not in itself sufficient to establish their conclusion that the narration of the six days of creation in Genesis 1 is topical and figurative rather than chronological and literal. They, therefore, have put forth a supplementary argument based on considerations from Genesis 2:5. Meredith Kline is the originator of the argument, but many others have picked up on it. Mark Futato summarizes it thus:

The [“Because It Had Not Rained”] article demonstrated that according to Gen 2:5 ordinary providence was God’s mode of operation during the days of creation. Since God’s mode of operation was ordinary providence, and since, for example, light (Day 1) without luminaries (Day 4) is not ordinary providence, the arrangement of the six days of creation in Genesis 1 must be topical not chronological.

Kline and Futato contend that Genesis 2:5 provides an important insight into how we are to understand the creation week. Since, on this interpretation, God used ordinary providence (rain) to maintain earth’s vegetation, we should infer from this that ordinary providence was the modus operandi of the creation week. That is, God’s ordinary way of maintaining his creation obtained during the period of his creation of the heavens and earth and was only punctuated at certain intervals by his creative fiats. This being the case, it is obvious, for example, that the creation of light on one day and light bearers on another is a violation of ordinary providence. And so we are not to read Genesis 1 as a chronology of God’s creative works, but as a “semi-poetic” topical arrangement of how God fashioned the world in its present form. Continue reading

Essay. The Fossils Don’t Speak

This essay is based on a lecture delivered by MRB at a 1998 conference.


The title “The Fossils Don’t Speak!” is intended to evoke curiosity from those familiar with creationist literature. It is, of course, a reversal of the title of a book written by Dr. Duane Gish. However, the contradiction may or may not actually be a corrective to the work of Dr. Gish or his creation-science colleagues, as we will see.

The thesis I will argue for is that the debate between Christianity and Darwinism is conducted at the wrong level. The level that it is commonly carried out on is what we can call the evidential or factual level. One side puts forth evidence in support of Darwinian evolution while the other proffers evidence against it. The debate, then, is to be resolved by judging which side possesses the preponderance of the evidence. Obviously the Darwinists think the weight of evidence leans on the side of evolutionary theory while creationists think the scale is tipped in the other direction.

I do not maintain that scientific evidence is irrelevant to the creation-evolution debate – such a claim would be patently absurd. Nevertheless, scientific evidence in itself is insufficient to decide the issue either way. By this I do not mean that I think the evidence is ambiguous. I firmly believe that the scientific research that has been done clearly indicates that every living (and non-living) thing in the universe is the result of direct act of creation by God and not the product of an evolutionary process.
However, I also believe that a debate of this issue on purely scientific evidence will get nowhere. The debate must take place on a different level before any resolution is possible. Thus my present objective is not to refute Darwinism and vindicate creationism. Instead I will endeavor to realign the terms of the Continue reading