Readers write: February 1, 2016 issue

January 27, 2016 | Viewpoints | Volume 20 Issue 3

Evolutionary theory attacks Christianity

Some time ago there was a letter to the editor promoting evolutionary theory as strengthening faith. This is not Christian or scriptural.

Since evolutionary theory is atheistic, we as Christians do well to believe in God as our creator. True science does not support evolutionary theory, even though evolutionists have hijacked the word “science.”

For a wealth of helpful, biblical information and literature, visit creation.com or call 1-888-251-5360. Creation Ministries International (CMI) is a non-profit, non-denominational, Christ-centred group of evangelistic ministries. CMI provides scientific, scriptural answers to evolutionary attacks on Christianity.

Daniel M. Martin, St. Clements, Ont.

 

A prayer for healing mercy: Do not give up hope

Re: “More transparency please,” Dec. 14, 2015, page 2.

After reading the editorial from Dick Benner, I was left sitting in my chair wishing I could scream loud enough for all my Mennonite brothers and sister to hear one word: “Stop.”

Take a deep breath and remember that we are all raised and taught well in God’s Word. We have to accept the times in which we are living. The devil is working overtime on our brains, especially with all the talk about sexuality.

I’m glad that the John Howard Yoder case and the Vernon Leis story are being talked about. It is now healing time for the victims and for all those affected by these situations.

The cross is still there for each and every one of us. And the blood of Jesus heals all wounds. How about starting to prayerfully run the path into our Father’s loving arms, because his heart has been waiting for us for a long time already.

My prayer is healing mercy for all my Anabaptist Mennonite brothers and sisters in Christ, and do not give up hope.

Marlene Hiebert, Altona, Man.

 

Honest, accurate reporting sought from Canadian Mennonite

Re: “A moment from yesterday,” Dec. 14, 2015, page 11.

Highlighting archival photos is interesting, but I did not appreciate the personal opinion that condemned the “oil industry’s use of water in fracking” as it pertains to global water issues. All too often Canadian Mennonite and other periodicals send messages that reflect badly on industry.

I spent childhood summers and many weeks as an adult living on Shoal Lake, bordering Manitoba and Ontario. I still drink the lake water right off my paddle and enjoy swimming, diving and skiing in its waters. Yet there are those who cry for the injustices of a first nations group that has faced the plight of undrinkable water from the lake for the past 17 years. It’s all about information as it is sold or marketed. Telling an honest, complete and accurate story is what journalism should be about, particularly a journal such as Canadian Mennonite.

There is so much hypocrisy that too many people are afraid to expose. Being Christian—and even Mennonite—should be about helping people, rather than putting ourselves on a soap box, invoking others to understand who we are as Mennonites, and debating social media issues until we are so tired we can’t open our hearts to the needs of others.

Harold Funk, Calgary

 

Where is a ‘differing view’ on same-sex marriage in Canadian Mennonite?

Re: “Clean or unclean” feature, Jan 4, page 2.

This is typical of the journalism that is polarizing the church on the issues surrounding the same-sex marriage debate.

Why does Canadian Mennonite continue to portray this issue as one-sided and never offers a voice from the many who have a differing view?

Doug Klassen uses great Scripture and a powerful story from our history. It’s just that neither have anything to do with the issue he addresses. Peter’s encounter with the sheet was simply the Lord releasing the transforming gospel to go outside the Jewish world to the gentile world. Klassen is correct in stating that it’s about bringing down walls, but there’s no pretence in this event at defining how gentiles who follow Christ would live.

Klassen is fair in defining this issue as either a disputable matter (Romans 14) or a sin issue. If this issue is a disputable matter, then there should at least be recognition and hearing of the dispute, and not painting the other side as unthinking bigots. If it falls into the sin category—along with gossip, gluttony and greed, as the author suggests—then it still begs for an answer as to what we believe about sin and what it means to live holy lives.

I suggest that we get Jesus’ perspective from Revelation 22:14-15 and then answer the excellent questions listed in this article from the Voskamp blog and the “For discussion” questions at the end of the feature.

Ken Funk (online comment)

 

Disarming Conflict ‘not silent about the immorality of war’

Re: “War is ‘development in reverse,’ ” Jan. 4, page 26.

I found the review of Disarming Conflict by Ernie Regehr rather muted. The book holds out some quite dazzling prospects. For example, we may be witnessing the end of centuries of wars between sovereign states. Since the end of the Cold War, they have become rare, and what has become much less rare is that many contemporary political leaders have lost faith in the practical utility of war. After “a succession of spectacularly failed wars” over the last 25 years, any western political leader who has not lost faith in war now finds himself squarely among the lunatic fringe.

Civil wars, however, continue to rage—29 of them, by Regehr’s count—with horrific carnage. But even here, as reviewer Barb Draper points out, the evidence is overwhelmingly against the utility of war as a “last resort” in resolving conflict. Wherever a conflict has been successfully resolved, argues Regehr, it has been resolved by political negotiation, not by military force, even when the military capability of one side far exceeded that of the other.

Regehr does not beat his breast about the slaughter of thousands of people being morally wrong, and Draper rightly hints that this makes his argument stronger, not weaker. But the book is not silent about the immorality of war: “A secure society relies ultimately on the active consent of a population confident that its laws are just and fairly applied.” That sounds like a moral statement to me.

Nowhere in this book does Regehr claim that a half-century of concerted peace activism has begun to bear fruit. During much of that time, he himself has been one of the most prominent peace activists in Canada, so perhaps he felt it would be immodest to make that claim. But I have no reason to be squeamish about making it.

Erwin Wiens, Ottawa

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Comments

Arguments about the need to choose between science and faith once helped to convince me I didn't belong in church. I'm disappointed to see the discussion framed as a choice once again. There is nothing about evolution or the scientific understanding about the origins of the universe that exclude God or prevent a person from following Christ. I'm sure that those promoting young earth creationism as an essential part of Christian understanding are doing so earnestly, but I fear that they will scare more thoughtful young people out of the church and away from a relationship with God. I'm also saddened that those who condemn mainstream science as a conspiracy against faith are missing out on the awe and wonder of creation that is unseen until it is revealed through scientific study.

Preceding generations of Mennonites and others Christians held the Genesis creation myth as literally true, but they had more excuse, as science and education were not as prevalent. Vast, almost limitless and ever-increasing amounts of solid evidence demonstrate the myth is not factual. But it has spiritual value. God creates, it is good, etc. Science-wise, it has no value. This is apparently still hard to accept for quite a few excessive literalists. However, Jesus told fables, too (parables).

Overall, the Bible is far less perfect, clear and trustworthy than many people imagine. I don't think this should shock us and cause us to lose faith. Jesus directed us to the Kingdom within us. I think our best answers are within ourselves. The best of our hearts and minds will best direct us, and will agree with the best of the Bible. But not its worst, or our errant interpretations of various portions of it. Science is not perfect either, far from it, but represents sharp minds making good progress. The more I learn of science, the greater my admiration for an ingenious and omnipotent God. Who else made the sciences and used them to create and shape this astounding universe? Acknowledging the emerging truths about Earth ancientness and evolution of the species is far from atheistic. It makes us understand God's ways better, in all their exquisite beauty and complexity.

Some young Earth/seven day creationists go to great lengths to hold on to a literal interpretation of the creation myth and (excuse me) it gives us a chuckle. In the US there's a "museum" with a display of Adam amongst dinosaurs and claims that all this happened less than ten thousand years ago. Goodness, we have man-made structures older than that.

I agree with Howard Boldt's comments but when I encounter Bible Literalists insisting on the correctness of the Biblical Creation Story, I usually ask; "Which of the two Creation Stories in Genesis do you believe in, and why that one and not the other one?" Their inability to thoughtfully answer my question raises an even more basic question about the quality of the Scripture Education they received. Maybe that is what needs to be examined more closely.

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