An excerpt from Rob Franzen’s new book, Creation Under Fire Concise
In 2005 I came out with a book entitled, Creation Under Fire from within the Church. That book was the result of several years of study and research surrounding the question of whether there was a gap of time between the first two verses of the Bible. Two-thirds of the book is basically a critique of the “gap theory” along with other creation theories within the church. Researching this matter, I was overtaken by the vastness of the subject of creation.
It went way beyond any one particular theory. I caught the vision, if you will, discovering how immensely important the subject of our origin really is, and why Satan has made every effort to pervert it from the beginning. It is by design that the waters of our origin are so muddy and filled with controversy and confusion. God is not the author of confusion.
I learned the seriousness of what the early chapters of the book of Genesis are all about and I notice how it is downplayed by the modern Christian Church at large. The reason for the downplay is due to the differences in interpretations of Genesis 1, and it only worsened when modern science took a hard left turn in “development” in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Today, the subject of our origin has become so muddied-up that even the most educated Christians I meet are not fully aware of and have not studied out or researched Genesis 1 very well. We live in an age where non-absolute positions permeate our culture. I believe the secular world has intimidated Christian educators and leaders so they do not fully dive into Genesis chapter one and make a firm stand, and hold a standard.
This has caused many to say that the subject is not that important, and hide behind a truth that says, “It’s not a salvation issue.” Our believing forefathers admonished us not to move the ancient landmarks (Proverbs 22:28 & 23:10).
Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing
In growing and maturing in my Christian journey here on earth, I have come to realize what really changes lives, and is the most important message in the Bible: The Gospel! The good news of Jesus Christ is the only message that will save a soul. Out of all the important topics and subjects throughout Scripture, none transforms a soul like the Gospel. Topics like divine healing, faith, prosperity, sanctification, end-time prophecy and even creation, all fall under the heading of Discipleship.
We are commanded by Jesus Christ to go preach the good news to get people saved, then baptized and then disciple. This makes sense because Jesus knows people cannot fully understand the truths of Scripture without first being regenerated and filled with His Spirit (1 Cor.2:14). All these great subjects we teach are there to renew our minds so we can be more Christ-like, but none of them transforms or regenerates a soul. In other words, in the discussion itself we have with people, be it of creation, end-time prophecy, sanctification, or what have you, it does not in itself get a person saved. Much of the time it leads to debate and argument.
These discussions can and should lead to the message of Jesus Christ; and that’s my point — the main thing is the Gospel, and that message brings a person to salvation. It is the only message that saves, “for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). The Gospel is to be our center! Our motivation, churches and very lives should be Christ-centered or in other words, Gospel-centered! The Gospel is not just a message; it is a person – Jesus Christ! You may be a teacher that specializes in one of these subjects and that is perfectly fine, and maybe most of the time the people before you are Christian already, and that’s fine too.
However, we need to be careful to not let our specialty become “pet-peeves,” or a pet-doctrine that will muddy-up the Gospel. In other words, that individual does not have to believe the same way you do in order to become saved. Jesus does the saving through what the world would call the “foolishness of preaching” (1 Cor. 1:21). Then the Spirit of Truth can lead from there. Our main thrust in ministry is the Gospel and “that message” and part of ministry has a very wide brim – “but to as many as receive Him…” (John 1:12).
Many Christians forget this and become legalistic in their ways. We have to realize that no matter a person’s beliefs or background, they can be saved by the power of the Gospel, not by whether they believe Genesis to be literal or allegorical or what have you. Our theology does not save us, belief in the Gospel does.
Keep the main thing, the main thing – Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the message! May everything we do and say lead to that. When talking about the subject of “human origin” with unsaved people, it cannot hinder or interfere with the Gospel message.
With that said, we move onward to the Christian disciple. With the Gospel message being of utmost importance to us, I implore you, we still cannot overlook the immense importance of Genesis and the subject of creation, because of the direct relation it has to the Gospel message!
The reason why Genesis is so incredibly important is because the Gospel, along with the entire New Testament has its roots in the creation message. Nothing in the New Testament would make sense; in fact, there would be no Christianity at all without the history described in Genesis.
Therefore, what we believe about origins can have eternal ramifications. What we believe about creation directly influences the foundation of the Gospel we preach. What we believe about creation regulates how strong our Gospel message is against the erroneous philosophies of origins and secular worldviews out there.
Since the Gospel and the New Testament teachings are directly rooted in the book of Genesis, the way we interpret the early chapters of Genesis is vitally important. Souls are at stake! While it is true that one’s belief about origins is not necessarily a salvation issue, it could lead to one. I say it could lead to one because of the obvious reason that if one is dead-set on atheistic philosophies taught by the world, it breeds doubt and could keep a person from ever really hearing the Gospel.
Thus, this is the reason we are to have the Gospel message foremost in our dealings. … When teaching the Bible in discipleship and we learn that evolution is so diabolically at odds with the character of God and what the Word of God actually teaches; what then do we replace evolution with? This is where it becomes important, in the discipleship phase.
It’s no question that the subject of our origin and the book of Genesis are extremely important, we just have to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to properly balance our energies, keeping the Gospel our main emphasis.
Rob Franzen, Advisory Board Member of the Virginia Christian Alliance and author. He heads up the mission of the “Creation Under Fire project” is to educate people with the truth of our origin as revealed in the first book of the Holy Bible – Genesis. To establish a clear understanding of the original thought and intent of the author as it was originally recorded; therewith, dispelling untrue theories of creation within the church. In turn, strengthening people’s faith and equipping them with real answers for the faith they possess and to defend it well. Also to expose the most subtle scheme Satan has ever unleashed on humanity, which has sent more people to hell than any other attack mankind has ever known.