I read an article last week that included the text of a podcast interview with Christian singer-songwriter, Michael Gungor. His comments included some startling statements that revealed his views on the veracity of the book of Genesis, the accuracy of the Gospels, and sinless nature of Jesus Christ. Sharing his thoughts about what he considers to be the “mythical” story of creation and the flood of Noah, he said… “… even if He (Jesus) did believe that Noah was a historical person, or Adam was a historical person, and ended up being wrong, I don’t understand how that even would deny the divinity of Christ.” (Read the entire article here. Read his personal blog response here. )
I don’t know about you, but his alarming statements have ramifications far beyond the old earth/new earth debate within Christianity. It’s even more disturbing since these words came from the mouth of the Dove Award winning and Grammy-nominated worship leader.
I believe that these kind of statements are just the most recent example of the kind of fruit that comes from the de-emphasis on teaching doctrine in the church today. Too many believers (especially the young) are all too quick to adopt beliefs that are popular in the general culture, soak them with personal feelings and rational-sounding logic, then meld these concepts together to create their own more palatable and less off-putting view of Christianity. This is a dangerous trend that, unfortunately, is encouraged by biblically ungrounded people who’ve been thrust into the spotlight in our churches.
There is no shortage of spiritual topics where there exists generous scriptural latitude for discussion on divergent interpretations or application of God’s written Word. We need much grace, mercy, love, and patience when entering these dialogues, and great wisdom to know when continuing the argument isn’t worth the cost in broken relationships.
However, it’s important to emphasize that the nature of Christ and His work of redemption aren’t up for debate.
To propose that Jesus didn’t know whether Noah and Adam were real, historical people questions His character, His role in creation, and His divinity! If Jesus is God (as He claimed to be ~see John 4:25-26; Matt 16:15-16) then He possesses and has access to all of the attributes of the Almighty, (including being all-knowing). Colossians 1:16 states categorically that Jesus is creator of “all things, in both heavens and on earth, visible and invisible.” If someone wishes to appeal to human logic, that verse alone tells us that if He was present and active in creation, He would have to know with absolute certainty if Adam was real or not!
To be mistaken about Noah or Adam, as Mr. Gundor suggests, implies Christ’s knowledge was limited to only the events of His earthly life, which, if true, would significantly diminish His divinity, which, in turn, undercuts His role as redeemer. If Jesus is not God, then He is reduced to a mere mortal and therefore, unable to be the sinless sacrifice for mankind.
The implications of these aberrant ideas seem to be lost on Mr. Gundor as he continued sharing his personal beliefs: “Even if Jesus knew that Noah and Adam were mythical, but knew He was talking to people who thought they were real, that’s another possibility. Jesus was just referring to a story he was part of to these Jewish people that know that story.”
Here Mr. Gungor suggests that Jesus may have known the stories of Genesis were “myths,” but spoke as though they were real only because the people of his day believed them to be true.
Think about the implications of these words. Doesn’t purposefully concealing the truth from people also mean that Christ was lying? If we are to take this man’s statements at face value, we must understand that his line of thinking ultimately compromises the perfection of Christ!
Today, we tolerate and accept deception as a way of life because everyone puts their particular ‘spin’ on a story. And sadly, hiding facts and fudging numbers is part of how the world operates these days. But while this seems to be the norm in today’s society, it’s still not OK with God. His standard has always been, and will forever be, perfection. Even one ‘little white lie’ or small deception on the part of Christ would mar His qualifications to be the “Lamb of God who takes the way the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
On the surface, Mr. Gundor’s statements could easily be dismissed as “no big deal,” but Paul warned us that “the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim. 4:3-4) Since more every day it seems that day has arrived (see Victoria Osteen video here), we need to be ever vigilant to evaluate the beliefs of those who claim to be leaders and teachers in the church, and to be on guard against the insidious influence of the world and the deception of our enemy.
In Galatians 1:8, Paul insists that believers hold tenaciously to the truth as revealed in God’s Word and reject those who attempt to lead us away. He says “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” And in Titus 1:9, he lists the basic qualifications for leaders in the church to include that “he must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”
The scriptures are infinitely practical and wholly coherent, but will frequently conflict with human reason. So, the devil will try to use popular logic, appeals to emotions, and “practical” rationalization to break believers loose from the solid anchor of scripture. Every time he succeeds, we invariably begin to elevate “what seems right in (our) own mind” (Prov. 16:25) above the clear teachings of the Bible! This is a precarious and dangerous position! Without an anchor to hold position, when the storm comes, we’ll find ourselves far off course and eventually dashed on the rocks.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~ Hebrews 4:12