Tuesday, October 8, 2013

GPTS Commended for Six-Day Creation Stance

Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, along with Mid-America Reformed Seminary, has been cited for commendation by iconic Presbyterian minister and author G.I. Williamson for its strong stand in defense of the historic interpretation of the six-day creation account of Genesis 1 and 2.

Writing in The Aquila Report, Williamson, a retired minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, said that Presbyterian and Reformed churches have "lost credibility" concerning the authority of scripture by abandoning the historic view and seeking to accommodate ever-changing modern scientific views.

"We still say we believe every word of the Bible including what it says about creation. We also say that we subscribe to the Westminster Standards. But the truth is that we are no longer united in what we mean when we say this. And it is my conviction that this has seriously weakened our testimony to unbelievers," Williamson said.

He said many in Presbyterian and Reformed circles are regrettably seeking respectability among "intellectuals" and "scientific people" by tolerating "day-age," "analogical," and "framework" interpretations of creation and have gone so far as ridicule those who seek to uphold and defend a literal reading of the six-day creation account.

Williamson laid much of the blame for the departure at the feet of Reformed seminaries.

"I have thought for some time that it is a pity that our Reformed Seminaries are failing to extricate us from the effects of the mistaken concession made by some truly great men in recent history, but I’m also heartened to see a clear stand being taken for six-day creation at Mid-America Reformed Seminary — and even more since the Greenville Presbyterian Seminary has been willing to openly state its rejection of the concession of faith which has produced such bitter fruit."

The GPTS faculty is perhaps unique in having created and published a formal statement of allegiance to the historic, literal view of creation.

The statement, "6 Days are 6 Days," says that members of the GPTS faculty share "the exegesis of the Westminster divines that led them to affirm that God created all things 'in the space of six days' by the word of his power. We also believe that this clear meaning of confessional language should be taught in our churches and pulpits, and that departures from it should be properly safeguarded."

Williamson said, "I am more and more convinced that what seminary professors, pastors, and elders need today is a good dose of Job and Ecclesiastes, because (if they did have that) they would again be able to teach and defend what the Westminster Standards say about creation. The Standards say God 'created all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.' But in spite of some ‘fancy footwork’ by adherents of these different views, what our standards clearly say is no longer what we really believe and uphold in all our Orthodox Presbyterian Churches and Presbyterian Church in America congregations. And I think the reason is that too many who profess adherence to the Westminster Standards have been seduced by the cultural consensus which says modern scientific people now know better than our Reformation fathers. They think modern science has now made that part of our Reformation creed (taken in its obvious sense) obsolete. I believe they need to consider is what God said to Job many centuries ago.

"Job [was] asked in 11:7, 'Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?

"And again in 38:4,'Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know!

"I take the last three words to be sarcastic! And the sarcasm was well deserved. We see this from the response of Job who was deservedly chastened!

"42:1-6: 'Then Job answered the Lord and said: "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 'Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.' I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."'

"What Job needed to learn was the infinite difference between man (the mere creature) and his creator. And that being true it will never be the case that man knows enough to dispute what God says about his own work of creation. As wise Solomon said, God 'made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end' (Eccles. 3:11)."

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