Fundamentalism and YECism

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Matt Black, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    I have heard it said that none of the authors of the original Fundamentals series of tracts was a Young Earth Creationist as YECism didn't enter evangelical theology for nearly another 50 years. Apparently, the Fundamentals authors either held a range of views on the subject of Old Earth Creationism (ie: the Earth is billions of years old) eg: they held to "day"="age" or Schofield's Gap Theory, or even in some cases accepted that species evolved as described by Darwin (albeit those who believed this considered the creation of humanity to be a special creative act).

    Can anyone confirm or verify this? If true, what does that mean for the contemporary association of fundamentalism and YECism - should the effective insistence nowadays on YECism being, as it were, a 'Sixth Fundamental' , be reviewed?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  2. aefting

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    I am a YEC Fundamentalist but I don't consider YEC to be a fundamental of the faith. You can be saved and godly and believe in OEC. I think it is a very grevious error but it does not make one a liberal or even new evangelical, although I don't personally know of any living fundamentalists who are OEC.

    Andy
     
  3. Greg Linscott

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    Dr. Harry Gray (link) , one of my profs at FBBC (now retired), held to the Gap Theory. We had Ken Ham on campus when I was there, and I remember he was a little worked up when it was implied that the young earth view was the only legitimate one. There was always a discussion or two about it amongst the students. I would not question his fundamentalist "credentials" over it, though.
     
  4. Matt Black

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    Any idea what caused the shift then from OEC to YEC within fundamentalism? I'm not convinced it was the fall-out from Scopes, as YECism it seems took some time to emerge.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  5. LarryN

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    http://www.reasons.org/resources/apologetics/notable_leaders/index.shtml

    I became curious by Andy's remarks about no living fundamentalists believing OEC, so I went to Google to try to find some. Here's one link I found. Now, I'm not saying that these are all fundamentalists by any means, but I thought I'd post this link just for everyone's perusal.

    Larry
     
  6. Greg Linscott

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    This may be a bit simplistic, but wouldn't one of the factors in the YEC view be linked to what has also led to pre-mil/pre-trib dispensationalism? A literal hermeneutic of Scripture does lead one to these conclusions.
     
  7. Helen

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    The young creation view was the primary view among the ancient Hebrews as well as the church fathers. The best research I have seen on this -- at least the most thorough and the clearest in presentation is here:

    http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Contents.htm

    There are some excellent charts in chapter 3

    The age of the earth was not even really questioned until the mid-nineteenth century when gradualism became the predominent geological idea. Gradualism has since been dropped, but the old age idea lives on courtesy of the need evolution has for untold ages and incredibly impossible probabilities in order to happen.

    Thus to associate the YEC position with any particular group of Christians is actually a misnomer -- it was not even questioned seriously until a couple of hundred years ago.
     
  8. aefting

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    Of the living men mentioned, I don't know that I would classify any of them as Fundamentalists (as least as I define the term). Many are conservative evangelicals who are quite sound in most other doctrinal matters. I don't know how any of these men get around the death before sin problem. I also think, from what I have read of their writings, that some of these men would lean towards YEC even if they are "open" to OEC. I doubt any are OEC based on the Biblical data alone.

    I think BJ Jr. was OEC, as were many who cut their fundamentalist teeth on the Scofield Reference Bible.

    Andy
     
  9. mioque

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    "I have heard it said that none of the authors of the original Fundamentals series of tracts was a Young Earth Creationist"
    "
    Absolutely true.
    Ronald L. Numbers book The Creationists that describes the history of the whole Creationist movement comes highly recommended.

    "Any idea what caused the shift then from OEC to YEC within fundamentalism?"
    "
    The Seven Day Adventist movement caused that shift.
     
  10. Matt Black

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    Could you unpack that SDA connection further please mioque?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  11. swaimj

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    The Scofield Reference Bible presented the gap theory in its notes, so many older dispensationalists held that view and were OECers. In the late 50s and into the 60s, from within the ranks of dispensationalism and fundamentalism came writers like Henry Morris, John Whitcomb, and John J. Davis who questioned the gap theory and argued for YEC. So, within the ranks of fundamentalism there has been disagreement and debate over OEC/YEC. In my experience the debate has been cordial and people have not separated over the issue.
     
  12. Dr. Bob

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    The original "fundamentals" were not formulated in a vacuum. It was in the backlash to Darwinism and Modernism. Hence many in that era were YEC as the most obvious contrast to the rise of Modernism. They almost HAD to have this anti-evolution stance as a "presupposition".

    Today, evolution is not liked by most fundamentalists, but opposition to it (demanded by YEC) is no longer a "presupposition". Hence it should not be considered a "sixth fundamental" in any sense.
     
  13. Greg Linscott

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    I'm not sure I understand, Dr. Bob- Scofield's Gap Theory does not require acceptance of the theory of eveolution, at least as I understand it. What point are you trying to make? Are you saying there is room for a Fundamentalist to be an evolutionist?
     
  14. swaimj

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    I don't understand either, Dr. Bob. Many early fundamentalists were dispensational and followers of Scofield's theology, thus they held to the gap theory. The gap theory was an attempt to reconcile evolution with creation and explain the great age of the earth. The gap theory is not YEC, it is OEC.
     
  15. Dr. Bob

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    Nixon: Let me make one thing perfectly clear . .

    Bob: Many early fundamentalists (1890-1910) were YEC because they were fighting the "new" modernism that was centered on evolution. They stuck dogmatically to YEC as the only alternative.

    Later fundamentalists (ala Scofield 1909-1940) held the "gap" nonsense, allowing an accomodation for evolution and OEC. They were just as fundamental, but rejected YEC.

    Hence my conclusion above that YEC or OEC are NOT a "fundamental doctrine" to the "fundamentalist" movement. One may be a fundamentalist and hold either position.

    (Today, however, most "fundamentalists" I know are YEC)
     
  16. mioque

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    To put it bluntly, Bob is completely of base here.

    "Despite a widespread impression to the contrary, "creationism" was not a traditional belief of nineteenth-century conservative Protestants or even of early-twentieth-century fundamentalists. During the century before the 1930s, most conservative Protestants believed that the "days" of Genesis, chapter one, stood for long ages of geological development or that a lengthy gap existed between the initial creation of the world (Gen. 1:1) and a series of more recent creative acts (Gen. 1:2ff.) during which the fossils were deposited. Some conservative Protestants early in the century - like James Orr of Scotland and B. B. Warfield of Princeton Theological Seminary, both of whom wrote for The Fundamentals (1910-15) - even allowed for large-scale evolution from one or only a few original life forms as a way of explaining God's way of creating plants, animals, and even the human body... Popular opponents of evolution in the 1920s like William Jennings Bryan had no difficulty accepting an ancient earth.
    So where did the kind of creationism we recognize today come from? It may come as a surprise to learn that one of the major influences was none other than Seventh-day Adventist prophetess Ellen G. White, something many Sunday-keeping fundamentalists might prefer not to know. Unable to carry the day in the arena of Biblical scholarship, and concerned that a non-literal reading of Genesis would undermine her rationale for Sabbath observance, she played the ultimate trump card by claiming a direct revelation from God. The Lord told his faithful handmaiden that the days of creation were indeed literal 24 hour days, and that the troublesome fossils used as evidence for an ancient Earth were merely proof of Noah’s flood. So there!

    How did Mrs. White’s fantasies escape to infect the wider Christian community? Enter George McCready Price. This gentleman was a leading figure in Seventh-day Adventism, and creationism’s greatest champion till Henry Morris, a Southern Baptist, turned up in the early 1960s. The following biographical sketch comes from Dr. Ron Numbers, author of The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism, and himself a former Adventist.


    During the first two thirds of the twentieth century, during which most Christian fundamentalists accepted the existence of long geological ages, the leading voice arguing for the recent creation of life on earth in six literal days was George McCready Price (1870-1963), a scientifically self-taught creationist and teacher. Born and reared in the Maritime Provinces of Canada, Price as a youth joined the Seventh-day Adventists, a small religious group founded and still led [at that time] by a prophetess named Ellen G. White, whom Adventists regarded as being divinely inspired. Following one of her trance-like "visions" White claimed actually to have witnessed the Creation, which occurred in a literal week. She also taught that Noah’s flood had sculpted the surface of the earth, burying the plants and animals found in the fossil record, and that the Christian Sabbath should be celebrated on Saturday rather than Sunday, as a memorial of a six-day creation. 

    Shortly after the turn of the century Price dedicated his life to a scientific defense of White’s version of earth history: the creation of all life on earth no more than about 6,000 years ago and a global deluge over 2,000 years before the birth of Christ that had deposited most of the fossil-bearing rocks. Convinced that theories of organic evolution rested primarily on the notion of geological ages, Price aimed his strongest artillery at the geological foundation rather than at the biological superstructure. For a decade and a half Price’s writings circulated mainly among his coreligionists, but by the late 1910s he was increasingly reaching non-Adventist audiences. In 1926, at the height of the antievolution crusade, the journal Science described Price as "the principal scientific authority of the Fundamentalists." That he was, but with a twist. Although virtually all of the leading antievolutionists of the day, including William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes trial, lauded Price’s critique of evolution, none of them saw any biblical reason to abandon belief in the antiquity of life on earth for what Price called "flood geology." Not until the 1970s did Price’s views, rechristened "creation science," become fundamentalist orthodoxy. "
    http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~gavinru/creation2.htm
     
  17. Greg Linscott

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    Very interesting, mioque.

    I would guess, if we did a survey of history, several orthodox Christians through the ages would have held to the concept that the earth was flat.

    I have no problem resting on the authority of the Word of God if it contradicts tradition. Our forbears have gotten other things wrong, too. Ultimately, my belief in YEC is not based on anything other than a literal interpretation of Genesis 1. If cult leaders espouse the truth, it does not make it any less true just because they teach error in other areas.
     
  18. Helen

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    And I'm a YEC because of the scientific data as well as the Bible. It has NOTHING to do with anything White ever wrote!

    I doubt if Dr. Henry Morris, who is considered the 'father' of the current creation movement ever read White either.
     
  19. OldRegular

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    mioque

    You picked a very poor source for your weird post.
     
  20. mioque

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    That's what all people say who don't like the facts they hear.
     

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