John MacArthur has a conference starting tomorrow. Here’s how he talks about the charismatic movement:
I recently wrote an article titled Nobody Is above Question. Now I’m questioning Dr. John MacArthur in the way he is challenging others.
This is precisely the opposite of the philosophy I have for my company, Energion Publications (mission statement here). I believe we must all be prepared to learn from one another. I do think much charismatic Bible study is much too shallow. Those of us who are charismatic (and I count myself in that number), should be ready to learn from our Baptist brethren to spend more time, and more serious time, in the word. But there are so many more things we can learn from one another if we spend less time condemning and more time listening.
In a comment I suggested that we need to learn to show grace while still upholding truth. Neither element can be lost.
PS: Michael Brown has responded in Charisma Magazine.
In these pictures I’m not doing the work. My landlord is. I’ve been working on some of this stuff as well, but today I was taking the pictures. Tom Hunt, my landlord, owns all the heavy equipment. I have to say that the work is fun. Right now we’re cleaning up the piles of limbs and logs and other debris produced by clearing.
Tom is chipping the smaller branches. The chipper can handle limbs up to 6 inches.
This is the incipient yard.
Here’s some of the logs waiting for me and the chainsaw.
The tractor with the log splitter attached. Larger logs are designated to be split for firewood. Behind it is the old place, now awaiting demolition. Can’t really finish the yard until the old place is gone which will probably be next month.
And here’s the dump truck that’s been hauling away the debris that we can’t recycle or repurpose, as well as hauling the heavy equipment.
I expect to have most of the logs done and ready for splitting this week.
In any case, that’s a personal update. I don’t do that often on this blog!
I am frequently amazed by our authors at Energion Publications. I suppose that other editors and owners are likewise amazed, but I think we have a very special group. Just the other day I received notice from an author that he had signed his contract, but that he wanted to donate his royalties to our literature fund, a fund we use to send books overseas or to people who can’t afford them. I hadn’t asked. In fact, I don’t ask for funds to support that project. We’re not a non-profit. It’s just one of the ways we try to give back.
The thing that impresses me most about our authors, however, is the way they live what they believe. I don’t know of any of our authors who doesn’t in some way embody the books they have written. When I hear what they are actually doing, it’s what I would expect based on what they wrote in their books. And that’s a great thing.
Way back when … well, actually in 2010 … we were contacted by a potential new author who had a story to tell. I like books that tell a story, particularly when that story is a testimony. This was Renee Crosby and her life and vision had been changed by a seminary assignment. She had been asked to serve a certain number of hours in the community as part of an assignment. She spent that time in a soup kitchen. Now as the book will tell you, Renee had become extremely busy in church. She was an active Christian. But that activity was generally in church. When she reluctantly went out to complete her assignment, she encountered Jesus in a new way, right there in the soup kitchen.
So she wrote her book Soup Kitchen for the Soul to invite other people to this same discovery. I was hooked immediately. I have frequently visited churches that are busy, filled with active members. But if you review their church bulletin or newsletter, the vast majority of what they do is designed to serve the members. It’s people in the church doing things for people in the church. Now there’s nothing wrong with that. People in the church should be doing things for one another, caring for one another, building one another up. But we should also be “provoking one another to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24), and those good deeds should serve those outside the church as well.
This is a book with a great message. It deserves to be read much more than it has. It deserves to be studied.
But Renee is now experiencing the next phase of her testimony. As she explains in the video below, she is in treatment for breast cancer. But she’s not taking it lying down. Instead, she’s trying even more to provoke others to love and good deeds.
We’re also going to donate 5% of our proceeds in addition to what Renee donates as our way of supporting her in this endeavor. In addition, the book is now 30% off with the use of the pink30 coupon. To use that coupon, you need to enter the coupon code on your shopping cart on checkout from Energion Direct. If you need some more help with the coupon, you’ll find it here.
There are two dangerous attitudes in the church, and I suspect in any human endeavor. One is the idea that certain leaders are above question. In the church the words “touch not mine anointed” (going back to the KJV, Psalm 105:15, and we could discuss the context) are often used to express this idea. This line can be used to shut down any questioning of one who is called a pastor, teacher, prophet, apostle, evangelist, bishop, or whatever other title people have chosen. On the other hand, there is the hypercritical attitude, in which no leader can possibly be good enough, doctrinally correct enough, educated enough, or whatever enough to suit.
Unfortunately, rather than seeking balance in our own lives we tend to go to one or the other extreme, and then yell at each other for our failures to meet the standards of the other camp, whichever that is. If it were not tragic, it would be hilarious to observe the criticism heaped on one church leader for questioning another, when both the questioner and the questioned have some sort of claim to this “God’s anointed” status.
Over-critical attitudes, backbiting, and unwillingness to work with a team have led many church leaders to discouragement and even out of the ministry. Lack of healthy questioning allows problems to grow until they’re out of hand. Right now, however, I want to address this reluctance to question people in leadership, and then give some suggestions as to how we can question without being destructive.
I’ve been on the destructive end. In seminary I became so bright (in my own mind) that nobody could preach a sermon good enough for me. This critical attitude was one of the factors that led me out the doors of the church shortly after I was done at the seminary. So I can speak from experience. At the same time, I have observed destructive behavior in leaders, behavior that should have been corrected by others, but because the leader was so respected, and people didn’t want to question them, their behavior went unchecked, and they were able to harm more and more people.
We’ve seen an example of this in the Roman Catholic church with the sexual abuse scandal. A tendency not to question leadership at all levels of the hierarchy allowed the church to cover up its problems for decades. Eventually, the problems came to light, at which point the church had to face repeated issues, dealing with decades of abuse in a few years. And dealing with it is hardly complete.
But protestants should not have any illusions that we have less problems. We have a hierarchy that is less efficient at covering up, so we have dealt with these problems over a longer period of time. That gives us the illusion that we’re doing much better. We still run into similar problems. The person who is above reproach, who cannot be questioned, is in a position of great temptation, whether that temptation is moral, doctrinal, or financial.
In a church that is divided into hundreds of denominations, we have to make determinations. Will I become a member of this church or that? To what extent is my loyalty to my local church or denomination, as opposed to the broader body of Christ in the local community. Is Pastor X someone I should follow, or are his teachings a danger to me and to the church?
I have illustrated a case recently in which I felt something was far enough off the mark that it was appropriate to speak out, with some comments by Pat Robertson on tithing. I have seen discussions of Bishop John Shelby Spong and of Joel Osteen. These latter two provide a good illustration of my point. There are those who would regard Bishop Spong as outside the bounds of Christianity, while they defend Joel Osteen against any sort of criticism. Why? Both have been ordained by Christian organizations. Both have said things that many Christians question. Why should someone consider one or the other above criticism?
The difference, of course, is in which doctrines each espouses. What is important to you? But by making that very decision, you are deciding, for yourself, which leader to follow. Good! That’s what you should do. Test it. Hold what’s good. Turn away from evil. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22, making sure to emphasize verse 17.)
But then why would you deny that same privilege, no, duty, to another Christian?
And make no mistake. I am definitely saying that my duty to discern also often comes with a duty to speak up and discuss that decision with others. Just because someone is famous, well-loved, called “anointed,” helpful to some people, wonderfully charismatic, extraordinarily well-educated, or just plain special doesn’t mean that person is always right.
My tendency is to try to keep quiet in many cases. My wife often pushes me to speak up. That is a matter of personality. But for each of us, hopefully guided by prayer (go read 1 Thessalonians 5:17 again), there is a duty to uphold the right and speak out against what is not right.
So how can we do this without becoming hypercritical?
Well, for me, simply realizing how fallible I am has been very helpful. I now have had too many occasions when I’ve been reading the Bible and suddenly thought, “Wow! I’ve been wrong about that for years!” I’m going to post something on my Participatory Bible Study blog, hopefully later today, about an issue on which I’ve been wrong for at least 15 years. And my wrongness on this issue does not exist in isolation. Once I have written about how I changed my mind, there will be people who will think I was right and am now very wrong. I hope they’ll speak up. They should!
So here are my ideas:
- Address behavior or teaching, not personality or the person. For example, “I think Joel Osteen is a false teacher” is judging the man and his ministry as a whole. Unless you’re one of the elders of his church (or the equivalent), that’s generally not your business or probably even competence. “Joel Osteen said _____ and I believe that’s wrong” is a much better approach. Even better, “Here’s what I believe about _____ and here’s my scriptural and theological basis for believing it.” People can figure out the personalities for themselves if necessary. Sometimes, however, it’s a good idea to identify a person who has made a public statement, if that statement is widely known.
- Be sure you have actually understood what a person is saying. For example, “Bishop Spong doesn’t believe in the resurrection” and “Bishop Spong does not believe resurrection involves resuscitation of a physical corpse” are two different statements. Be sure you’re responding to what the person actually said.
- Realize that everyone is fallible, especially you. There is an expression derived from French, “de haut en bas” it refers to speaking from above someone, from a position of superiority. You are not the judge of Bishop Spong or Joel Osteen or of me. That doesn’t mean you cannot question each of us. Do your best to speak from a position of humility. When something really stirs you up (as Pat Robertson’s statement did the other day), this may be more difficult. But don’t just be prepared to be questioned. Welcome questioning. Invite questioning. Be open. Listen to the questions. Re-examine your own beliefs. If you come to the same conclusion, fine. But you’ll be stronger for it.
- Don’t be narrow. Sometimes we have such a narrow range of beliefs we find acceptable that nobody can possibly live up to our expectations. For me, the problem was technical accuracy. A pastor might preach a sermon that was really great, but use a verse that I didn’t think was handled properly. The whole sermon would become chaff in my mind, and the sorry individual who was careless enough to misuse scripture (or other sources) in that way would be struck off my list–until I no longer had a list. Humorously enough, others were busy striking me off their lists. When we do this, the body of Christ becomes one finger, or one nose, or some less honorable part (read 1 Corinthians 12-14 several times, OK?) and there we go. I had to do a great deal of repenting and “list restoration” to get back into action with the body.
- Don’t be afraid. People will get annoyed whether you are questioning a popular leader or defending him or her. Don’t let fear, whether the fear of what people will think, or the fear of being wrong, stop you. Wrongness is an easily correctable problem!
- Moral standards are more important than errors in teaching. Depending on the teaching, it’s possible that it could lead to bad moral standards. I know of a pastor who came up with a new doctrine of divorce after he–you guessed it–wanted to get divorced. Sexual abuse of minors, sexual misconduct, financial misconduct, and actions that are hurting members of the body need to be dealt with. That isn’t a matter of judging the person. It’s a matter of protecting people who need it.
I hope that these few ideas will be helpful. I know there are those who would prefer that we simply let those known by great titles or popular as leaders slide. They may be doing great good. But they may also be doing harm in the background. I know there are those who are afraid of excessive criticism. What I’m suggesting is a broad-based openness to questioning, both of ourselves and of others. But let it all be done as gently as possible.
I’ve been watching the responses to Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Jesus. Note that I said I was following the responses. I haven’t read the book and don’t intend to. I can’t stand listening to its author and I don’t feel any obligation to subject myself to reading his words. My attitude parallels Allan Bevere’s.
I used to object to folks who would mention a book if they didn’t intend to read it. Now with the amount of reading material stacked on my desk, not to mention the amount I could stack there, I have to make choices. So this is a response to responses, not to the book.
I truly enjoyed Christopher Skinner’s review. He’s very right to deplore the use of Jesus to pursue a right wing political agenda, or even a generally “American” political agenda. Our culture isn’t in line with Jesus, no matter how much we may talk about being a Christian nation.
But now it’s time to annoy my liberal readers. Jesus doesn’t line up with liberal political views either. He lived in a world in which our political philosophies did not exist and would not have been functional. Being a businessman in Palestine of the 1st century wasn’t like being a businessman now. Nor was being a philanthropist. Or a teacher. Or an itinerant preacher.
I don’t mean to say that we cannot look to Jesus and the principles he lived and taught to guide our political decisions. What I mean is that Jesus didn’t tell us just what to decide about how we put loving our brothers and sisters into practice outside the church. (He had a great deal to say about putting it into practice inside, though we ignore most of that.)
Conservatives are criticized for trying to kill programs that benefit the poor. Liberals are criticized for being generous–with other people’s money (taxes). Conservatives believe that charity should be more private. Liberals believe that only the government can truly collect sufficient resources to deal with problems.
Those are issues of political philosophy, and they are ones Jesus didn’t discuss. They just weren’t issues in his time. His audiences in Galilee weren’t going to be voting yes or no on ballots about how much to spend on education or support for poor children. Those simply weren’t options.
There are many issues to discuss when we look at involvement by Christians in politics. I’m only focusing on one here. We tend to allege moral failure when we disagree with the means.
For example, I might look at someone who opposes government paid health insurance, and decide that they don’t really care whether or not people get adequate health care. How can they oppose a program that will pay for adequate health care for poor people? I’m outraged! I believe they are sub-Christian, possibly sub-human! They want infants to die of preventable illnesses. They want mothers do die from inadequate pre-natal care. They want the elderly to die of cancer because they are unable to pay for the proper treatment.
But if I take the time to talk to one of those people, I might find that they desire no such results. They may simply believe that the government will do poorly in distributing health care, that people will die because of the failures of government rather than the failures of private providers. Whether they are right or wrong, they care just as much.
And the accusations can be reversed. The failure, wherever it may be, is in being so certain that one’s method is correct, that one cannot imagine disagreement except through moral failure. My approach to solving the problems of health care provision and distribution are so right that the only way one can disagree is to be morally degenerate.
And one can find morally degenerate people. I was behind a man in the Walmart shopping line who was using WIC to get food. It turned out it was for his grandchildren. He spent his time speaking ill of his son-in-law, a useless bum according to him, and his daughter, who lacked to good sense to say “no” to the proposal of marriage and then proceeded to produce children who would have to be on WIC. Aside from the stereotype that it’s bums who get WIC, His attitude (and his willingness to inform the line, stunk. And I do consider the possibility that he was so embarrassed to be using WIC that he had to find an excuse, but I still think that’s a stinky attitude.
But there are people who might oppose the program who would be ready to pull money from their own pockets to pay for food for someone in need. It’s not their motivations that liberals should question. It’s the method.
Jesus didn’t tell us what methods would work in our various modern societies. He left that to us to figure out. We’ll do it much better if we quit assigning either Christian or anti-Christian attitudes to the methods people believe will (or will not) work.
The Adventist review has a taste of Barry Black’s testimony, which makes excellent reading (HT: Dave Black Online).
As an ex-Seventh-day Adventist I find his story very interesting. In his career, he was fighting not just racial but also religious discrimination. Some people thought he shouldn’t be in his positions because he was black. Others thought his faith was a problem. His story is well worth reading.
I want to reiterate a few things I’ve said (perhaps too often) about being an ex-SDA. If you’re currently an SDA and you’re thinking of moving to another denomination, check your reasons. If, like me, you find your beliefs incompatible with your denomination, I consider it completely appropriate for you to find an organization you can support more wholeheartedly. In fact, I find it inappropriate for you to remain at that point!
There are several things to avoid, however:
- Leaving the SDA, or any church, because of personal issues with people. Those will be with you no matter what organization you join.
- Being dishonest with yourself about your reasons for leaving. Often point #1 leads people to claim some other reason, perhaps without even realizing it. You’re going to find people problems in all organization that have people. I don’t like the people of the United Methodist Church better than I did those of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. What I like is that I am more free to carry out ministry in the UMC, and that I also find its doctrinal positions much closer to, though not identical with, mine.
- Living with a legacy of hate. People leave denominations or even local church congregations angry. That’s not good for you. You’re not sticking it to your former church by remaining angry. You’re sticking it to yourself.
- Don’t live your life as an ex. I call myself ex-SDA when I need to talk about the SDA church and my relation to it. I don’t think of myself that way on a regular basis. I’m a Christian who is now a member of a United Methodist congregation. I used to be a Christian who was a member of a Seventh-day Adventist congregation. Whatever any of the members of these congregations may think of me, I consider them all brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m not some sort of paragon of virtue who experiences no anger or resentment. I just do my best by God’s grace to confess it and leave it behind. I don’t enjoy being called an apostate, but I’m not going to let it define me or my attitude(s).
- Always go to, not away from. Find the place where you will be able to be what the Lord wants you to be and serve as the Lord wants you to serve. Then go there. The physical journey is the same, but spiritually it is a much different thing.
These are just my recommendations. They were brought to mind by the story of Chaplain Black’s colleague who told him to change denominations as a career thing. I am impressed, though not surprised, by Chaplain Black’s response. He was absolutely right to stick with his convictions. I believe God honored him for that. I’m thankful for his testimony.
Pat Robertson puts his foot in his mouth so frequently that it almost seems unfair to go after him for it, but in this case he makes the type of statement that simply must be corrected. I know quite a number of people who would be susceptible to what he says here, and then would be disappointed, and possibly blame themselves, when they continued to have health expenses despite their tithing. Now Right Wing Watch might have taken this out of context (though I don’t know what the context would be), but those few sentences are very damaging.
I’ve heard this type of thing much more regarding financial affairs. Pastors and teachers say that if you tithe you won’t have financial difficulties, won’t go bankrupt, or will even become wealthy. All the while real people pay tithes and nonetheless struggle.
Here’s an extract from a book my company recently published (note that the first sentence is presented as an argument to be refuted by what follows):
God has significantly blessed those who have faithfully tithed. This blessing demonstrates that tithing is his method for giving in the current period.
In fact, some ministries have offered to give “refunds” if after a certain period (like ninety days) they are not in a better financial situation after giving tithing a try. Other preachers have stated that no one ever has financial trouble if they are tithing. I’ve even heard one preacher say that no one has ever gone bankrupt while tithing!
Has anyone who faithfully tithed gone bankrupt? Absolutely! There are many news stories on the internet explaining how certain individuals have gone bankrupt while tithing. While the situation of Evander Holyfield might seem like the exception, the reality is that so many have had this issue of going bankrupt while tithing that the federal government has been wrestling with how to adjudicate this situation. President Clinton signed the Religious Liberty and Charitable Donation Protection Act in 1998 to allow those who are bankrupt to continue tithing. But a 2005 law overturned that decision: the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. The fact that the federal government has had to monitor this so much demonstrates that this is not a rare situation. To give my own “anecdotal argument,” I’ve had a friend who was giving about 18 percent of his income, and his financial situation continued to deteriorate more and more. Finally, in order to go to seminary, he filed for bankruptcy. He declared how good God was in taking care of him, but really the federal government bailed him out. (David A. Croteau, Tithing After the Cross, [Gonzalez, FL: Energion Publications, 2013], 51-52, italics mine)
Neither David Croteau nor I are arguing against giving or generosity. Rather it is the manipulation of people for purposes of getting them to give money. We should certainly discuss issues of stewardship in the church, and not just of money but also time and ability. But we must be careful not to force or manipulate. Certainly we must never make obviously false and hurtful claims.
Peter Enns’ post, “If They Only Knew What I Thought” struck a chord with me and at the same time called up one of my concerns, or perhaps I should say areas of conflict.
I lived through this growing up as a Seventh-day Adventist and being educated in Seventh-day Adventist schools. In fact, I made a significant transition twice, once when I moved from schools in the self-supporting movement to those in mainstream adventism, and then out of the Seventh-day Adventist. Most evangelicals I’ve discussed this with have been quite supportive of my move. To many of them I moved from at least marginal heresy to a more orthodox form of Christianity.
But the same type of issues came up as I tried to decide what to do with my life after graduate school (at Andrews University, an SDA school), as I hear from evangelicals who go to secular schools. There were certain elements of my belief system that had changed, and others that I was still exploring. Could I be a Seventh-day Adventist? Could I be a Seventh-day Adventist teacher? I remember one professor saying to me during this period, “You don’t have to teach everything you know.” He was someone I respected, and still do. Yet I didn’t like his answer.
But what do you do when you not only see the boundaries of the permissible playing field looming, but think that perhaps you have crossed them? Is it right to continue to be a member of an organization you do not fully support? Is it right to teach for such an organization? Can you conceal what you actually believe in order to stay within the boundaries permitted?
We hear two sides of this conflict. The first is from people like me who have experienced changes in their understanding of scripture and doctrine, and feel the need of freedom to explore and to follow truth as they see it. We also feel the need to be honest with others. On the other side we have those institutional guardians who want to keep the faith pure. The former see the latter as barriers to truth, real spirituality, and scholarship. The latter view the former as persons who don’t fully care for the safety of the souls who gather in the pews.
I have a certain empathy with both sides. I recall a conversation with my uncle, Don F. Neufeld, associate editor at the time of the Review and Herald, of the SDA Bible Commentary, and editor of the SDA Bible Dictionary. Several of the issues I had (and still have) with SDA theology, and even with much evangelical theology, came up. In some cases he agreed with me against the common SDA position. In others, he didn’t. But he suggested to me a certain pastoral concern, a sensitivity to the people he served, and I was to serve. He told me how carefully he wrote at times, leaving the door open to exploration while not cutting the people off at the knees. Theology didn’t occur in a vacuum, according to him, it was something we did in service of God’s people.
While I couldn’t follow his advice at the time, and imagine I still would fail, I do understand what he’s talking about. A church community has to have some form of definition, and that definition will involve beliefs that are acceptable and ones that are not. If there are to be such institutions as confessional seminaries, schools operated by a religious community to support their needs and their people, there are going to be boundaries to the playing field.
If this were a matter of social clubs or of businesses, it would be easier. If you find yourself outside the boundaries of one, move to another. Such a solution can still work for someone who is raised as an Arminian, for example, and becomes Calvinist. I’ve known a few of those (and the reverse) and they usually just end up moving from one denomination to another to solve their problem. I think we would have little difficulty suggesting that someone who can no longer consider themselves Christian would do best to teach in a secular institution. Yes, this is not complete academic freedom. But it is also not deception. If the institution is operated by the Roman Catholic church, it is likely to have certain positions. If it’s Seventh-day Adventist it will have a different core perspective. (If it’s Methodist, of course, it will be whatever it turns out to be!)
My prayer would be that we set those boundaries as far out as we possibly can, to allow those who study and teach in church-related academic institutions to explore and challenge as much as possible. I think truth thrives in an atmosphere where it is challenged. Stupidity does not. For both those reasons challenge is good. But at the same time I would hope that all of us in our various churches would be prepared to gently help and encourage those who might need to find somewhere else to go.
I’ve managed to handle the “apostate” label before from those SDAs who see nothing but a rebellion against God that could get me out of the SDA church. I think most of them should be delighted that I left. I wouldn’t be making their lives easy from the inside. Perhaps a better approach would be to encourage someone to try their walk with God in another community. Don’t do this with the “left foot of fellowship.” Be welcoming, but at the same time don’t condemn the move to find someplace else. Encourage the exploration of other traditions.
There’s always going to be a tension between the need of the community to have cohesion and the need of scholars to explore. I believe that tension can be constructive rather than destructive.
(And as a final commercial, let me recommend a book I publish, Crossing the Street by Bob LaRochelle. Bob grew up Roman Catholic, was ordained a deacon, and is now a minister in the United Church of Christ. No, he’s not telling all Catholics to follow him. Rather, he’s encouraging us to look across to other faith traditions, learn, and feel the freedom to explore.)
I always find it interesting when Adrian Warnock produces a spectrum on some topic. I almost always disagree with some point on the spectrum, but the exercise is worthwhile. After all, if I produce a spectrum, there will doubtless be people who disagree at some point.
This time Adrian has produced a spectrum on beliefs regarding evolution. I think it generally covers the ground. At the same time, I think it skips over the majority of theistic evolutionists.
The reason may seem subtle, but I think it’s important. Adrian divides the theistic evolutionists between “passive” and “active” equating the latter with intelligent design. I have a couple of problems with that. First, I think natural laws are an expression of God’s will. That a law continues unchanged, or a process functions and finishes (if finishing is appropriate) does not mean that God is less active than when (or if) there is some sort of intervention. Thus God is not less active when he designs a process that works without active intervention than he is with something that requires him to step in from time to time.
Secondly, I think there is a problem with the concepts of intervention, active, and passive. God is. God is infinite (or something close enough we can’t tell the difference). In any case, in terms of interacting with the universe, God doesn’t have to prioritize. He isn’t less active one place than another. So the idea of God being active or passive is an effect of human perception. A process that continues consistently does not appear to require action by God, while one that varies or changes direction is more likely to seem to require such intervention.
Resurrection seems interventionist. Birth and death seems natural. To us.
The evolution of a new life-form seems “special” and perhaps to require intervention. The continued life of a single creature does not. To us.
I just don’t think there’s a real difference from God’s point of view, insofar as one can catch God’s point of view (not very far, I fear). My breath stops without God (Psalm 104:29-30). Gravity stops without God. When all of this works, it appears not to require God’s intervention.
I’m probably writing this too quickly (it’s Sunday morning), to be clear, but my point is simply that God is active whether the process he is using operates consistently and without identified points of intervention or whether (as in intelligent design) there are points at which God intervenes in some special way.
Otherwise, I love the spectrum. I’m glad Adrian included the ruin and restoration folks, who are often forgotten. I’m also glad he distinguished some nuances such as young earth/old universe, and “the earth is young but appears old” vs. “the earth is young and would appear that way if you got the science right.” (My descriptions, not Adrian’s.)