Hersey Watch: Hillsong Worship Pastor’s Evolution is undeniable

Joel Houston

Joel Houston

Hillsong Church has, over the years, hardly avoided the limelight, often finding itself at the center of hotly-contested debates

Now one of its biggest leaders is running headlong into the creation debate.

Joel Houston,  eldest son of the Sydney-based church’s founders, lead musician in the worship band Hillsong United, and co-pastor of Hillsong Church in New York City, tweeted Monday that “evolution is undeniable.”

Houston is certainly not the first to raise questions about the six-day creation story outlined in Genesis, but the affirmation of evolutionary theory nevertheless remains controversial in many — if not most — Christian circles today.

In 2014, Christian musician Michael Gungor stirred up controversy for a blog post he actually wrote in 2012 in which he explained he had “no more ability” to believe 

“that the first people on earth were a couple named Adam and Eve that lived 6,000 years ago.”

He continued, according to Relevant:

I have no ability to believe that there was a flood that covered all the highest mountains of the world only 4,000 years ago and that all of the animal species that exist today are here because they were carried on an ark and then somehow walked or flew all around the world from a mountain in the Middle East after the water dried up.

Gungor defended his claims at the time during an interview with Mike McHargue, co-host of “The Liturgists Podcast,” saying that, though he was raised to hold a literalist or “young earth” interpretation of the creation story, he “came up against some of the science” in college. A lot of what Gungor learned, he explained, created “tension” in his theology. See Right: Study Unwittingly Uncovers Possible Major Flaw in Evolution of Species Theory

Famed young earth creationist Ken Ham, founder of the conservative nonprofit Answers in Genesis, took issue with Gungor’s admission, which he described as “outrageous.” He went on to claim the musician was “repeatedly indoctrinated into evolutionary ideas” throughout college.

So when Houston raised his own questions about theology and evolution earlier this week, Gungor chimed in: See Below


How can @joelhouston call himself a worship pastor & yet hold such a heretical view of creation? The Bible says that “God created the heaven and the earth” and “on the sixth day God created man “in His own image”. Times aren’t “evolving”, our culture is decaying. See 2 Peter 3:17 — Frank Sowers (@FrankSowers) June 25, 2018


After seeing the intense reaction that arose from suggesting evolution is “undeniable,” Houston hedged a bit by offering some context  to his earlier tweet.

He asserted God is “way bigger than we think,” and regardless of one’s theological or scientific beliefs, He “is undiminished by our limitations.”

“If God’s creative process was an easy working week, or finely crafted over six-ages of millennia, does it make Him any more or less God?” Houston asked. “Or us any more or less created in His image? Either way, it was an unfathomably wonderful six-day process, however you think to see it.”

In an interview with Faithwire, Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson, a research biologist for Answers in Genesis, gave Houston the benefit of the doubt, admitting it appears the famous worship leader could still be working through his own theological beliefs because his comments on evolution are “ambiguous.”

One of Jeanson’s main criticisms of progressive thought on evolution is that, according to Scripture, death is an interruption to God’s perfect creation — a bug in the system.

But according to evolutionary theory, death isn’t a bug at all — it’s a feature, a mainstay in a process designed to elevate the fittest by eliminating the weak.

“I think the straightforward reading of the whole of Scripture, the entire corpus of Scripture treats death as an intruder into a very good, perfect creation, in which there is no death, and bloodshed, and suffering,” Jeanson explained. “It’s man’s sin that brings this to bear on the universe. God curses the universe as a result of mankind’s sin.”

Jeanson argued those who don’t hold to a literal interpretation of the creation story found in Genesis but instead see it as some sort of poetic narrative must “tolerate errors in the Scripture.” He went on to say the Genesis account is in “severe conflict” with mainstream evolutionary theory.

After delivering a lecture recently at Boston College, Jeanson recalled a student approaching him to say she “can’t believe” that certain parts of Scripture are literal and without error while others parts are fictional and inconsistent with fact.

“I can’t pick and choose, wake up every morning and pick which parts of the Bible I believe and which parts I don’t. That doesn’t make any sense to me,” he recalled the student saying, adding, “I think the next generation understands the severe importance of this issue when it comes to the foundations of the Christian faith.”

But for Gungor — and perhaps Houston — that dichotomy might not pose a problem.

As Jeanson noted, those who hold to a young earth view often see the evolutionary debate as paramount, while those who espouse an old earth perspective tend to put the issue on the back burner, though many, according to Jeanson, call into question the scientific honesty of their opponents.

Original Source: Date-stamped: June 26, 2018 - Author: By Tré Goins-Phillips Article Title: Hillsong Worship Pastor’s Evolution Comments Spark Fierce Debate Among Christians  Article Link: faithwire.com

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