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Getting Back to Basics

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April 7, 2010 Tags: Pastoral Voices

Today's video features Greg Boyd. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of BioLogos. You can read more about what we believe here.

Editor's Note (4/8/2010): We have updated the video to correct a slight editing glitch.

In today’s video Conversation, Dr. Greg Boyd discusses the basic truths that provide the framework for Christian belief and distinguishes them from the potentially divisive issues that do not compromise what he refers to as the “non-negotiable” truths.

Boyd lists the following as non-negotiables: the basic storyline of scripture, which includes the progression of creation, the fall, the redemption, and the eschaton—the final hope. There are also some attendant theological perspectives that Christians must accept. For example:

Who is God? He is the God revealed in Jesus Christ and the Triune God.

How are we redeemed? We are redeemed through God’s grace.

In the last century, however, many in the church have lost the ability to be gracious about our disagreements on negotiable issues.  While having to wrestle with diverse thoughts and ideas in the church is nothing new, it seems that we have lost the ability to discuss these issues lovingly. This is especially true among conservative Protestants in the last century.

Boyd comments that this spirit of generosity is one of the saddest things that the church has lost—our lack of tolerance with each other carries over into society. Consequently, many others see Christians as intolerant and judgmental because we are not at all representing the graciousness and love and service of Jesus Christ.

This lack of graciousness is not the beauty of Jesus Christ. And we need to get back to the beauty of Jesus Christ.

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.

Greg Boyd is founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church, an evangelical mega-church in St. Paul, MN. In 2000, Greg founded Christus Victor Ministries (CVM) a nonprofit organization that promotes Greg’s writing and speaking ministry outside of Woodland Hills Church while raising funds to further research projects related to his ministry.

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Roger D. McKinney - #9763

April 14th 2010

Jeffrey L Vaughn - #9295”
“After all, Adam died on the day he ate, yet lived to have sons and daughters.  In contrast, his son Abel died a physical death before Adam did.  Physical death was not Adam’s judgment. Jesus came to redeem us from Adam’s death and to avenge Abel’s death (Mat. 23:35).  If Adam and Abel died the same death, then why does one require redemption and the other require vengeance?”
There is a lot of confusion in your understanding of these passages that I can’t untangle in short posts. In short, Adam died spiritually immediately upon rebelling, but the fact that he died much later does not mean that physical death is not a result of the rebellion. Paul wrote that physical death is the last enemy to be conquered, which will happen in the resurrection. The implication is that Adam and Eve would never die physically had they not rebelled. The Matt 23:35 vs has nothing to do with vengeance, but is a statement about the rebellious nature of Israel in particular as well as all mankind. And it was as prophecy about the horrors of the destruction of Jerusalem that would happen in 70 AD.

Roger D. McKinney - #9767

April 14th 2010

Jeffrey L Vaughn - #9295”: “Goshen in Egypt and the plain where Sodom stood were compared favorably to the Garden of Eden.”

I don’t know what your point is.

Jeffrey L Vaughn - #9295”: “Before the Fall, Adam named the lion, does violence,” and the eagle, “tears flesh.”

Not before the fall, as far as we know. The implication from the Bible is that no death existed at all before the fall. Isaiah’s depiction of the millenial kingdom has the lion and lamb lying down together, when suggests that lions return to a state of vegetarianism. Animals and humans were probably vegetarians before the fall. The one thing the NT is clear about is that death is not a part of God’s plan. It is an enemy that God will vanquish in the resurrection. The implication from Genesis is that no death, animal or human, existed before the fall.

Roger D. McKinney - #9768

April 14th 2010

Jeffrey L Vaughn - #9295”: “Eve’s pain in childbirth increased.  According to Isaiah, the physical pain was not increased.  The pain of futility was added to the physical pain.”

Genesis specifically says that pain in childbirth is a judgment for the rebellion.

Jeffrey L Vaughn - #9295”: “God even went so far as to ask Job why He created the ostrich so stupid she got her eggs crushed.  God did it on purpose. Before the Fall.”

Don’t know what your point is there.

Jeffrey L Vaughn - #9295”: “The physical world before the Fall and after were not much different.”

It was different. There are no proof verses, but the implication of all scripture is that death is unnatural, an enemy of mankind and will be vanquished at the last resurrection. There was no death before the fall. There was no disease, no natural disasters, no entropy.

Roger D. McKinney - #9769

April 14th 2010

The fall is essential and non-negotiable because without it the cross doesn’t make any sense. That’s the danger of TE; it eliminates the fall. That said, I think creationists and evolutionists should be more charitable to each other. Jesus gave the parable of the tares to warn us against trying to split hairs over who is in the church and who isn’t.

On the subject of determining what is truth, keep in mind that we all have major prejudices. Scientists are no different. Becoming a scientist does not cleanse one of prejudices and make one infallible. How do we overcome the problem of prejudices? First, we need to be aware of them and why people hold to prejudices. Second, we have to put ourselves into an emotional state in which we don’t care about the consequences of learning the truth; we want the truth more than anything else. That is the message of Proverbs. But it is very difficult to do.

Roger D. McKinney - #9771

April 14th 2010

Finally, we must keep in mind God’s view of humanity which says that no one seeks after God (in our natural state). We all rebel, not just against God, but against anything that might lead us to God. As God wrote through Paul, mankind suppresses the truth about God.

So what are the implications? For one, Christians are more likely to know the truth than are non-Christians. Did Christians invent evolution? No. If you read the correspondence of evolutionists before Darwin, you’ll find that they state their motives quite clearly: they want to get rid of God. Godly men in Darwin’s day, such as the greater scientist Gregor Mendel, rejected Darwin’s theory completely. Since then, nothing has succeeded at destroying faith as well as the theory of evolution. It is still the main evidence for atheism.

You can still be a good Christian and be an evolutionist. I have known many. But beware of what you are yoking yourself with.

Jeffrey L Vaughn - #9794

April 14th 2010


Scripture talks of two types of death.  We find physical death in Genesis 2.  So-called “spiritual” death in Genesis 3.  And more physical death in Genesis 4.

Jesus came that you might live.

Are you saying Jesus failed?  You will die physical death.  No one gets to heaven without experiencing it.  (Yes there are two exceptions in Scripture, but you will not be a third.)  You have not been saved from physical death.

If Adam was condemned to physical death, then why did Abel die first?

Roger D. McKinney - #9848

April 15th 2010

Not all of the benefits of our salvation happen immediately upon being saved. Through Paul, God said that physical death has been conquered but it will be the last enemy to be eliminated. Jesus did save me from physical death in the long run. Though I might die before he returns, he will resurrect my body at his return and I will live physically eternally.

There was no disease in the Garden before the fall, but my salvation doesn’t prevent me from becoming sick, either. But after the resurrection, I’ll never get sick again.

Did God kill Abel? God never promised that everyone would die a natural death, only that people would physically die as a result of sin. Abel died first because his brother murdered him. Adam died of old age, but he still died. God did not say that Adam would die first, only that he would die as a result of his sin.

Death, disease, natural disasters, war, etc. are all God’s judgment on mankind for our rebellion. None of those existed before the fall. When we are saved, God doesn’t immediately remove Christians from all of those judgments for all of the reasons given in the NT. We still suffer from that judgment until Christ returns and establishes a new order.

Roger D. McKinney - #9849

April 15th 2010

In Genesis, God promised that the serpent would bruise the heal of the seed of Eve, but he would crush the serpant, speaking of Jesus’ triumph over satan. But it didn’t happen immediately, did it? God’s promises are sure, but his timing is different from what ours might be.

Mike Beidler - #10095

April 17th 2010

Roger wrote: “That’s the danger of TE; it eliminates the fall.”

TE may eliminate the fall of man as an historical event, but it does not eliminate the sinful nature of man, which (from a TE POV) results from our giving in to the self-preserving instincts inherited from our ancestors in violation of a moral ideal established by God.  We are sinners because we, as morally self-aware creatures, violate God’s ideals.  And because we all sin, without exception, we are still in need of a Savior.

As long as the theistic evolutionist recognizes mankind’s sinful state, it is no danger to Christian theology.

Trevor K. - #10263

April 19th 2010

Refer: Mike Beidler - #10095
You are surely mistaken!  The believe in long ages undermines the whole Gospel. Somehow I think this is exactly what you’d like to happen. Are you really a Christian?
There was nothing before the six days of creation and there wasn’t ANY sin before the fall of man. Christian theology revolves around death and sin being removed from God’s creation by the death and resurrection of Christ and then the eventual new heaven and earth where there’ll be no more sin and dying. It’s only if you rebel against God’s express statement that He created in six days [and choose to follow the question “Did God Really say…? ” ] that you run into your nonsensical theology of death and desruction BEFORE the fall.

Mike Beidler - #10314

April 19th 2010

Trevor (#10263),

I’m saddened that you accuse me of wanting to undermine the whole Gospel and question my faith in Christ.  I’m quite dedicated to both the Gospel and Jesus, who makes the Gospel possible.  Of course, I don’t expect you to understand from where I’m coming.  It’s a significant paradigm shift, to be sure.  But know that my faith in God is stronger than it’s ever been, and my belief that Jesus is who he claimed to be is just as solid as it was before I abandoned young-earth creationism.

That being said, the *core* of Christian theology is that of God’s solution to that man’s sinful state by the demonstration of His love through the sacrificial act of Jesus Christ on the cross.  You make the core much bigger than it really is.

God bless.

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