Friday, March 28, 2008

Preaching faith and science

I once heard Adam Hamilton of Church of the Resurrection say that he tried to plan topical preaching series that might be attractive to nominal church attenders, and offer those series immediately after holidays like Christmas and Easter when you might get the attention of new people. With that approach in mind, I decided that I would see if the topic of "faith and science" would get any traction for a post-Easter preaching series and am planning to spend three weeks on the topic.

Any advice on how to handle the topic from the pulpit? Any experiences with this topic becoming a wedge issue within a congregation? I am both excited and nervous about doing this, so guidance from the experiences of others would be great!


RERC said...

Most folks will be fine with a frank discussion. In fact, many will be relieved to hear their pastor address this area.

You may have problems with people who hold the "young earth" view however. Usually they pick this up on Christian radio or web sites; sometimes from reading various books.

When I discuss this with my parishoners I am careful to emphasize these things:

1) There are many ways to interpret the biblical creation accounts; literally is just one way. Christians differ in the degree to which they think the accounts are literal--and that is OK.

2) Science is not the enemy of the church. You can be scientific and also a Christian. At the same time science doesn't have all the answers.

3) God did create everything; the processes and the amount of time he used to do so may be argued, but he is most definitely the first cause.

4) Despite what they are told by certain factions of our faith, believing in a literal six-day creation, 6,000 years ago is NOT an essential belief.

5) IT is OK to leave room for mystery in our beliefs; this also helps to keep us humble.

larry said...

rerc - Thanks for the positive pointers!

truevyne said...

Not that I'm a pastor, but I can tell you what I have liked... Louie Giglio
spoke on the topic of science and faith. He "preached" at a concert with Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin, and used the stars to engage us in wonder of God. Very compelling that I still remember it a few years later.
Heard of him?

Prodigal Jon said...

thanks so much for mentioning my site, stuff christians like

I really appreciate the traffic and eyes you sent my way. Thanks for doing that


John said...

Glad to, Jon.

Matt said...

A great resource for you will be "Science, Life, and Christian Belief: A Survey of Contemporary Issues," by Malcolm Jeeves and R.J. Berry. I read this in an independent study with Joel Green, and I still consult it from time to time. Good stuff about a variety of issues.

Stresspenguin said...

I heard this a couple of weeks ago on npr's Freash Air: Francis Collins on 'The Language of God'

Collins is the head of the Human Genome Project and is an evangelical Christian. Very interesting program.

larry said...

Thanks very the reference to the Fresh Air episode - I have been reading Dr. Collin's book on the language of God, but I am sure the interview will provide me some fresh insight!