"The 'Days' of Genesis 1" - a Review
On February 8, 2000, Ferrell Jenkins presented a speech in the Puckett Auditorium, Florida College Lectures, on the six days of Genesis one. On Sunday, June 18, 2000, Ferrell sent out multiple mailings of the material that he presented at the lectures. The material is titled, "The 'Days' of Genesis 1" (it is a transcription done by Neil Hagewood with additional material added in brackets of his speech on February 8, I understand). The full speech can be read by clicking on http://bibleworld.com and following the instructions.
It goes without saying that Florida College and men such as Ferrell Jenkins (Chairman of the biblical studies Department at Florida College) determine, to a large degree, the doctrinal status and future for many non-institutional churches of Christ. Florida College is viewed by many as the main source of producing preachers for the church (Click on "Schools among Brethren" to read more).
Allow me to say that I do very much appreciate brother Jenkins making a reply concerning the days of creation. For too long, it has been the practice of some to simply ignore the serious expressions of concern as voiced by different ones relative to teaching in connection with Florida College. I do believe, though, that in the main Ferrell Jenkins has only confirmed the fears of many that have been disturbed regarding teaching and influence emanating from some associated with Florida College. It shall not be the design of this material to address the physical logistics, substance, or chronology of the 1999 Florida College lectures and any teaching on the six days of creation that Hill Roberts may or may not have done (an event referenced in "The 'Days' of Genesis 1"). Also, it is not within the scope of this concise review to challenge any alleged claims of misrepresentation mentioned by Ferrell Jenkins in his material. I was not present during the different events; therefore, I am not qualified to comment. I would add that none of us enjoy being maligned. I shall exert all the caution I can to avoid misrepresenting Ferrell's "The 'Days' of Genesis 1."
There are a number of areas of Ferrell's speech that are commendable. I agree with brother Jenkins when he wrote thus regarding the days of creation:
"I believe that God created the heavens and the earth. I believe that. I'm inclined to think that this was in a six periods of twenty-four hours each - just like we've got an hour here today " (pg. 2 of 9, paragraph 2). Ferrell was emphatic when he stated: "I want you to know also that I reject macro-evolution .I also reject theistic evolution" (pg. 3, paragraph 1). Brother Jenkins does not leave any doubt when he commits himself regarding the old earth view of 4. 5 billion years, etc., compared to James Ussher's chronology, "I follow a lot closer to Ussher than I do with the other one" (pg. 4, paragraph 4). Ferrell definitely does not lack the ability to intelligibly express himself and be understood.
As aforementioned, I am not attempting to provide a detailed word for word review of Ferrell's material. In like fashion, it is not the burden of this succinct review to redress every particular nuance of "The 'Days' of Genesis 1." However, there is a prevailing tone and resident message found in the article that is of grave concern to all brethren who are aware of the major role "Florida College" is playing in providing the requisite climate for apostasy.
The recurring unity in diversity and the consequent call for compromise. Since 1984, when I first had an opportunity to work with a young man who was trained at Florida College until the present, I have attempted to trace the primary source of the spirit of compromise that is pervading the thinking of so many Christians and local churches. As an amateur historian, it has been my observation that the tidal wave of doctrinal concession too common today in non-institutional churches of Christ is originating at a common source - Florida College. Of course, certainty, decisiveness, and strong conviction are not often associated with the world of academia. "Higher learning" says assemble all the relevant facts, make logical deductions, and then say "this view is probably correct, but we must not be dogmatic and exclusive!" (Cp. Jude 3 and Philippians 1: 7, 17.)
Hear Ferrell Jenkins regarding the six days of creation and those who contend for the day-age position: "Must we decide? There are some respected scholars who have rejected these long ages. I wonder, do we have to decide on this? I mean is it an issue that we really have to say absolutely, we know absolutely that 'I know that this is the correct answer' out of these that are given here? Must we decide?" (pg. 5, paragraph 7). Ferrell continues by saying, "There are people like that (respected scholars those who use biblically based arguments,'' dm) who have cautioned against dogmatism. They reject the long ages but they simply say that we can't be sure about this" (Ibid.).
In a self-admitted effort to promote doctrinal elasticity regarding the fanciful day-age teaching, Ferrell mentions the pre-Adamic race contention. In alluding to the pre-Adamic race view Ferrell writes, "Do you understand what I am saying? I'm saying there was some room for brethren to come up with possible ways that we could understand the problems with which we are faced in Genesis 1" (pg. 6, paragraph 7).
In his attempts to persuade brethren to be tolerant of others that teach the day-age and pre-Adamic race doctrines, Ferrell proceeds to teach the following:
"Is there a place in a congregation - and that's all that I can deal with - the congregation where I am a member. That is the only fellowship God gave me and my brethren any authority to withdraw from people, to exclude and include people . Is there a place for two who strongly believe in creation but who hold differing views on the days of Genesis? " (pg. 8, paragraph 1). Now I think we run into a problem when we say 'must.' One of these views 'must' be correct" (pg. 8, paragraph 1). (Regarding some views of fellowship, please click on "Is Fellowship a 'Brotherhood' Issue? - a Review.")
Brother Jenkins does as so many do who promote the doctrine of unity in diversity, he emphasizes playing down our differences in such matters as the Genesis one days and urges us rather to focus on first principles and baptizing people. "Let's get busy trying to learn how to reach the lost," Ferrell appeals (pg. 9, paragraph 2).
The "signal" Florida College is sending (through Jenkins and others) is that sound biblical exegesis is not that important and that wild, fanciful, and speculative theorizing must be tolerated. How can Jenkins and others of his persuasion draw the line regarding the various extant false doctrines? If we must permit the specific false teaching mentioned in "The 'Days' of Genesis 1," why should not our doctrinal indulgence extend to other just as wild, fanciful, and speculative theories? The message of "The 'Days' of Genesis 1" is also not only must we abide erroneous doctrines that fly in the face of plain Bible teaching, but we are wrong if we oppose them! Therefore, I submit to you that "Florida College" is setting the stage for apostasy within non-institutional churches of Christ. The "bad guys" are not false teachers, but those who oppose, expose, and, all things equal and understood, exclude those who "bring not the doctrine of Christ" (2 Jn. 9-11). (Be sure to read my material, "The Six Days of Creation," click on to visit. For additional reading, please click on "Christianity Magazine, a Closer Look." Dee Bowman, who was one of the editors of Christianity Magazine, continues to play a significant role in the training of the young men for preachers at F.C., I understand. Also, check out "Strange Worries" by Andy Alexander. My most recent material on the days of creation and Florida College issue is, "An Analysis and Response to Caldwell, Scott, and Adams' Material in Truth Magazine," be sure to read it)