Mr. Tony Blair, Clerk
Harvest Orthodox Presbyterian Church
2065 Maumee Drive SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Thank you for your letter of October 20 inquiring about my response to the decision of the OPC and to the censure imposed. I was just about to send off a response. May the Lord give you wisdom as you continue to judge this matter.
As you consider this, I would ask that you allow Doug Felch to continue to represent me in my absence. You may also want to consider that we will be visiting Indiana and Michigan at in late December and early January. Personally, I hope that we can have a resolution before then. But if you think it worthwhile to discuss these matters with me in person, we probably can arrange for it.
As I have considered the judgment of the OPC over these past many months, I have reflected on many things: the Biblical teaching on origins, the nature of church authority, a Christian world and life view, the Christian practice of science, my calling as a scientist, my calling as an elder in Christ's church, and my need to have a clear conscience before God. What follows is a summary of my conclusions. While some of these statements are simply re-affirmations of the confession of the church, others are my own opinions with which others are free to disagree.
1. The Bible is the infallible and inerrant word of Godits clear teaching must be believed and obeyed.
2. God is the Creator of the heavens and the eartheven those things that appear to originate by ordinary means are the result of God's creative power.
3. The first man, Adam, was created from the dust of the ground in the image of God by a special act of God. Eve was created by a special act of God from the side of Adam. Adam and Eve were historical persons and progenitors of the whole human race.
4. The study of God's revelation in Creation using God-given abilities leads to reliable knowledge. Such knowledge is subject to the limitations of human understanding and the noetic effects of sin. These latter limitations are primarily manifested in the failure to recognize God as Creator, Sustainer, and Governor (Rom. 1:18ff.).
5. The study of evidence in God's creation using scientific methods in keeping with a Biblical worldview leads to the apparent conclusion that the human body originated via evolutionary mechanisms from animal ancestors. While there are some who deny that this is a valid inference from the data, I am unable to find fault with this conclusion held by the majority of the scientific community.
6. The simplest reading of Genesis 2 makes no suggestion that Adam's body had animal ancestors. John Murray has gone further and argued that such a view is impermissible. Murray's view appears to be the most commonly accepted view in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and this seems to be the basis of the ruling of the church against the view that I had espoused. While I have sympathy with the Murray view and can find no obvious fault with it, I cannot say that I personally share the certainty for that interpretation that some seem to have.
7. Thus, my response is simply that I do not know how bring these two ideas together and that I am willing to remain in a state of agnosticism and cognitive dissonance on this issue. Perhaps future findings of science or future refinements of our understanding of the Genesis text will allow for resolution.
While this might be perceived as a minimal recantation, it does reflect a significant shift from my earlier position. I acknowledge that my previous positive affirmations that Adam had animal ancestors and that such a view was consistent with scripture were in error.
On the basis of this revision of my views I would ask that you lift the censure of indefinite suspension from office. Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
Terry M. Gray