I really don’t want this blog to become a running critique of the writings of Jonathan Merritt. But Merritt has become a vastly read writer on current issues as a senior columnist for Religion News Service (RNS). His most recent article for RNS takes a shot (again) at evangelicals for what he calls “evangelical’s double standard”.
I will grant that his initial case does make a valid point. He criticizes World Magazine for complaining that a conference held by pro-evolution Christians (oxymoron?) from the organization BioLogos did not include any speakers on the side of creationism. BioLogos is well known for their stance on origins. I would not have attended that conference expecting anything other than an evolutionary stance from the speakers.
However, what Merritt fails to grasp is why these double standard issues arise in the first place. Evangelicals believe and proclaim a revealed truth. We make no bones about the fact that we hold to biblical authority. In general this means that our conferences will be lead by folks who take biblical authority seriously. We really aren’t worried about being intolerant toward things that contradict the clear teaching of Scripture. Mind you, we should be kind and considerate, but the door of tolerance isn’t swinging inward.
Those who do not hold to this kind of biblical authority must by definition find truth outside of God’s revelation. Instead of there being an objective truth from God, truth becomes subjective. That is why you hear folks talking about “my truth” as opposed to “your truth”.
Various truths in a culture of folks who use “tolerance” as a core buzzword really must allow for other presentations in order to be consistent with their maxim. That is the standard which they have established. To exclude some who are evangelical is to violate their own standard.
Evangelicals’ standard is to explore the revealed truth of Scripture. It is not a double standard to exclude from the speakers panels those who do not begin with that presupposition.