In my last post, I described what a wake-up call it was to realize that the “godless evolutionists” had been right all along. Still, I continued as an evangelical Christian who had more than made his peace with evolution. I even led a study at church based on the pro-evolution, pro-God book, Finding Darwin’s God. (Kudos to my pastor for allowing me to do so!)
I do not say I emerged from the creation/evolution wars unshaken. Although I was still firmly in the evangelical camp, I had learned that my method for discerning truth had been flawed. I knew that in the future I should require more evidence before believing something, even something that seemed to be God-honoring.
And I had a new question: Why would God allow creationists — some of the most devout Christians I knew — people who assiduously submitted their every thought to their Creator — to make such a colossal mistake? I could understand how I could fall into error, but Duane Gish and Henry Morris? Why hadn’t God granted their prayers for wisdom and guidance? All prayers aside, why had God allowed such an important falsehood to take hold among people who loved him and sought him?
It was not long before another area of mysteriously declined but worthy prayers would reveal itself.
In late 2007, I visited a web forum on Christian marriage. I had some questions about my own marriage and wanted guidance from other believers. Much of the discussion was positive and it was clear that many Christians were enjoying their marriages. However, I was shocked to see how many serious problems there were.
The most heartbreaking posts were from spouses who had been completely refused sexually for years or even decades. I had had no idea such problems existed in the church. One poor husband who lived in the country didn’t even like to go into town because there he would see young couples in love, and he would weep all over again over what his marriage had lacked for its entire 20-year course.
The Bible says that healthy sexual relations are God’s will for a marriage. So why hadn’t God granted the prayers of this man and so many other refused spouses? In some cases, it was the refusing spouse who was praying for normal, loving desire, but still … nothing. Where was God?
I realize that these anecdotes do not represent a scientific sample, much less a scientific study. And they did not move me away from my faith. Still, on the heels of learning the truth about creationists, I could not help feeling that something was amiss. Does God grant worthy prayers or not?
(And let’s have none of the cop-out that I’ve heard so many times: “God always answers. Sometimes he answers Yes, sometimes No, and sometimes Wait.” Verses like James 1:5, John 14:13 and Matthew 17:20 know nothing of that. They are talking about God granting prayers, not just “answering” them.)
It may have been at this time that I had a new take on the denominational divisions within Christianity. I had always thought it a good thing that we had a variety of worship styles, etc., to choose from. But by and large, don’t the tens of thousands of denominations also represent tens of thousands of holy people seeking God’s will and being led in contradictory directions? No matter who you believe is correct, that’s a lot of error. James 1:5 promises that God will give wisdom generously to those who ask in faith. Why had he not done so? (In this connection, you may also recall my recent post on the changing evangelical position on abortion.)
Although God had not granted the devout creationists’ prayers for wisdom and discernment, and he had not granted the pleas of so many on the forum for healthy marriages, and had not given the promised wisdom to many illustrious denominational founders, I had heard of scientific studies that proved he did respond to prayers for healing.
In a bid to strengthen my faith, I decided to look into them. That will be the subject of my next post.