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MASHomeschooler
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Sometimes, but not always.  Really helpful, isn't it?  ;)

 

Those of us who believe in the Inspired and Infallible Word of God can often interpret "In the Beginning" scriptures different ways.  The common denominator is believing God did it - created the universe and everything in it.  Whether He did it 6000 or 6 billion years ago is up for debate.

 

That said, some groups DO think it requires belief in a YEC, so 'tis wise to check.

 

I'm in the camp (as is my church) that it doesn't matter.  God could have done it however He wanted to.

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No, it doesn't necessarily mean they aren't theistic evolutionists, but it makes it less likely. Our church has that in our doctrine and our pastor believes Genesis as written and plainly interpreted, as do about 80% of the congregation. But we don't toss the other 20% out on their ears either and it doesn't come up practically as an issue in sermons or Sunday school material all that frequently. The family of Christ can and does disagree on points like that and it doesn't mean there is no fellowship - it can be a big deal but it depends VERY much on the individual church and body.

 

The converse is also true - a congregation primarily made up of theistic evolutionists doesn't necessarily mean they are hostile or mocking toward a young earth creationist or that they cannot disagree even strenuously and still hold fellowship. That's so much more about the composition of the body and maturity of the leadership. It's not a primary tenet of salvation or confession in *mosf* churches. Note too that there is a range - even the staunchest young earth creationist will accede population change, natural selection, epigenetics, etc. It's evolution as a creation method that would involve death happening before sin entering the world that is the sticking point and again, in many bodies it's just an area where two believers disagree and move on from there.

 

And I don't think you can really guess that from that statement alone, it would more likely involve a chat with the pastor and elders to feel them out - it's a very common statement and not all churches really mean the same thing by it (as we have unfortunately discovered with a few - the doctrinal statements sound awesome but the churches themselves didn't really adhere with much passion to anything in there!).

Edited by Arctic Mama
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Thanks for all the quick replies! My daughter has been invited to join an academic team in which all of the current members are members of a homeschool group with a statement of faith that includes that line, and I wasn't sure if that was what it meant. So I guess not necessarily, but somewhat likely that it does mean that - or at least that a number of the members interpret it as that. So I guess I'll have to ask to know for sure. Thanks again.

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Definitely ask.

 

That reads to me as a fairly typical statement of faith for a protesant maybe evangelical leaning group, and certainly not all protestants are young Earth creationists.

 

It seems to be more common in homeschooling circles than in the population in general though.

 

FWIW, our family has participated in groups that were generally YEC and, aside from an occasional discussion about different interpretations and points of view with my kids, it has not been an issue. I suppose our approach to the issue would be termed theistic evolution--God is behind the creation of life on earth and evolution is the mechanism he used.

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Thanks for all the quick replies! My daughter has been invited to join an academic team in which all of the current members are members of a homeschool group with a statement of faith that includes that line, and I wasn't sure if that was what it meant. So I guess not necessarily, but somewhat likely that it does mean that - or at least that a number of the members interpret it as that. So I guess I'll have to ask to know for sure. Thanks again.

Well, you know homeschoolers... IME, anyway, many conservative Christians who homeschool seem to assume that everyone else who homeschools does so for religious reasons and therefore holds similar doctrinal beliefs. I've encountered groups that include that verbiage in the group's statement of faith and members seemed to assume that everyone knew it meant a literal 6 day creation.

 

In your shoes, I wouldn't assume anything. I would politely and plainly ask. Especially if the team activity is something like debate. If they're all using an academic curriculum that is plainly YEC (BJU, Apologia), that would have an effect on answers from a science category. They may be open to either interpretation (YE or OE), but you might want to be clear going in.

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From my experience with these things- if the group requires belief in a literal six day creation that will be spelled out explicitly in the statement. I believe from what you have shared that they are leaving the details up to interpretation.

 

That makes sense. I guess my thought was this might be sort of a "known code" for YE beliefs. But if it common to spell it out if that's what they mean, this does seem more like everyone can interpret it themselves.

 

Definitely ask.

 

That reads to me as a fairly typical statement of faith for a protesant maybe evangelical leaning group, and certainly not all protestants are young Earth creationists.

 

It seems to be more common in homeschooling circles than in the population in general though.

 

FWIW, our family has participated in groups that were generally YEC and, aside from an occasional discussion about different interpretations and points of view with my kids, it has not been an issue. I suppose our approach to the issue would be termed theistic evolution--God is behind the creation of life on earth and evolution is the mechanism he used.

 

I will; thanks. Definitely protestant based on the rest of the statement, and I was thinking the same thing - I know most protestants are not YE believers, but there is definitely a higher concentration of them in homeschooling. And I don't fully understand the purpose of strictly segregated groups, except to keep kids from hearing others' beliefs, so that was another reason I thought it might be more likely YE. We've done a couple other things with some members of this team without issue, but I don't think it would work to do more regular academic (specifically STEM) things with them if they believe a literal interpretation of the Bible over science.

Edited by MASHomeschooler
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A good question would be whether all participants have to sign the SOF or if it's just for the leaders and the group as a whole entity.  You want to know exactly what is expected of you before you join, to prevent grief and drama later.

 

It is not unusual for a group to be somewhat surprised that their SOF may exclude some of their friends and other perfectly nice, sane, ethical, Christian people.

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That makes sense. I guess my thought was this might be sort of a "known code" for YE beliefs. But if it common to spell it out if that's what they mean, this does seem more like everyone can interpret it themselves.

 

 

I will; thanks. Definitely protestant based on the rest of the statement, and I was thinking the same thing - I know most protestants are not YE believers, but there is definitely a higher concentration of them in homeschooling. And I don't fully understand the purpose of strictly segregated groups, except to keep kids from hearing others' beliefs, so that was another reason I thought it might be more likely YE. We've done a couple other things with some members of this team without issue, but I don't think it would work to do more regular academic (specifically STEM) things with them if they believe a literal interpretation of the Bible over science.

Okay, don't say things like that to the group, because there are a good plenty of us who have degrees in scientific fields, even things like physics, microbio, and geology, and are YEC.

 

Saying someone believes a literal interpretation of the Bible wind therefore doesn't believe in or use science is about as offensive as saying someone is an atheist and therefore has no morals. It's incredibly rude, usually wrong, and a quick way to look like a jerk.

 

So yeah, tact. And don't assume the worst of someone just by their beliefs - there are awesome, rigorous homeschoolers everywhere, including religious co ops. Better to evaluate each family by their teaching style, kids, and what they actually say than assume anything by a blanket statement of faith from a group. We are all individuals and not homogenous.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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Okay, don't say things like that to the group, because there are a good plenty of us who have degrees in scientific fields, even things like physics, microbio, and geology, and are YEC.

 

Saying someone believes a literal interpretation of the Bible wind therefore doesn't believe in or use science is about as offensive as saying someone is an atheist and therefore has no morals. It's incredibly rude, usually wrong, and a quick way to look like a jerk.

 

So yeah, tact. And don't assume the worst of someone just by their beliefs - there are awesome, rigorous homeschoolers everywhere, including religious co ops. Better to evaluate each family by their teaching style, kids, and what they actually say than assume anything by a blanket statement of faith from a group. We are all individuals and not homogenous.

I don't believe the OP ever implied anything negative about those whose beliefs differ from hers. It seems clear that she realizes there will be a conflict that limits full participation if there is a lack of agreement - I didn't see any indication she planned to march in and tell the group that they were wrong - she simply wants to decide if the group is a good fit for her family.

 

FWIW, OP, I have met many circles of people who *do* believe that creationism always equals the literal 6 day version. So reiterating, ask the group for clarification. You have been tactful in this thread and we have no reason to believe you would not be tactful in your inquiries of that group.

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The experience I've had with such groups usually means that's correct. That's just my experience with homeschool (not other) groups in my specific area of the country. Most groups that were Christian in nature but open about varying Christian doctrine didn't require a statement of faith at all. Statement of faith group requirements around here always goes hand in hand with literal creationism. 

 

Edited by Lady Florida.
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If a group's statement of faith includes "The Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God", does that mean that they don't believe in evolution?

 

It is probable that a support group that feels the need to have a statement of faith, whether members are required to sign it or not, is one that believes in a seven-day literal creation.

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Okay, don't say things like that to the group, because there are a good plenty of us who have degrees in scientific fields, even things like physics, microbio, and geology, and are YEC.

 

Saying someone believes a literal interpretation of the Bible wind therefore doesn't believe in or use science is about as offensive as saying someone is an atheist and therefore has no morals. It's incredibly rude, usually wrong, and a quick way to look like a jerk.

 

So yeah, tact. And don't assume the worst of someone just by their beliefs - there are awesome, rigorous homeschoolers everywhere, including religious co ops. Better to evaluate each family by their teaching style, kids, and what they actually say than assume anything by a blanket statement of faith from a group. We are all individuals and not homogenous.

 

I was planning to be tactful; thanks. I wouldn't even be considering having my daughter join the team if I didn't think they were generally awesome, rigorous homeschoolers, and as I mentioned we have done a couple things with some of them before successfully.

 

I honestly don't understand the offense at what I said. I never said YEC don't believe in or use science, but - regardless of how rigorous one may be in every other area, including many areas of science - when the Bible conflicts with science, a YEC by definition chooses to believe the literal interpretation of the Bible over science. I'm not going to tell them they shouldn't do that, but when discussing here why it wouldn't work to do STEM activities with them, that is the reason. I'm not assuming the worst about them; I'm just trying to figure out if joining this team would work for us.

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Could go either way. It's a basic, generic, Protestant-Evangelical phrase that you would find in most statements of beliefs. I don't think it implies YEC, or makes it 'more likely'.

 

If anything, it leans (very slightly) away from YEC-and-similar doctrines, because it is missing the word "inerrant" -- which has been avoided-and-replaced by the somewhat softer and more nuanced word "infallible". Those two words have been hotly debated and the differences between them (while tiny) are sometimes indicative of the line between 'ordinary Christian' organizations and other 'extremely strict' ones.

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Agreeing that you need to ask.

 

I was offered a job at our local Christian school this year. The director made a comment in interviewing me that it is great that we can talk about Biblical things with our students, including a literal 7 day creation and Young Earth ideology.

 

After I turned the job down (for other reasons), I asked the high school principal if the school took a hard line on Young Earth and literal 7 days and he said he was actually surprised the director said that to me because that was the first time he had ever heard the school take a stand on it.

 

He assured me I could have taught there without being a YEC.

 

But it is always good to ask.

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You should ask for clarification. Locally that statement would mean biblical literal interpretation meaning that very, very few passages taken as allegorical by many mainstream denominations would be taken as literal without room for disagreement or debate.

 

It is one reason we harked back from a stint of attending an evangelical, independent church to the United Methkdist Church. There was more room for debate and fewer non Apostle's Creed beliefs considered to salvation issues.

 

I would just pleasantly inquire.

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Okay, don't say things like that to the group, because there are a good plenty of us who have degrees in scientific fields, even things like physics, microbio, and geology, and are YEC.

 

Saying someone believes a literal interpretation of the Bible wind therefore doesn't believe in or use science is about as offensive as saying someone is an atheist and therefore has no morals. It's incredibly rude, usually wrong, and a quick way to look like a jerk.

 

So yeah, tact. And don't assume the worst of someone just by their beliefs - there are awesome, rigorous homeschoolers everywhere, including religious co ops. Better to evaluate each family by their teaching style, kids, and what they actually say than assume anything by a blanket statement of faith from a group. We are all individuals and not homogenous.

Speaking of tact:

This post was incredibly rude and a quick way to look like a jerk. The OP said not one thing about anyone not "believing in or using science", aside from not using this group as a study group for her own child's STEM education. Nor did she say she would go in "guns blazing" to the group and tell them they are wrong if they are YEC.

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It wasn't rude at all - she made a statement in her post that I quoted there at the end that is a sore spot in this discussion and I'm not even sure she was aware of it - I pointed out why that sort of language is considered offensive, gave a similar analog, and reiterated my earlier advice that it is very individual. I'm not assuming the worst of her, but rather pointing out something she may not be 'hearing' in her own words.

 

It's the same way a Christian talks about morality, absolute truth, and the consequences of sin and doesn't hear in their words what someone of another faith or no religious affiliation does in terms of judgment. And unless you're looking for the lingo that each group adopts in their discussions amongst themselves that could be misconstrued, it's easy to never give it notice or 'hear' how it sounds to others.

 

Tact.

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Dear MASHomeschooler,

 

I am scratching my head and have reread your post many times. I can find nothing offensive in the least.

 

Arctic, consider that this activity may be a quiz bowl (a la Science Olympiad). Can't you imagine how one side may always be judged to have given the wrong answer to a question simply because they were OE instead of YE, or vice versa? Questions on geology, biology, astronomy? Consider how standardized achievement tests are innately biased against YEC, as secular education institutions teach OE evolution based science. That doesn't make YEC folks wrong, it simply causes them to interpret low science scores in the proper context.

 

It's not a matter of assuming one is better - it's a matter of assessing compatibility. I cannot for the life of me see where you've read offense in it.

 

And fwiw, I've lived through some S&S - shock & shun. Two separate groups in different states were first Shocked to discover me unwilling to die on the hill of a literal 6 day creation, then myself and family were Shunned for such a point of belief and restricted from interaction with their families. Not fun. So OP, just ask up front.

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Um, my family has always been YEC and somehow I did both Science Olympiad and AcaDeca, along with Academic League (NCAL) and somehow never managed to get a questioned wrong because of my views compared to the prevailing textbook answer. Really, it's possible. Plenty of our groups around here manage it. Being YEC doesn't mean you or your kids can't function in the standard paradigm, even in a religious homeschooling group. This is my point - all these assumptions or predications may not be accurate to the specific individual or group and it's an easy assumption to make, even mentally to oneself. Being aware of it helps keep communication clear :)

 

That's why I am saying it's very likely a non-issue even in STEM subjects, there is a ton of variation and plenty of the kids and adults holding to even strict views on the subject aren't necessarily going to be ignorant of or ill equipped to teach the subject to others. Consider most of the folks using even religious co ops are intentionally entering a group teaching situation - preparation on how to teach *to groups* and learn *in a non homogenous, non family setting* is par for the course. It also doesn't follow that someone with a more literal bent on creation would be low scoring in science.

 

And as Chris just pointed out, there is a ton of variation even among those who use the term 'creationist', so specifics matter. And some groups are kind of awful in their attitude and narrow in focus, which would be good to suss out as well. That tone depends so much on the organizer and core families, so it really goes on a case by case basis.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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Most mainstream protestants I know interpret the Bible as including some form of evolution and support the Old Earth theory.  However, most homeschool groups I know are more likely to support YE and little to no evolution.

 

I myself support the OE theory, but I do understand why Arctic was taken aback by said comment, because I think she interpreted it to infer that a YE group does not line up with real science.  I don't believe the OP really meant it that way though.  I think she just meant that she preferred to find a group that lined up with her own interpretation (and I would feel the same way -- I was always the odd one out in our homeschool group and it was sometimes very awkward for me!).  But, I can see why Arctic interpreted it the way she did.

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Um, my family has always been YEC and somehow I did both Science Olympiad and AcaDeca, along with Academic League (NCAL) and somehow never managed to get a questioned wrong because of my views compared to the prevailing textbook answer. Really, it's possible. Plenty of our groups around here manage it. Being YEC doesn't mean you or your kids can't function in the standard paradigm, even in a religious homeschooling group. This is my point - all these assumptions or predications may not be accurate to the specific individual or group and it's an easy assumption to make, even mentally to oneself. Being aware of it helps keep communication clear :)

 

That's why I am saying it's very likely a non-issue even in STEM subjects, there is a ton of variation and plenty of the kids and adults holding to even strict views on the subject aren't necessarily going to be ignorant of or ill equipped to teach the subject to others. Consider most of the folks using even religious co ops are intentionally entering a group teaching situation - preparation on how to teach *to groups* and learn *in a non homogenous, non family setting* is par for the course. It also doesn't follow that someone with a more literal bent on creation would be low scoring in science.

 

And as Chris just pointed out, there is a ton of variation even among those who use the term 'creationist', so specifics matter. And some groups are kind of awful in their attitude and narrow in focus, which would be good to suss out as well. That tone depends so much on the organizer and core families, so it really goes on a case by case basis.

 

Based on my interactions with YEC groups, I am inclined to agree with this. Unless you are participating in a class teaching biology, earth science, or astronomy, it is unlikely that YEC views specifically are going to be a big issue. 

 

If there are major differences in values or worldview that go beyond Young Earth beliefs then the issue becomes more complicated.

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Most mainstream protestants I know interpret the Bible as including some form of evolution and support the Old Earth theory. However, most homeschool groups I know are more likely to support YE and little to no evolution.

 

I myself support the OE theory, but I do understand why Arctic was taken aback by said comment, because I think she interpreted it to infer that a YE group does not line up with real science. I don't believe the OP really meant it that way though. I think she just meant that she preferred to find a group that lined up with her own interpretation (and I would feel the same way -- I was always the odd one out in our homeschool group and it was sometimes very awkward for me!). But, I can see why Arctic interpreted it the way she did.

Yes, that's what I was pointing out and I don't believe the OP meant any harm either. It's a bit of a dog whistle though and could ruffle some feathers by implication, which I wasn't sure she was aware was there.

 

Now granted, some groups are full of self righteous jerks and need some feathers ruffled, so use your discretion on that, too :lol:

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Yes, that's what I was pointing out and I don't believe the OP meant any harm either. It's a bit of a dog whistle though and could ruffle some feathers by implication, which I wasn't sure she was aware was there.

 

Now granted, some groups are full of self righteous jerks and need some feathers ruffled, so use your discretion on that, too :lol:

 

I can see this is a trigger issue for you, but since the OP has already clarified her approach and has never once indicated she would say anything at all on the topic to anyone on this team.... perhaps it is time to stop with the  "tact" tips.

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The experience I've had with such groups usually means that's correct. That's just my experience with homeschool (not other) groups in my specific area of the country. Most groups that were Christian in nature but open about varying Christian doctrine didn't require a statement of faith at all. Statement of faith group requirements around here always goes hand in hand with literal creationism.

This is my experience as well, having homeschooled in many different non-contiguous states. Groups that required a statement of faith were hostile to those who didn't believe in literal creationism.

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If a group's statement of faith includes "The Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God", does that mean that they don't believe in evolution?

 

The groups in my area are very clear. They say that they believe in a "Biblical account of creation" or a "literal interpretation of Genesis" or something like that. There's no wiggle room. It's tiresome, but at least it's clear.

 

ETA because I might not come back to this thread during this busy week... I find it tiresome because I hate that groups make believing in YEC a requirement to join the group. It's exclusionary and it's very common in my area. I'm a pretty live and let live person, willing to associate with people I disagree with, but these types of statements are meant to keep people like me out of the group. I'm a Christian, but not a good enough Christian.

Edited by Mimm
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The groups in my area are very clear. They say that they believe in a "Biblical account of creation" or a "literal interpretation of Genesis" or something like that. There's no wiggle room. It's tiresome, but at least it's clear.

 

ETA because I might not come back to this thread during this busy week... I find it tiresome because I hate that groups make believing in YEC a requirement to join the group. It's exclusionary and it's very common in my area. I'm a pretty live and let live person, willing to associate with people I disagree with, but these types of statements are meant to keep people like me out of the group. I'm a Christian, but not a good enough Christian.

This is my situation as well.

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ETA because I might not come back to this thread during this busy week... I find it tiresome because I hate that groups make believing in YEC a requirement to join the group. It's exclusionary and it's very common in my area. I'm a pretty live and let live person, willing to associate with people I disagree with, but these types of statements are meant to keep people like me out of the group. I'm a Christian, but not a good enough Christian.

 

I believe in a YEC, but I also think it's stupid to make that a requirement to join a support group (or a sports group, or any other kind of group). I understand having a clearly defined statement of faith, but I do not believe in requiring members to sign it--leaders, yes, because I think it's acceptable to want to associate with others who have common beliefs, but not members. Even when I agree with the SOF, I refuse to sign it.

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Probably. Lots of Christians believe that, but the ones that make a point of saying it usually are literalists,and think other approaches are people who think the Bible is falliable.

With the caveat that this (like most things) I suppose could vary by region: I want to push back against your semantics.

 

Semantically, literalists will usually make the point of saying the Bible is *inerrant* -- which is the strongest available word to communicate the idea of alliegence to every-literal-word of a verbal-plenary perspective on inspiration and authority. Literalists are happy with the word *inerrant*.

 

On the other hand, people/groups who have chosen the word *infalible* (if they chose it on purpose) have chosen a word that is known to be 'a step down' from the full inerrancy perspective. Literalists are unlikely to do that -- at least not on purpose.

 

In addition there are definitely a considerable portion of people who *do* believe fully in inerrancy, but still *do not* interpret all passages in the hyper-literal manner that leads to YEC.

 

Therefore,

 

(a) A belief in *inerrancy* -- while it is usually a prerequisite to believing YEC -- it does not always lead there.

 

( b ) A belief in *infallibility* is frequently code for 'not quite believing in inerrancy'.

 

But, ( c ) It's possible that this group copied or adopted their statement from elsewhere, and they aren't aware of the nuance between inerrant and infalible -- rendering the semantic implications meaningless.

Edited by bolt.
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It wasn't rude at all - she made a statement in her post that I quoted there at the end that is a sore spot in this discussion and I'm not even sure she was aware of it - I pointed out why that sort of language is considered offensive, gave a similar analog, and reiterated my earlier advice that it is very individual. I'm not assuming the worst of her, but rather pointing out something she may not be 'hearing' in her own words.

 

It's the same way a Christian talks about morality, absolute truth, and the consequences of sin and doesn't hear in their words what someone of another faith or no religious affiliation does in terms of judgment. And unless you're looking for the lingo that each group adopts in their discussions amongst themselves that could be misconstrued, it's easy to never give it notice or 'hear' how it sounds to others.

 

Tact.

 

She said, "if they believe a literal interpretation of the Bible over science." I don't understand how that is a sore spot, or understood in terms of judgement. I've never known a creationist not to admit to this, so the idea it's a sore spot is confusing to me. Also, whenever I've been directed to creationist websites or resources, they are all upfront about this. It's right at the very forefront of their ministry.

 

OP, in my experience, these were code words for YEC, but I agree with everyone else to check with the group. Each group is different.

Edited by Charlie
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I would not think that the group is exclusively YEC because of the wording.  Not being a YEC person, we did join a number of groups that had either a signed agreement or just an explanation of their position.  I only ever had a problem in one group in a science class for elementary school kids.  The class wasn't biology so I didn't think there would be a problem.  There was and I took my daughter out of the class.  Nothing bad happened and we weren't shunned.  I did have a person react with great surprise that we weren't YEC but that was in a group that had no statement of faith.  I guess that homeschooler just assumed everyone was YEC.

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I would say based on that wording they are either Young Earth Creationist or Old Earth Creationist, or take no position on old vs. young, only that God created the world. 

 

ETA: I believe our statement of faith says this, and some members of the session and pastors are OEC and some are YEC.

Edited by cintinative
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With the caveat that this (like most things) I suppose could vary by region: I want to push back against your semantics.

 

Semantically, literalists will usually make the point of saying the Bible is *inerrant* -- which is the strongest available word to communicate the idea of alliegence to every-literal-word of a verbal-plenary perspective on inspiration and authority. Literalists are happy with the word *inerrant*.

 

On the other hand, people/groups who have chosen the word *infalible* (if they chose it on purpose) have chosen a word that is known to be 'a step down' from the full inerrancy perspective. Literalists are unlikely to do that -- at least not on purpose.

 

In addition there are definitely a considerable portion of people who *do* believe fully in inerrancy, but still *do not* interpret all passages in the hyper-literal manner that leads to YEC.

 

Therefore,

 

(a) A belief in *inerrancy* -- while it is usually a prerequisite to believing YEC -- it does not always lead there.

 

( b ) A belief in *infallibility* is frequently code for 'not quite believing in inerrancy'.

 

But, ( c ) It's possible that this group copied or adopted their statement from elsewhere, and they aren't aware of the nuance between inerrant and infalible -- rendering the semantic implications meaningless.

 

The current Pope, for example. "Big Bang theory and evolution in nature "do not contradict" the idea of creation, Pope Francis has told an audience at the Vatican, saying God was not “a magician with a magic wand.†(source)

 

Just in case non-Catholics didn't know.  Many Catholics have agreed with this stance for decades. The most recent previous Pope was a creationist, but Pope Francis is not.  "Inerrant" is not a word you'll hear among Catholics often, but, as a concept it is consistent with Catholic theology.  And the Second Vatican Council specifically used the words "without error".

Edited by poppy
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